Monday, January 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016—And Hello 2017!

Hey there, WYMOP readers!
So, that was 2016. Rather than go off on a rant about something 2016ish, or shout about some New Year’s resolutions we all know would basically be lies told with the best of intentions, I made two simple lists: one reminding me of things I’ve done, the other to help me remember things I want to do. I made then both pretty much off the top of my head (though I did have a little help remembering one particular thing), so if it looks like I’ve forgotten something important somewhere, I’m sorry.
Please feel free to remind me. I’ll add it to my personal lists.

Writerly things I accomplished in 2016:

  • Had Echoes of Darkness published with Books & Boos Press, then favorably reviewed on Cemetery Dance Online (among others, but this was the biggie!)
  • Managed to get the Storyside News (our newsletter at The Storyside) out on time, twelve months in a row, despite the best efforts of the gremlins who seem to enjoy screwing up everything technological about me: cars, computers, phones, you name it.
    I hate gremlins.
  • Managed to get my Monster Movie Madness column up over at Cinema Knife Fight on time, twelve months in a row. See above regarding gremlins.
    I hate gremlins.
  • Back in 2015 I partnered up with Stacey Longo to form S & L Editing, which I think has helped make me a better writer. In 2016 we edited or proofed seven complete books, as well as (possibly) keeping Stacey from actually filling all those shallow graves she digs in her backyard on the weekends. For fun. Yeah. For fun.
  • Had two of the stories in Echoes of Darkness nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I know the name doesn’t sound like much, but the Pushcart is kind of a big deal in the writing industry. Unless I lose. Then it’s really not all that important. But if I win, well, look out!
  • Only wrote and submitted three short(ish) stories for publication, with one acceptance, one rejection, and one the jury’s still out on, but that one I’m waiting to hear about was a pirate story. I edit by reading aloud. You ain’t had fun editing until you’ve read through an entire 12,000 word story—multiple times—sounding like the Flying Dutchman from Spongebob Squarepants. Arrr!
  • Penned (okay, typed) a novella tentatively titled Friends in High Places that was a ton of fun to write, but a giant cramp in the scrotum to edit. I’m still editing it. Sometimes, just to make the editing more palatable, I read it aloud sounding like the Flying Dutchman. Arrr!
  • Participated in about a half-dozen public readings (some more public than others) over the course of the year, including being the featured author for the Worcester Storytellers in October. I understand folks like when I read to them, which is good, since I enjoy doing it, despite the gut-wrenching, pants-wetting, testicles-ascending-into-my-abdomen stage fright that starts approximately a  half-hour before, and usually lasts about a minute into, any performance. I think I’d like to do more of this—except the testicles ascending thing. I’d really like to skip that part.
  • Had one of my coworkers approach me with a well-thumbed copy of Echoes, looking for an autograph. That was fun. And completely unexpected. And fun.
    Did I mention that it was fun?
  • Did some of the writing for, some of the editing on, and some of the proofreading of the next installment of the Insanity Tales anthology series coming out of The Storyside. Insanity Tales III: Seasons of Fear should be out in 2017, and will have some fantastic writing in it. Some of it might even be mine!
  • Finagled my novella, “The Christmas Spirit,” into a three-novella anthology, Triplicity: The Terror Project, Volume 1, so I have something a little longer than a short story out there in the public eye. And now I have also used “finagled” in real life, so I can check that off my bucket list.
  • Started work collaborating on a novel with a terrific writer, which is going better than I’d feared (I’m not the best team player out there). With a little luck, and a whole bunch of work, it might be ready for shopping around to publishers sometime in 2017. It’ll be fun. It’ll be funny. Did I mention it’ll be a whole bunch of work?

Writerly things I’d like to be better at in 2017:

  • Keeping up my website. I’m pitiful at it. If you could win a gold medal for sucking at something, this would be my event.
  • Working on my own stuff. I’ve already written couple of novels and a few novellas I keep meaning to get into shape to shop around. I have whole trilogies mapped out, with notes to work from and everything for when I get around to writing them down. If I have so many stories in my head it sometimes feels like it’s going to burst, shouldn’t I do something about it?
  • Working on my own stuff. And right now you’re thinking Rob’s lost it, he’s repeating himself, but that’s not the case. I only submitted three short stories for the whole year in 2016. Along with the longer stuff I mentioned above, I’d love to get more of my short stuff out there. I have unpublished shorts I’ve already written, and more I want to write—including one about the Squirrel Mafia, which should be so much fun I’ll be editing it in my Flying Dutchman voice. Arrr!

  • Doing more events. I have a hard time doing whole weekend events because I work most Saturdays, but I’ve noticed a few public readings around that happen mid-week in the evening, and those sound right up my alley. Please see above regarding ascending testicles. Yeesh!

So that’s, as Forrest Gump would say, all I have to say about that. Despite all the bitching and crying and whining and yelling I saw on social media all year, I hope you had a great 2016.

Happy New Year.

. . . now, go out and grab 2017 by the throat (or balls, if you’re feeling mean enough), and make it the best 2017 you can. You only get this one. Make the most of it.

Talk to you later.

P.S.—I was just about to hit POST when I realized I forgot to add something to that list of writerly accomplishments for 2016: I wrote this very damn blog for 52 weeks in a row, almost always on time, and they almost always made a little sense.

Holy crap, talk about missing the obvious?


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