2017. Jesus, this fucking year. What a mess. It felt about fifteen times longer than it actually was, thanks to the constant barrage of Trump and having to regularly and routinely call our lawmakers to plead with them not to kill us or destroy our Internet or ruin our finances. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn't. And then Patreon recently tried to fuck over both creators and supporters in new and exciting ways, and just before Christmas because fuck you, that's why, ho ho ho!, sparking a massive outcry that prompted them to thankfully reverse course and keep the status quo. Things seem to have stabilized with Patreon, and now that they are back in my good graces if you would like to check out what I have to offer over there and maybe lend your support, click here! I'll be releasing an exclusive short story available only on Patreon for $1 this weekend, so sign up now.
Mostly 2017 has just been exhausting, with a significant ramp up with so many different things competing for our attention, time, and money. I spent an awful lot of this past year feeling like I was not accomplishing as much as I should, particularly as our second child came at the end of October and threw all my plans into a tailspin. I had goals for this year. So many goals! And a lot of them fell by the wayside. I definitely was not as productive as I should have been, and was certainly not as productive as I had wanted to be. Mentally, this took a pretty big toll on me, and I've been struggling to correct course and try to get more done.
In February, I began writing a trilogy of historical horror novellas, each of them about 30,000 words each. I was able to motor through the first one fairly well, and the second installment proved to be a bit of a challenge. But this third book? Holy shit, this third book has been like pulling teeth out of a kicking and screaming baby covered in olive oil. I've had to fight for every word. And it's not just all because of the story itself. A lot of it is because of my own personal time deficits, along with learning how to cope with various life stressors.
I spent a lot of 2017 feeling tense. My wife and I brought our second child into the world, which is awesome, and he's a terrific little baby. Granted, I could do without the perpetual exhaustion from sleep deprivation as the little one wakes up with poopy diapers and an empty belly. And then there's the overly large fear factor of having an insane man as my president, one who is constantly on Twitter stirring up shit and actively trying to provoke wars when he's not actively trying to turn Americans against one another and dismantle our government from the inside, or proving to the whole fucking world over and over again what a fucking incompetent and crazy moron he is, and nominating ghost hunters who write pro-KKK blogs to lifetime federal judicial appointments. Months before my son was born, Neo-Nazis started marching openly, hate crimes rose to serious levels, and Trump was babbling about launching nuclear missiles and insulting our allies. Thankfully as we work our way through the holidays, he's mired his craziness to merely ranting about how climate change can't possibly be real because it's cold outside in New York in December, and attacking the United States Postal Service. Really. I can't help but feel this is maybe a bit of a stressful period in history to bring a brand new baby into the world. My stress levels have been super high, and I was pretty high strung and anxious for the bulk of this year. The antidepressant I had been on for the last few years just wasn't cutting it anymore, and my doctor and I decided to go with a stronger medication. It's helped some, but I'm still feeling the effects of this fucking year.
Even though I didn't accomplish as much as I had wanted to, I somehow still got some shit done. While there's been a whole lot of a bad stuff to measure 2017 by, there's also been some good stuff, and it's important not to forget that! Both professionally and personally, there are a few things I am immensely proud of, and I'd be remiss not to (finally) highlight those!
Over the last few years I'd been fortunate enough to have been invited to contribute to a few anthologies, which meant I had a backlog of a handful of short stories to publish. Toward the end of April, I published Preservation: A DRMR Short Story, and Black Site in May. Last month, I released the last of this bunch with The Marque, which means any outstanding old material I had in the trunk is now out in the world.
In August, I released my novel, Mass Hysteria, in print, ebook, and audiobook (wonderfully narrated by Joe Hempel!). I knew going in that this release would likely have a pretty small audience, given its splatterpunk horror genre, and its taboo story elements. While horror is typically known for its sometimes ruthless confrontations of societal issues, there are still certain taboo subjects, such as the murder of animals and children, both of which feature prominently in Mass Hysteria. (I got to speak about taboos in horror during my first-ever appearance as a panelist at the Howell Comic Con with the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers in October, which was super cool.)
I was absolutely delighted, and more than a little surprised, to see Mass Hysteria make a couple Best of the Year lists from a few bloggers. Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews selected Mass Hysteria as one of 2017's best, and Brian's Book Blog named it one of the year's best post-apocalyptic audiobooks. I'm happy to report that many of those who have taken a risk on this particular novel have enjoyed it, which certainly makes me happy. Those who have taken the time to write reviews for the book on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible have been overwhelmingly kind and generous, which is also gratifying. This novel was a bit of a risk for me (or it at least felt risky to me), and it's nice to see there's been some rewards to go with it.
Mass Hysteria has also been nominated for Best Horror Novel of 2017 in the 20th Annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers' Poll. If you dug Mass Hysteria, please take a moment to vote in the P&E Poll.
I've also been thrilled to see Revolver getting a fair bit of attention this year, as well. I suppose it's appropriate given the state of the US at the moment that this particular dystopian, anti-fascist story would be gaining some traction again, two years after it's original publication in the No Way Home anthology. Reviewer Adrian Shotbolt gave Revolver an honorable mention in his Best Of picks over at Grim Reader Reviews (and check out his original review here). And Author Kyle Warner (Rakasa, Death's Good Intentions) named Revolver one of his Favorite Reads of 2017, placing my story alongside Stephen King and Kealan Patrick Burke, two of my own personal favorite authors. High honors, indeed!
2017 still has a couple days left in it, as does the Smashwords End of Year sale, but the plug will be pulled on both soon! If you're looking for some steeply discounted or free reads of mine, head over to Smashwords. You can get short stories, like Revolver, for free, or check out the DRMR duology of Convergence and Emergence for $1 each. Even recent titles, like Mass Hysteria, are marked down to give you the most risk-free reads of the year. Check it out!
Hopefully once 2017's life support shuts down, we can burn its corpse and salt its ashes before tossing it to the wind. Hopefully 2018 will treat all of us better. In the meantime, I'm going to keep plugging away at Historical Horror Novella #3 and focus on my plans for next year. I've got some pretty big plans for 2018 and into 2019, and I'll be talking about those soon over on Patreon.
See you next year!
Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.
As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.
Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of... Mass Hysteria!