My New Year’s resolution was to keep better track of what I’m doing. I’ll be listing what I get published each month and at the end of 2015 I’ll be able to see how many articles and a rough word count of what I did over the year.
I spent a lot of January working behind the scenes. I read over proofs for my upcoming book Monster Hunters (out June 2015, Chicago Review Press) and spent a lot of time working on the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference (June 6, 2015), and working on promo material for Ballyhoo (a comic I wrote and David Beyer Jr. illustrated).
I did have three articles published this month.
1. “Testing and Taxing Your Brain,” M: Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine, January 2015. Article about local trivia nights, built on trivia questions with answer key at bottom of the article. The link will take you to their digital edition, the article is on page 96.
2. “the Soil & the Sun @ Turner Hall Ballroom,” Shepherd Express, Jan. 29. Concert review.
3. “Neighborhood Spotlight: Boen Richardson: The Right Side of the Tracks,” Riverwest Currents, February 2015. I’m including it here, despite Feb. cover date because it is out on the street (but not online yet).
Total 2015 word count: 2,070 words.
2014 was a good but often challenging year for me. I feel I did a lot of things I have not yet seen the payoff for, but hopefully will in 2015. 2014 was a lot of work. Good things happened and I’m looking forward to the future.
I hit 2014 running, as it was around the halfway point of my deadline to my second non-fiction book, Monster Hunters: On the Trail With Ghosthunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (Out June 1. Links to: Goodreads, Amazon).
In a way, writing this one was easier, because I had an idea of what had to be accomplished to write a book. On the other hand, it was intimidating because I had a lot of work to do in a fairly short amount of time. In 2013 I traveled to Vermont, Maine, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Florida. In 2014 travel continued to Arizona (for the 23rd International UFO Congress), Illinois, Michigan, and I continued to join local group Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee on cases.
In addition to the field work, I did a lot of research, interviewing, revising and more revising. By summer 2014 I had been reading about paranormal stuff for a solid year, was hammering out the final draft, and losing my mind.
I turned over the manuscript to my publisher (Chicago Review Press) in September. It was a huge relief and the book is currently going through the design phase. I’m looking forward greatly to having a stack of the books on my desk in June!
In October, I also self published a little book called Palookaville (links to Goodreads, Amazon). It’s a short collection of zany poetry and illustrations I slowly amassed over a year or so for kicks. A small project, but a fun one. I saw someone reading it and laughing, that’s all the pay off I really needed on that one.
One project I’ve been really excited about is Ballyhoo. I wrote the script for this comic and illustrator David Beyer, Jr. has been working on the art. We’re envisioning either a graphic novel or a 6 issue mini-series. I’m glad to announce here that David has completely finished the art for what will be issue or chapter one. Our next step is to shop it to a publisher. Wish us luck! I also recently finished first draft of what will be issue/ chapter 2. You can follow our progress at the Ballyhoo blog (which will be updated with new art soon) here: ballyhoocomic.wordpress.com
Although I was hella busy with Monster Hunters and other projects, I did freelance a few articles over the year. Rather than list them all, I’ll just list my favorite ones.
“Riverwest’s Ghost District,” Riverwest Currents, October 2014
“Milwaukee’s Pinball Wizards,” Shepherd Express, May 21, 2014
“Cream City Cabaret Gets Its Footing,” Shepherd Express, Nov. 25, 2014 (The talented Wendy Jean took the photo for that one.)
“Calamity Janes and the Fratney Street Band End Their Fantastic First Act,” Shepherd Express, Sept. 24, 2014
“Real-Life Superheroes: Inside the Secret Subculture of Costumed Crime-Fighters,” Fortean Times, May 2014. Cover story! Included an excerpt from my book and additional material I wrote on the RLSH subculture.
“Pretty Fly for a Daredevil Guy: the Return of the Human Fly,” Pop Mythology, Jan. 5, 2014. A different version of this article also appeared in the July 2014 issue of Fortean Times.
