Hello readers! Hope you had an excellent New Year’s Eve. I had a quiet celebration with my family this year–we made cheesecake, played Clue, and watched a Jane Austen movie on Netflix. While I fondly remember my nights hosting New Year’s Eve parties, deejaying afterparties until 5am, drinking too much whiskey, and trying to keep track of the night’s door revenues, I’m glad my current lifestyle no longer requires such excess. Those were good times, and I’m glad I survived them (and profited), but the stress level was consistently high. I remember the night one guest accidentally set her hair on fire (thanks Hsiao-Wen for dousing the flames). I remember the night when a huge wad of cash fell out of my pocket in the back room of the DNA Lounge (honest employees–it was all there when I went back to find it). I remember the stress of trying to serve five hundred guests free champagne between midnight and 12:10am (thanks Jackie, Beth, Dawn, Kia, and everyone else who made that happen year after year). I remember when a patron, exhausted and drunk, fell off his barstool and cracked his head on the floor. Ultimately the poor fool was fine, but my friend Aly fainted at the sight of blood. Her boyfriend Dave caught her in his arms and swept her away.
So … some good times and some crazy times. Some of my friends are still living large. But I enjoyed my quiet night of boardgames, dessert, and Netflix, with no regrets. And no hangover today.
Personally, I had some real highs and some real lows. The low points were some health issues and physical pain–I broke my foot (three metatarsals), and suffered from debilitating gastritis (or possibly ulcers) for months. My foot is fully healed except for the occasional weird twinge that reminds me never to skateboard in the dark on a bumpy street. My stomach still hurts at times, but not as bad and not all the time, and I can function, and I sleep well, and though I don’t know if I will ever recover to the point where I can guzzle red wine and drink pints of Peets, that may be a blessing in disguise. I will tell you that broken bone pain is a walk in the park compared to gastric pain.
In terms of highs, I sold a bunch of short stories, including “The Equationist” to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which has been a goal for a long time (you can pick up an issue at your local magazine shoppe today, or subscribe, if you want to read great stories all year long). My novelette “The Icelandic Cure” won the 2016 Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Prize. I joined the SFWA as an active member. After many years of grinding, I finally feel like I have the beginnings of a fiction writing career, and it feels awesome. Only a few times in my life have I set a very difficult goal, worked toward it steadily for years, and then succeeded. It’s a beautiful feeling: part euphoria, part relief, part I-told-you-so. Though nobody among my friends and family doubted me–they’ve all been super supportive–I still remember when Russell Bass, my food service employer when I was twenty, kind of chuckled when he asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I told him I wanted to produce electronic music and be a science fiction writer. While I understand why he chuckled … I told you so, Russell Bass. (To be fair, I hope some thoughtless chuckle or raised eyebrow that I’ve dished out in the past has put a fire in the belly of some young whippersnapper … we all need a doubter or two.)
Oh yeah, the novel … can’t spill the beans yet, but I have some good news in that category too.
Lots of other good fortune in 2017 as well. Home life is happy, I had plenty of freelance work, we got a great dog, my mom reunited with her brother after decades of no contact, I visited my dad and his wife in France, I played racquetball every week, I played more Dungeons & Dragons than I have since I was in junior high, I read some great books (including several from The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell–I can never get enough Vikings), and I read more short fiction in 2017 than I did in the previous five years combined.
Though my late discotheque nights are mostly in the past, I made some good studio music in 2017 with my boys Spesh (who opened for Digweed the other night) and Mark Musselman (the most restless man I know, and admirably still clubbing like a twenty-year-old). My favorite Jondi & Spesh release of 2017 was “Rise,” followed by “Vibrations.” My favorite remix of a Jondi & Spesh track was the Marshall Watson remix of “Size of the Hands.” Momu’s “State of Being” was and still is the #1 Loöq Records seller, but my personal 2017 Momu favorite is “The Summit.”
In terms of this blog, the most popular 2017 post was Five Things That Made My Life 10% Better (Each), followed by Four Reasons To Supplement With Niacinamide. I continued to enjoy writing this blog, and I plan to keep doing so for a long time. I’ve found a good balance in terms of which comments I respond to, how much email I answer, and so forth. Ultimately I greatly enjoy trying to be a helpful person (as long as I don’t feel taken for granted). Like most people, I suppose …
Direction and Plans for 2018
I’m working on a new novel, I have plans to revise a completed novel, and I’ll be continuing to revise and submit short stories.
I’ll be attending both the Nebula Convention in Pittsburgh in May, and WorldCon 76 in August in San Jose. If you’re going to either of those, let me know.
This year I’m hoping to meet, in-person or online, as many writers and publishing industry people as possible. I would love to feel more of a sense of community and I’ll be taking steps to reach out. So if you write, review, represent, edit, and/or publish science fiction or fantasy, please introduce yourself (either in the comments or contact me here).
I’ll continue to write this blog, possibly posting more frequently than before. I have a renewed interest in a number of health topics (probably because I had a rough health year last year), and I’m considering doing a monthly personal update (in addition to results from any self-experimentation). I’ll be writing about my writing process, and I plan to share some numbers re: the three years I’ve been submitting short fiction for publication.
What About You?
What were your 2017 highlights? What’s your master plan for 2018?