The Year That Was 2015

Last year was the embodiment of the balance theory. For every ounce of good that entered my life, there was an almost equal, if not greater, drop of bad. Here we are now, in 2016, though, and I can say I made it through. We made it through.

But what, exactly, really happened?

It started on a high with the reveal of Sanity’s Flaw’s redesigned print cover and the newly minted Procyk Forfeit trilogy—which continues this year in The Nobodies and concludes with Trezka. But it wasn’t long before the crap started to hit the fan as personal problems erupted and I realized I made a huge mistake on the cover. I tried to balance this by fighting through to bring Sanity’s Flaw to print and working on Trezka to the point it could go to peer review, though, so not all was lost.

Releasing Sanity’s Flaw was, arguably, the most exciting moment of 2015, and also led to one of the year’s most pleasant: getting a note back from a heavy influence on the book, Vernon Geberth. Combined with the publication, this sort of spurred a resurgence in my creative juices that I dumped into shaping my “business” and launching my online store.

Unfortunately, I quickly had to add a quick fix to Sanity’s Flaw’s print version to include a price, which meant the book needed to be taken down for about a week. As this was all graphic design, though, that left extra energy for work on my Fourth Book (and, briefly, my Fifth), which I finally finished.

I think it was when I realized I was writing the second draft of Book Four wrong that I really started to go downhill. At least, that’s what it looks like when looking back on my posts, though it truly had nothing to do with my work. Admittedly, my memory of the time is already a bit fuzzy. But the post right after that was probably the most depressing thing I’ve ever written, even going so far as to acknowledge I’d planned to tie the end of my books to the self-inflicted end of my life. Something of an existential crisis ensued, and I hit my lowest point, emotionally, since probably high school.

I tried distracting myself with reviews of Wolfenstein: The New Order and creating a (if I do say so myself) rather fabulous tribute to Mark Twain for a local contest, but my posts came few and far between around this time. I just didn’t want to write them. Still, work continued. I got back to the map for the Fifth Book. I outlined the Sixth Book. I edited the crap out of Book Four. All of this, even though I felt I was torturing my characters as readily as I’d tortured myself.

It was all this thinking that led me to pull The Nobodies off the market.

Doing that was both a curse and a blessing. Really, who would, in their right mind, turn away money? Well, I wasn’t in my right mind for one, and two, I no longer felt the book conveyed the sense of professionalism I want to associate myself with. Should I have left it? No, screw that. I needed to fix it.

And fix it, I did. Well, started to anyway. While also doing a bunch of household tasks, going on mini adventures to clear my head, and coming up with new ideas, I threw myself into editing the book again, even going so far as to devise a brand new section, and didn’t finish for nearly three months. Yes, I was rather thorough. But that’s where the blessing part came in. Because I think, if not for the work there, the work with something familiar, something I love, I’m not sure how motivated I would be now to work on other pieces, not even just Trezka and Book Four—but other things I’ve only just considered.

Maybe the last best thing to come out of 2015? My decision to double down on social media. I’ve dabbled in it for some time, of course, but haven’t done much regarding building my business on it. I’ve started to change that, and the results have been better than I expected. You may have even seen the Facebook ad for my page, or the nifty New York Times-ish article that went up Christmas day. I’ll be aiming for more of that this year.

As to what else comes next? You’ll just have to stick around to find out. But I think (and really, really, really hope) it’s going to be a good year.