2020 has been an interesting year. Yes, it’s sucked A LOT, but it’s also been a year full of forced introspection. In some ways that was a great thing; in other ways, not so much! haha
I learned a ton about myself this year, but even more importantly I learned a lot about my business, my co-authors, my support crew, and my fans.
As an author, I’m supposed to be filled with words and the ability to convey emotions and the like in flowery prose, but there simply are no words to accurately express my appreciation for each and every one of you. At least not in a word-painting sort of way.
But here’s what I know:
- Without you, there’d be no way I could be doing this full-time.
- Without you, writing wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
- Without you, I’d struggle to find the desire to sit in front of my screen for hours at a time as words pour out…and believe me, this year was wrought with struggle!
- Without you, I’d not be able to find even half the laughs that bombarded me on a daily basis (especially in the Dysfunctional Family Group).
- Without you, there would honestly be no point in doing this at all.
I know Ensign Brand Jezden would be saying “Gay” about now, but I don’t care. haha
You’re my Dysfunctional Family, and I love all of you, even the ones who are a serious pain in my butt. 😀
So, I want to thank each and everyone of you for being supportive and downright awesome. You kick ass!
I’ve been fortunate as hell to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best co-authors a guy could ask for. Each of these people has put in blood, sweat, and tears (usually of laughter) in order to deliver some of the most fun books I’ve read in my lifetime. They’re also just really good people, who truly care about what they do as much as they care about the readers who love them.
Lorelei and I worked on a couple of series together, including the Southlane Detective Agency and the Shadow PPD. We’ve been together since 1982 and we are like two peas in a pod. In other words, we’re both irreverent as hell and quite sarcastic and cynical. The amount of support she’s provided in order to help get this author business off the ground is immeasurable. We’ve always supported each other’s dreams, and we always will. When people ask how we’ve been able to stay so happy together for so long, I find the answer easy: It all stems from giving more to a relationship than you expect from it. We do that…mostly. 😉
Christopher P. Young
Chris has been with me since day one. We met back in an Aikido class in 1990 where we learned that we were both major fans of science fiction and fantasy. We also shared a similar (warped) sense of humor. While Chris doesn’t actually write the books we do together, he keeps me in check, helps brainstorm all the crazy ideas you see in our co-author’d books, and has written a number of detailed outlines in both Ononokin and Platoon F over the years. Best of all, though, is that he and I have a downright blast working together.
Noah Sturdevant (https://www.noahksturdevant.com/)
Noah has worked with me closer than anyone else this year. He’s brainstormed, helped interface with all the FB posts, fought tooth-and-nail beside me as we tried to get more eyes on the entire PPD series, and has worked with me on building the Dysfunctional Family Show. That’s in addition to churning out books, dealing with his full-time job, and being a family man. The guy is a dynamo!
Ben Zackheim (http://benzackheim.com/)
Ben and I go way back, having worked together in the games industry for a number of years. He and I worked together to start the ReaderLinks system that is being used by countless authors and readers alike, and Ben has also busted his hump to finish up the New York PPD series as he simultaneously focuses on his own Relic series. He also works as a teacher at the New York School for Visual Arts, does the family man thing, and handles all the support issues that come up for our ReaderLinks system…poor bastard. haha
Orlando A. Sanchez (http://orlandoasanchez.com/)
It took some convincing to get Orlando onboard with co-authoring the Badlands PPD, but we absolutely had a blast working on it together. Orlando is a tireless worker who genuinely loves the writing process. He’s also the only guy I know who could come up with a line like, “Shoot it harder!” Orlando is a big dude with a larger-than-life personality to match. It’s the only thing that explains how he could manage to run a massive family, a successful dojo, and still find a way to crank out more books than anyone I know.
Eric Quinn Knowles (http://www.ericquinnknowles.com/)
Eric is one of those guys who can go toe-to-toe with me on the dirty jokes front. With every volley I send, he slams one back. It’s actually dangerous for us to be in a room together for too long as we’re bound to offend…well, everyone. 🙂 Eric’s writing has grown by leaps in bounds since we first met, and he’s faced some pretty heavy adversity this year due to his business being affected by the pandemic. But Eric has channeled that into fuel for becoming a full-time author. He’s got a plan and he’s kicking ass to make it happen. You’ll be seeing a lot from this guy in 2021!
The crew who help to maintain the Dysfunctional Family Group are the best of the best. They scour posts daily to make sure things stay on the up and up. They take punches to the chin that really should be taken by me. They help to maintain order so I can focus on writing more and more books. Basically, they give me room to deliver more content!
They should all be revered. 😀
I want to give a shout out to them all, but I’m going to single out my Moderator Queen, Bennah Phelps.
Bennah was my first moderator and she is involved in every single group project I do, from reader teams to other crazy shit I come up with. She’s upfront, honest, and has no problem punching me in the head when it needs to happen…and it needs to happen a fair bit. I would be completely lost without Bennah’s help over the years. She’s one badass lady that I couldn’t be more thankful to have on my team!
