This is the time of year where many people like to create lists. "The Top 10" this and "Best of..." that. But really, do you need somebody else's list to tell you what was good, bad , or otherwise? I doubt it. Plus, you have probably read enough of them in the past few days to the point where you are sick of them.
What I want to share are just some of my highlights. I figure it would be nice to open the doors to my world for a few minutes and let you see a slice of what made 2012 a pretty good year for me. Of course, topping the list is my reunion with my daughter Ronni after 16 years. I can not begin to describe that event. I can't share what it meant every night that she was here to be able to tuck her in and kiss her forehead and hear her say, "Night, Dad." To take her out and teach her to drive, and to hear how excited she was to tell everybody about how she drove on the freeway.
In my professional life, I am now the editor for two writers that I respect a great deal. I was recently hired by Mark Tufo (author of the incredible Zombie Fallout series) and John O'Brien (author of the thrilling military-minded zombie series- A New World) to edit their work. This might not seem very exciting to many, but for me, it was a validation of all the hard work that I have put in learning the craft. Simply put, the written word is a tricky monster. I continue to learn more each day as I am not ever satisfied that I "have it down" to the point of perfection.
This past summer, I was invited to participate in "The Summer of Zombie" blog tour by another of my compatriots, Armand Rosamilia. I didn't really know him that well when it began, but I can say that I have met somebody that I call friend in the real sense of the word. Very few individuals have his heart...and I hope that he will extend the invitation this coming summer.
Did I mention that I saw my daughter?
On other fronts, I put out a few books this past year. One of them I owe entirely to my friend, Vix Kirkpatrick. She refused to accept that the Zomblog series was over. Because of that, I wrote the fourth book in that series, Zomblog: Snoe.
It is set almost 20 years after the first book and paints a picture of a world that is searching for direction. This is the first time that I consciously set out to put an underlying theme to my work. How much of who we are is predicated on our biology, and how much is our environment? I will write two more books, and then that series is OFFICIALLY complete.
The highlight for me as a writer was the release of Dead: Winter. At the time, it was the best sales numbers on a new release to date. It flirted with the Amazon Top 100 in horror, but did not quite make it. Still, it was (and remains) a consistent seller. And to be honest, that is why I am able to do what I love for a living. To write is a dream, and I will never quit. However, to write for a living is more than I could have ever hoped for.
Then, just a few days ago, on December 15th, (the same day that I would pick up my daughter at the airport) I released Dead: Siege & Survival. It has blown everything else out of the water as far as release numbers. I realize that there are lots of people who sell far more books than I, but I measure myself against MY goals...not other people's. The release of the 5th book in the DEAD series has had the added benefit of pushing my Amazon Horror Author Ranking up to the top 100 where I usually bounce around between 75-100. Again, I know it might not seem like much to some, but considering where I have been...this is a personal victory that holds meaning for me.
Oh...and I saw my daughter after 16 years...did I mention that?
What did not happen this year was any sort of apocalypse. Mayan or otherwise. December 21st was another Y2K...or Capone's Vault. A lot of hype...and no substance. That's okay. Honestly, things were just starting to look up for me...so an apocalypse would have really screwed things up. Denise is back to work (AND working on a second Master's), my writing is starting to generate a modest income...and I got to see my daughter.
So, since you've read this far, I will put in a tiny list of highlights in the horror genre. Here were some books that I REALLY liked...IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!!!
In closing, I want to mention a few people. The names will mean little to many, but these people each have a special place in my heart. So, if you want to skip the gushy stuff and are fairly certain you are not going to be mentioned, then just accept my gratitude for reading my work and allowing me to pursue my dream. Stay safe and make 2013 the best year possible.
Catie Rhodes, thank you for being a friend. This year had ups and downs, and you stepped in not giving a whit about the past to be my friend. For that reason alone, you will always be just exactly that to me...a friend.
Armand Rosamilia, you brought me in on my first blog tour. You turned a deaf ear to a few haters and extended a hand in friendship. I hope that we get the chance to sit down to dinner some day.
Mark Tufo, not only did you hire me as your editor, but you have sent others my way with recommendations that almost make me blush. You didn't even know it, but you play a huge part in my being able to do what I love for a living. I hope we get the chance to sit down and maybe play poker and tell stories some day.
Valarie Griffiths Brown, Woodstock, what can I say? You are just as sweet as ever and seeing you on stage this year was a treat. I wish we could get together more often.
Jamie Smith, what can I say? You and I have known each other for DECADES. You know exactly how I feel. And perhaps we will someday "Do the TIME WARP AGAIN!!!"
Last, but not least...Vix Kirkpatrick. My dear friend...even though we can not talk as often as we like, your friendship means the world to me. While some writers may have more fans...I got them beat by a mile because YOU are my friend.
To all, have a safe and happy 2013.