Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 is Here!

This is a post I wanted to write to go over the last year of this blog and put everything in perspective. From what I recall 2017 was a wild, wild year.

I was just coming off of the release of Knights of the End and pleased that I finally put out a work I could be proud of. However, it wasn't a clear path from then on. I spent the rest of the year putting what I learned from the Pulp Revolution and the Superversive movement to work in my own writing and ended up not putting out nearly as much as I would have hoped to. Too much time was spent on rewrites! But that can also be explained by some real life mishaps that simply got in the way. It happens.

Still, my 2017 can best be described by one of the first posts I put up this year which was Selective Memory: An Appendix N Post, about the ever-controversial subject (for reasons I still do not understand) of Dungeons and Dragons and its undeniable influence on pop culture and storytelling over the decades. My takeaway from the whole project was that what came before us is valuable and worth exploring instead of destroying the past like certain elitist fandoms would prefer. I also learned that I really liked reading this material, so much so that most of my reads this year were split between old pulp works and modern PulpRev output.

From what I can tell, 2017 is the year the Pulp Revolution really began to take off. Many writers released their own works and created a unique ecosystem of crazy fun fiction that made it hard to keep up with. At the same time, traditional publishing put out near nothing of note. Not a good look for them. If 2017 was anything, it was the year of PulpRev.

January was also the month I began Grey Cat Blues which finally, after so many setbacks, released in December. If you want to know why it took so long to come out, well, it wasn't the only thing I was spending 2017 on, as you will see.

February was the month I saw the one film worth paying money for in 2017 and covered the downfall of Japan's Dragon Magazine, one of the most influential pulp-style manga and light novel magazines. It was at this point that the disappointment of modern pop culture was getting to me. Things actually were getting worse. It wasn't just in my head. But I was still writing and hoping to put my own pop culture out there at the same time

This year I took Lent off the blog and social media to focus on writing and got quite a bit done including the first draft of Grey Cat Blues and several short stories. I'll probably be taking another absence again in 2018. But I did make a few posts, including one for my first published short story, Someone is Aiming For You, in the Superhero Anthology by the Crossover Alliance. It was also published again in Paragons by Silver Empire later in the year.

At this time I made a behind the scenes decision to change the focus of my writing to focus on submitting several short stories to different anthologies. All except one was eventually accepted to where they were submitted, but in retrospect I should have focused on getting Grey Cat Blues out instead. The stories ultimately wouldn't release for much longer than I should have been comfortable with and as a consequence my presence was not as out front as it should have been.

So March was productive, and it wasn't. That's the best way to explain it.

However, April also ended up being one of the most productive months on the blog. Many of these posts where shared all over social media, even from people who have never read or shared my posts before. This was the month my traffic really began its climb.

My post on Comic Books came out just as the industry's madness became well known to everyone, I began my four part series on good anime, and I finished off the month with a post focused on the most important topic of entertainment and the arts: entertaining the audience. I suppose being offline for as long as I was gave me plenty of time to think in between drafts.

May was mainly spent on offline problems, but I did put out my second and third posts on my anime series, and another one on self-awareness killing entertainment. At the same time I shelved another novel I was working on for many reasons, which killed a lot of my productivity and wasted too much time. That isn't something I'm going to do again.

But the blog kept doing well.

June was a lighter month with my finishing off my anime series, and writing what might be my most personal post, and an update post regarding book 2 of Knights of the End which ended up getting pushed back indefinitely after I realized I wasted too much time sitting on Grey Cat Blues and getting short stories written and submitted to anthologies. At the same time I began work on another new project. Again, this was clearly the weakest part of my year. I should have absolutely had more released than I ended up releasing.

July ended up being a big event in my offline life, and taking up most of my time. Coupled with the paragraph above and you can see that I definitely wasted too much time. I finished up on Grey Cat Blues, waiting for my editor to have a spare moment, and started on another book I hope to have out in the first quarter of 2018. On the other hand, the blog did have my post on Shonen and its undeniable influence which is one of my favorite posts.

But then August got everything back on track and it has been only going uphill ever since. I posted my single most popular post ever on this blog centered on the End of Pop Culture and I finished Grey Cat Blues and gave it to my editor and wrote another short story in a sitting and got it back from my second editor. Thanks, Brian! My update post clears everything up. I also started working on the Cannon Cruisers podcast with a friend of mine which ended up being a good outlet for movie watching this year. Blog posts were mostly reviews outside my tribute post to the massively underrated Brave Fencer Musashi, though this was the month I got a ton of writing done, including submitting Lucky Spider's Last Stand in pulp speed (I spent one afternoon and night writing and editing it) to the PulpRev Sampler.

September continued on with me finishing the first draft of my novel (still need to get back to it, and will do so very soon!) and began the final edits on Grey Cats Blues. I also put up a series of popular posts centered on the limits of superpowers, the arrogance of modern creators and critics, a post on the fracturing of shared culture, and one on the real reason the X-Men were popular.

Then as things got better, they also got odd.

October was a frustrating month. Grey Cat Blues was completely finished, but all sorts of outside factors led it to being delayed until December. I spent a lot of time arguing with several people about dumb things on top of it and wasting my time. Not again. But we finally got Cannon Cruisers off the ground, and I did get stories released in two different anthologies this month including Paragons and the PulpRev Sampler. I ended the month better than it started, but not getting the book out when it should have been really soured the mood.

In November I finally revealed Grey Cat Blues and spread the word on the vital RetroWave scene. There was also a very popular post the shallowness of modern culture which wasn't spurred on by nothing.

Things were going really well. They only got better.

I also sort of participated in National Novel Writing Month. By which I mean I didn't really take part. I started about halfway through the month on a new novel and went through to the halfway mark of December. Since I was trying to get my novel out at the time and was frustrated editing so much material that wasn't seeing the light of day I took a small break to work on something new as I was waiting for outside forces to catch up to me. The plan was to write 30,000 words of a new project in a month to which I succeeded. I then spent the rest of December finishing the draft and went back to editing previous projects again.

And December was a big month in that I finally released Grey Cat Blues on the public. It outsold Knights of the End quickly and got positive word of mouth. You have no idea the size of the weight that lifted off of me when I finally got it out. Even after I had to go back and forth with amazon to finally put out the paperback for such a silly reason that eventually ended up getting solved by them in one afternoon. It took much too long.

I also put out a post on the state of anime in 2017 and another very popular post spurred on by a really bad year for Hollywood about the loss of common sense on storytelling. These helped cap off a a year that was better to me than I was to myself.

Looking back on it, I can't help but be surprised at how good it really was.

So at the end of the day, 2017 led me to release a new novel and three short stories despite writing over twice (and nearly three times) that amount of material. I actually wrote 3 novels and 6 short stories, which was triple my previous year. I'm hoping to release that much this year and not spend so much time on revisions. 2018 will be even better.

But that's not to sell 2017 short. The blog grew by leaps and bounds, I started a podcast and released a book, I met a lot of really good folks, and learned a lot. As much as 2016 was better than 2015, 2017 was even better. Any problems I had with it are of my own doing. There is a lot of good to talk about, and I think I did so in this post.

Thank you for reading Wasteland & Sky, and I hope you stick with me as we continue into 2018. It's going to be a good year.

In case you missed it, you can check out my most recent work. I can promise it was a lot of fun to write and just as fun read.

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