Tag Archives: 2013

2013: The Parting Glass

Now that 2013 is officially in the rearview, I’m not as hung over as I expected to be, but I’ve long known I’m a social drinker and when the party is small, so are my drinks. The party last night was just that—small—and in a way, quite reflective of the year I’ve had.

I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing.

At any rate, I know a lot of my fellow writers are doing a “this is what I did with my writing” or a “this is what I’m going to do with my writing” post for the New Year and this is kind of like that, sort of, in a weird way.

What do you mean by weird, Chris?

Well, in 2013 I didn’t do shit all in regards to my writing. Oh, I wrote things; I just didn’t publish them. I went to some conventions and sold a few copies of my first novel, Necromancer, and met some cool folks out on the road. The awesome Nelson W. Pyles podcasted a few of my short and flash fiction pieces on The Wicked Library, but that was the extent of where my writing went the last 12 months.

Halfway through the year I freaked out about this. Of course, by the time June/July came around, I’d only subbed one piece (which ended up shortlisted and ultimately rejected). After the PMPress Writer’s Retreat at the end of July, I subbed two more pieces, and then another near the end of August. All three were (obviously) rejected by the respective editors. Looking back now, at the start of the new year, I’m more like fuck it. It is what it is. I did write, I just didn’t publish, and it’s about the former, not the latter.

One thing that I did do was get back into reading novels. Before some of you have a conniption over a writer “not reading,” let me explain: for the past several years, I’d read almost exclusively short fiction as the editor for Title Goes Here: and it was awesome; I was able to read and publish writers like Alison Littlewood, Paul Anderson, and Alexis A. Hunter. But it didn’t leave much time for novel reading. Sure, I’d squeeze in a couple here and there (and those were familiar books I’d read before), but not like I used to read. This year, I’m happy to say I put to rest 32 books over the last 12 months. The only book I attempted to read and didn’t finish was The Talisman by King and Straub. Sad to say this is like my third time trying, though I did make it further than any other attempt.

I will finish that book this year.

But, here’s the list of books I did read. You know, for the curious.

01)  Back Roads & Frontal Lobes by Brady Allen – 5/5
02)  They Thirst by Robert McCammon – 5/5
03)  Lucky Man by Michael J Fox – 3/5
04)  Phantoms by Dean Koontz – 4/5
05)  The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub –
06)  Throttle by Stephen King & Joe Hill – 3/5
07)  Quarantined by Joe McKinney – 3/5
08)  The Hunt by Joseph Williams – 4/5
09)  The Rising by Brian Keene – 2/5
10)  Coraline by Neil Gaiman – 3/5
11)  Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill – 4/5
12)  Pavlov’s Dogs by D.L. Snell & Thom Brannan – 3/5
13)  Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar – 3/5
14)  (dis)Comfort Food by Brad Carter – 5/5
15)  Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist – 4/5
16)  Demons, Dolls, and Milkshakes by Nelson W. Pyles – 5/5
17)  A Trail in Blood by J. David Anderson – 5/5
18)  Losing Touch by Christian A. Larsen – 5/5
19)  Draculas by Crouch, Kilborn, Strand, Wilson – 3/5
20)  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 4/5
21)  War of the Worlds by HG Wells – 2/5
22)  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – 4/5
23)  1984 by George Orwell – 4/5
24)  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 4/5
25)  I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – 3/5
26)  Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein – 3/5
27)  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick – 3/5
28)  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – 4/5
29)  The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin – 3/5
30)  Children of Men by PD James – 3/5
31)  Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand – 3/5
32)  The Hand of God by Tony Acree – 4/5
33)  The Wolf’s Moon by Patrick Jones – 2/5

I started building a reading list for this year a couple weeks ago, which includes several old King books I haven’t read in a decade or so, plus some other things I found on the bookshelves here I hadn’t read. I also received four Jonathan Maberry books for Christmas. They’re on the list, too. I can’t even speak to the number of books I have on my Kindle. I’ll read some of those, too.

I watched many movies in 2013. I can’t say I’m completely proud of this, but it’s a fact, and I do love movies. The number I watched is about double the number of books I read, but this list does include the few movies I saw at the theater and Netflix movies. Here’s that list, too, for the curious folk.

