2014 – One writer’s year
In many ways, 2014 has been a mixture of chaos and limbo–and that’s just a writer’s life, not the uncertainty of national and international politics. Since I’ve tried to keep most political issues off this site, I started a new blog called Calamities of the Heart (using my Trick Falls alias) for things I find it hard to keep silent about. I alternate such posts with other posts which can, at best, be called either irreverent humor or twisted satire:
I’ve also re-done my Facebook author’s page. Like other authors, it remains to be seen whether having such a page is worthwhile because Facebook has been slowly changing its rules about what (if anything) posted on such pages is allowed to display on the timelines of people who LIKE the page. The rules will become more stringent in 2015 when Facebook expects us to pay to “boost” our posts if they’re to be seen by anyone who doesn’t come to the page and look:
- A new (new for me) publisher and I have failed so far to reach a meeting of the minds about my novel The Sun Singer. I expected the book’s release in January 2014 and then when it was released in August, there were formatting problems. At present, the novel is out of print.
The e-book edition of my comedy/satire Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire is on sale at Amazon, OmniLit, Smashwords and other sites for 99 cents until January 10th. If you’ve already read and enjoyed the book, I would appreciate your vote for it in this year’s Predators and Editors poll.
- I’ve enjoyed working on several novellas set in the Florida Panhandle where I grew up. My focus has been on conjure, also called Hoodoo. So far, I don’t have a publisher for these, but in many ways that doesn’t matter. Exploring the swamps and piney woods of my youth has been a wonderful experience.
- The limbo of the year has come partly from the disruption of downsizing our possessions so that we’ll fit into a smaller, more efficient house. In January, we will be moving to a
new house in Northwest Georgia on a corner of the farm where my wife grew up. The old smokehouse in the “Calamities of the Heart” header is on that farm just a few feet away from where we built the house on the site of the property’s original (but long gone) homestead.
- I’m sad to say that my wife’s father, who looked forward to our living “just down the road,” died in November. He was 92. My wife and I are grateful to the wonderful folks at Hospice for their help once he came home from the hospital for those last days. Since he was for many years both a farmer and a housing contractor, we’re happy that he was up and about during the building of the new house, often asking questions of the builder’s on-site supervisor about changes in construction methods that have come about since he retired.
- I’m pleased with the new cover for my young adult collection of three short stories called Emily’s Stories. One of the stories is set in Glacier National Park; the other two are set in Tallahassee, Florida. The book is available in audio, e-book and paperback. If you have already read and enjoyed Emily’s Stories, I would appreciate your vote for it in this year’s Predators and Editor’s poll.
- Due to changes at Literary Aficionado where I posted many of my Book Reviews as well as the time-consuming nature of building a new house while cleaning out and trying to sell the old one, I’ve done fewer reviews this year. Of the books that I reviewed, my favorite was Amy Greene’s Long Man. My review is here on my Malcolm’s Round Table blog. The novel made many of this year’s “best books” lists. Greene is also the author of Bloodroot, which came out in 2011. Both of these novels are set in Appalachia. Appalachia is also the setting of Melinda Clayton’s “Cedar Hollow Series,” so at year’s end, I’m back in this wondrous area with another great story while a Booker Prize winner goes on hold.
- I have been reading Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize novel The Luminaries. Due to its length, I’ve set it aside several times to read shorter books. It has an inventive plot and very capable writing, but it isn’t quite my cup of tea. I do plan to finish it even though I think it’s too long at 830+ pages. (Normally, I like long novels, but the story here could have been told with more economy.) Currently, it’s on hold while I read Melinda Clayton’s fourth novel in her series,” Shadow Days. It has been keeping up late at night because I’d rather read than sleep.
The Land Between the Rivers, my collection of three folktales set in North Florida at the dawn of time will be free on Kindle for five days from December 30th through January 3rd. Follow the exploits of Bear, Panther and Snake Bird in the swamp that would one day be named Tate’s Hell. Tate’s Hell is such a wonderful and diverse state forest that I also featured it in my novel The Seeker.
- My dark short story “Dream of Crows” appears in the Lascaux Prize 2014 anthology. The book was released on Kindle in early December.
I’m sure other stuff has happened this year, but this update has gone on long enough.