It’s that time again. The year-end review. I know some people are probably sick of reading these things, but I still enjoy summing up the previous year’s accomplishments and milestones. It’s as much for myself as it is for my friends, family, and fans. It’s a lot easier to look back to these year-end reviews than to scroll through the hundreds of blog posts I’ve written over the ten-plus years I’ve had this website. If you are one of those people who are sick of reading year-end posts, I won’t be offended if you skip this one. Swing by tomorrow when I’ll have my favourite reads of 2013 posted.
For those of you sticking around, let me tell you that 2013 was one of the best years of my writing career to date.
In my 2012 year-end review, I predicted that 2013 would be a quiet year for me, and it was in some ways. I didn’t publish very many stories in 2013, I spent most of my time hunkered down writing, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of excitement. On the contrary…
I kicked off 2013 with my first of two appearances on the “Speculating Canada” program on Trent Radio, hosted by the wonderful Derek Newman-Stille, a scholar of speculative fiction who has done a great job of shining the spotlight on Canadian authors.
In February, “The House on Ashley Avenue” was selected by Ellen Datlow for The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5. This was the first time I’d had a story accepted for one of Datlow’s excellent anthologies, and it marked the start of a rather wild and unexpected ride that this particular story would take me on in the months to come.
March saw the publication of the anthology Shadows Edge, edited by Simon Strantzas and featuring “False North,” one of the few stories I had published in 2013.
April marked the six-month point since my debut collection Every House Is Haunted had been published, and I wrote a blog post about it.
In May I found out “The House on Ashley Avenue” was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award in the novelette category. This was the first time my work had been nominated for anything, and to receive a nom for an award in honour of one of my favourite authors, one whose work directly influenced the book that featured the story in question… well, it blew my mind. I didn’t end up winning, but the nomination was still a huge milestone, and I got my awesome Lottery stone!
June saw the release of the Every House Is Haunted audio book
In July, my short story “Aces” was selected for Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing.
In August, I attend the Fan Expo/Festival of Fear as an author guest. I also published the short story, “The Tour,” as a free extra on the Every House Is Haunted website.
In September, I was contacted out of the blue by a movie producer named Roy Lee (whose credits include The Ring, The Grudge, and The Departed, among many others). Lee had read my novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” and was interested in developing it as a TV show. My publishers and I met with him in Toronto, at which time he had read the rest of my collection, and he asked me to be involved in the writing of the show. I immediately went to work on the show notes and a bible for the series. Lee was very happy with my work and we’re currently waiting to see what happens next. Even if the TV show doesn't end up happening, the experience has been incredible and the contacts I’ve made are invaluable. One of the best things to come out of the whole thing was that I now have a pair of agents. Ron Eckel of the Cooke Agency is representing my books, while Jeff Alpern of the Alpern Group is representing my work in movies and television.
In October, I attended a couple of local events — Shwa Pocalypse (Oshawa’s first horror convention!) and the City of Kawartha Lakes Local Author Series. My first standalone Black Lands story, “Day Pass,” was also published in Chilling Tales 2, edited by Michael Kelly.
In November, I submitted the manuscript of my first novel to my agent (I still like the sound of that). It’s a science-fiction comedy called The Zane Conspiracy that isn’t like anything I’ve ever written before.
In December, I made a big sale with a short story called “The Lighthouse of Midian” to an anthology called Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, coming from Tor Books in Fall 2014. This was immediately followed by the news that Every House Is Haunted had won the 2013 ReLit Award in the Short Fiction category. I was up against a lot of really excellent books, and I was completely blown away to find out that I’d won. Not a bad way to end the year.
Oh, and I finally, FINALLY started work on the first Felix Renn novel.
So 2013 turned out to be a pretty decent year. I’m in a position right now where I actually believe I could make a living from my writing, and maybe one day soon. That would be nice. Hell, that would be better than nice. That would be my biggest dream come true. I still firmly believe that if you love something enough, and you work hard enough, you will get there eventually.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without all the wonderful people who have bought my books, taken the time to write a review, recommend me for an award, etc. I’d also like to thank everyone who has dropped me an e-mail, or sent me a Tweet or a message on Facebook, or included me on their list of favourite reads of 2013. I can’t tell you enough how much your support of my work means to me.
I can honestly say that I have no idea what 2014 will hold for me. 2013 was so full of surprises that I’m not even going to try to predict what will happen in the new year. I will say that 2014 has already had an interesting start. The other day, a Google Alert notified me that someone has created an entry for me on Wikipedia. Now I have arrived!
See you on the flip-flop.