Where to even begin… 2022 was such a wild, busy, and fulfilling year, and in part, that’s why it’s taken me so long to find the time to recollect. It doesn’t seem real when I say that it started in Kansas City, MO and ended in a beautiful little town in upstate New York. For those who have been following my posts for a while now, yes. I returned to my home in New York after a wonderful and insightful nine months living in the Midwest. And that was just the start.
Teresa and I packed up our home in Missouri and made the 18+ hour drive with the cats back to New York the first week of the year. It was a long trip, but we were so happy to have arrived safe and sound–especially before the bad ice storms that hit the Northeast. During that time, we stayed in my hometown with my parents while we searched for a home that summer. It was another restart, so a lot more cleaning out and organizing to prepare for what would be our eventual final move. In the meantime, I worked on a lot of short stories and submissions. The bulk of my 2022 was sending out shorter work again to publishers I’ve worked with for many years, as well as some new ones. It ended up being, overall, a very successful year of writing and publishing.
In March, I relaunched our local writing group again after an almost 8 year hiatus. While far smaller than the original crew, we met weekly with prompts and to share our work and ideas. It kept us all inspired and introduced a few to the art of writing drabbles. We spent our time between two coffee shops in the Hudson Valley and accomplished quite a bit. Our schedule had been consistent until the summer, however, when I got word that I would be closing on a house, and once again moving further upstate towards the Capital Region. While we haven’t had time to set up a new schedule going forward (especially now that another member of our group has happily relocated to New Jersey), I’m hoping to set some time aside this year to work on connecting with other fellow writers in the area and join other writing groups and guilds nearby.
Around this time, I also was thrilled to have received my 200th acceptance letter of my literary career. It still amazes me that so many of my stories and poems have been picked up by editors and publishers. Even more so with going into 2023 only a few away from 300! My friends took me out to celebrate the milestone at a lovely new eatery Uptown. It was such a wonderful night and I look forward to celebrating with them again at another milestone–whether it be for one of their successes or another of my own.
I took a break from doing much over the summer, however, since that time was spent with the process of buying a house and lots of packing. Thankfully, the majority of our belongings were still in storage from our move from Kansas City earlier in the year, so it made things much easier. By the end of August, I finally had the closing, and could proudly say that I was a homeowner. I absolutely adore my first home and it was everything that I was looking for. It’s beautiful inside with lots of light and in a small town with a big sense of community. While we moved in fairly quickly and got everything unpacked and decorated, I still feel like in some ways, we’re still moving in. Out of all the accomplishments over the last year, I would say this was my greatest. I can’t thank all who helped during the process (from applying for a mortgage to looking at homes to helping us pack and move) enough.
In all honesty, though, during all the insanity of homeownership and running my writing program and keeping up with my own projects, the majority of my year was spent at events. I attended numerous book signings and vendor shows and conventions throughout the year, keeping me on my toes and meeting many wonderful people. I got to talk about my writing and made a few great connections from it all. I will say that 2023 is already off to a great start with a pretty packed schedule of events again for me, but this time stepping it up a bit. I’ll be traveling outside of New York for multiple events this year–including AuthorCon in Willamsburg, VA and Terror Con in Marlbourough, MA. I have plenty of new works on my radar to bring to those shows, so anyone attending, be prepared! (As always, you can find my full list of events under the “Events” tab on my website.)
While I mentioned surpassing my 200th acceptance, there are two publications of mine that really stand out as my “big” ones for the year. The first is my 100-word drabble collection Wicked Little Things that released in December. I spent most of last year working on these short, bite-sized pieces, as they’ve become quite popular in the literary world over the last few years–particularly in the horror community. I’ve come to work on them as daily exercises to keep me writing and have submitted many to the countless open calls for them from many publishers. This collection is special to me, however, not only because it includes some of my favorite super-short fiction, but also because it is dedicated to my late grandmother Shirley, who passed away early last year. She used to love reading everything I ever wrote and was my first real beta reader on every one of my projects. A few years ago, however, she suffered from a stroke, which made reading more difficult for her. Books were one of her favorite things, so it was hard on everyone seeing one of her passions taken away. I spent a lot of my time submitting these drabbles over the last few years really for her, since they were short enough to hold her attention and simple enough for her to get through. It was only right that this book therefore be in her memory. You can find Wicked Little Things on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever else books are sold.
The second project that I’m most proud of from the year is Shriek 2 from Whiting Studios. Those who have been following me for the last few years likely know of my story The Hunger. It was a best-seller through Alban Lake Publishing and was adapted into an audio production by narrator Bill Otto. In 2021, it was re-released in Shriek horror anthology in its original written form, with accompanied art by artist Jim Whiting. However, for the second issue of Shriek, which released in December, it was adapted into a comic, with layouts by Jim Whiting and art by Keith Haugen. This was my first ever story reproduced as a comic and it was so exciting seeing it come to life from preliminary sketches to its final printed form. We had a launch party for the comic in January of this year at Excellent Adventures Comics in Ballston Spa, NY. It was a wonderful time seeing some friends come out in support of the book, as well as getting to talk about it with others in attendance. I can’t thank Jim and Keith enough for the opportunity and making my dream of having a story adapted on the page through art come true.
While we’re already a few months into 2023, I still have much on my plate for the year ahead. Many more anthologies are slated to release with some of my short works, a second novel due out this October, as well as numerous other events up and coming–as I stated before. I’m almost at my 300th acceptance of my literary career and just surpassed 1,000 copies sold of my debut novel It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. These two things alone have me excited to see where the rest of the year takes me, and ultimately, where I will be come the end of it. Here’s to wishing you all a wonderous 2023. I’ll be updating on the regular here as part of my plans for the New Year, so expect more from me soon.
All the best~