I kind of sort of did a year in review earlier last month but there were some things I left off that post and I wanted to make sure I included them in my official “Year in Review 2023” post.
In 2023 I had 4 books published with my name on them. That is a lot for someone who always thought the ultimate able to write and publish one book a year. My pirate/survival book The Life and Times of Edward Morgan came out in the spring from D&T Publishing. I love this story and it was so much fun to write. I also pushed and went further away from my usual topics with this one and I think it really paid off. If you were a fan of this one, I am almost certain there will be a full novel set in this world somewhere down the line.
Next up was the follow up to my most successful novel thus far, Mr. Nightmare. Mr. Nightmare 2: The Nightmare Realm came out this summer from Wicked House Publishing. This was my first attempt at a direct sequel, with the same characters. It was fun to revisit the characters from the first Mr. Nightmare book and also to expand on the little world I had created. This book doesn’t get as much love as the first one but I’d argue the book overall is better and the characters are more well rounded.
Next up was my novella Justice. This is the second book in the Contact Series but each book is designed to be read in any order. There are no repeat characters and this one takes place more than a hundred years after the first book. Ambrose Ryer is the main character and is still one of my favorite characters to write. He is a bad ass antihero and there is no telling what he he might do next.
Finally, was my novel Never Dead. I am proud of all my books but especially proud of this one. It is the longest book I’ve ever written and I set out to write a book with an old school black and white horror/Sci fi movie feel to it and then add a modern twist. The book has been out for only 3 weeks so far but the early reviews have been great. Almost all of the reviews mention the fact that it felt like and old black and white horror movie so I feel like it was mission accomplished on that front. I’m also proud of this book because there is a part (no spoilers here so if you haven’t read it, don’t worry) in the book where I took a chance and did something that might throw off readers. I knew when I wrote it that it might turn readers off but I also felt it was exactly what the story needed. So again seeing the early positive reviews makes me think I made the right choice there.
Along with those books I also had two short stories published this year. In general I have stopped writing short stories unless I have been invited to write one for an anthology or if I feel especially drawn to a topic. My story The Day After the Storm appears in the charity anthology Dark Town edited by Dawn Shea. All of the proceeds for this book went to families affected by the Uvalde shooting. My story A Tree and A Life appears in the House of Haunts anthology edited by Heather Daughrity. This is the best looking book I’ve ever been a part of and the stories are all incredible. Its great to see all the ways the stories fit together and it was great to be a part of.
In other news, I was in a few different panels this year including one at StokerCon in Pittsburg where we’re discussed using different Points of View when telling stories, a panel at the Beyond the Book Festival at the Starke County Library in Knox, Indiana along with a few others.
While all of this publishing stuff was going on, I was writing away. I actually finished up writing and editing Mr. Nightmare 2 during January and February of 2023. I wrote a superhero-horror novella titled And Then I Killed All the Ghosts which will be published later on in 2024. I started work on the final installment of the Mr. Nightmare Trilogy and that book is almost finished. And I’ve also started work on a currently untitled post-apocalyptic Sci-fi/horror book which I’m sure you’ll see sometime in the future.
Along with all of that, my publishing company AquaRidge Press put out its first book, The Plane Game: Stories by A.L. Collier. (My wife’s pen name) Most of the stories are not horror stories, though some of them lean that way. There is a lot of Sci-fi weirdness going on in them though and the overall idea of the book is fascinating. If you’re a short story lover I highly suggest giving this one a shot.
Stephen King (and many other writers) have always said that in order to be a good writer, you have to read a lot. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement and over the past five or six years I have really taken to spending less time on my phone or watching TV and more time reading. To that end, I read 122 books this year. So many of them by authors I’ve gotten to know or become friends with over the last few years. I wanted to make a top ten list, but as I started going over the books I’d read I realized there were books I just couldn’t leave off the list, so it became a top 12 list. But the list could easily expand to a top 20 or even top 30 but I had to draw the line somewhere. These are in no particular order.
Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler
Holly by Stephen King
All the Sinners Bleed by SA Cosby
Skinning the Coyote by Nick McAnulty
Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic by Tobi Ogundiran
The Night House by Jo Nesbø
The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro
Maeve Fly by CJ Leede
Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due
Gothic by Philip Fracassi
They Thirst by Robert McCammon
The Talosite by Rebecca Campbell
There were other books I rated 5 stars that aren’t on this list, trust me there are so many good books out there for whatever kind of mood you’re in.
This post is excessively long so for now I will end it here. I am much more comfortable talking about other writer’s books than I am talking about my own but I know people are enjoying my work and like getting updates so I will keep you posted here. There are already a few cool unannounced things in the pipeline for 2024.
Finally, depending on when you read this, signed books are on sale in my shop until January 1 so if you want to get some cheap head over there and check them out.
I hope you all have a great 2024. Until next time…