01)  Diary of a Nymphomaniac – 4/5
02)  Apartment 143 – 3/5
03)  Sector 7 – 3/5 (Korean, subtitled)
04)  Trollhunter – 4/5 (Norwegian, subtitled)
05)  The Tall Man – 3/5
06)  Dead Season – 2/5
07)  In the Spider’s Web – 1/5
08)  Good Neighbours – 3/5
09)  The Rig – 2/5
10)  The Lost Tribe – 1/5
11)  Airborne – 3/5
12)  The Innkeepers – 3/5
13)  The Devil Inside – 2/5
14)  Black Death – 3/5
15)  Cashback – 3/5
16)  Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness – 2/5
17)  Intruders – 3/5
18)  Rango – 3/5
19)  The Day – 2/5
20)  Dead Snow -3/5 (Norwegian, subtitled)
21)  Chernobyl Diaries – 2/5
22)  The Thirst: Blood War – 2/5
23)  Red: Werewolf Hunter -2/5
24)  Cleopatra’s Second Husband – 2/5
25)  Pontypool – 4/5
26)  Total Recall (2012) – 3/5
27)  Jack the Giant Slayer – 3/5
28)  Evil Dead (2013) – 4/5
29)  Byzantium – 3/5
30)  The Lords of Salem – 3/5
31)  Battleship – 2/5
32)  Chronicle -2/5
33)  TMNT (2007, animated) – 3/5
34)  Behind the Candelabra – 4/5
35)  Extinction: The G.M.O. Chronicles – 2/5
36)  The Last Stand – 3/5
37)  Sanctum – 2/5
38)  Hanna – 2/5
39)  Cowboys vs. Aliens – 2/5
40)  Darkwolf – 1/5
41)  Wrath of the Titans – 2/5
42)  Trip to the Moon (1902) – 3/5
43)  The Great Train Robbery (1903) – 3/5
44)  World War Z – 3/5
45)  Frankenstein (1931) – 3/5
46)  The Public Enemy (1931) – 3/5
47)  This is the End – 3/5
48)  The Heat – 3/5
49)  Rear Window – 4/5
50)  His Girl Friday – 3/5
51)  Storage 24 – 2/5
52)  The Frankenstein Theory – 2/5
53)  Oklahoma! – 2/5
54)  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – 4/5
55)  Pacific Rim – 2/5
56)  The Wicker Tree – 2/5
57)  Spiders – 2/5
58)  The Conjuring – 3/5
59)  State of Emergency – 3/5
60)  Compliance – 4/5
61)  Shame – 4/5
62)  R.I.P.D. – 3/5
63)  Dredd – 3/5
64)  Infected – 2/5
65)  Stevie – 3/5
66)  Fatso (Norwegian, subtitled) – 4/5
67)  Battledogs – 2/5
68)  Apollo 18 – 3/5
69)  John Dies at the End – 4/5
70)  War of the Dead – 2/5
71)  War of the Worlds (1953) – 2/5
72)  The Sessions – 4/5
73)  Frankenstein (2005) – 3/5
74)  Mimic – 3/5
75)  Children of Men – 4/5
76)  Paranormal Activity 4 – 2/5
77)  The Possession – 2/5
78) War of the Worlds (2005) – 3/5

For the extra curious, you can read my post on how I derive my ratings here. If you don’t care, don’t click.

Overall, 2013 was a decent year for me and I’m happy in the growth I made as a writer. Personally, it was up and down. Probably the best part was finding out that grandfatherhood (BAM! just made up that word) here in a few months (March), while the worst part was fighting against depression and lethargy. I’m used to these spells just not for this long.

Funny truth…

On 12/31, before the drinking started, I did this Facebook “mental age test” and answered the questions honestly (c’mon, you know you fudge those fucking quiz answers to skew the results to whatever you think they should be) and my mental age was 16. Those of you who know me are aware I’m on the far side of 16 x 2. I don’t feel 16; I certainly don’t act 16 (though my wife may disagree with that). I believe it’s a sign I still hold a somewhat romantic and optimistic view of life and people, while masticating the shit sandwich I have every day for lunch.

Strangely, though, I’m okay with that.

Good night and joy be with you all.

Hello, 2014.

2012: The Edge of Glory

Yeah, I’m going to do the whole end of year blog thing, too. Why not jump on a moving bandwagon, right? I just didn’t see the point in doing it before 2012 was over. NYE is my wife’s birthday and it’s usually a wet night for me and this year was no exception. So I had to wait and see if anything worth reporting happened that night. It didn’t, and after a day of resting my aching oak barrel-aged body, I’m happy to report I can still drink coffee, bang the clam drum, and write.

Go me.

What I really don’t want to do with this post is give a list of my goals for 2013. What’s the point, right? They’re my goals, not yours, and do you really give a shit what they are? I’d be surprised if you said yes and probably call you a liar. Well, unless you’re one of a handful of people. So, with the 2013 goals sections now completed, let’s move on to the things I do want to touch on: my completed 2012 goals, my list of thanks, and then shout-outs.

