2016: A Post-Mortem

So, first off: The biopsy results are in and they are yet again negative! That said, the doctors are still a little worried about it since, generally speaking, if you have a mass that needs to be biopsied, it’s probably not great. But, given my life, a little worry doesn’t even register on the concern-o-meter, so hooray!

Now onto the 2016 retrospective … (This might be a long one, so grab a cup of whatever and settle in.)

The Big Stuff:

Revenge-aroni, the fourth book in the Exponential Apocalypse series, came out in April. I learned a lot about marketing during the release, but mostly in the “what not to do” kind of way. I really do think it’s time to come to terms with the fact that none of these books are going to sell as well as the first Exponential Apocalypse. That one came out at the start of the whole indie publishing boom and the market wasn’t nearly as saturated as it is now. Plus, I’m pretty sure people are getting a little burnt-out on dystopias and superheroes (The first Hunger Games book came out two months after EA, and Marvel wasn’t Marvel yet back then) and that’s basically what these books are. Which is a bummer, because each book is better than the last. With a little luck, though, I’ll wrap the series up this year — Black Hole, Son, coming summer 2017 (hopefully) — and move on to bigger and better things that will quickly be subsumed by a trend full of other works with a larger budget.

Speaking of bigger and better: When Love Isn’t as Simple as Standing by Your Man was published in The New York Times in September! I’m really proud of this, but, man, did it take a lot out of me writing it. I want to put together a collection of essays about CF, but, honestly, that doesn’t sound like fun. But maybe it’s necessary? Most stuff about CF is all trite, “stay positive” nonsense. All about learning lessons and being better people. Fuck that. You know what I learned? That the universe is cold and unfeeling and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. Are nihilistic tirades a genre? Maybe I can do this after all …

Also sometime last year, Bagel was performed at Fusion Theater’s The 2nd Seven. This was the first time any of my work was performed by complete strangers with no input from me (at least as far as I know) and it was pretty amazing. The director included a narrator to read all the stage directions out loud and the whole thing took on this kind of meta approach and I loved it. I don’t know a ton about theater, but I do know dialogue, and I’d love to do more plays in the future.

Me Talk Pretty:

I actually did a bunch of readings and podcasts this year which was cool. First was an interview on the Bizzong podcast with Frank Edler, where we talked about bizarro fiction, how I gave the world Danger Slater, and how no one appreciates me enough.

Speaking of Danger, I did a reading with him and Karl Fischer and David Atkinson and a ton of wonderful Denverites (Denverinos?) at the Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series. I put on a terrible accent, Karl threw books at Danger, and David was dressed like a gothic pimp. If you weren’t there, you really missed out.

And, as usual, I continued to make it to the monthly DimeStories readings here in Albuquerque, sort of on the regular? In September, we did a reading with Backyard Story Night outside the TEDX talks; in December, I was featured on the DimeStories podcast (which you should really be subscribed to); and in a double whammy, DimeStories teamed-up with City on the Edge for New Mexico Stories,” which was both a reading AND a podcast, wherein I called sandhill cranes tiny dinosaurs.

Short Stories:

OK, I’m running out of steam (and coffee) so here’s just a list of links for the short fiction I had published in 2016.

“Run,” Quick Shivers about Bugs (Daily Nightmare)
Scheherazade,” Eunoia Review
World Enough and Time,” 7×20
Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Waffles of War,” Three Minute Plastic

Photography:

Recoffeed. Let’s do this.

I bought myself a DSLR camera during a Black Friday sale in 2015. I’d always enjoyed photography and I figured why not, right? I needed better quality photos for my book covers if nothing else. Within that first year, though, I managed to get several photos included in two local shows (This Place Matters: Save Route 66 at Flying Star; Fleeting: A Small Works Exhibit at the Open Space Visitor Center) and sell a bunch of stuff online as stock photography. I’ve also (as some of you may have noticed) started posting photos online on Instagram and Facebook. Anyway, if you’re interested, I’ve got a bunch of online galleries here, or if you want a coyote on your wall, FineArtAmerica sells prints.

Medical Garbage:

Hahaha, no. I’m not going over that again. Here’s most of it, and here’s the rest of it, with the thrilling conclusion at the top of this post.

The Other Stuff:

I hiked into the Grand Canyon and, more importantly, back out. We obviously didn’t do the whole thing because that’s crazy and requires shitloads of training and preparation, but a mile-and-a-half in and back out still felt really good given that two-and-a-half years ago I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom.

We got a second dog. His name is Harvey, after Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face; Monica named him that because his butt is two colors) and he is living up to the name. He’s great, but also annoying, but that’s basically all dogs, and, really, if the two of them hadn’t been barking for the last hour this would probably be a much more adoring paragraph. Anyway, here’s a picture of them being cute and a picture of them being holy terrors.

Next up: I got into a car accident. It sucked, the car got totaled, and my neck is more messed up than I thought, but not, like, that bad, and also I’m alive, so there’s that. We’ll probably get a new car down the line, but, for now, we’re living as a one car family since I’m working from home more often than not. I kind of like it, because driving Monica to work forces me to wake up early, which gives me more time to write. Of course, this all might change if I get an office job or a steady background gig. Speaking of …

I worked as a background extra on 9 different productions this year. There’s a very good chance I won’t be noticeable in any of them (a la Preacher) but who knows. In the meantime, I’m technically visible in …

Better Call Saul

The Night Shift

… and Graves.

I’m also probably definitely also in the last episode of Graves, but that one’s not on YouTube and I don’t get EPIX so I don’t know for sure.

In Summary:

OK, that’s a lot more than I thought I did. No wonder I’m so tired.

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