Me: A Year in Review 2012

I know a lot of other writers do these end of the year wrap ups and they can all seem the same and stale after a while, but I do these mostly for myself as a way to keep track of where I’ve been and where I’d like to go professionally from year to year.

In many ways 2012 was a rough year for me and society as a whole. Even an optimist like myself found the amount of violence staggering and I’m quickly growing tired of the partisan divides and evaporation of civility and proper discussion in society. But I always hold out things will get better. This year was rough as a husband and father as well. I try my best at both but I’m not particularly impressed with my track record.

Holly and Spenser at ages 3 and 4 respectively, gave us hell as they test their boundaries and my patience, go through their phases, and continue the growth toward who they will eventually become. These struggles not only take a whack at my own sanity and productivity but also creep into my relationship with my wife as well.

Of course even on the worst days my frustrations evaporate at the slightest little bits of joy and one things to be said for these years is they are very high risk high reward years. For every screaming tantrum or kick to the groin I get innumerable small moments like Spenser appreciating the Velcro cape that came with his Batman pajamas and how excited Holly gets when she dresses herself. When the kids go to bed every night its those moments we find ourselves discussing and smiling about, not the rotten parts and I guess that’s all you can really ask for.

Reading-wise, this was quite an off year. My rudimentary calculations put my total of books reads somewhere around 30 which is down from the mid 40s I usually read. I can’t really point out any specific reasons why either. There was no shortage of books I wanted to read and I enjoyed almost everything I did read so I hope this is just a fluke. Although going into 2013 I expect my reading will take a hit as I read more and more manuscripts for my work with Carina Press and my own freelance editing projects. Still, I always hold as my reading goal for the year a book a week for a total of 52 books read.

My writing wasn’t especially prolific either this year, but it may well end up being my most important writing year since 2004 when I finished the first draft of my first novel. After almost six years of dicking around and wishy-washy commitment to my MURDER BOY novel, I finally got myself in gear to finish it and edit it. I’m so happy with how this book turned out and have a sense of optimism with it that I have never felt with any of my others. I did exactly what I set out to do with this book and truly feel like I’m had my own unique say in the conversation of crime literature. Whether it sells or not is mostly out of my control, but I have a very strong hunch someone will pick it up next year.

In addition to the work on MURDER BOY, I wrote a 79 word short story for the ESQUIRE contest that didn’t win but I’m proud of anyway. I also wrote a sample chapter and a short outline as my entry in the Dead Man novel writing contest. I didn’t win that either which I’m fine with.

For next year I have some ambitious goals. I’d like to write two short stories that I’ve had brewing for some time now and submit them to EQMM or AHMM. I also want to write two novels. The first is a big fat urban fantasy novel set in Detroit that I’ve been working on here and there for the last few days and the second is a cozy novel that I’ve told a number of people about and generates immediate interest anytime I pitch it. I’m not sure I’m ready or interested in plotting a traditional mystery novel and dealing with the frustrations that come with it, but it remains a goal. I also have a vague idea for a sequel to MURDER BOY that I’d like to write if the cozy doesn’t pan out. I also want to expand my work with Carina Press and cultivate my little sideline editorial business into something proper as well.

How about you? What’s on your plate for 2013?