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Month: January 2016

2015 Year in Review

2015 gets a stake in the heart. Here’s how it was for me.

Way back in 2013 I made a decision to be less of a misanthropic hermit and actually spend time with other humans socially, and it was the best decision I’ve made in ages. Each year since has been more fulfilling, and while I’m still not an extrovert, I enjoy company more than I did before, and take great satisfaction in my friendships. Last year I made some new friends and got closer with old friends, too. Seeing other humans beats sitting on my couch glaring at the curtains.

2015 highlights in scattered order include:

My wife Heather and our son and I took a trip to San Diego for Westercon, which included amazing fun-times at Legoland (and its water park!).

We spent our tenth wedding anniversary weekend in Santa Cruz, visiting old familiar favorite places and eating delicious things and drinking tasty alcohols.

Kept up the ongoing almost-weekly pleasures of WhiskeyHorror with Katrina (often joined by Heather, if we were watching things that weren’t too gory). Also continued occasional fancy cheese and screwball comedy nights with Amy (and sometimes special guest Effie).

My friend (and sometime artist for our chapbooks and ‘zines) Ais moved into my neighborhood, so now she can drop by and give us fresh-baked scones and stuff at will.

My son continues to become a fascinating person who reads and kicks my ass at video games on the regular. We helped him host his first sleepover/slumber party night this year, which felt like a pretty big milestone.

I went to a luncheon where Joyce Carol Oates was the guest and talked to her about Lovecraft, swoon.

Went to see a new Star Wars movie, in a great theater, with my wife and son and nephew, and the latter two had an epic lightsaber battle afterward. That’s what that kind of movie is for.

Did lots of afternoon coffeehouse writing dates with my friend Erin. Enjoyed many fine afternoons drinking beer on patios or bourbon in bars, and lunching with my wife on my day off. So much pizza and fried cheese balls and burgers and beer.

My day job office moved from the hills of Oakland to San Leandro, which was a trial, but on the plus side I inherited a bunch of sweet outdoor furniture, so our backyard is even more amazing now. We hosted a barbecue, a couple of epic birthday parties, and a bunch of game nights.

Attended some great parties too, including Jeff and Katrina’s wedding, and a couple of soirees at Elliotte’s always-magical Unicorn Estate.

I wandered around the Eat Real festival with good friends and ate too much. Always my favorite festival of the year.

Went swimming with my family often throughout the summer at pools all over the East Bay.

I went to a few shows, notably Juliana Hatfield Three at the Chapel (soooo goooooood) and some Three Drink Circus shows, and the Mousetrap at Shotgun Players, and Ais’s art show at Borderlands..

Enjoyed a visit from my college sweetheart whom I haven’t seen in years, and we had our annual visit from Dawson, both delights.

Writing stuff:

I wrote about 280,000 words of fiction, whee. Finished Lady of Misrule in early January and drafted novels Liar’s Bargain and Queen of Nothing. Wrote 60 pages of a space opera that’s out on submission now. Did some writing work for a video game about snipers.

Published some books: short novel The Deep Woods, Marla Mason novels Lady of Misrule and Queen of Nothing (running a successful Kickstarter campaign for the latter), and Pathfinder Tales novel Liar’s Island.

Wrote a ton of stories, way more than in recent years, partly because of another big writing thing this year: I launched a Patreon in May. I write a new story each month for about 120 supporters (and counting). My patreon stories were “North Over Empty Space,” “Not a Miracle but a Marvel,” “The Wilderness Within,” “First and Last Breaths,” “Fool’s Fire,” “The Soul Broker,” and “Who Has Everything.” I’d rank a couple of those stories among the best work I’ve ever done.

Also wrote a holiday story with Heather, “Winter Jinni,” for Podcastle, and we made it into our print holiday chapbook, too, with art by Ais. Wrote “Ice Murder Safari” for Lady of Misrule Kickstarter backers and “The Atheist in the Garden” for Queen of Nothing backers, “Project Disaster” for an anthology, and I’m almost done with a story called “Heavy Game of the Pacific Northwest” that I need to turn in Monday. It is so good to be writing lots of short fiction again.

There are some interesting potential things on the horizon that have their roots in this year, but I’ll wait for next year to see if they materialize.

I did some writerly events, notably a great reading at Borderlands for Litcrawl.

There were some bad bits this year. My neighbor’s brother got shot on our block and I saw him bleeding on the sidewalk (he’s recovered and is fine). I had a couple of friendships end in annoyingly dramatic ways (though in both cases I take comfort in the fact that at least I didn’t do anything toxic or awful), and I mourn them. I could enumerate other disappointments and losses but I’d rather look forward, today.

Wishing you all goodness in the coming year.