2021 was a good year.
For anyone who lost someone to Covid-19, I offer my deepest sympathies. For anyone who looked on in horror and shock at what the political climate became in the last half-decade, I sympathize as well. Still, this is a blog post of hope, and I don’t mind claiming here, loudly and with great fanfare, that I had a wonderful, productive and celebratory year.
For those that don’t know, I am a college professor of English at three different institutions, and from a teaching perspective, 2021 was awesome. This was also a red letter year for me creatively. I published a lifetime collection of short stories and novellas through Cemetery Dance Publications, titled: DANCING WITH TOMBSTONES.
This was released in October, 2021. I also published (at least for pre-order) my fourth novel titled THE SCULPTOR – Night Shade Skyhorse Publishing. It was supposed to come out in September, but shipping delays have meant publishing delays. It will release March 1st 2022.
Here is a guest blog post I did on December 9th, 2021 for Flames Rising Dot Com
Moreover, I completed the sequel to THE SCULPTOR just the other day, on December 29th, 2021. It took me a year and a month to write, and so 2021 is a year I will always remember fondly in terms of creative output. I have sent THE SCULPTOR II to my mentor, Lovecraft scholar and anthologist S.T. Joshi, and look forward to his take on it.
Though I am not much for “self promotion,” the books have given me an excuse to get on some podcasts and YouTube interviews with old friends. Recently, Jason Henderson had me on for a chat. He runs Castle Bridge Media, The Castle of Horror anthology series (I have had fiction in four of the volumes), and he wrote the young adult horror series: Alex Van Helsing. Here is that podcast – December 2, 2021.
I also have had a couple of appearances with Cody Walker and Ralph Buso, on their show “ALHSY!” (or Alot’s Happened Since Yesterday!). They started the podcast / YouTube Show November 20th, 2020 with yours truly as their first guest.
The history of this is kind of cool, as Ralph and his band Ravenscroft were the subject(s) of my first professional rock review (December 9th, 2015 on Hellnotes, the famous horror blog). My review focused on their hit, Cauldron of Deceit.
I originally started doing these reviews, because I had to have something to post besides my buy-links. I have additionally seen a connection between metal and horror from day one, and this was a way to express my love for heavy music in a big way. Also…just saying…I am a professor of English, so writing a fortification analysis is second nature, especially since I was in a professional glam metal club band in the 80’s. I am familiar with the ins and outs of the business.
I was also Cody and Ralph’s 50th guest just the other week, November 15th, 2021. Many feel the show was particularly engaging, and I especially like the rapport between the three of us. Remember, there is no “coaching” or script. Everything is done on the fly, and I especially enjoy a great improvisation! Moreover, their editing is superlative. Check out the inserts of Joker and Jaws. Looks like we planned it, but no, we did not; Cody and Ralph are simply that good.
Speaking of music, this past year I got into watching viewer reactions to my favorite bands on YouTube. My favorite artist to put in the search was Queen, of course, as they are my favorite all-time band. Interestingly, Cody and Ralph also have a reaction show called, Rocker Reaction / ALHSY!, and they had me on the other night, December 29th, 2021, to react to my new favorite band, The Warning. They are a hard rock/metal power trio, three sisters from Mexico, who are simply the best new band playing now. Instead of going into it too deeply here, I have provided the reaction show I guest hosted, through which we discussed the single Evolve, the live version.
Altogether, I have written over a hundred rock reviews, (probably more like three hundred), for Heavy Music Headquarters and Metalheads Forever Magazines. Though I did tail off a bit on the volunteered reviews this past year, I freelanced the bio reviews for a few new signings at the boutique deathcore label Eclipse Records. My work is featured on Eclipse’s main page concerning the bands: Violet Blend, The Stone Eye, April 21st, and RiseUp.
As for 2022? I have six classes (so far) set up, starting mid January. In terms of new writing, I am still catching my breath from the last novel, and to be honest, S.T. Joshi’s response to it will dictate which way I go. If his response is lukewarm, I will most probably search out a new theme and story for the next novel. I will also probably write some short stories. If his read is highly favorable, I might go all the way and make THE SCULPTOR into a continuing franchise. Hey…my stuff isn’t for everybody, but I always keep it real.