• Category Archives Stuff
  • Just general stuff that has no official category.

  • What Happened with my “Retirement”

    Without giving the finer details, the bottom line is one thing happened: I crashed.

    Crashed and burned.

    In some ways I’m still burning.

    It was a cumulative thing, years of being a one-man band publishing house and a writer. In my career since 2004 I published over a 100 books for other people plus around 30 of my own never mind some comic projects. Most of them were since 2009. That’s a lot for any person in terms of all the work involved for each project plus all the work the administration and logistics side of things demand. It basically got to the point where I was spending so much time running the business that keeping up with my own writing was difficult.

    I’m grateful for the career, to be sure, and have learned many lessons and made many friends along the way, but it became too much.

    I realize it was all self-instigated as I wanted a career in this business so badly I was willing to go the distance to get it. I’m like that: willing to move mountains to get what I want. A good trait and bad, depending on how you look at it.

    But last year was a turning point. Leading into the summer I buckled down hard and produced a bunch of titles, five of them personal, the bulk of the writing for them being done on top of everything else. I started pulling away from the business before then but after the C4 Comic Con in the fall, it became too much. That’s when I totally burned out. Still tried working through it, but if you’ve ever gone through a burnout, you know how hard it is.

    Fast forward to the beginning of February this year and a traumatic personal event happened that rocked my world and led to a three-day panic attack with trouble breathing, violent shaking and a complete meltdown and, well, given the circumstances, I had to shut everything down completely.

    Only so much one man can handle.

    About a month and a half later is when I restarted some things, having finally got some stuff sorted out, but in the end, what happened was beyond just being overworked.

    It cut deep, it got personal, and the only choice given all that happened was an utter pulling of the plug.

    I feel bad and I know I let some people down. I’m sorry for that. Was never my intention for things to fall apart. Thought I could handle it all.

    I was wrong, and I’m so very sorry.

    So here we are, still in recovery mode, trying to get some stuff done from a new perspective and a new stance on the type of work I’m willing to get behind. There’s a spiritual component to all this as I’ve preached on here before, and for years I struggled with the type of material I was putting out. See, I wanted this job so bad I made certain compromises to get it. I’ve been writing since 2000, and having been aiming for a career in the creative field since 1995, first comics then books. The obstacles and trials I’ve been through to make it happen–I could tell you stories. Things finally came to a head in February and I had to make hard choices.

    I suppose in the end all this only adds to my writing and publishing experience, having now added “complete shut down” to my resume.

    I’m in a rebirth stage right now, still sorting through things, still wrapping up loose ends.

    It’s my hope that–because all this book stuff is such a public endeavour–my years of working in the small press and the reputation I’ve built will be enough to help cover this bump in the road.

    It’s also my hope this entry has helped those who looked on and wondered what was going on get some clarity as to what happened. I hope those I let down will cut me a break and we could still be friends.

    I hope that as time passes and life goes on, we can all look back on this and say, “It was a wild time, but we’re in a better place now.”

    Thank you to those who’ve shown support along the way. Thank you to my readers for reading my material. Thank you to my friends in the business who helped make me the writer and publisher I am today.

    Thanks for listening.

    Onward.


  • Retool, Recover, Rebuild

    In light of all that went on with my temporary retirement, there is a lot of aftermath to deal with. Part of it is rebuilding this website, so over the course of the coming weeks you’ll be seeing reposts of old information.

    You’ll also be seeing the relisting of some more titles. I’m out of the horror game, but there are still some non-horror titles of mine that haven’t yet been brought back. They’ll be listed here like the others via the Book and Comic Shop link and also on the left sidebar.

    As for retooling, there’s a way I want to present this site and there is something going on behind-the-scenes to make that a reality. It’ll be awhile yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.

    As a hint . . .

    End transmission.


  • Decision Made – Next Series of Projects

    The thing with writing is that, at times, certain ideas speak to you louder than others, and over the past few days one idea–make that four interconnected ideas–have been pretty loud and clear in their intention–dare I say need–to be written.

    So that’s what’s happening next.

    I’ve made my choice in terms of what the next series of projects will be. I use the word “series” on purpose and as a hint as to what I’m going to start writing soon. As a second hint, the ideas have been brewing for quite some time, but the other day I finally got this realization as to how I’m going to present them. It’s one idea, four parts: a prequel and a trilogy.

    Also have a marketing plan formulating for them once all is said and done, but part of it might entail doing not only title reveals on this blog but those word counter things I’ve seen where you can check in here and monitor my progress via a progression bar. The only downside to those bars is, so far as I know, they need a predetermined word count to be entered. This is information I don’t have. I can ballpark it, but I have no idea on the outset the exact length of any book I write.

    So we’ll see.

    In the meantime, I’ve finished my rough draft of the five panels I’ll be doing this weekend at Lit Fest. Will give it a quick once-over and fill in any gaps, then will review it once I’m actually at Lit Fest and ink in any changes/additions before speaking.

    If you are or will be in Winnipeg, details for the Central Canada Lit Fest can be found at their website here.


  • It’s Coming Together

    My plan, I mean.

    Project-wise, I have an idea of where I’m going, that is, I know what I’m writing, just an issue of what project comes first.

    So that’s good.

