As 2017 draws to a close I thought I would take a moment to look back at my writing efforts and highlight some notable happenings over the past year. Self-indulgent, sure, but ’tis the season for retrospectives and such.
This past year did not see me break any records in terms of the number of stories I managed to get published. So far the high-water mark for my personal output remains 9 stories, the number I unleashed upon the world in 2016. The total for 2017 was 5, which all things considered is not bad. And I did manage to set a personal record for the sheer number of submissions I sent out over the course of the year, a whopping 45. Of course this led to more rejections than ever before, too, but I think that’s also because I’ve been aiming higher at more competitive markets.
In amongst all those rejections, though, there were a few acceptances which were not published in 2017 but should be coming out in 2018. And there are a handful of personal firsts to call out there as well. My story “Food and Other Pleasures” represents a tripartite set of top rankings: it’s the shortest story I’ve ever sold, clocking in at just 2,000 words; it’s the first vampire story I’ve ever sold, which is a surprisingly late achievement for someone who works in horror more often than not; and it’s also the first piece of erotica I’ve ever sold (don’t tell my mother).
Another story with three distinctions is “Green Growing Things”, which I’ve actually written about pretty extensively. As I noted in the earlier post, this story was the first time I deliberately adhered to the legendary Lester Dent pulp formula, which resulted in the shortest-ever Kellan Oakes story (less than 6,000 words for my usually shaggy and meandering PI), and ultimately wound up finding a home with Lycan Valley Press, marking the first time I’ve ever sold two different pieces to the same publisher (as LVP published Final Masquerade including my story “Another Night in Paradise” back in 2016).
And speaking of LVP and Final Masquerade, in May of 2017 LVP re-released the anthology with brand new cover art. This was the first time a book my work appeared in received such refurbishment, and I was pretty stoked about it.
One of my personal goals for the past year was to work on getting some of my back catalog of stories re-printed. Fairly or not, I’ve always considered it a hallmark of a “real” writer to have stories not just published but published again and again. At the very least it indicates some writing effort that’s been going on for a good length of time, at least long enough to find a good home for a story, see it released, allow the period of exclusivity for that initial publication to elapse, start the process of finding another good home, and ultimately succeed in that endeavor as well. So I was very pleased when my fairy tale re-telling “My Name is Melise”, an oldie but a goodie, was accepted to be re-printed in Distressing Damsels this summer. The quest to see further re-printings will assuredly continue into the new year!
Getting back to those 45 submissions I mentioned above, not all of them are acceptances or rejections; some have yet to have their fate decided one way or the other. One among those is not a short story but a poem, the first poem I’ve submitted to a potential publisher, at least during this phase of my writing life (in other words, not counting one other attempt back in high school to fulfill a class requirement for a writing elective). If I can find a receptive editor, maybe this will lead to a whole new Poetry category on the Works page!
It took me a few years and eighteen or so stories getting published, but I finally got my first custom illustration art. It accompanied The Dying Desert Moon at Crimson Streets and it’s pretty awesomely evocative, if I do say so myself.
And finally, 2017 marked the first year that this humble little corner of the Web that my fictions and I call home received a visitor from Serbia! Whoever you are, I hope our moment of international online connection was enjoyable for you. And to everyone else, all of you from every corner, thanks for stopping by and supporting me!