Looking back, looking forward

I’ve become introspective of late, dare I say brooding, in those moments between “gotta do this” and “have to do that”.

With the redesign of my website, I’ve had the chance to look back on the ol’ track record as it’s all neatly listed for me, to do the rest on the laurels thing, to brood just a little.

I surprised myself, actually. In the last two years, I’ve sold/published/reprinted 53 short stories (admittedly a dozen of these are flash fiction, but all are presumably of a decent to excellent standard). There’s two collections on the way, which will bring this tally upwards of 70 stories (a fair bit of original material has been saved up, although I’ve been itching to submit some of these stories to markets).

Somewhere along the way, I found the time to co-edit three anthologies (Robots & Time, Shadow Box, and ADFH 2006 edition – and currently editing a fourth, with more on the way), attend Clarion South, co-found Brimstone Press, establish/manage HorrorScope, and even pick up a few award nominations and a Ditmar.

I say this not because I’m looking for a pat on the back, or I have some sense of entitlement. I say this because I’m tired.

I’m no prodigy. I just live and breathe this stuff and have done for two and a half years now. It’s the end of another year and I’m so very tired. What is particularly wearying is all the *stuff* that goes on in and around the process of selling, publishing, and promoting your work.

What’s heartened me, particularly with the editing and project work, has been the people who have offered a hand or constructive advice or who have simply been interested in what Angela and I have been up to. When I get frustrated at the negativity of the watch-the-car-crash mentality of some parts of the blogosphere, I remember the folks who emailed or dropped by this blog or the Brimstone forum and left an encouraging message. The folks who helped out in some way and stayed the course. They know who they are.

Thank you!

I’m tired of the games and the posturing, the highlighting of the negatives without highlighting the positive, the sense of expectation without the loyalty.

It all takes a toll, but the voices of support truly keep me going.

Anyway… I was looking back…
I published some of my best fiction this year. Two of the best, The Garden Shed Pact and Prescience, were published in Borderlands #7 and #8. Prescience may not be the best *story* I’ve written but it certainly contains some of my best *writing*. In fact, I published 3 (what I consider) particularly good flash stories this year – Prescience, Love in the Land of the Dead (ASIM #22), and Spin the Witch Bottle (Shadowed Realms #11). I was also rather fond of my short story Colossus of Roads from Ticonderoga Online #9, and thought it an outside chance in the YA section of the Aurealis Awards, but my Ticonderoga stories (Colossus and Ian from issue #5) have received good reader and critical reviews but haven’t quite left an impression on awards judges’ minds.

Incidentally, my Ian story has been referenced in the Wikipedia entry for “Ian”. Twas a cool moment to discover that, although I don’t think I’ll ever be egotistical enough to write up Wikipedia entries for myself – why inflict yourself on others unless something thinks you’re worth inflicting on the world – that’s what personal websites, MySpace, and blogs are for! Anyway, it’s good to know someone out there read the story and thought it worth Wiki-fying.

The release of the first Brimstone Books was also a highlight for me. Having fought behind the scene for the best part of 12 months to see ADFH 2006 published really made holding the book in hand a gratifying moment.

Given my state of mental fatigue, it’s odd that I’m looking forward to next year. Big things are planned. Changes are afoot. Sacrifices will be made. One of the consequences will be I’ll spend even less time on this blog, but I intend to keep HorrorScope ticking over. Hopefully, I’ll actually write something. That’s a luxury I’ve not had for the best part of six months. I think that will be part of my New Year’s resolution.

Well, if you don’t see me, hear from me, or whatever, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous Festive Season, and a brilliant New Year.