I love the aftermath of ringing in a new year. The quiet. The solitude. (Or as much solitude as you can find with four kids running around). Discovering a moment to reflect, renew yourself and your goals and aspirations. A new year brings unforetold promises and a fresh slate that will soon be dirtied, but at least it’s clean for a day. Or two.
2015 was a great year and the start of my writing career, though it’s difficult to look at it that way. Really, a writing career begins LONG before anything is ever published, but it is the year that my debut novel, Housebroken, was selected and published by an Amazon imprint, Kindle Press. The book has been a little polarizing — some people love it, others hate it — but it’s a book I’m proud of, and a landmark in my journey as an author.
It’s hit #1 in the Horror category internationally on Amazon and has maintained a top 100 status for Horror in the UK, though I consider it more of a psychological thriller than a straight horror novel. Still, not bad for a debut novel.
I also began a long gestating series, titled The Creation, and saw two parts in that series published in 2015. In The Beginning, which is available for free on Amazon, just hit it’s 300th review. The full length novel, The Creation Part One, has also garnered some great reviews and is off to a pleasant start. This is a very different project from Housebroken, one that has required an immense amount of research regarding the Amazon Rainforest and a myriad amount of related topics (from the pharmaceutical industry to military weapons to indigenous tribes). I’m excited to see Part Two go out early this year, with Part Three slated for the end of the year.
Beyond my two novels, I’ve had a handful of short stories published in various anthologies, one of which has been selected in a Best Of compilation for shorts in 2015. (More on this in a later post). But one of my greatest achievements has been not in what I’ve published but in the relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to develop. With other authors and collaborators. With reviewers and fans. This is what keeps me going and looking forward to the next horizon rather than dwelling on the darkness that may or may not be surrounding me on a daily basis.
Beyond the writing I live a ridiculously busy life. My fourth child, a daughter named Emma, was born this year in February, by far my greatest accomplishment of the year. She’s a gem in our lives and has brought so much joy to our little family. I juggle a demanding dayjob, church service, running the kids from sports game to sports game, playing in a band, and occasionally finding a moment to say hello to my wife. (What’s your name again?!?) I really am lucky to have such a supportive partner who believes in my dreams as much as I do and puts up with me escaping into my mancave to toss a few words onto a blinking cursor. I’d be hard pressed to accomplish much of anything without her.
I’m a big believer in setting goals and reaching to accomplish more, but this year I’ve decided to go about it a little differently than normal. I’m not setting goals for writing a certain page count each day or a certain number of books to be published or weight to be lost. Instead, these are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016:
- Try a little harder
- Give a little more
- Be a little better
- Forgive a lot quicker
- Help a lot sooner
- Do, don’t try
These are goals I can wrap my head around, benchmarks I can reach for each and every day in diverse ways. It’s not important what 2016 will bring, it’s important what I will contribute. To my family. To my neighbors and friends. To my community. And to the world. (And the many worlds I inhabit. I am, after all, a writer).