2008 IS GONE. I’ll miss it.
But 2009 is shaping up to be a great year too. Leisure Books will be releasing my second novel Sacrifice at the end of April, while my third novel, The 13th, will be issued in a limited hardcover edition from Necro Publications this spring as well as in a paperback edition from Leisure at the end of the year. Meanwhile in Poland, Replika Books will be issuing Polish translations this year of Sacrifice and my short story collection Needles & Sins. So I’ll be supporting lots of releases this year, in addition to a couple of anthology appearances of my short stories!
Looking back on the last 12 months, I think I’ll always remember 2008 as one of the best years of my life on nearly every front. It was definitely a year for personal growth and change. At the start of the year I was adapting to a major job shift, forming a new department at work, while at the same time adjusting to no longer having a 2nd career as a music critic after 20 years of writing weekly columns (my newspaper merged at the end of 2007 and the column didn’t survive the merger). I’ve still kept the Pop Stops website alive, and yesterday posted my Best CDs of 2008 list there.
In early 2008, my short story collection Needles & Sins (released at the end of 2007), had one of its stories nominated for a Bram Stoker Award, and I spent most of the first half of the year writing my third novel, The 13th, and putting together two anthologies for my Dark Arts Books press — Sins of the Sirens and Like a Chinese Tattoo. Dark Arts Books threw a “Pajama Party” at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City to celebrate the release of the anthologies, and the road trip to get there and back is an experience I’ll never forget.
In addition to World Horror Con, I also was a guest at the Milwaukee Massacre, Atlanta’s Dragon*Con, the Chicago Horror Film Festival and Flint, MI’s XcapeCon2 in 2008. I attended the latter three cons as part of my first “book tour” to celebrate the release of my first novel, Covenant, from Leisure Books at the end of August.
Covenant was, of course, my big news for 2008, and I redesigned my web site and set up a mailing list over the summer to prepare for its release. Then, nearly every weekend of the fall, I drove around to bookstores for signings to promote it. In the end, aside from visiting lots of stores near my home in Illinois and Indiana, I also did signings in Racine, WI, Nashville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and San Francisco, and autographed more than 1,000 copies of Covenant along the way!
Over the year, I also took my wife and son on vacations to Disney World and to the Wisconsin Dells, and went on a couple trips for work as well. So I spent a LOT of time on the road this year! In fact, I visited the most states I ever have in one year (16): California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington, D.C.
Those travels put me in an equal number of major cities for one reason or another: Atlanta, Cheyenne, Chicago, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco (twice!), Santa Fe, Springfield, St. Louis (twice), and Washington, D.C. (twice!). If 2008 was just a couple weeks longer, I would be able to add Austin, Texas to the list, since I’ll be there this month.
So for me, it was an amazing year. I saw dozens of new places and met hundreds of new people… and made a lot of new friends along the way. It was often frenetic, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Here’s to an even more exciting 2009!