Here we are: the last week of 2022. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this last week. This time feels like entering a fugue state where I’m not sure what day it is, whether its morning or night, there’s never enough time to get anything done and then, I’m also sitting there doing nothing for what feels like far too long.
That being said, I’ve decided to throw down my end of year lists now because, let’s face it: I’m not going to finish any more books this week while looking down the barrel of retail demise (basically being at work all the damn time).
So, let’s start with the most pertinent thing first: books.
This was probably my most prolific year as an independent publisher and author. Not only did I re-release three full length novels and a short story (VOX, AEQUITAS, MEMENTO MORI & ACQUOLINA respectively) with newly designed covers, new interior layout, and updated added material, I also wrote and released three short novelettes (ORCHARDS, HALLOWED OBLIVION, & DAN & ANDY’S SCARY-OKE HOLIDAY). I also had the most productive sales year in my history of being an author, went to more shows this year than ever, expanded my reach on every social media platform I have a presence on, and somehow, didn’t manage to spontaneously combust along the way.
End of year stats as of today are:
Facebook Page: 560 likes
Instagram: 1,077 followers
Twitter: 2,530 followers
TikTok: 706 followers, 3500 likes
Email subscribers: 85
Really, really pleased with these numbers.
Also something to low-key celebrate: HALLOWED OBLIVION may be on a certain recommended reading list for a certain horror-oriented award. Never achieved something like this before and though I recognize that it is far from being considered for said award, I’m still proud of myself for hustling and getting the reach on that story that I did.
For anyone who found me this year and followed me, thanks a bunch. For those who read my stuff, thank you. For those who reviewed and recommended to others, thank you! Can’t wait to see what 2023 brings in for the growth of Strange Wilds Press and myself.
BOOKS I READ & LOVED
I had hoped to read 25+ books this year but I only got to 19. That being said, the majority of books I read really inspired me to follow my perpetuity for the weird and wonderful. A few of them even scared me or moved me so much that they’ve got me wanting to go back to read them again soon. Here are the top 4:
Other recommended reads are: We Are Here to Hurt Each Other by Paula Ashe, Crossroads by Laurel Hightower, The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, Beguiled By Night by Nicole Eigener, The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper, Abode by Morgan Sylvia, and Waif by Samantha Kolesnik.
I watched a lot of horror films and television this year, trying to stay current with what was trending on streaming and what people had watched in my social circles. There are a few things I definitely fell in love with, things that I will happily watch again and again (and some that I’m good with never watching again). Let’s start with my favorites:
- The Black Phone (2022)
- NOPE (2022)
- Krampus (2015)
- It Follows (2014)
- The Ritual (2017)
- Hellraiser (2022)
- Lou (2022)
- Glass Onion (2022)
- Underwater (2020)
- Gunpowder Milkshake (2022)
- Beast (2022)
- Encanto (2021)
- Rise of The Guardians (2012)
- Archive 81 (2022)
- Love, Death, & Robots: Season 3 (favorite was The Very Pulse of the Machine) (2022)
- What We Do In The Shadows (Season 3)
- Stranger Things: Season 4 (2022)
- Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (favorite was The Viewing) (2022)
- Little Demon (2022)
- Wednesday (2022)
- Andor (2022)
- Hot Date (2017-2019)
- The Great North Season 2 (2022)
- The Great British Baking Show
- I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (2022)
- Kim’s Convenience (Seasons 1 & 2)
This is music that really inspired me and/or I felt moved me in some way. Not much rhyme or reason to it.
- Wolf Like Me by Lera Lynn
- The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
- And You Evade Him/Born in the Blood by Joshua Burnside
- Tape Cleaning by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Burrow from the Archive 81 Soundtrack
- Mercury Immersion by Resina
- Play Out by Zola Blood
- Sabotage by The Beastie Boys
- Ou aller by GIMS
- Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac
- Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush
2023 Resolutions and Goals
As ever, I’d really like to keep growing as a writer and an author, expand my reach, meet more people, and get my books into more readers’ hands. That being said: I would like to do it smarter. I over-extended myself in many ways this year which in the end, has caught up with me.
- Self-care: This is my biggest resolution and, kind of, the only one that matters. The number of times I’ve been sick, injured, or too mentally exhausted to do work, events, hang with friends or family, etc. is inexcusable. I also find myself unhappy with how I’ve taken care of my body this year. In 2023, my goal is to get on a regular exercise program to help retrain my muscles and rehab them. My neck and shoulders are in the worst state of my life and account for the majority of my downtime. Not only do I need to be more attentive to my muscles, I also need to give myself more time to relax, sleep, and recharge. I have a habit of constantly overloading myself with too many things. The Hustle is a necessary part of the self-publishing job but I’d like to treat myself to a better regimen of self-care than previous years.
- Scheduling: A lot of my stress and over-working is due to the fact that I am terrible with scheduling things. I was better about it in 2021 and have fallen off the wayside of preparing myself for the week. I find myself scrambling to get posts done in the morning, barely having time to get ready for work, and then coming home at night exhausted but pushing myself to get more done. I need to look at the time I have available for myself and treat it with better care. This also includes making plans for writing projects and sticking to them accordingly.
- Drink More Water: Sure, I could include this under self-care but it needs its own bullet mark. It’s bad. I’m bad at it. I think my body is made of coffee instead of water.
- Experiment with Language, Form, and Rhythm in Writing: As I said in the opening paragraph, I’d really like to grow as a writer and that means not only doing more of it, but also studying others. That means reading more, experimenting more, and sharing more with others for feedback.
- Workshop with more writers: Part of the last bullet but also a little different. There is so much that can be gleaned from others in the book world and I’d love the opportunity to learn from so many. I’d absolutely love to go to a few writing workshops as well as sit down with other writers in my home state and talk shop with them. I’d also like to build on the relationships I currently have with so many wonderful people in the horror community.
- Release one novel and two novelettes in 2023: The Wild Fall: Book 2 of The Wild Oblivion is due to release next year. I’d also really like to release a second Dan & Andy novelette and possibly another project unrelated to The Wild Oblivion. My job is to get myself organized and in shape to make sure those releases are successful and have a wide reach.
- Do at least 3 large events next year: This past year, I ended up doing a smattering of events and had a great sales year. In addition to Author-Con II, I’d really like to get in on two other horror writing events to showcase my work and perhaps grow my reach. Since I’ll also be releasing a book next year, I think it’s important to cover all my bases and try to coordinate local book-signings, digital events, and readings as well. I have an interest in NECON (which I missed last year) and MVHBF (which is a very difficult show to get in on).
- Bake more!: Baking is a passion. Being in the kitchen is soothing and enjoyable. I’d like to expand my horizons and try out recipes I’m not familiar with.
- Take care of my home: Those of you who own homes know how difficult it is to pay attention to them. I’ve done a poor job of giving my home that attention this year. I’m looking forward to spending some time with it and getting to some of the many items on my list.
Well, I think that oughta do it. For those who made 2022 special, thank you so much. Here’s to 2023: may it be a year for making dreams come true.
Happy New Year!