2017! An unusual year for me. It started off pretty good, got better, got bad for a while, then picked up again. At the moment I’m feeling pretty good. I sure hope that rolls over into 2018. I don’t live a terribly exciting life. One big surprise was being named as an influence by the new mayor of New Orleans. That was nice. I was also featured a couple of times in the local paper and nice things were said about my writing. Overall, though, it wasn’t a big year for sales of my books, although I didn’t do much to push it this year. I also did not submit as much as I usually do.
On the writing front itself, I did finish The Scarred One, a western novella/novel that I started working on a couple of years ago. I also self published a print version of my western collection, Killing Trail, under the pseudonym Tyler Boone. In October, Cold in the Light, my first published novel, went out of print. I went through it and did a fairly minor rewrite, and will be submitting it and The Scarred One for potential publication in 2018. I’ve also got a novella called “The Razored Land” that I want to submit next year. Finally, I wrote a lot of poetry this year, far more than has been typical of me in the past.
This marks the 5th year that I’ve been keeping a word count on my production. I wrote a little more than 50,000 words of fiction and nonfiction intended for publication. That’s about the same as last year. It’s up from 2015, when I did about 44,000, but down from 2013 and 2014, with 80,000 and over 100,000 respectively. I’d like to shoot for 100,000 next year, but that seems unlikely since in the spring I’m going to be teaching introductory psychology, which I haven’t taught in 20 years. That means quite a bit more work for me.
Word count is actually pretty misleading for me, anyway. For example, I spent a couple of weeks revising Cold in the Light but actually took out words from its original count. How do I figure that into a word count? Also, I don’t count wordage from my blog posts or my journal, since those are not intended for publication. My journal for 2017, which does include my blog posts, is around 40,000 words. That’s down from years past.
Besides writing, everyone here knows I’m also a big reader. I mark my “year in books” from one birthday to the next, but Goodreads, of course, does it by calendar year. According to Goodreads, I read 69 books in 2017, 17,720 pages, at an average of 257 pages per book. The shortest book I read was Goodnight Moon, a kid’s story, at 32 pages. The longest was the SF book, Earth, by David Brin, at 704 pages. My average rating across all those book was 3.5 stars. The most popular book I read was The Girl on the Train, reviewed by over 200,000 people. The least popular was reviewed by 0 folks other than me, and that was Incredible Football Feats, which was published in 1974.
Some of my favorite reads for 2017: My Grandmother Danced, by Eve Brouwer, a wonderful novel told in poetic form. I also loved Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest, a poetry/prose chapbook by Bruce Boston and Robert Frazier. My favorite YA book was The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth, although I also much enjoyed Lad: A Dog, by Albert Terhune. My favorite writing related book was Bestseller Metrics by Elaine Ash. A really fine, and uniquely written, fantasy novel that I enjoyed was Helen’s Daimones by S. E. Lindberg. A great short horror novel that I read was Dark Hours, by Sidney Williams.
I got back into Dean Koontz in 2017, after a couple of years away, and enjoyed his Frankenstein series. I very much enjoyed Ravenheart and Stormrider by David Gemmell. I loved me some Ed Gorman westerns. Perhaps my least favorite read of the year was Big Lobo, A Nevada Jim Western.
I don’t make resolutions anymore. There are certain things I will try to do. I will try to read and write as much as I can without ignoring my wife and son and other important folks in my world, and without losing my job. I’ll try to eat good food but not quite as much. I’ll try for plenty of naps and walks in nature. I’ll try to be a good person to the best of my abilities. Hope you all have a great 2018.