I continued to do promotional appearances for my first book, Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement (Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook) throughout the year. I made guest appearances at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, MKE Comicbook Meetup, Translator, Minneapolis Comic Con, McMillin Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Fantasticon, Milwaukee Zine Fest, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and the Chicago Ghost Con. I got to see a lot of familiar faces and meet some great new friends, too. Lots of fun.
I think the most major event of the year for me will be the release of Monster Hunters in June. To tie in I am planning a one day Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, which will be held June 6 at the Milwaukee Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. Mark your calendar, it’s going to be a really fun day: milwaukeeparacon.wordpress.com
I also have a plethora of freelanced articles that I’ve finished or are currently working on that will be in print soon. I’ve got about seven articles I can think of off the top of my head that are happening between January and March. My New Year resolution is to blog here more often and post links to all articles I write throughout the year and also write more about upcoming events.
In 2015 I also have some other small projects I’m working on, there’s some brain-storming sessions to be had have, and I’m also pretty deep into what I think will be my third non-fiction book.
But that, my friends, is in the future. Happy New Year!
Feb.-May 2013: I moved down to Arcadia, Florida. While there, I worked on what will now be a future book (maybe my third?) and did some freelancing for publications like The Guardian and M magazine. Things did not work out for me in Florida and I moved home to Milwaukee in May. I have no regrets. It was just another one of my hundred lives.
June 2013: Throughout the spring and summer I worked with my publisher on final edits of Heroes in the Night. They were pleased with the book and asked what I had in mind next. My initial idea was passed on (for now) but then I pitched the idea of doing a book that discussed the lives of paranormal investigators. They were into that idea, and the paperwork got signed in June. I immediately got to work. I made a connection with local group Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee (PIM) and have been hanging out with them as much as I can since.
July 2013: First travel for new book to Vermont for “Champ Camp,” hosted by Believe It Tour @ Lake Champlaign.
August 2013: Me and David Beyer, Jr. set up a blog for our comic book collaboration, Ballyhoo. I wrote the script (a fiction set in a circus in 1955) and David has been working on the art. Progress on this project has been slow as we are both busy dudes. But page by page it is happening and David’s art looks absolutely amazing. Hopefully Ballyhoo will be rolling out issue one in 2014.
September 2013: Second whirlwind trip took me to Point Pleasant, WV, Wilder, KY, Portland, ME (where I spent part of my birthday at one of my new favorite places on earth: the International Cryptozoology Museum) and Ochopee, FL (as well as a visit to Arcadia.)
October 2013: Oct. 1 was official release date for Heroes in the Night. How exciting! I had a great hometown reception at Boswell Book Company w/ after party at Stonefly Brewery. Good local press, including various bits in Shepherd Express, Onmilwaukee.com, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee mag, and The Onion’s local A.V. Club (R.I.P.) I also made in-store appearances in Chicago (Quimby’s), Madison (Westfield Comics), and Saint Paul (Common Good Books, with good attendance due in part to a feature in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.) Friends from around the country posted photos of them with the book at various bookstores around the country. Such a cool moment in my life.
November 2013: Tabled at Milwaukee Zine Fest with my friends David Beyer, Jr., Lance Orr, and Michelle from Skill Shot MKE zine. I had a zine of goofy poetry I wrote titled Palookaville. This is currently being expanded from 16 to 36 pages and will be available as a chapbook/ e-book in 2014. Also did an event at Barnes & Noble in Brookfield Square.
December 2013: Participated with Milwaukee Real Life Superheroes The Challengers at their annual Christmas charity toy drive.
I’m now at about the halfway point for my paranormal book. I have accomplished a lot on it, but there is still a lot of work to go to get to the June 2014 deadline. I will be doing another trip, to Arizona this time, in February and have some other small trips and interviews and a lot of final drafting to do. I also have a couple side projects, we’ll see what happens with those.
I could really use a team of unpaid interns right now!
After I turn this book in, I’m not quite sure what my main focus will turn to, but I’ve got a couple of ideas. I’ll be reworking some old ideas and trying some new ones, too.
A salute to 2013, and cheers to 2014!