2022: A Year In Review (I Guess We're Doing This)
I haven't been blogging much this year, and I'm not sure why. I guess my heart really isn't in it all that much. Or maybe I've said all I need to say (that I won't write into a novel). Whatever the case, I think this might be my third post of the year.
That said, I didn't spend the year not writing. For some reason a few weeks ago I was getting down on myself (I said getting, perverts) for not writing a lot this year. But when I looked back, I'd actually written a fair bit. I started a novel in January and released it in April (Gross Out). I wrote an entire second novel (Try Not to Die at Ghostland), which also functions as a gamebook (along with author Mark Tullius), which was one of the hardest things I've ever had to write but also very rewarding. It will be coming out sometime in 2023. I wrote and released a brand-new novella and short story in a collection (Skin Flicks) along with another short I wrote in 2020. And I put a ton of work into the Ghostland: Ghost Hunter's Edition omnibus, which I'll be releasing very soon.
So even though I spent about 6 weeks of the year sick as a dog, changed medications, had dozens of medical procedures (I'm on two different infusion therapies for Crohn's disease), worked a full-time job and spent about 5 weeks on vacation, I still put in the work. I wasn't resting on my laurels, as they say.
Last year I said 2021 was the best year of my writing career. Somehow, 2022 was even better.
The success of Woom (the Little Book that Could) continued throughout the year, making many Best Of lists and just as many, if not more, Worst Ofs. Because of its viral success, I had my first ever five-figure month on Amazon. One of my favorite film directors reached out to me about my work, and though nothing eventually came of it, it was still a cool experience. And I got the closest I've gotten to an option for one of my books (oddly enough, not Woom), from an L.A. screenwriter.
The downside of this success is that random people on the internet have been trying to get me "canceled." Interestingly, Gross Out is partly about an author who gets canceled at a gross out contest at a horror convention, and is seeking revenge/redemption. And though it's partly a love letter to the horror genre, I had expected tons of backlash for the book, as I eviscerated just about everything deemed "sacred" by the "horror community," and just about every other annoying trend/personality trait among writers, readers and reviewers. I was called racist, misogynist, an incel and edge lord (this last from the same midlist horror author I got into it with back in 2019). It was said that I hate my mother, and that the sick things I wrote about in Woom were probably my own twisted sexual fantasies. And some deranged cultists who misunderstood a scene in said book blasted me in the Men Writing Women subreddit.
So, you know, mo' readers mo' problems.
All that said, I had a great year overall, despite the bout of Covid (and awful side effects from Paxlovid), several mystery illnesses, and all the other byproducts of a human body falling apart with age and medicinal side effects and chronic illness. I hit a bunch of milestones, including having three books simultaneously in the same Top 100 Amazon chart for over a month, hitting 10000 ratings on a single book on Goodreads and reaching not just 500 reviews on Amazon for a single book but now close to 3500 (about 3000 new ratings for Woom this year alone). I also started a Facebook group (Woomies) and with the help of my friend Danika Meyerson (as well as too many people to name), it grew from a handful of people to almost 1000 members. With contests and indie author shoutouts, etc., it's become a fun little community filled with some really amazing, supportive people.
All right, list time.
Movies I enjoyed:
My favorite film of the year wasn't horror, and it definitely wasn't Oscar bait. It was a very funny, very charming bromantic comedy called The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. I'm a huge fan of Nicolas Cage, though I recognize he's acted in a lot of stinkers. This was Cage Playing Cage, and I had a blast with it. It's like a mishmash of Adaptation and a high-concept action-comedy. And Cage and Pedro Pascal's chemistry was *chef's kiss.*
My favorite horror movies this year were (in no particular order):
- Speak No Evil
- Orphan: First Kill
TV I enjoyed:
We finally got around to watching Schitt's Creek (a series I avoided because of creator and star Dan Levy, who used to work for the same company as me, and how annoying I found him back then), and it's become one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Honestly, it was a delight, and I got over my dislike of Levy within an episode or two. Now I'd probably watch him (along with the rest of the cast) in whatever they decide to do next. What We Do in the Shadows was another comedic highlight again this year. Season 4 was terrific, though not quite as good as the previous season. Season 4 of The Sinner was also quite good.
