I’ve noticed the introduction to these updates the last few years have been pretty down and all relate more to surviving the year rather than enjoying it, and 2017 was no different. In fact, it seems like last year was the culmination of an epic ton of crap that had been brewing for several years. It was one of the hardest years I’ve had in a long time personally, professionally, and health-wise. My depression revved up to a nastiness level I hadn’t seen since 1997 when I moved out on my own for the first time. I was almost a year late getting my latest book done and just generally felt bad about everything I did. In fact, things were so bad, I even debated skipping over this year in review and just pretending like this year never happened. But then I realized that would be a waste and would ignore the fact that some good things did in fact happen.
Becky and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and we were able to get away for a weekend to celebrate. The kids, despite experience significant growing pains emotionally that have tested the bounds of our parenting sanity, remain good kids with good futures ahead of them. They’re smart and healthy and funny, and all of the stuff that makes them hard to deal with now will equip them for success later in life. Money-wise, things were tighter than they’ve been in a while, but we’re still doing better than a lot of people around us and throughout the country. And all of the money I made was from doing things I enjoy and that I’m good at. And Becky gets remain at home with the kids, which is good for them, for her, for me, and for our society.
And even though I was late delivering Trigger Switch, I’m very proud of how the book turned out and I got to do something I’ve long wanted to do in my writing career: check into a hotel for a private writing retreat. It was amazing and something I definitely want to do again, just under better circumstances. And in addition to the book, I wrote three brand new short stories – the first short stories I’ve written in almost a decade. The first story, written for a Southern Gothic anthology, is one of the best things I’ve ever written. It was actually the best thing I’d written until I wrote the third story of the year, which took that honor. The first two stories have already been published in anthologies, which was a nice, speedy turnaround time, while the third I submitted to the Mystery Writers of America Anthology and won’t likely hear back about that one for a while.
So what’s in store for 2018? A lot. I’m done with the Dominick books for now and I’ve been noodling and outlining a bigger book I plan on starting when edits for Trigger Switch are done. This one is going to test every bit of me and I’m terrified and excited. If that wasn’t enough, I also want to write a short, pulpy cyberpunk novel that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while. I’m also thinking about writing a story for the Tampa Bouchercon anthology, since this is the first year they’re paying for stories and I have just the idea for it. But that needs to be done by the end of the month, so I’ll be cutting it close.
I don’t expect 2018 to magically be leaps and bounds better than 2017, but I’ve identified some things I can do to make sure it’s at least marginally better.