Monday, January 3, 2011

That was the Decade that Was

The aughties - 2001 to 2010 - span my entire writing career. Wow. So much stuff has happened in those ten years. Consider: in 2001, I still worked in high tech. The country had a budget surplus, after years of competent management by the Clinton administration, and the worst scandal everyone knew about was the President's dalliance with a lady on his staff.

Compare that to now, when, when after 8 years of the Stupid, America has a trillion dollar deficit, its own secret police, secret prisons, the TSA, and a genuine concentration camp in Cuba (as opposed to a death camp, with which the term has become conflated)

So given the slow poisoning of American culture that I was seeing, the decay of the value of common decency, and in the face, four days in, of seeing that idiot re-elected in 2004, I wrote Looking Glass, my second NaNoWriMo novel, and if sales are any indication, the most likely reason you're reading this. I finished it in the summer of 2005.

Met friend Jeff (Jeff Duntemann) over regenerative radios in January of 2005. If for no other reason, I'll never regret getting into vacuum tube technology. Jeff is salt of the Earth.

NaNo 2005 gave me a second novel in the Looking Glass world, though it's not the one you're thinking. It had a lot of good ideas, but I was so desperate not to make another Catherine Farro novel that the characterizations in Last American Virgin are pretty weak. Not many people have seen that novel, and it's unlikely many will, at least in any recognizable form. However, in January of 2006, I had the idea for what is the second novel in the Looking Glass world, now known as Irreconcilable Differences. Long, boring drives through Kansas and Wyoming, combined with the buddy movie concept I tinkered with in Virgin to give me the idea. The first draft of the manuscript was finished at the end of September, 2006.

Looking Glass sold at the end of 2006, and I became a published author.
NaNo 2006 was when I wrote the first draft of the book that's kept me in knots since, Einstein's Blues. So many cool ideas in that book, including a new universe of planets that I still have ideas for, but so many fundamental problems with the plot. I still hope to finish this one, as I think it's worth it. It's also the last novel I was able to bounce ideas off of friend Mike with.

May 25, 2007, Looking Glass is released with another book in Flying Pen Press's release party at the Tattered Cover

July, 2007, we finally left Colorado Springs for a Denver suburb. Just in time, by the look of things, as while it took us six months to sell our house there, the economy there has pretty much dried up and blown away. The Denver paper covered how the Springs can't afford to run all their streetlights anymore, and how they were selling some of their police helicopters on Ebay. Yeesh. This process started in July and ended in early 2008.

October, 2007. My father passed away after a series of strokes.

January, 2008 found me feverishly completing work on the manuscript for Irreconcilable Differences, which I ultimately finished the first week of February. The book was released during WorldCon Denver (Denvention 3), on August 7, 2008, and the release party was at the Tattered Cover again. I did NaNo in 2008 as well, but the novel that resulted, Truth be Told, is another one that may never see the light of day. It was, notably, my first attempt to have a male narrator. Also, in 2008, Americans finally elected a President we could be proud of. After 8 years of George W. Bush, frankly Mickey Mouse would have been an improvement. President Obama is far from perfect, but he seems to grasp that decency is still an American value. Whether Congress agrees is another question.

2009 seemed like a not-very-productive year, and from an output standpoint that's true. But the truth is I spent much of 2009 converting most of Flying Pen Press's catalog into ebooks for sale on Kindle. 2009 also saw the death of friend Mike, who was killed by a drunk driver in a traffic accident. Between the two, I just didn't create much new material. This malaise lasted me well into 2010.

2010 after the end of June saw a comparative explosion of new work - a novella and a short story. The short story, Brass and Steel is in print now in Science Fiction Trails magazine, and the novella, On Gossamer Wings will be part of a double-novel with friend Jeff, due out sometime this summer. NaNo 2010 saw me extending Brass and Steel into the first novel of what may turn out to be a series of books. (Eek.) I'm working on that one these days.

2010 also saw the return of Republicans to power in the House, and it remains to be seen if this is a return to the Stupid of the early Aughties, or whether they're more sane these days.

And now it's 2011. A new decade. While my first instinct is to club the old one over the head with a shovel, bury it, and spit on the grave; looking back it wasn't all bad. I'm 43 now, I have a new career that I'm slowly kicking forward, still married to the most wonderful woman in the world, and I live in a place now where there's some hope. And of course, there's the new work, so hopefully my long-patient readers (that's you folks) will have new output from me soon.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year and Happy New Decade.

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