2011 In The Rearview, 2012 In The Mirror Of My Shades

Looking back, staring forward. Standing on this head-of-the-pin moment between two years — an arbitrary distinction, perhaps, from when one calendar becomes useless and a new one must be hung, but a distinction just the same and a fine enough moment to pause and reflect.

Personally, it’s been a good year. Nah, fuck that, it’s been a great year.

Double Dead hit shelves. And is, I’m told, selling well. Well enough where — well, I won’t spoil any of that news right now, but oh, there shall be news. Blackbirds and its protagonist, Miriam Black, found a home after a small but confidence-boosting bidding war, and now sits comfortably nestled in the arms of an Angry Robot. Further, it has a jaw-dropping cover that still geeks me out to this day. (You can totally read the first chapter of that book at the Angry Robot site, by the by.) The transmedia project I co-wrote with Lance Weiler, Collapsus, got nominated for an International Digital Emmy. Our short film, Pandemic (watch here!) was at Sundance and continues to get lots of attention.

I also self-published this year — six books starting last January. Sales have, on the whole, been excellent. Curiously, they’re weakest for my fictional offerings. Shotgun Gravy sold well in the beginning but has since tapered off — I’ve got Bait Dog waiting in the wings to receive a good clean polish, but I want to see if I can get some more readers on board with Atlanta Burns #1 first. We’ll see.

I read some fucking awesome books, too. I’m a picky finicky dickhead of a reader, but this year has been a bounty of great books –Robert McCammon’s The Five and Hunter In The Woods; Christa Faust’s Money Shot and Choke Hold and Hoodtown; Adam Christopher’s Empire State; Anthony Neil Smith’s Choke On Your Lies; Duane Swierzcynski’s Fun and Games; Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City; Matthew McBride’s Frank Sinatra In A Blender; Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia; John Hornor’s Southern Gods; Stephen Blackmoore’s City of the Lost and Dead Things (the bad-ass sequel, and it’s a toss up as to whether it or Zoo City were my year’s favorite reads). Certainly some I’m missing.

Of course, the biggest and craziest and most wonderful thing was the birth of this little dude:

The boy is a constant source of amusement and adoration, and even when he’s not sleeping or karate kicking me in the trachea or accidentally drooling into my open mouth (seriously, that just happened the other day), he’s an endless delight and so cute he’ll turn even the hardest charcoal hearts into a big gooey wad of marshmallow fluff. We love him very much. I mean, duh.

Of course, a month before my son was born and a few days after my birthday, my dog of 13 years, Yaga, passed away. That was hard on us and sometimes, still is (I had a dream the other night I was playing with him in the snow — both a wonderful dream to have, and sad to wake up from and realize that it wasn’t quite true), and it was strange that in the span of a single month my dog died and my son was born. Parity and opposition: life and death in all its finery.

Not everything worked out perfectly. The television pilot officially fell through with TNT, and our film project has momentum, but it’s the momentum of a slowly-rolling kickball rather than the pinball’s swiftness we’d hope for. Almost had an LA agent; that didn’t quite click. Some friendships were made stronger this year. Some were decidedly not. Life progresses just the same.

I’ve said in the past and I’ll say again: I don’t truck with regret. Regret is perhaps one of the most worthless emotions we have as humans — we are who we are and all the moments and choices and happenstance has formed the equation that adds up to the sum of us. For good or bad, for better or for worse. Like who you are? Keep on keeping on. Don’t like it? Change something. But don’t get mired in regret. Your boots will get stuck there and you soon start to realize that it has no value, offers no function. Regret doesn’t let you rewrite anything. You don’t get a mulligan. It’s one thing to find a lesson and to learn from it, but regret is something altogether more insidious and, at the same time, worthless.

So, fuck regret in the ear with a meerschaum pipe. Mostly because I wanted to say “meerschaum.”

Onward, then, to 2012.

What will that bring?

Well, I can’t know for sure.

Blackbirds and its sequel, Mockingbird, will land.

I’ll continue to self-publish. I’ve got a novel — a creepy li’l something called The Altar — that begs to have the DIY treatment, I think. The outline is done, I just need to write it. (I make it sound so easy! Yeah. No.)

I’m almost halfway through Dinocalypse Now, the Spirit of the Century novel for Evil Hat. It features love triangles and professorial apes and psychic dinosaur goodness. It’s a challenge to write, honestly — a good challenge, but a challenge just the same.

Speaking of Evil Hat, I’ve got a wealth of stories in from the Don’t Rest Your Head anthology, called Don’t Read This Book. Got some great authors on that one, so keep your grapes peeled.

I’ve got more plans for the website (Kickstarter, quite possibly) and for some other writing books that both do and do not come out of posts here on the blog.

More to come, more to come.

Thanks all for coming here and making for a great 2011.

Here’s to 2012, then.

What’s on your agenda for the new year?