Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Self-Indulgent Look Back at 2011

We all know that the only real closure happens only once in our lives, right at the end. And it’s inevitably pretty anti-climactic. So we fill our days with any excuse possible to imagine a fresh start ahead of us and an end to all the tribulations behind. Nothin’ wrong with that.

That’s why we like these year-end retrospectives and “best of/worst of” lists. They give us a nice sense of having accomplished something, even if that something is nothing more than having survived another 365 days.

Again, nothin’ wrong with that. I like them too. We have to grab up closure wherever we find it, I reckon.

Having said that, 2011 was, writing-wise, a solid year for me. My goals were hazy and ill-defined, but I managed to achieve many of them despite that.

Be warned, the following bit is very self-indulgent, and no one would blame you for not giving a shit. It’s all about me, my own personal bit of looking back and puffing out my chest in self-satisfaction.

My first novel, THE BASTARD HAND, came out in March, and over the course of the year continued to garner good notices if not terrific sales. In the last couple weeks of the year, it kept popping up on those afore-mentioned “Best of” lists, which, no lie, is immensely gratifying. Sales spiked on it because of that, bringing promises of coffee and cig money in the future.

About half-way through the year, almost on a whim, I put out myself a story collection called DIG TEN GRAVES. About half the stories were previously published, the other half new to the collection, and again I was relieved to see it received enthusiastically by readers. Two of the stories in particular, “It Will All Be Carried Away” and “Incident on a Rain-Soaked Corner”, seemed to have struck a chord. “Carried Away” was even nominated for storySouth’s Millions Writers Award.

I made a deal in October to do a series of weird Western e-stories for Trestle Press, the first of them being “That Damned Coyote Hill”. Oddly enough, this story wound up being the most successful of my projects for the year (sales-wise) and it’s still doing pretty well, 2 ½ months later.

I also did two chapters of something called “Deadland USA” for Trestle, but, despite them getting fairly good notices, they were pretty much D.O.A. and their future is uncertain.

Over the course of the year, I managed to place short stories in several e-zines and print mags that I’d long wished to be associated with. Necrotic Tissue, Chi-Zine, Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, and Pulp Metal, among a couple others.

I was invited to contribute a story to Luca Veste’s anthology OFF THE RECORD.

I was given the opportunity to write a Gideon Miles story for Edward A. Grainger, called “Miles to Little Ridge”, which met with more success than I could have imagined.
And finally, the brilliant Snubnose Press agreed to put out my second full-length novel, CITY OF HERETICS, in 2012.

Two or three more great opportunities presented themselves just in the last month or so, but they are stories for this time next year, as they’re still in the early stages.

So that’s it. Not a bad showing for a guy who, this time last year, had next to nothing to show for himself, eh?

And please don’t get me wrong. I know that, as self-indulgent and self-congratulatory as this post has been, I’m perfectly aware that none of it means anything, really. But every little worldly success we encounter provides a little bit of solace, a little bit of self-esteem to cling to while the world goes about its usual business of kicking our asses.

Progress might be an illusion, but I’m well-pleased with this particular fantasy.

My goal for this time next year: Make some fuckin’ money at this.


  1. Busy lad! Here's to an equally busy 2012!

  2. Great post, may your success continue to expand and may the profits of all your work be more than profitable.

  3. Congrats on your successful year! Be careful, with all this new fame, though, you might pick up a stalker or two.

    Michelle V

  4. Congratulations on an awesome year, Heath. Best for 2012!

    Ed Lynskey

  5. Congratulations on your achievements in 2011, Heath. You had a great year, especially since you came up from oblivion. And don't worry, if you don't blow your own horn, who will? Nothing wrong with it.

  6. That's a good year's work by any standard. I look forward to City of Heretics.And any other story you might come up with. 2012! Own it.

  7. Don't worry about being self-indulgent. You deserve your success this year. I look forward to the new novel.

  8. You can be self-indulgent anytime you conjure up something as wunderbar as Bastard Hand! ;)

  9. I second all the above comments. You have earned the rewards and much more. May the new year be equaly and much more enjoyable and profitable for you. I look forward to all that you have for us this year.