Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ending on a High Note

Well, it's been one hell of a year, with many endings- and many reboots. I feel a bit like a character in one of those movies where everything blew up, and the dazed person emerges from the rubble, blinking and wondering how they survived.

From having my job taken away once more last January (thanks, corporate A-holes) to a number of other body blows, it's been a trial. If 'that which does not kill us makes us stronger,' I must be freakin' Superman. I've got back on a mostly even keel, but writing time is hard to come by, as well as mustering the energy to create something worthwhile- the brain and body are tired after 11+ hour days at the day job and commute.

I have high ambitions, goals, and desires for writing, and never feel like I've done enough at years' end. Always have so much more to do, and there's never enough time. Still, I produce more than most writers, and by doing one thing after another, and working to completion, I manage to accumulate a fair body of work for the year.

So this trip around the sun has seen a few things done well. I'd previously put out the first three Zack Taylor mysteries with small publishers, and got the rights back to those. So redid all 3, with new covers and newly-edited content. Print and ebook versions were reissued, and then I got all 3 produced as audiobooks as well! The long-awaited fourth book in the series, A Certain Slant of Light, finally saw publication, coming out last month (more on this later, see below).

And published a book of short stories, More Crooked Paths: 5 Tales of Crime and Mystery.

Got stories into two great anthologies as well. Hope it Fits was selected for the recently-published Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016, from Level Best Books (The Boston Globe just gave this excellent work a mention). This is the second year in a row I've had a story featured in this prestigious annual collection, so I'm quite happy with that, especially since last year's collection, Rogue Wave, was a finalist for a Silver Falchion Book Award, up against books by big-name pros of the writing world.

And got two scary stories into Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear, a great follow-up to last year's Insanity Tales. This came out just in time for Halloween, and provided some frights with stories from 6 talented writers.

Wrote more that hasn't been published yet, but watch for upcoming releases.

Did a number of book events and spoke on panels: Authors by the Sea, and Queen City Kamikaze Con, the Sisters in Crime panel at the Edwards Public Library in Southampton, MA, with T. Stephens and Vlad V. at the Monson, MA library, at the Scarborough, ME library with the Level Best folks, at the Lancaster Library for a mystery panel (and later a panel of horror writers), at the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield, ME (where I grew up), the Haverhill Library, the Middlesex Community College bookstore in downtown Lowell, MA, and the Chelmsford author event

Other accomplishments: attended my 40th High School reunion, put out my first newsletter, something I've had as a goal for a while. Got to publicly read my work with other mystery pros at Noir at the Bar. Was featured in Granite Coast magazine. Also served as a writing contest judge for the Al Blanchard Award, given out by an awards committee at the Crime Bake mystery conference (writeup of that event here). At the conference I gave a presentation on producing audiobooks that was rather well-received. Sold a bunch of my mystery novels that weekend, the first time the bookseller has carried my titles at the yearly event- thank you, New England Mobile Bookfair! Speaking of the biggest and best mystery bookstore north of New York, we had a blast at the annual Gala Mystery Night, selling and signing books with the top mystery writers of New England. Attended a few other events there this year, including signings for Tess Gerritsen, and T. Stephens (to see an interview with T. Stephens, click here).

I've had terrific writers as guests doing interviews on the blog this year: Dana King, Kat Parrish, Leigh Perry, Patrick Shawn Bagley, and Peter Dudar. I've been interviewed by others this last year, notably Ann Everett, and Debbi Mack on the Crime Cafe. And just last night, was featured by Dana King, to end the year on a high note, celebrating A Certain Slant of Light, which he kindly read and gave a recommendation for. That's an awesome way to end a year for a writer, being recommended by another writer you respect.

So how was your year? What did you learn and accomplish, what are your regrets for this last year? What do you plan for next year?

I hope to get a slew of works out, including novels, short stories, and collections. And maybe some more non-fiction. See you soon. Gotta get back to work, so I can get those out... 

Have a safe and happy New Year. Celebrate and enjoy, and remember those who have left us this past 12 months.

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