December 31, 2017

Looking Back On 2017

The year almost past has been an interesting writing year for me. I didn't do so well on my writing resolutions. Again. I'm not sure I produced more than two new stories in 2017. Certainly no novel. And you can see by the timeline here how well blogging went.

I could make excuses. Being a new father still makes budgeting time a challenge, even though Baby Uitvlugt is now a toddler. The ongoing hiatus of The Writer's Arena took away a market that at the very least demanded I produce a new story each time I competed, lest I look like an idiot. And so on. But excuses are usually just exercises in rationalization. The past is the past, and I must live with the choices I've made.

A much more productive use of my space here is to focus on the writing successes I did manage to have this last year. By my count, I had eight stories published by others in 2017, mostly reprints or stories written before this year that finally found a home. "Dole in Astolat" opened the year, appearing in the January 2017 issue of Outposts of the Beyond. I don't know how many people read this re-telling of an Arthurian story in a space opera setting, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this tale. The fine people at Alban Lake gave it a home. (If you don't know Alban Lake, check them out. They are a small publisher with a strong stable of quality speculative fiction magazines...)

Other older stories to find a home in 2017 were "The Canni-Ball," appearing in the cannibal anthology, Bon Appetit, and "Stannard Rock," a historical Lovecraftian tale set in my native Michigan and appearing in Fearful Fathoms, Volume 2. Although written in 2016, this year saw the first appearance of "Outlier," probably one of my personal favorites among my newer stories. It appeared among a host of other great stories in the furry sci-fi horror anthology, Bleak Horizons.

I also had the privilege to have a number of stories "reprinted" in audio form. "Butterfly Dreams" appeared on the StarShipSofa podcast in April. And "The Hour of the Rat" appeared in Far-Fetched Fables in September. (All I need to do now is get a story in Tales to Terrify, and I'll have committed the District of Wonders trifecta...) I had a great deal of fun hearing my story "Space Opera" on the 600 Second Saga podcast. 600 Second Saga is the amuse-bouche of speculative fiction podcasts. All three were wonderful to work with.

One of the other big highlights of the year was my story "Project Uncia" being chosen as the cover story for Issue 2 of Planet Scumm. They also have an audio version of the story and have been a real treat to work with. In fact, all of my experiences with small press publishers this year have been absolutely outstanding. I also received notice just today that the first story I was ever paid for to publish is excepted for an audio reprint. More on this soon.

I also released more stories on Amazon this year, including my first-ever anthology. "The Butterfly Path" is a story of mine that I absolutely love that never found a home with another publisher, so I decided to publish it myself. "Irula's Apprentice" is one of the first furry stories I ever wrote and continues the tales set in the world of anthropomorphic lions I call The Veldt. I fell in love with the cover for La Danza de la Muerte, and knew I had to create a project to fit it. I decided on an anthology of seven dark tales, and got my friend Joseph Devon to write the foreword.

None of these have had stellar sales, but I plan on moving forward on my various Amazon projects. I'm encouraged by the people who took advantage of the giveaway days, and the reviews are generally very positive.

So, some very good things to report on from 2017. But I think my greatest success has come in connecting with more of my fellow readers and writers. Two circles are increasingly important: the members of the Furry Writers' Guild and the circle of people I've come to know through Cirsova Magazine. No matter how down I've felt about myself or my writing, all it took to cheer me up was a few interactions on Twitter with these fine people.

So I want to close out 2017 with a big Thank You!

Thank you to all the editors and publishers who took a chance on an emerging author. Thank you to all the readers who picked up a free story, and especially to all those who bought one. Thank you to everyone who's enjoyed a snarky comment on Twitter or an update on Baby Uitvlugt. And an especial thank you to all the other writers in my life. We're all in this together: I couldn't have made it through this year without you.

I have lots of big things planned for 2018. Stay tuned for more!