When I first picked up my pen in 2010 and decided to try my hand at fiction, I wasn’t sure how long that experiment would last. I didn’t know if I was any good. I just knew I still had a fiery passion for telling stories, and that making micro budget horror comedy movies just wasn’t cutting it any more. It was too hard for what little payoff we were getting. Our flicks always looked like we were goofing off. But behind the scenes, my crew and I were hardly fucking around. Back to back 16 hour shoot days would leave us exhausted and raw.
Three months later we’d hit the road with the finished flick and people would laugh at us at our convention tables like we were all retarded. They were right. We were retarded for putting all of that work into movies that ended up looking like crappy rush jobs that couldn’t have taken more than a day or two to slap together. I couldn’t keep doing that to myself and my crew. 5 years and 7 movies with little to show for it had been enough.
Now here I am, ringing in 2016 and my SIXTH year as a published author. I’ve now officially been writing books longer than I made movies. And I still love it, and I still have a fiery passion for telling stories, in spite of everything that’s been thrown in my way. In spite of the people who continue to create barriers, email publishers talking mad shit on me, refuse to pay me my earned royalties, and everything else that’s come my way this year.
I’m still here.
2015 saw the acceptance and publication of many short stories and a double nomination for the Wonderland Book Award for Excellence in Bizarro Fiction. Two books, STRANGER DANGER and MURDER STORIES FOR YOUR BRAIN PIECE were nominated in the collection category. A double nomination. A Wonderland Award first.
2015 also saw the publication of the novel I started back in November of last year. TEXAS CHAINSAW MANTIS. My 9th published book. I’ve now written more books than I made movies.
I moved out of the South St. Louis City hood this year, too after my apartment was robbed. I live in the county now and I don’t fear for my life when I go to and from my car anymore. In spite of losing all connection to the publishing house that I founded, the house that still uses my name to sell books, in spite of being unceremoniously ejected from two anthologies that I personally created, in spite of all of that, I’m still here.
I was cyber stalked, bullied and harassed by a wannabe horror con artist and his girlfriend in 2015. They’re still at it by creating multiple accounts on Goodreads.com and giving one star reviews to all my books, artificially dragging the average ratings down.
Despite all of that crap, it was a decent year. I could have written more books. Pushed aside the bullshit and focused on the words on paper. But I didn’t and that’s that. What I did do is start a really cool motivational series directed at aspiring authors called Motivational Strange. It’s a lot of fun to rant and share my philosophy and wisdom from my years in the game and people are responding well to it so far.
And right here on December 31st, 2015, I just found out that my story THE TWINS from the Weird Book magazine publication was selected by TangentOnline.com for its end of year recommended reading list. I guess these guys are affiliated with the “Sad Puppies” Hugo award group. I really don’t know anything more than that. I do know that some of the small press authors associated with the Bizarro genre seem to hate the Sad Puppies with a passion, which leads me to believe that the Sad Puppies lean conservative or at least to the conservative end of the liberal spectrum because these same small press authors are so liberal they probably bleed blue.
Which is whatever. I’ve spent all the time arguing common sense to extremist political types online that I’m willing to spend. I hate politics and I hate fighting with people on social media even more. All this Sad Puppy stuff says to me is that my fiction is being praised on both sides of the social spectrum. A pair of Wonderland nominations from one side and a best of year list on the other side.
I never wanted to be affiliated with one specific genre. Ask anybody that was in the John Skipp workshop at Bizarrocon 2014 with me. I talked about how my ambition as an author was to transcend genres and to blur the lines like Joe Lansdale or Harlan Ellision.
It appears I’ve succeed at least in some small degree in that regard.
I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with that information. See you in 2016, gang for a whole new 365 days of Strange.