2014 was a huge year for me. Both career-wise and personally, a lot happened.
I published four books this past year, which is one more than I planned at this time in 2013, so that’s already an improvement. Two of them were very difficult.
But RAW explored racism in an allegedly egalitarian society. I took a close look at how people who profess deep devotion to God are capable of hating others based on the color of their skin or the denomination of their religion.
It was difficult, uncomfortable material to explore. I dedicated the book to Trayvon Martin and Matthew Shepard. I wrote in the acknowledgements that I hoped one day this kind of destructive racism would be a thing only of fiction and not the evening news.
And then Ferguson happened. Michael Brown was shot to death and protestors were gassed. Eric Garner was choked to death in New York City, and police shot a man in Ohio, who was talking on the phone in a Wal-Mart and holding an Airsoft rifle still in the package.
And I kept thinking, I wrote about this in an adventure novel. It isn’t supposed to be real, and it certainly isn’t supposed to be happening this often.
But it seems I was naive about that.
My second novel, Ghost of a Chance, was difficult for different reasons. It too is a Wolf Dasher novel, and after four books, I finally explained what’s been going on in the larger story arc. I reveal the source of the corruption that’s causing everything to die, and I did it in a book where the main character and much of the supporting cast are grieving over the death of someone they loved in the previous book.
The writing of this novel coincided with my family moving from Kansas to Ohio. So in addition to trying to write a book — which turned out to be the longest in my catalog by a good distance — I was packing, cleaning, reassuring people, driving cross-country, unpacking, etc. Six months later, most of the boxes are empty and people have largely adjusted to their new lives, but it’s still a work-in-progress. The fact that I published Ghost of a Chance in the midst of all that is extraordinary.
And then, I turned my attention to happier matters. In November, I released the first installment of my serialized memoir of childhood. I’m writing these as humorous essays, and each installment is a self-contained story about some fool thing I did as a kid that miraculously turned out all right. The second one came out in December, and I’m releasing a third in January. They’re short, so I can write and publish them faster.
But before the year was out, Amazon announced its Kindle Scout program, wherein they use crowd-sourcing to determine books they might like to publish.
So despite it not being on my schedule, I went into overdrive mode, and wrote Little Red Riding Hoodie: A Modern Fairy Tale so that I could take advantage of the early wave. LRRH is currently part of the Kindle Scout program. You can nominate it for publication here.
So I wrote three novels and two shorts this year, and published the shorts and two of the novels. Somewhere in there I also contributed two short stories to anthologies. And I moved cross-country.
That’s a pretty big year!
I’m in high gear for 2015. I have a lot of big plans (including publishing 12 books). If 2014 taught me anything, it’s that I can do more than I had been doing. I’m kind of excited. I’m planning to rip into 2015 at a higher speed than I thought was possible.
Here’s hoping for a prosperous 2015, without quite so many tragedies.