I honestly didn’t think I would write one of these things this year. It’s not that 2014 wasn’t without its highlights, but more that I wasn’t up to writing it. The year ended on a sad note for me, and it has painted the rest of the holidays in such a way that they haven’t felt like holidays at all. I’m still in recovery mode and I don’t have much energy or enthusiasm for anything right now. But I’m here, writing this now, so we’ll see how it goes. Apologies in advance if I end up rambling.
On New Year’s Day, Kat and I went bowling with her family and friends. It’s a yearly tradition, and because I’m a big movie nerd, it always makes me think of The Big Lebowski. This year I was reminded of the scene where someone asks The Dude how things are going and he responds, “Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.”
That tends to be the way life is for everyone, every year, but this year in particular seems to have been one of extreme highs and lows. I’m not the only one glad to see 2014 in the rear-view mirror. They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and perhaps that’s true on some level, but I’m not feeling particular strong right now. Having said that, I’m not writing this to illicit pity or “hugz” or anything of that nature. It’s just life.
It’s hard to look back on a year that felt about five years long and talk about the good things. But there were good things. I have to remind myself of that. From a writing standpoint, I didn’t have a lot of stories published in 2014, but that’s only because I spent the year writing. Sometimes I’d look around and see other people doing things, publishing stories, novels, etc., and feel like a loser, like I wasn’t doing enough. But unless you’re doing this gig full time, it can be difficult to put out new stuff every year. Everyone works at a different speed, even those who are writing full time. This was the year for me to realize that I don’t have to have something out all the time. I’m not going to produce work just because I’m worried about being forgotten or some such crap. I’m fortunate enough to work in one of the creative arts where I can actually take my time to produce a piece of work.
My lone short fiction sale was a new Felix Renn story, “Eyes Like Poisoned Wells,” to Cemetery Dance’s anthology series Shivers. I’m pretty excited about that one. I’m a big fan of the series and CD in general. It’s also nice to see more Felix tales getting out into the world.
Speaking of Felix, I’ve spent the last few months working hard on the first full-length Felix Renn novel, Sycamore. At the present time I’m about half-finished, and I hope to have it completely done in the next few months. My agent has read the first thirty thousand words or so, and he hasn’t suggested I go to law school, so I guess that means I’m moving in the right direction.
I only published two stories in 2014. One was a new Black Lands tale, “Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law,” which was released by ChiZine Publications as an eShort. The other was a short story called “Train Girl” that appeared in Broken Pencil magazine.
I did a few readings this year, at Canzine in Toronto, at the ChiSeries in Ottawa, Toronto, and Peterborough, and one event that Kat and I organized ourselves here in town, An Evening with the Nice Guys of Horror, with my good friend Craig Davidson. All were well attended, and at ChiSeries Toronto I finally got to meet Glen Hirshberg, one of my favourite authors, who turned out to be as nice in person as I hoped he would be.
The biggest news of the year is that I signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to develop my novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” for television. I was also hired to work as a consultant on the prospective series, which is a pretty big coup, and I’m excited to see where things go. It was pretty wild to see the news reported in the trades, and to see my name up on the IMDb. It was also great to see the news reported in the two big horror magazines, Fangoria and Rue Morgue, in the same month.
As a result of that deal, some doors have opened and I’ve been doing a bit of screenwriting work. Again, I’m not sure where any of it will go – Hollywood is a fickle beast – but it’s been a great learning experience.
2014 ended on a sad note with the death of our cat, Thor. He was sixteen years old and not doing so well. I don’t regret having to put him down, but it’s still been a rough time. Despite some good things in 2014, I’m happy to put the year behind me.
If there’s one thing I learned from 2014 it was about focus and perspective. I feel that my only responsibility as a writer is to produce the best stories I can. Everything else is secondary.
So, 2015 will be the year I put my head down and work harder. I’ve got a lot of books I want to write, and lately I haven’t been enjoying the writing. I want to get back to that place where I wrote to be happy, not because it was something I felt I should be doing.
Hopefully this will be a year with more strikes than gutters, more ups than downs. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes.
See you on the flip-flop.