Essay–2014 In Review

There will no doubt be billions of these posts on the internet tonight, but I decided I needed to jot some things down anyway. I also think it’s a good idea to take stock of things at the end of the year and see what I need to do to improve myself, my craft, and my business. So, away we go…

2014 started off with a bang. Fiendmas started in December 2013 with a repeat performance of “The Street” stories “Stuffing” and a re-engineered “Deep Fried.” It was the run-up to the release of The Street as a full length book. I was writing my ass off on what would become “Frog Legs” and “Baked Bird” so we could put them to bed for the book order in February.

The re-release of those tales brought a load of new folks to the podcast and my writing. I stormed through the last 30k words of the book in record time. As usual, Oscar wrote those stories in a ridiculous flow of prose. Thank you, Oscar. You saved my ass.

Shadowpublications.com published the trade paperback, the audiobook, and the ebook. Site exclusives, if you will. In addition, I completely revamped the website and put up a new store. Basically, I spent quite a bit of money to make things more functional, more user-friendly, and started treating Shadowpublications.com like a real business.

The investment paid off. The Street paid for its editing, artwork, and the extra money I spent to bring the site up to snuff in two weeks. That’s a hell of a return. My patrons had been asking for a full-length book of Oscar’s world and promised to show up, dollars in hand, to support it. They did. And I can’t thank y’all enough for the sales.

Folks who weren’t even long-time patrons heeded the call and sent me all sorts of emails and messages telling me what a sick fucker I am. Also? They wanted to know where the sequel was. All in all? A very successful endeavor.

We launched the book at Balticon in May of 2014 to scores of insane fiendlings. The release party was a drunken, debauched, humiliating affair. I think we may have permanently scarred several unsuspecting attendees. It was a damned good time and I can’t thank everyone enough for cheering me on while I serenaded them with some of my favorite scenes from The Street. As a side note, Shadowpublications.com has raised $336.00 for Jim Henson’s “Sesame Workshop” charity through sales of the tradepaperbacks and audiobooks. I’m very proud to give back something to the franchise that ruled my childhood.

I was working on a book called Flames when I got sidetracked by putting together a third Garaaga’s Children story following the lineage of Ama and Drimesh. That story hit a bit of a wall. So the amazingly talented Scott Pond suggested we put out a book of the “human” stories. Thus, Legends of Garaaga was born. Scott did an amazing job on the cover, the layout, and produced one badass trade paperback. It took months for the two of us to get it together because of our dayjobs, but it happened. And we finally published the damned thing. It hasn’t sold well, but I’m glad it’s out there because it gives readers a chance to discover the series.

So back to Flames…or not. See, a funny thing happened. My nemesis, Jake Bible, introduced me to the good folks at Severed Press. After a few conversations, I brainstormed an idea with Justin and Terry from The Dead Robots’ Society, and formed a rough outline for what would eventually become The Black. I wrote up a synopsis, sent it to Severed Press, and BAM…book contract.

After two months of writing my ass off, an 85k word book was born. Another month and a half of editing, and it was in Severed Press’ hopper. It was published in September 2014 and has been the most successful story I’ve ever published. A few days before The Black was published, Severed Press contacted me. They had already sold the German translation rights. That means that for the first time in my career, one of my tales will appear in a language other than English. That also means the opening of another market for my work. Not. Too. Shabby.

Because The Black has been so successful, I have the opportunity to write more books for Severed Press. As I write this little year in review, I’m taking a break from working on the paraquel to The Black. With any luck, it’ll be out in time for a Balticon release party in May. Probably sooner.

In addition to the writing successes, I left my dayjob of nearly two years and started a new one. The new gig should allow me more writing time and will cause a lot less stress. The job is almost 100% remote and included a raise over my old one. In other words, I hit the damned lottery.

That’s more or less the crazy that was 2014. The store is still up. The words are still flowing. My voice continues narration. And y’all keep pestering me for another tale. And I’m working as fast as I can.

There were quite a few tragedies that happened in the podcast community and to many writers I respected. I don’t want to dwell on those. But as great as 2014 was for me, we lost the dynamo known as PG Holyfield and my memories of this year will always have a dark spot because of that. His untimely death due to cancer has served to remind me that we never know how long we have on this plane of existence. And for that reason, I’m busting my ass to live life to the fullest and crank out as many stories as I can.

As 2014 closes, I wish Patrick Holyfield farewell, but I know his spirit is always alive in the podosphere and at Balticon. I look forward to toasting him with my friends in May 2015.

2014? You were pretty damned awesome and tragic. 2015? You have a LOT to live up to and a lot to live down. So let’s get started 12 hours from now.

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