    In terms of my on-line presence and whatnot, the “simply working” thing is, and will be, in place. Sometimes I forget what things looked like from your perspective, so while it seemed, to me, I was always on-line, the times I actually popped my head up were about average to those looking on. That’s not to say I loathe being on-line. Quite the contrary. I find myself slipping into the Twitter vortex rather often. Used to be a Facebook junkie until I switched to a fan page versus a personal one. Now I can’t see anything other than logging in. Which is fine as Facebook, for me, will become more of a broadcast point and central hub. Twitter is where I’m at these days. I really like how I can streamline the news feed and see what I want to see and, because it’s only 140 characters per post, it’s very neat and tidy.

    Simple.

    Simply tweeting?

    Anyway . . .

    I’m going to start next week on getting my panels together for the Central Canada Lit Fest at the end of the month, while also doing some of the administration chores left over from my days as a traditional publisher. I hired out some help with that so, pressure-wise, a good chunk of it has been lifted.

    Then there’s the writing and my hope is by next week I’ll know what project I’m going to embark on. After that, assuming I maintain a good schedule, you’ll start seeing new books from me rather quickly.

    That’s it for now.

    Off to make dinner.


  • Ducks – This Writer’s Just Figuring Things Out

    It’s been a crazy time lately in terms of my career. I’ve walked away, I’ve come back. I’ve made changes to the type of stuff I’ll write and publish, made new goals, have new plans, reaffirmed old ones–so much going on.

    Ducks in a row, as they say.

    So that’s what’s going on right now: getting those ducks aligned. I have a meeting tomorrow night that’ll change how I do things from here on out. Will make my life incredibly easier and will enable me to operate in a way I haven’t in years. Looking forward to it.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ve been too transparent with my career, a little too personal. Sometimes I think I’ve done all right in sharing who I am, the good and the bad all in an effort to be real. Other times I wonder if I should “just be the professional” and close off the personal. A balance is key and I’m still trying to find it.

    I want to get into blogging again as I thoroughly enjoy it. I also like the schedule idea and was on the phone with my wife today talking about her blog. Got me all jazzed up about this one in the process. I know things look different here than what they were. The reason is I wanted to strip away most of what went on before in terms of style yet keep the layout as a reminder of who I was. What you see here isn’t permanent. Just a “holding place” for the time being.

    I was serious when I talked about “simply working.” Finally getting to a place where I can do just that. One day I’ll tell you more about what went on and why things suddenly changed for me. It’ll all make sense when I do.

    In professional news, as said, I’m getting my ducks in a row. I’m also back to being a guest at the Central Canada Lit Fest on March 29 and 30. I’ll be speaking on the following panels: Self-publishing Basics; Self-publishing Advanced; Music, Coffee and Other Things Writers Can’t Live Without; Including Art in Your Novels. Then on April 13th I’ll be at the Winnipeg Comic & Toy Expo. Be great to see you at these events.

    In personal news, been reading a couple graphic novels, playing DC Universe On-line, and making homemade pizza.

    Hope everyone’s doing all right. Reminder, you can hook up with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest by following the links on the right.

    Thanks.


  • Simply: I’m Back

    Last week I began reinstating some of my titles, starting what could be considered my fifth era in this business, my Mark 5, so to speak.

    Those in the know would tell you the reason for my retiring was a valid one, but upon reflection, prayer and consulting with others, I’ve stepped back into the world of writing and publishing.

    However, this time, things will be different. As said, this is my fifth era in terms of how I do things, and it’s going to be a much simpler one. One of the problems with the last method was its complexity. Most of it was complicated by its nature, and the rest was made complicated by me, but since publishing is always about learning, I discovered how I did things before brought on its share of headaches and issues. Not the publishing part, but the administrative side.

    The main thing that will underline what I plan on doing going forward is to keep things as simple as possible in as many ways as possible. Going back to basics here, and since 2014 already marked a change in my career in terms of stepping down as publisher, it’ll also be a year in which I fly below the radar in a lot of ways. I plan on just keeping my head down and working, only surfacing from time to time to check in, see what’s what, then step away again.

    One of the main points of my retirement notice was my plan to go into full time Christian ministry. That’s still the plan in that I want my writing work to glorify God and not use it to glorify myself. I might miss the mark now and then, but Jesus is the center of my life so while I’ve made mistakes and had my ups and downs, I want my career to reflect my love for Him.

    There are still some Mark 4 items that I’m wrapping up, but after the end of April at the [hopefully] latest, it’ll be Mark 5 all the way.

    For my titles, I’ve brought a good portion of them back–books and comics–but my monster and horror stuff is gone. Those made up about half my catalog, but I’m okay with letting them go. What does light have to do with darkness, right? As for anything else I might bring back, we’ll see.

    I learned a lesson recently in that I was invited to submit a horror story to an anthology in 2013, the story due end of January/early February of this year. I had a very, very hard time writing it. It was around 13,000 words or so on the third draft, if memory serves, but it was a difficult write and I mentioned to my wife as I wrote it that I just wasn’t into that stuff anymore. That story won’t be published and I pulled out of the anthology when I posted my retirement notice. My heart’s changed and horror and monsters are no longer my thing. A pastor I spoke to recently said it best when he said I was a dispenser of fear.

    It’s true.

    I was.

    I don’t want to be that anymore.

    I have plans for what books I’ll write this year and I really hope to do some comic stuff, too, as I love them so much.

    This blog will be updated now and then, but with what, I’m not sure. I might go back to a schedule, I might not. I really like this idea of simply working.

    Simply.