2016: Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again.

Past Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


This year I continued my trend that began last year. While it wasn’t conscious, I’ve jumped off the short story writing and subbing treadmill. I didn’t submit a single story to a market this year. Will it continue? Maybe not forever, but for now I am happy using my time in different ways.

I neither wrote nor published any new short stories this year, for the first time in quite a few years. But it was still one of my more productive years. In fact, I probably did at least a little writing almost every single day. In addition to co-writing with Wind Lothamer the RPG modules  The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia and Edgar Rice Burroughs Adventures, I published my third book with Severed Press (Cthulhu Kaiju) and put together a collection of my own short-stories: Shaolin vs Vikings. That was my first time self-publishing and honestly I probably could have written a novel in the amount of time it took me to figure out all the formatting and cover design. I wrote a few other RPG materials and also spent way too much time developing my RPG campaign (which recently ended due to a gratuitous use of a WISH spell.)

I won’t know exactly how much I made until March 2017, when I can see the royalties for the fourth quarter of 2016. But not counting those sales, I made less than 1000 dollars for writing this year, and over half of that was from ghostwriting part of a novel for someone else. I mean, I would write for free but it’s still a bit of a bummer to know I’m so far from ever sustaining myself with what I love doing the most.

Currently I am working on two more RPGs,  but I have two novel length projects I’ve started and need to finish. It was a rough goal to get them done this year but if I have to wait until next year, so be it. I guess I’m still treading water but since I happen to like swimming it’s all good.




Cthulhu Kaiju – Rough Draft Complete

In contrast to the speedy 2.5 months I wrote Beneath the Mantle in, Cthulhu Kaiju took 4.5 months. Why? I wish I knew. Lovecraft and hippies and Oregon? I couldn’t have had a novel subject closer to my heart. But the pressure of getting it right was strong. In the end, I had to quite my second job and stop all extra-curricular activities for two months. But the first draft is done and it’s gone out to beta readers.

Here is my wordle, in case you wondering what words I (over)use.

wordle 2

As is my wont, I went through quite a few titles. Here are some I considered.

Blasphemy in Bridgetown

The Stygian Corners of Stumptown

Febrile Cultists of Bridgetown

SAN loss in Stumptown

Cthulhu vs. Portlandia

Elder Signs and Ancient Ones

People’s Republic of Cthulhu

Cthulhu: End of the Cosmic Dream

Keep Portland Squamous

But my publisher reckons Cthulhu Kaiju will be a better seller and I trust his wisdom. I followed the same story structure as in Mantle, (which is a hodgepodge of advice from Moorcock, Mieville and Dan Harmon) although I also deviated from it more.

Here are some of the many photos I used for inspiration. (My bookmarks folder has 41 tabs. I had to research A LOT for this book, although then I had to go and cut most of it out to avoid over exposition. And so it goes)

Anyway, the book should be out soon. You’ll hear from me here when it is, naturally.

2015 – Running to Stand Still

A-maze-ingThis has been a weird writing year for me. I’ve written only a couple of new short stories. One of them pitted Vikings against not western monks but Shaolin Monks, and not just any Shaolin monks but Elder One worshiping Shaolin monks. The other is a horror story set in Oslo with a Sumerian god driven mad over the millenia hunting and killing poor Norwegians. Neither have sold yet, even though one was specifically requested for an anthology.
I cut down the amount of short story submissions in half–most years I submit to 60 or 70 markets. This year I subbed to less than 30.  It takes a lot of time to research markets, to format queries and get stories to appropriate word counts. I probably saved more than a day’s worth of time by not submitting to as many markets. At the same time, I haven’t had a single short story sale all year, for the first time since 2009.

But it was a slightly different case for long fiction. I finished writing Beneath the Mantle and should have finished but have not Squamous Stumptown, my kaiju novel set in Oregon. Look for it early next year.

Mantle is the best thing that ever happened to me, writing wise. It sold very well (by my standards) and for a while was up with Old Man and the Sea and Moby Dick. (It’s classified as a seastory for some reason on Amazon.)  It also got up to 93 in Bestselling ebooks, ahead of some noteworthy novels (and some of my favorites of all time–check out 95, 97 and 98!)


That was a brief ascension of course and sales have slowed way down. Still, Mantle has gotten more reviews than all my other books and anthologies put together, and also earned more money.

I also got to interview Lord GrimDark himself, about grimdark and violence and fantasy.  I also read slush for a major magazine, 3-4 stories a day for about 6 weeks, which I actually really enjoyed.


But a lot of my energy this year went into a new found love of RPGS.  I discovered the OSR movement and Death Frost Doom and Red and Pleasant Land and Slumbering Ursine Dunes and Yoon-Suin and so on and so on. I read a lot and wrote a few campaigns and have pages and pages of notes. So that’s what I’m most excited about for 2016–making more RPG supplements.

But I will have plenty to do, including finishing some stories I’ve been half-working on for a few years, finish the Kaiju novella, finish my Indian subcontinent fantasy novel, and maybe even find an agent. So 2016 should be an interesting year.

Past Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014