I set three goals for 2012 and, ultimately, I met all three, though one was only semi-complete. I wanted to earn enough to join the HWA in some capacity. CHECK! I wanted to publish my first novel. CHECK! I wanted my writing to pay for itself. Uh, sort of CHECK! A half-check? Three-quarters maybe. I earned enough to pay for a good portion of my writing activities this year. I can live with that. As a matter of fact, I’m really happy with what I was able to pay for. Hopefully 2013 is as generous.

And while I take credit for the words on the paper, I still have to give a sincere thanks to certain people for their trust, encouragement, and boots to the head. My wife, Michelle, for starters. I couldn’t do anything without her, much less write a fucking story for people to read. She’s my glue. Love you, honey, here’s to 2013 being even better.

I also have to say thanks to Eric Beebe of Post Mortem Press for being kick ass while kicking ass in the small press world. Everything you do puts the small press on the map and I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of that. Along with Eric, his wife Stephanie, and the rest of the PMPress family: Paul Anderson, Joseph Williams, Brad Carter, Kenneth W. Cain, Jessica McHugh, Alan Zacher, Nelson W. Pyles. You guys are awesome. I know that’s not everyone, but I only have so much room and the beer, you know?

As always, props to my peeps in CMC: Inanna, Matt, Val, Randy, Bill. I wasn’t around much in 2012, but you were always there on the Twitters, the Facebook, or the emails. Having your constant support is invaluable. Here’s to a better 2013 and keeping each other in words once again.

As far as the shout-out section, I really have two parts to this. The first belongs to the writers whose work stands alongside mine in a few anthologies, or have been a constant voice in my ear, or just impressed the hell out of me for some reason: Alexis A. Hunter, Brady Allen, Christian Larsen, Lydia Peever, and artist Lydia Burris. If you haven’t been acquainted with these people, then you need to. They are fucking astounding. And a special mention to Jonathan Maberry. He gets a thank you for all his kind words and help at Confluence this year. He’s a super nice guy; I hope to talk with and share a panel or two with him again.

The last portion of shout-outs goes to two people that have impressed the living hell out of me for various reasons. This is one of the only times I’ll go way off topic and discuss issues that don’t pertain to writing, but are personal to me, on this blog. These next two have spoken out on several topics close to my heart: bisexuality, gay marriage, and depression. The amount of sexual discrimination in this country is outrageous; get the fuck over it, people. And depression… I’ve been diagnosed with depression, was on medication (though no longer), and still suffer from prolonged fits of either anger or solitude. In the wake of recent tragedies and the national dialogue on mental health and wellness, it’s important to start recognizing and talking about depression.

So, my first shout-out goes to a lovely woman named Jen Sylvia. She makes stuff. Like clothes, bags, and stuff, all of which you can peruse and purchase here or here. She blogs about lots of stuff (and Twitters about it too, btw), but the one I want to draw your attention to is Dahara’s Depression. It’s a no bullshit look at the disease and it’s one of the strongest, most heartfelt blogs I’ve read in a long while. For anyone who suffers from depression (mild, severe, or other), you should subscribe. Oh, and did I tell you also runs the Ohio Straight People for Gay Marriage Facebook page? Yeah. Check this woman out, throw her your support, even if it’s just to read.

The second person I want to mention here is a writing group crony, Valarie Clark, whose blog used to speak about the trials and tribulations of being bisexual. Her blog is no longer focused on bisexuality, but on her writing instead, and you can find that at the link above. But just her openness to discuss it and throw it out there in the first place earned my respect.

Both of these women tackle(d) “taboo” subjects and did so with style, grace, and humor. Now, don’t expect to agree with everything written by them (cuz I sure don’t) but it’s also been my experience that each of them is more than willing to have a conversation about any topic you have. A conversation without rancor, without hate, without judgment. And that, in my opinion, is almost as important as their subject matter. They’re strong women who should be heard. My proverbial hat goes off to them; I believe they’re a force for good here in central Ohio and hope they continue on continuing on. If these subjects are important to you, subscribe, like, read, listen, follow.

Join the conversation.

I titled this blog post “The Edge of Glory” because sitting here in my dining room, surrounded by NYE party mess, a sick dog, and a beer, that’s the dominating feeling I have concerning 2012. I feel like I’m right there at the edge, holding hands with all of you, waiting to go over.

Whether I jump into oblivion or something greater remains to be seen, but I’m flexing my toes even as I finish typing this.

2013.

Here we come.