Monday, December 31, 2012


I've had a crazy productive year, I have to say.

It started in January/February when I wrote a novel I've been dabbling with for years -- it's actually quite an old idea, dating back to a first draft attempt as a college sophomore. It has changed drastically over the years, so much so that I could probably write a whole new novel out of a couple of the earlier, abandoned, plotlines. Tentatively titled The Vanilla Life until I think of something good to call it. I'd had a few false starts over the years and just started from scratch with it. It's a supernatural roadtrip story. No takers for it, yet.

Then, in February, I finished up a book I started in the summer of 2011. It's a sort of sequel to my forthcoming novel The Saviors (about my days in a punk band). This one is called Odysseus Among the Swine. I had to abandon it for some reason and was thinking it needed a total do-over but realized it just needed a good revision and an ending, so that's what I did. Haven't even considered sending this out yet.

In March, I finished my zombie novel Last Stand in Zombie Town. This one was quite difficult because it was so far outside of my comfort zone. Good stuff, though. Just came out.

In April, I wrote a bunch of poems. Most have been picked up by journals. Haven't put together a collection, yet.

In May, I pushed forward with this novel in stories (about a race war) I started in late 2011. Tentatively titled Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down. I switched back and forth between that one and another story series called Nobody's Darlings, about drugs and poverty in Arkansas. I finished both in June or July. Some of the Darlings stories have appeared at Rusty Barnes' Fried Chicken and Coffee.

Also in June, I took another stab at Man of Clay, a novel I'd attempted a couple times before. I had about 50 pages, give or take, of useable material and pushed through to the end. It was picked up by Main Street Rag Press. Pretty happy about that one. Best thing I've had accepted for publication.

In July, I wrote a horror/comedy book called Sorting the Dead, about a witch, an alternate dimension, a curse, etc. Fun stuff. Hasn't been picked up yet.

In August I wrote a middle-grade long story called Honus Wagner and the Wittsburg Treasure. This is a story I'd wanted to do for a long time. I was asked to contribute to an anthology, which gave me the excuse to write this. It was a very fun experience. There's a kickstarter for this anthology, here, if you're so inclined to help out...

In September/October I wrote a post-apocalyptic story about a cruise ship, sentient amoeba, super-intelligent birds, etc. etc. Not sure about a title yet. One of my stranger ones. Probably needs a revision.

In November/December, I wrote another middle-grade story -- novella length this time. An anthropomorphic cautionary tale about birds that wear vests. Another one I've wanted to do for a long time but hadn't gotten to. Also probably needs a revision.

In early December I went back and wrote a couple weird horror/comedy stories I'd been sitting on for a while and wrote a ton of reviews I'd been meaning to get to. I've averaged about 2 reviews a week this year. Crazy, huh? I needed a break from novels for a little while. I tried writing a poem a day -- I've got two sort of techniques I've been using. One is taking a line from a poem (usually in a book I'm reviewing) and using that as a title or at least inspiration. The other is a series of odes. Anyway, I failed miserably at the poem-a-day thing, gave up about halfway through the month, and started another novel. This one is a mashup of several earlier ideas -- one of them dating back to high school, another back to my undergrad years. It's actually the most straight-forward novel I've written in a long time. I started it without much of a plan. I usually have an outline, but all I had was maybe a quarter of a page of notes. As I write this, I'm thirty+ pages in and starting to figure out what this thing is about. I find that each novel chooses its own approach and structure. This one I might actually try sending out to agents.

One of the reasons I keep going back to these old ideas is that I had them before I knew how to write a novel. And they're good ideas. I interviewed a writer a while back who said he ignores ideas that come to him while he's working on a project so he doesn't lose focus. I don't. Most of the novels I've written have been from older ideas (maybe just a few months old, maybe 20 years old). I write them down, outline them, write a scene or two, whatever comes to me.

Along with all that, I had 5 books picked up this year (I didn't mention a poetry collection and another supernatural/comedy book I've got coming out) was nominated for a bunch of awards I didn't win (3 Pushcarts in 1 week, 1 Best of the Web, and 1 story selected as a Notable Story of the year for Story South's Million Readers award), started a couple columns for Monkey Bicycle, started a column for Prick of the Spindle, did some readings, etc.

Busy year. Already planning on making next year even busier.

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