31 December 2019

The End is Near


As I write this, 2020 is only a few days away. As you read this, it likely is only a matter of hours. Tomorrow will be about looking forward, and Robert Lopresti will share prognostications from our fellow SleuthSayers. Today, though, is about looking backward.

I’ve had an unusual year, for several reasons, and following is my year-end wrap-up.

COLLABORATION

If 2019 had a theme, it was collaboration.

I collaborated on stories with four writers this year, saw one collaboration published (“Gracie Saves the World,” written with Sandra Murphy, was published in Maxim Jakubowski’s The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories [Mango Publishing]) and had three more accepted. Two stories are making the rounds, and two more are still in progress.

I also collaborated as an editor. Trey R. Barker and I co-created and co-edited the Guns + Tacos serial novella anthology series, saw the first six episodes released as ebooks, one each month for the last six months of 2019, and the novellas will be collected in a pair of paperbacks scheduled for release in early 2020. Trey and I are currently editing six novellas for the second season, due out the last half of 2020.

Early in the year I joined Black Cat Mystery Magazine as co-editor and, though my name is listed in the masthead of issue 5, my first real impact on the publication will be the special issue Black Cat Mystery Magazine Presents Private Eyes, due out soon.

And Gary Phillips and I began work on an anthology scheduled for publication in spring of 2021.

NEW WRITING

Following a trend that began a few years ago, my output again dropped. I completed only 14 stories (including the collaborations), down from 19 last year, and that was down from 32 the year before, a huge drop from 56 in 2016.

I wrote (or co-wrote) 67,200 finished words of fiction. The shortest story was 1,600 words; the longest was 17,300 words.

Four stories were written in response to invitations. The rest were written for open-call anthologies, for markets where I’ve previously placed stories, or for no particular market at all.

ACCEPTED, PUBLISHED, AND RECOGNIZED

I had 15 stories accepted for publication. One was horror, one science fiction, one erotica, one a crime fiction/horror mashup, and the rest were various subgenres of crime fiction. Three were reprints; the rest were originals.

I had 22 stories published. One was fantasy, one science fiction, six erotica, and the rest various subgenres of crime fiction. Seven (including all six erotica stories) were reprints; the rest were originals.

My story “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” first published in Tough, was recognized as one of the “Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2018” in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019.

REJECTIONS

I received 13 rejections this year, and any year in which acceptances outnumber rejections is a good year.

EDITORIAL PROJECTS

One of the reasons I’ve written less the past two years may be my involvement with various editorial projects.

The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods was released by Down & Out Books just in time for Bouchercon, and the first season of Guns + Tacos was released the last six months of the year.

Edited this year (mostly) and scheduled for 2020 publication: Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir and the second season of Guns + Tacos.

Begun this year and scheduled for 2021 release: Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir 2 and an anthology I’m co-editing with Gary Phillips.

Additionally, as mentioned above, I joined Black Cat Mystery Magazine as co-editor.

UPCOMING

I ended my review of 2018 with a note that “2019 will be the year I just roll with it. I’ll try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way and see what happens.”

That worked out well, so I’m going to approach 2020 the same way. A year from now I’ll let you know how it worked out.

13 comments:

Barb Goffman said...

As usual, your output leaves me exhausted. Of course it could also be because it's one a.m. Happy early new year!

O'Neil De Noux said...

Are yoiu sure there aren't two of you. It would explain a lot. If there is one of you – way to go, man.

janice law said...

Congratulations on an especially productive year!
Good wishes for 2020!

Steve Liskow said...

Congratulations on your achievements, Michael. I'm always amazed at how you keep surging ahead.

I thought my year was decent, four published short stories and another sale, but you leave me in the dust.

I published what looks more and more like my last novel, too. My attention span seems to be shortening and I'm trying to reinvent myself and think smaller.

The good news is that I have several stories looking for homes and I already have several contracted writing workshops. Last year, those were down, so maybe this is a good sign.

Good luck and good writing to everyone here.

Eve Fisher said...

Congratulations on all your achievements, Michael.

Larry W. Chavis said...

Congratulations on a good and productive year, Michael.

Loretta Wheeler said...

I enjoyed this. And I decided, after having a read, to do something I've been considering for awhile. Just roll with it. I think, for a writer's soul, they have to go *walkabout* every so often, especially if the path across the way is calling to them.

Congratulations on such a productive year! And pre-congrats on the upcoming one. I would say, in following a different path, you're not only following the roll, but you're rockin' it! :)

Lo

Loretta Wheeler said...

I enjoyed this. And I decided, after having a read, to do something I've been considering for awhile. Just roll with it. I think, for a writer's soul, they have to go *walkabout* every so often, especially if the path across the way is calling to them.

Congratulations on such a productive year! And pre-congrats on the upcoming one. I would say, in following a different path, you're not only following the roll, but you're rockin' it! :)

Lo

joshpac said...

You are the Maestro! I had a pretty good 2019 myself, but your accomplishments are absolutely inspirational! Happy New Year!

rjpetyo said...

Congratulations on another successful year. I wish I had half the success that you do.

Happy New Year.

Bob

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Congrats on your continued success!

Michael Bracken said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new year brings, and I wish all of you a world of success in 2020!

Leigh Lundin said...

Wow, you've been busy, Michael! With your win/loss ratio, you ever consider dabbling in the stock market! Well done!