Man, what an ass-kicker. Just to get this out of the way, there were huge swaths of this year that blew monkey chunks. Much turmoil, panic, putting out of fires, deaths in the family, medical crap, assorted financial bullshit. We're still picking up some of the pieces.
That said, it's also been one of the coolest years. And here are some of the things that made it that way.
AN EDUCATION IN THE PUBLISHING BIZ
My first novel, CITY OF THE LOST drops next Tuesday and this was the year of getting it ready to go. Galleys, cover art, copyedits.
I've got a long way to go before I really understand the details and the ins and outs of this stuff, but going through the process has been a hell of an education. Every thing I've learned has not only shown me how little I know, but also helped give me details on what I don't know. Seeing the holes in my knowledge as opposed to just knowing they're there is a big shift.
FINISHING MY SECOND NOVEL
The second novel for my publisher, DAW Books, DEAD THINGS, was turned in over the summer. Technically, it's the third one I've written. But it's the second that will get published (provided my editor doesn't throw it back and say, "This is crap! Write another one!") and the first I've written under contract.
I like it. After spending some time away from it I think it's got some problems. Hell, I know it's got some problems. But it's a complete novel and I think it's pretty solid. And the folks who've read it have had good things to say about it. And also some not good things that I haven't quite figured out how to fix, yet.
But that's for 2012.
Thanks to Mr. Chuck Wendig I got a chance to contribute a short story and some text to a kick-ass transmedia project called PANDEMIC that ran at Sundance. Can't wait to see what they come up with next.
NOIR AT THE BAR L.A.
Thanks to my cohorts Eric Beetner, and Aldo "Mysterydawg" as well as some pointers from Jed Ayres and Scott Phillips who started the whole thing back in St. Louis, we finally got off our asses and kicked off the L.A. edition of Noir At The Bar. It's been a blast and a half and we plan to keep it going as long as we possibly can. There are some damn fine crime writers in the Southland and we'd love to have them read to a room full of drunks.
We've already got three lined up for 2012 in January, March and May, and are making plans for more and better. Personally, I'd love to be able to look back in 10 years and say, "Damn, have we been doing this that long?"
Los Angeles has an eclectic literary scene and it's a trip when I realize that we're becoming a part of that. It's an experiment I'm proud and happy to be a part of.
For 2012 we'll be figuring out better and more ways to promote it, finding some possible new venues so them Valley folks who don't want to brave the Westside can swing by, and more writers we can promote and have read.
To say that I'm an editor for NEEDLE: A MAGAZINE OF NOIR is kind of stretching the definition. I haven't been asked to do much in the way of actual editing. I read slush, giving me a chance in the last year to read some amazing crime fiction.
And looking at my queue right now I see I have a lot more to read. Huh.
Anyway, I wouldn't be doing that if it wasn't for authors Steve Weddle and John Hornor Jacobs, the brains behind the operation. Steve's willingness to stick to his vision of a print only magazine that's 100% pure ass-kicking fiction and John's killer design sense have made NEEDLE one of the most polished, slick and impressive publications out there. It's a labor of love.
And speaking of NEEDLE, I have to give a shout out to my fellow readers of slush, Matt Funk and Dan O'Shea, two amazing authors who consistently deliver the goods.
ASSORTED AND SUNDRY WRITING STUFF
This last year saw my zombie short story WORLD'S GREATEST DAD appear in the Halloween anthology DEADLY TREATS edited by Theresa Weir / Anne Frasier. I like that story a lot. It was fun to write and even more fun to read the other stories in that anthology.
I turned in a short story for the DON'T REST YOUR HEAD anthology being put out by Evil Hat Productions.
I got some gaming work that I can't talk about, yet, but trust me, it's awesome stuff and I'm collaborating with some outrageously talented people.
I posted a few short stories here at L.A. Noir that I'm particularly proud of.
DARK AS A DUNGEON
A horror western about a U.S. Marshal who gets more than he bargained for when he goes after an outlaw in a seedy, little mining town.
BREAKING IN THE NEW GUY
An ugly little story about a rookie gangster's first night out with the big boys.
A short piece about a homeless vampire who just can't take the beatdown she's been getting any longer. This one shows a bit of my writing process, and it's set in the world of CITY OF THE LOST and DEAD THINGS.
ALL OF YOU
What's really made 2011 special is all of my readers, my friends, my family, and especially my wife.
Thanks for following me, reading my insane ramblings and not calling the cops. I've made some great friends, met some awesome people.
Have a happy new year folks. Let's kick the unholy hell out of 2012, shall we?