Ok, 2015 is drawing to a close. What a year! This year I kept track of every published article (and a book) I wrote, as well as the total running published word count. The year ended a little slow. I spent some time working on my next book, other projects, and took some time off for the holidays. I did write a second article for Scandinavian Traveler and a couple for Milwaukee Record.
41. “Off the Cuff: Angel Alvarez,” Shepherd Express, November 25
42. “Meet Katrina Markoff- Chicago’s luxury chocolate maker,” Scandinavian Traveler, Dec. 10
43. “4 Milwaukeeans Who Recently Scored Bit Parts On Popular TV Shows,” Milwaukee Record, Dec.9
44. “Last Octopus standing: Milwaukee keeps car wash chain from extinction ,” Milwaukee Record, Dec. 18
Final total 2015 word count: 124, 865 words.
Notes on 2015:
The reason I kept track of my work this year was just out of curiosity. How many published pieces do I write in a year? I had no idea. My guess was an average of one a week. With 44 published pieces in 2015, that estimate was somewhat close. The word count was almost 125,000, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you write a single haiku or a 500,000 epic novel in a year, as long as you are putting your best work forward. I’m still learning what my best work is. It’s been interesting.
A lot of great highlights for me in 2015; My book Monster Hunters was published, I organized the first Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, I was a guest on Coast to Coast AM (along with a lot of other great radio and podcast programs), I made author appearances at paranormal cons, comic cons, libraries, and Ripon College, I sold my third book.
Writing is sometimes a struggle. You don’t know if anyone reads or cares about your writing. People sometimes say bad things about you and you wonder why you even bother. That makes recognition all the more rewarding.
Milwaukee Record included two articles I wrote for them (one on a music project called All Messed Up and another that was a photo essay collaboration with Wendy Schreier) in The 25 Best Milwaukee Record Stories of 2015.
In the post previous to this one, I also described what a great honor it was that my book Monster Hunters was selected by Loren Coleman of CryptoZoo News as the top pick in his Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015 list.
What’s up with 2016
I’ve got two major and two minor writing projects I’m working on in 2016. Outside of writing, I am also organizing a second Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Oct. 15-16, 2016, and hoping to help organize a Milwaukee Krampus Night on Dec. 5, 2016.
Major writing projects: I’m happy to say that my publisher, Chicago Review Press, has signed me up for a third non-fiction book. This has the working title The End and is about different predictions, preparations, and personalities relating to the end of the world as we know it. I also have a non-fiction book I am about 3/4ths done with that has a working title of Phantom Patriot, about an interesting person I met while working on my first book. My goal is to see some forward motion with it in 2016.
Minor projects: I want to self publish a mini-book/ e-book that is an expanded version of an article I wrote for the Riverwest Currents titled Riverwest Ghost Stories. It’ll premiere at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. I’m also casually working on my first novel, based on experiences from my young adult life. It might graduate from minor to major project in the future, but for now I’m just having fun writing random parts of the story for a couple hours every Sunday. I’ll post more info on this project here on the blog after I hit the 15,000 word mark. For now I will just say that the working title for the book is Brady Street Diner.
I have a couple other things in the works, too, I’ve been working on a comic book/ graphic novel with David Beyer Jr. titled Ballyhoo. We’re trying to figure out where to go with it and hopefully it gets forward traction soon. I’m also collaborating on a story with Tim Demeter and I think you’ll be hearing more about that soon.
Happy New Year!
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!
“Thanks for Palookaville, which made me smile and laugh– so playful, zany & refreshing & behind the humor, real insights into life & love.”
–Antler, former Milwaukee Poet Laureate. His current collection of poems is titled Touch Each Other.
Palookaville is available here:www.amazon.com/Palookaville-Tea-Krulos/dp/1501011979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414449539&sr=8-1&keywords=tea+krulos
I have a little book that just got (self) published. It is a collection of 21 poems (and 9 illustrations) titled Palookaville.
Yes, I know there is a comic series by Seth titled Palookaville. But he didn’t invent the word, and neither did any of us. A lot of the poems are whacky, funny, just bizarre. Some offer insight into my life, some don’t. There is a limerick, a haiku, and a bunch of formless rants. I wrote poems about topics I’ve already encountered and wrote about (Real Life Superheroes, roller derby, cryptozoology, etc.) and some “life experience” like working in a kitchen.
I started the project because I had just signed on to do my next non-fiction book, Monster Hunters (2015), which I knew would be a lot of intense work. I needed a more care free project for balance. Ballyhoo (see “Other Projects” tab) was at a stand still while David worked on art and I randomly had a great vision of me cranking beatnik poetry on a typewriter. You know Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs, Whitman, Dr. Seuss, Krulos, right? ha ha.
I found a typewriter on the side of the road one day. It needed a ribbon, so I ordered one, and set to work. I did a small zine version of this for last year’s Milwaukee Zine Fest, then did a few more poems, a few more illustrations and expanded it to this 32 page book. A sample poem and illustration, “Floppy’s Lament” is posted below, followed by ordering info. There is a Kindle ($2.99) and paperback ($4.99) version.
Floppy was a bad, bad fish
he lived in the Amazon River
he drank and drank and drank
he don’t give no shit about his liver
when an animal crossed his scene
Floppy would send him to the cleaner
and he had but one regret: he couldn’t get no meaner
Floppy like to smoke crackrocks
he had a pipe made out of foil
he puffed and puffed and puffed
and his fish blood would begin to boil
then he’d bug out and bite faces
or punch some dude in the wiener
but still he had one regret: he couldn’t get no meaner
Palookaville for Kindle HERE.
Paperback version HERE.
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!
Wow, what a month! I’ve really been burning the candle at both ends.
October 1 was the official release date of my book, Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement. It was a really proud day for me– I did it! I got a book out, you can find it at a lot of bookstores. It’s also available online here: http://www.ipgbook.com/heroes-in-the-night-products-9781613747759.php?page_id=21
To promote the book, I did four bookstore appearances. I was at Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago on 10/05. My big hometown appearance was 10/11 here at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. A lot of family and friends were there and we had a fun after party at Stonefly Brewery.
I appeared at Westfield Comics in Madison on 10/19 and Common Good Books in Saint Paul, MN on 10/20. All cool stuff. I was joined by people featured in my book at all stops, so I big thanks to Wraith, Citizen Prime, the Watchman, Geist, Razorhawk, Misery White, and Blue for joining me at Q and A sessions. It was really great to get out, see old friends, and meet new ones, too.
I haven’t seen exact figures, but the publisher tells me the book is doing good. I’ll be continuing to promote it with media appearances through the holidays (and beyond.) Next place I’ll be is here in town for Milwaukee Zine Fest Nov. 9 (website: http://milwaukeezinefest.org/2013/index.php) I’ll have copies of the book and a little zine of wacky poetry I did titled Palookaville.
I’ve also been working hard on my (as yet untitled) second book, which is about people who study the paranormal. I took a hectic trip east to do field work for the book, travelling to West Virginia, Kentucky, Maine, and Florida over a ten day stretch. I’ve been writing about some of this for Onmilwaukee.com. You can read about my Kentucky adventure here: http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/onmilwaukeecomstaffwriters/milwghoststorybobbymackey.html
Last thing I wanted to mention is an article I wrote for Third Coast Daily about Arkham House, a little known but important Wisconsin publishing house. They published the first works by H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury, among others. I worked on it on and off for a long time, and it was well timed to appear just before my favorite holiday, Halloween.
Below is a picture included in the article of Arkham House founder and prolific Wisconsin writer August Derleth. Happy Halloween!