So after twenty seconds of careful thought, I've decided that 2009 marks the 10th year of my writing career. A question: When does such a career "start"? I mean, as a young man in high school, I wrote stories to amuse my friends. Hardly professional writing, but I knew even then I liked to write and that I would attempt to get serious about it in one form or another. What about my first cash sale? I remember how thrilled I was to get a check for the handsome sum of twenty-five dollars for a story about a family of mad scientists called "Conquering the Andersons" which appeared in a magazine called Alternate Hilarities. But it's hard for me to see that as the event which kicked off my career. My science-fiction, fantasy, horror stories weren't making regular inroads. Acceptance letters were few and far between.
So when did I hear the starting gun? Some history: In 1998 (or was it late 1997?), I was working hard toward my master's degree in English at the University of West Florida. In a graduate fiction workshop, I wrote a short story called "Hitting Rufus" which I sold to a small journal called Lynx Eye. I was pleased. At that time, I wanted anyone to publish me. I just wanted to get the work out there. But it was later, after the story had been published, that I got an e-mail that was ... well ... a surprise. I'd moved on to the University of Southern Mississippi to work on my Ph.D. when I got word the story "Hitting Rufus" had been selected for the 1999 edition of Otto Penzler's Best American Mystery Stories. The editor that year was the late, great Ed McBain. I mark that as the official starting point of my career because not only was I in a bigger profile publication than I'd ever appeared in before but the story's protagonist was Charlie Swift, the mob gunman who went on to star in my fist novel, the Edgar-nominated GUN MONKEYS. I had a direction now: Crime writer.
So what is this blog post about? I suppose it's half self-reflection and half state of the union address. I've come full circle now back to science fiction and fantasy. I hope everyone reading this has ten or twelve copies of Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse and Vampire A Go-Go. Please remember that they make excellent birthday, Christmas and Arbor Day gifts. And yet my eager leap into these new genres in no way means I've given up crime writing. The cool folks at the shiny new Tyrus Books will publish my crime novel The Deputy in April of 2010. And since I'm keen on stories in all forms, I've been trying my hand at screenwriting and having a hell of a lot of fun with Punisher and Deadpool at Marvel Comics. Great writers like Lee Goldberg and Matthew Bright have worked (or are working) hard on excellent adaptations of my books. Lee's masterful adaptation of Gun Monkeys earned respect all over Hollywood, and we now have stylish director Ryuhei Kitamura attached to the project. I know once Matt's adaptation of G0-Go Girls begins making the rounds, people will be impressed too. And I have great faith in the talented young man currently humping it hard on the Shotgun Opera adaptation. More about that when the time is right. I'm hoping to dazzle you guys with some cool announcements very soon. So much happening!
And yet ... most days, I still feel like a rookie at this. So many things I'll probably never get to do, but I can dream. I'd love to write for Adult Swim. I'd love to write one of those thick-ass, horse-choking epic fantasy novels.
So that's where I am and where I've been. Now to figure where I'm going.