2013 was one of the best, and hardest, years of my life. In 2013 I experienced successes that I had no right to believe I’d achieve, and dark times which nearly broke me apart. It was a year of extremes, but I’ve never been good with moderation. In the end though I made it through, and have a lot to look forward to in the days and months to come.
Professionally, after seven years of serving as a part-time and visiting faculty member at UC Clermont I was blessed to have my hard work pay off and gain a full-time tenure track teaching position that allows me to not only have more security in my life, but also share my love or writing and literature with my students. I’m proud to have the chance.
Creatively, I had an amazing year.
In January, my short story collection Romance for Delinquents was accepted for publication by Foxhead Books. At this time it’s available for purchase here, and I have a lot of fun things related to it coming down the road.
I was touched by how giving my fellow writers were when asked to read the collection for blurbs, and received more kind words and support than I could’ve ever hoped for. It was humbling to see how caring authors I hardly knew were, and I’m in their debt.
In February my chapbook Bad Kids from Good Schools was published by Winged City Press and was honored to later serve as the judge for both their summer fiction and mixed media chapbook contests.
In March my novella Roller Girls Love Bobby Knight won The Deerbird Novella Prize from Artistically Declined Press. It’s set to be released in May of this year, but if you enter this year’s contest you can score a copy of it with your entry fee for twenty dollars. Artistically Declined Press has published authors such as Ben Tanzer and Roxane Gay, and was named “One of the 25 Independent Presses That Prove This is The Golden Age of Indie Publishing” by Flavorwire.
In was honored to be a featured author at the Ink Tank Reading Series in Cincinnati in July, and again at the Writer’s Block Festival in Louisville in October.
My biggest creative achievement last year was achieving representation from The Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency which represents authors such as Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston among many other talented writers. My agent Roz Foster is in the process of selling my the YA novel The Dream Academy which I wrote during the fall of last year, and I’m hopeful it will get taken on by a great publisher.
Lastly, toward the end of the year I published two short essays: one an essay in tweet form about the way violence is viewed in schools then and now in Creative Non-fiction’s feed and November newsletter, and another about what it means to be a writer in the web journal The Manifestation Station.
I committed to my work last year and it paid off, but unfortunately it did so at a cost to my family and my physical and mental well-being. My only resolution for 2014 is to find more balance in my life. I’m not going to waste time dreaming up a more perfect imagined self, but will try to do more of the things that matter beyond my work.
Moving forward I’m waiting for word on The Dream Academy, revising a novel that was accepted for publication back in 2012 before I pulled it since it’s gotten interests from publishers, and getting ready to start a new school year and dive into my next novel which is due by April 8th. Regardless of all this, I’m going to make sure everyday to be a person, and not simply the man behind the keyboard. I’m going to spend more time with my family. They deserve it after last year.
I wish you all the best, and stay tuned.