Archive 81 was my favorite series of the year, hands down. The atmosphere, the acting, the concept, the music--everything about it was right up my alley. Bummed it didn't get a second season but I'm also kind of fine that it ended the way it did. Second and third were From and Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story.
1899 (from the creators of Dark) was very interesting, though I can't imagine what they'll do with a second season given the ending. I'm enjoying The Peripheral (based on the novel by William Gibson) a fair bit. I enjoyed this season of Snowpiercer, was somewhat underwhelmed by the final season of Locke & Key, and felt similarly with the 2nd season of Upload.
Music I enjoyed:
In addition to the stuff I usually listen to, which is mostly rock of some kind these days, I've been listening to a lot of my older brother Matthew Reid's music this year, light classical piano under the artist names Closed Lids and Sounds from a Box. He's had a great year himself, with over a million streams of a single song, and it's great to see his stuff doing so well.
I loved the new Ghost album, Impera, and probably played that more than anything else this year, and I also saw them in concert. Played a ton of Billy Talent's stuff, including their new album Crisis of Faith, and saw them in concert as well. Both shows were terrific, and it was amazing to be in a massive venue crowded with people again like the good old days before the 'Rona. Big fan of Chili Peppers's Unlimited Love but even more so, Return of the Dream Canteen. The Afghan Whigs's How Do You Burn? was on a major rotation, as well as Muse's Will of the People (especially the track "We Are Fucking Fucked").
Books I enjoyed:
One thing I did slip behind on was reading, unfortunately. I really dug Chocolateman and What Good Men Do (2023) by Jonathan Butcher, and Chad A. Clark's Curse of Worthwood Castle (upcoming). I enjoyed Jesse D'Angelo's Composite and John Lynch's The Warrior Retreat. I loved Darryl by Jackie Ess and enjoyed a twenty(ish)-year reread of Poppy Z Brite's Exquisite Corpse. I had a helluva lot of fun with Mark Tullius and John Pallisano's Try Not to Die in he Pandemic and Regina Watts's Mayhem at the Museum. I also really enjoyed the collection Visceral 2 from Patrick Harrison III and Daniel Volpe, as well as Exits from Aron Beauregard, Rowland Bercy Jr., Carver Pike and Daniel Volpe.
Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2022:
My wife and I will be taking a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in February, and much like our trip to Belize pre-pandemic, we'll be snorkeling, caving, exploring Mayan ruins, vegging out on the beach, and hopefully eating a ton of great food.
I'm excited to finally release the new Ghostland books out into the wild, as well as a new version of Gristle & Bone, my first book, with interior illustrations.
At the moment, I'm not sure what I'll be writing and releasing in 2023 otherwise, but I'm looking forward to whatever they may be. A new Lonely Motel novel? A Ghostland-adjacent story? Something else entirely? Only time will tell. But I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I'm certain.
We got tickets to see Muse in the spring, so I'm hyped for that. I heard they put on an amazing show. Apparently new Depeche Mode and Peter Gabriel albums are "dropping" in 2023, so I'll be on the lookout for them.
I'm pretty psyched to see Cocaine Bear, Renfield, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (the first Marvel movie I've had any interest in for a long while), Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin (based on the novel Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay), and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. I'm interested to see what the fellas from It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia and South Park come up with next year, as well as the final season of Snowpiercer. I'm looking forward to reading Caroline Kepnes's For You and Only You, Chuck Tingle's Camp Damascus, Bret Easton Ellis's The Shards, and Destroyer of Worlds: A Return to Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff.
I'm also hoping to get put on a new medication as the current one (Remicade) seems to not be doing its job well enough. The new iron infusions I've been getting have been helping a lot, but I'd like to not have to rely on them. Hoping that the new drug works well and negates the need for the iron, as all the constant infusions drain too much of my time and energy.
It'd be real cool, also, if 2023 was the year I got an actual option on one or more of my books. Just putting that out into the universe. *wink*
Okay, it's about time to put this year in the rearview. Until next time....