Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back on 2015

To say it has been a bumpy 2015 for myself and Super Powered Fiction is probably under-stating the issue. With two massive server failures from two different providers, I lost the original site that ran for years (including all its archives) and was forced to relaunch in January, only to have to move the contents of the site a few weeks back to a blogspot server after my second provider fell in with the same conglomerate of crappy service as the first one. With our new Blogspot home finding us more readers than ever before, the plan is to stick around here for awhile, but don't worry as will continue to point this way for years to come.

Hospital selfie.
Outside of server troubles, I have had my own issues with blocks and fumbles. My original plan for 2015 was to produce several books under the umbrella of Times Past but most of those plans fell by the wayside as I started to fight health issue after health issue. I started the year with a nearly debilitating case of the flu, followed by perhaps the worst bout of depression I ever faced and then a neck surgery that literally came out of nowhere at the beginning of July. That left me off of work for two months, but with limited time up and around I also had limited time writing until a few weeks after the surgery. Once I was up though, I was re-energized in my writing, producing a handful of new short stories and finally kicking off the third volume of Lightweight, which I would bring to Kickstarter a few weeks later.

But I still managed to get a few things out in the calendar year. Most of them were short stories, both in my own anthologies and a few compiled and published by other folks.

I kicked off the year with Pulpsploitation, the beginning of a series of anthologies and novels introducing 1980s exploitation style versions of classic pulp and comic characters. My Airboy tale kicked off what will soon develop into a full Airboy novel sometime in the new year, while four other tales filled out a book filled with adventure, action and sex.

That was followed by another tale from 1982, as I provided my first tale of The Second Life of D.B. Cooper in the pages of The Good Fight 2: Villains, an anthology of the Pen & Cape Society designed to provide financial aid to the ailing James Hudnall following the loss of his leg to diabetes complications.

About the time I started to promote that book, my bout with depression hit. I don't know how many people out there have experienced severe depression, but it's just crippling in ways many can't imagine. I found myself unable to accomplish much of anything but work and sleep. Life feels like an empty void where no one cares and nothing ever goes right and the only hope one can have is escape. I've dealt with those feelings for years, though unlike colleagues and acquaintances with depression issues, suicide never really entered my mind. Even this time, when I felt myself unable to do anything at all, thoughts of death were few and far between. But I still lost weeks of work time to my fight, but thankfully an increase in my prescription started to level things out for me.

As I started to fight back from my low, I went to work on a project that went by the wayside literally for months. Lightweight: Black Death had been delivered as an ebook to my patrons at the end of 2015, but proof issues kept the print edition delayed right into my down period. I finally released the print edition of the book. In June, I finally got the book out and in the hands of readers worldwide.

I released what turned out to be the only Quadrant short story of the year with "Future Shock".  I had a lot of fun playing with Enigma as he took the focus in this novel. I wanted to really deal with what it would mean to be an omnipath, never able to filter out all the thoughts around you, and how disconcerting it would be to suddenly lose that connection. It also allowed me to play with some of the powerhouses that float around the Quadrant Universe, more of which will be revealed in the future. (You can expect more Quadrant in the new year as I finish up the stories for the first book and look to collect them into novel form.)

At the same time, I kicked off the revamped Walking Shadows Book Three after I had finished re-publishing the first two books on the revived Walking Shadows site. It continues to go strong and will finish up sometime in mid-2016 should my plans carry through correctly. I also relaunched my Patreon in support of the book, a change that will kick off with bonus content on that site in January.

Much of the rest of the year was taken up writing projects that will debut in the new year, such as Lightweight: Beyond. But I did finish out the year with two more anthology appearances.

First up, Horror Heroes 2 continued to bring new takes on monsters re-imagined as heroes. My story for the first novel turned Dracula into a teenage female superhero, while my story for the second volume went in a completely different direction. It focused on the love story of a woman and a strange Deep One hybrid, even as they face danger around "The Beach House."

Then just as the year finally neared its close, my second story written for charity as well as my second D.B. Cooper tale was published in the pages of Airship 27's Legends of New Pulp Fiction. The massive 700 plus page tome contains over sixty stories and was designed as a fund raiser for Tommy Hancock, a writer and editor (at Pro Se Press) facing major issues with his heart. I was more than happy to provide "Miami Heist" to do my small part in helping him. The new tale takes Coop to Miami (naturally) as he encounters a Puerto Rican assassin and a group of strange mercs descended from twisted Nazi experiments. It's a lot of fun and features a cameo from another pulp hero I've used before.

I should have another anthology appearance shortly after the beginning of the new year as my tale for Flinch Books' Big Top Tales will see the light of day very very soon. That will be followed by more Lightweight, more Quadrant and a few surprises as I move into 2016 with a bang.

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