Every one of the moderators on my squad are fantastic people. They truly care keeping the Dysfunctional Family a place where people can have fun and find laughs in this crazy world. I love ’em all, and I’m genuinely thankful for everything they do.
- Malcolm Robertson
- Janine Corcoran
- Leslie Watts
- Chris Christman II
- Larry Diaz Tushman
Thanks, gang! You’re seriously the best!
I’m not going to go through a fill out names here because the list is ever-changing, but I wanted to give a shoutout to all the great people who have helped me (and my co-authors) to build out fun books. They’ve read over pages, reported issues, offered suggestions, and have just done a bang up job with their selfless assistance.
The primary team is TEAM ASS (Advanced Story Squad). It takes a level of dedication to become a member of TEAM ASS, and it also takes consistent effort after joining the ranks. These folks read multiple books from all sorts of genres that I churn out. They get multiple chapters at a time in some cases, and full books in others. Without them, the words you read would be much more rough, I assure you! haha
TEAM DAMN (Demented And Magnificantly Naughty) is a roving team that changes faces with each new book release. The only way to graduate to being a part of TEAM ASS is to be a constant fixture on TEAM DAMN who reports issues and participates in all other aspects of the work. These folks get the full books that have been vetted by TEAM ASS, giving everything a final read-over before the words are ready for a pass by an editor.
Both teams make our books better, period, and I thank them heartily for all their efforts over the years!
Books Released in 2020
To put into perspective all the work that has been accomplished in 2020, through the efforts of me, my co-authors, the moderators, and the Reader Teams, I’m going to list it all below. Not all of them are published yet, but a few are either damn near completion or are already in Reader Teams. Seeing that they’re so close, they’re getting listed anyway. 😀
…these three were completely rewritten:
These are close to being finished or are already with Reader Teams:
…and that doesn’t even touch on the short stories that were done along the way!
2021 Vaccine Zombies…Death Vaxxers…WHAT?
So I was honestly starting to struggle in November with writing. I was burned out and just couldn’t get my mojo going. It wasn’t writer’s block–I never get that, thankfully–but rather just burnout. And so I took time off from writing. I wanted to do it, but it just wasn’t happening. Fortunately, a few co-authors were still writing, so I kept doing developmental editing on those projects.
The rest of my time was spent revamping all the book covers for the PPD and also Ononokin (see below), and I worked on marketing and advertising and my newsletter, and so on.
I know, I know, you’re probably wondering how doing all that other stuff didn’t make my burn out turn me into ash. It kinda did at times, but it’s a different kind of fried. 😀
Anyway, one day I wanted to try and write and see what would happen. So I came up with an idea that was not in any way tied to any of the other series, and also one that I could do on my own. I didn’t need to involve any co-authors or anything. That was completely new to me as I’ve always written with co-authors.
I asked Audrey (my daughter and cover artist) to help me come up with some fun covers. I found the main image and put together a mockup. She fleshed it out and made it look nifty. That gave me a little more mojo, seeing the cover and thinking “why the hell not?”
So, I opened up a document and started to write.
I didn’t outline a single bit and I had ZERO idea what was going to happen, who the characters were going to be, and so on.
Seven days later, the first book was done and in the hands of TEAM ASS.
It flowed like butter. Honestly, it was all I could do to take time away from the computer because the words were pouring out of my hands.
It was FUN!
I’m already writing book 2 and plan to have book 3 finished by the end of January. Here are the three covers:
The book will be releasing on January 15th, 2021!
Ononokin Has New Covers
In an effort to bring more eyes to the land of Ononokin, I worked with the original artist (Ric Lumb), hunted for some awesome backgrounds, mocked up a bunch of ideas myself, and then turned everything over to Audrey Logsdon for polishing. I then added in the fonts and all that, moved the order of the books around, separated out the Whizzfiddle & Gungren Adventures from the Other Tales, and pushed it all back out again.
Let me just say…WHEW, that was a lot of work! haha
I think the resulting covers turned out amazing, though, and I’m super proud of them! (click to enlarge)
If you’ve yet to dig into Ononokin, check out the Ononokin page for details.
Two Year-End Short Stories…
A couple of short stories were written to close out the year. One was from the land of Ononokin and the other was from the Seattle PPD.
They’re both super short, but they’re fun so I hope you’ll enjoy them. 😀 Do note that Date Night with Nicolas Cage gets a little racy.
Just click the images below to get your copies!
Let’s face it, I could go on and on about all the stuff that’s happened in 2020 and I could list out a bunch of stuff that’s planned for 2021, but this post is already crazy long.
I will say that more Platoon F and Ononokin books are planned for the year. There may also be another couple surprises on the way, but I don’t want to tease and not deliver, so I’ll keep that under my hat for now. 😉
Basically, I just wanted to send out a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has worked so hard over this year (and years past) in order to make all this possible, and to add in another massive THANK YOU to all of you who helped make this dream of mine into a reality.
As I said above, there just aren’t enough words to describe how incredibly thankful I am. It’s frankly quite humbling.
So, once more, THANK YOU for everything, and may your 2021 be safe and fun and filled with fantastical books! 😀