2011: It’s Been a Wacky Ride

Like most people, at the end of every passing year I enjoy looking back and evaluating how I ended up. Call it a self-administered report card, if you will. Did I meet my goals set from the year before? Did I accomplish new goals that I hadn’t even considered? What mistakes did I make this year and what did I learn from them?

2011 was my first complete calendar year as an author. I published my first novel on October 16th, 2010, so I’d barely had even a taste of the lifestyle before I rang in the New Year. Being as green as I was, I started in with the mistakes right away, which included beginning work in January on my second book, Malevolent.

What’s that? You mean you’ve never heard of my book Malevolent? There’s a reason for that. I had a great concept, but absolutely no structure or grand ideas to connect the thin plot points together. Did that stop me? Of course not! I was going to write the book and blow minds, come hell or high water! That mentality lasted for about eight chapters and forty-thousand words before I took a hard look at my work-in-progress and grasped what a giant piece of monkey crap it was. I made the only play I could: I took the book out back behind the toolshed and put a bullet in it. Malevolent was out of its misery, but at the cost of four months of my time with nothing productive to show for it. The timing wasn’t right, but mark my words: Someday this one will rise from its grave and become the story that it’s meant to be.

I took a couple of months off following the Malevolent debacle before starting work on my next book, The Jumper. This story fared much better creatively, and before I knew it, I had a manuscript that I was proud of. I released The Jumper on August 9th, 2011.

Being almost a year since Noble’s release, I started writing a sequel in July while The Jumper was undergoing the editing process. I enjoyed returning to Miller Brinkman’s universe and felt as though I were crafting something that was going to take the series to a whole new level. The trouble was, the original Noble sat an unedited mess. Unless readers enjoyed the first book, there would be little hope of them giving the sequel I was so proud of a try. I put the sequel on hold and spent the next couple of months putting Noble under the knife. On November 10th, 2011, I released Noble: Revised & Expanded.

Because I clearly have mental issues, I took up yet ANOTHER side project all the while I was elbows deep in work. I wrote a short story called Mabel for the Kindle All-Stars anthology, Resistance Front. The process was more laborious than I imagined, but that just made it all the more worthwhile when the anthology came out earlier this month. Seeing my name among the likes of Harlan Ellison, Alan Dean Foster, and Bernard Schaffer was more than a dream come true. It’s more like a dream that my dream had and came true.

I am very proud of publishing two books and a short story in 2011, but the year wasn’t just about my creative accomplishments. It was also a year of meeting some amazing people that have quite literally changed my life. It will be the year that I remember meeting my editor Bethany for the first time. It will be the year that I remember meeting my cover designer James for the first time. And it will also be the year that I met some gifted fellow authors that both entertain and inspire me. Authors like Tony Healy, Liz Borino, Michael Hicks, Joshua Unruh, Richard Roberts, William Vitka, and Court Cantrell. Indie publishing no longer has to be something I do alone because I have met great people doing the same thing.

2011 was the year that I met Bernard Schaffer and Laurie Laliberte, both of whom have gone to great lengths to make sure that I’m writing something worth reading. They’re readers, not fans, and they tell you the truth no matter brutal it might be. Every lesson that I learned about writing in 2011 can be attributed to them completely.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I got engaged on Valentine’s Day? I was about to get my butt kicked if I failed to mention that.

Last, but certainly not least, 2011 was the year that I gained actual readers. At the close of 2010, I had exactly seven followers on Twitter. As I type this blog entry, I’m almost up to 5,700. Sure, a lot of those are bots and other authors that are trying to sell me their books, but among them are real readers that have bought my books and taken the time to write and tell me that they liked them. There is no greater feeling in the world than that.

In conclusion, 2011 was a great year full of several accomplishments and new beginnings, but it’s just a taste of what’s to come in 2012. As of the time of this writing, Noble: Bloodlines is about ready to enter the beta reading stage. Early feedback has been: “Did you write this? No… seriously. Did you?” I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂

In addition to a new book in the Noble series, I will also have a themed short-story collection, a new novella, and if time permits, the finale to the Noble trilogy. It feels like I just started the series yesterday and already I’m talking about the final book in the trilogy. It’s bittersweet for sure. I don’t know that I’m ready to say goodbye just yet.

If you’re reading this right now, then you’re absolutely one of the people that helped make 2011 my most successful and memorable year yet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope that your year rocked as much as mine, and I hope that the New Year brings you even greater happiness!

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