The end times are here (2013 edition)

/ Monday, December 30th, 2013 / No Comments »

Last year this time I was ill and bedridden. This year, I’m simply inconvenienced thanks to a kaput computer. I consider this a step up.
In fact I was so sick at this time in 2012 that my year-end summary didn’t turn up until mid-January. At least 2013 lets me be a bit more on the ball.
My 2013 writing, editing and publishing adventures amounted to a kind of small press triathlon, all intertwined, all the culmination of groundwork laid in 2012.
First — maybe biggest in the long run? — my first novel came out, a dark fantasy titled The Black Fire Concerto. This novel’s appearance resulted from some cool and sometimes nerve-wracking small press strangeness — after spending five years writing my first novel (which remains unpublished) I was among those solicited to contribute to a line of books from the folks behind Black Gate Magazine … and as it turned out, my book, written and rewritten in five months, was the only one to actually make it to print. No pillars shook at my novel’s arrival, but I had two fun launch parties, got some nice reviews, and also demands for a sequel, which I’m two thirds of the way through writing, because why not?
Part one of the novel, “The Red Empress,” was published in full at the Haunted Stars website and also as a podcast on Tales to Terrify read by C.S.E. Cooney. The beginning of part two, “Bone Mosaics,” has been a popular read at Black Gate.
Second, at more or less the same time as the novel, my newest anthology, Clockwork Phoenix 4, came out, published by … me! This was the culmination of last year’s giant Kickstarter, and it was refreshing, sobering, and incredibly demanding of my time, to be in charge of every aspect of the book’s fate. (Last year this time I was on the verge of picking the final lineup for the anthology when the flu or whatever the heck it was flattened me.) Clockwork Phoenix 4 has gotten a ton of laudatory reviews (with one sour note sounded by Publishers Weekly, heh) and I don’t think it’s done yet. There’ll be more good news to come.
Third, and heavily linked to item two, I launched the Mach 2 version of Mythic Delirium, funded in part by last year’s Kickstarter and the rest of the way by a second Kickstarter held this past summer. This new format is still finding its sea legs, but I’m ever grateful to the community support that’s made this possible.
By the way, never say never, but I’ve sworn off Kickstarter for at least the next year. Heck, I’ve still got rewards to produce for the first two (they had some overlapping prizes, natch) that won’t be out until at least late spring 2014.
I’d say that I didn’t have much of my own writing published this year … except, you know, novel. I had two new short stories appear, fairly par for the course in that department, both written in response to invitations.
“Still Life With Skull,” in Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, is a sideways sequel to last year’s “Twa Sisters,” set in the same far future world. Like the first story, it made Rich Horton’s monthly recommended reading list in Locus.
The Helping Hand: A Ghost Story” was written for my employer, The Roanoke Times, and picked up by the McClatchy-Tribune wire service (!) — it’s a spooky little piece of Halloween entertainment that had readers calling me to tell me about their own ghostly encounters.
Now here’s a big difference from years past — only two poems of mine appeared in 2013.
“Darksein the Diabolic Plots His Comeback from Beyond the Grave” is a goofy bit of doggerel that I was delighted to contribute to Michael Damian Thomas and Shira Lipkin’s Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry.
Hungry Constellations,” the longest poem I’ve ever written, and one I’m extremely proud of, had the honor of being the autumn feature presentation at Goblin Fruit. It will also be the title piece of my forthcoming poetry collection (which is one of those Kickstarter rewards I need to deliver.)
Last but not least, I managed to record nine “Tour of the Abattoir” columns for the Tales to Terrify podcast this past year, some with help from buddy in horror Shalon Hurlbert. (It’s supposed to be monthly. I was close!) At least I already know what my January column will be about.
Much unfinished business in the air. Onward to 2014!

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