All in all, 2021 was a pretty good year for me, writing wise. Sure there were plenty of disappointments. I have several children’s books (a chapter book and three picture books to be precise) that haven’t found homes yet, and I think they’re pretty damn good. Early next year I’m planning on having the chapter book ripped apart by pro editor Chapel Orahamm, and then back out they all go. I collected a lovely bouquet of rejection letters from various magazines, but that’s actually a net positive, because that means I was submitting, which I think is about as much fun as dental surgery without anesthetic. I submitted a decent amount in 2021, and will force myself to keep it up in 2022.
As far as successes go, here they are, in no particular order…
TREETOWN, IN THE ANTHOLOGY OUTSIDERS: SHORT STORIES BY OHIO’S BEST WRITERS
My short story Treetown was chosen for this anthology of Ohio writers. It’s one of my favorites that I’ve written, and it’s not horror, science fiction, or fantasy. It’s the story of a touch old guy and how he comes to terms with his wife’s death. Here’s a link to the anthology:
RED WINGS, ON THE BLOODGUTSANDSTORY.COM WEBSITE
You can read this story here:
But here’s the thing—I love this story, but it is all kinds of fucked up. Read at your own risk, but please give it a read if I haven’t scared you off.
THE WILD HUNT, IN THE ANTHOLOGY HEADS AND TALES: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
This one started with an idea from writer/editor Chapel Orahamm—what if pairs of writers teamed up to reinvent classic myths and legends from opposite perspectives. A group of us from the Twitter writing community joined together under his leadership and paired up. Canadian author Renée Gendron transplanted the legend of the Wild Hunt to the U.S./Canadian border during the War of 1812. I had a great time with this; so much so, in fact, that I’ve agreed to work with her and expand our two story halves into a novella. Uncharted territory for me, but I love a challenge. I also created the cover art. Here’s a link to the anthology:
A VISIT FROM THE SLAYMAN AND THE RIDGES, IN THE ANTHOLOGY WELCOME TO SIMMINS, DETECTIVE SPENCER
Orahamm, along with a bunch of the same writers and a few new ones, dove back into a new project. This one was a true collaboration amongst all of us. We invented Simmins, a small mountain mining town in North Carolina, created some shared characters, then all wrote stories of holiday horror set in the month of December, 1998. I have two stories in this one—A Visit From the Slayman, which attempts to give a slenderman-like character a new mythology; and The Ridges, which starts out as a Hallmark channel “meet cute” kind of story, and then ends not so cute at all. I also did the cover here. This one was just published. It’s available as an e-book now, and as a print edition any day now. Here’s a link:
RAT AND ROACH, WINNER OF THE F(R)ICTION SPRING LITERARY CONTEST IN THE FICTION CATEGORY
Okay, this one is special. Not only did I win the short story category in this contest, which I understand is a pretty big deal, but my category was judged by Stephen Graham Jones. Jones has quickly become one of my very favorite authors. His two most recent novels, My Heart Is a Chainsaw and The Only Good Indians, are modern horror classics. Rat and Roach is a story of addiction and horror set on the streets of Cleveland, my home town. It will be available to read sometime soon. I’m extremely proud of this one.
That’s it, my year in writing. My goal in 2022 is to keep writing, keep submitting, and hopefully, find homes for more of my word babies.