I understand that for too many people 2017 was a destructively brutal year. Many folks still haven’t recovered from the trials this year wrought.

I lucked out this year. I’m not writing this to gloat. It’s not meant to be that kind of thing. This is a way for me to reflect on goals met and achievements unlocked. When we’re young, society has a way of marking one’s progression with easy signposts, graduations, degrees and certifications, raises or bonuses, promotions, and medals. As we get older, these pass by the wayside and we have to mark our own passages through life.

For the last few years, it felt as if I had no signposts to mark, nothing to hold forth and shout, “I did this thing.” Instead, it felt as if my life had stagnated, if not regressed. That changed this year. To use a gaming analogy, this year, I leveled up. And not just in one area, across the board. Today, as I reflect back on another revolution around our star, I can honestly say without boasting, I am a better hobbyist, I am a better writer, I am a better employee, I am a better human being. 

So I write this for myself because I know that the shadows are out there, the servants of the enemy who would do everything in their power to bring me down and seek to diminish my achievements just to make themselves feel a tiny iota better for a nanosecond. Because somehow, by putting the past in writing, it makes it not just a collection of memories but forces it into history. If I’m going to fanboy for a bit, 2017 for me, is now canon.

On the day job front, I transition from not one, but two jobs, and moved full-time into a third. I survived an encounter with one of the most toxic human beings I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet and successfully rescued a contract from that person’s willful sabotage. Score one for the good guys.

On the hobby front, I won my share of local tournaments and finished painting a few more armies for Warhammer 40K.  I probably did more gaming in 2017 than I had done since high school and I’m a better gamer for it because this was social and interactive. I feel I finally gave back to the gaming community that has meant so much to me for so much of my life. I broadcast various hobby methods on Twitch to try and pass on a fraction of the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years. Hopefully, that helped folks achieve some of their hobby pipedreams. I met a ton of friends in person at the Las Vegas Open and at Adepticon.

For Adepticon, I painted more figures in a shorter amount of time than I had ever done before. With a lot of help from friends, I created an army display that made it to the Armies on Parade, a highlight of the Con for me. With the assistance of my Long War partners in crime, we successfully ran the largest tournament we had ever run before and we aim to do it again this coming March. If those were the only things I had done in 2017, I’d already call it a banner year.

 But there was more. So much more.

In July, I was invited to attend Denver Comic Con as a Special Guest. This was probably a bigger deal to me than it should have been. But it was like a dream come true. I smiled so much that weekend that my face literally (not figuratively) hurt. The reason I was invited was that my novel, GRAVEYARD SHIFT, about an immortal pharaoh, masquerading as law enforcement in modern-day Miami to stop an ancient vampire conspiracy, was scheduled to launch July 18th. The team at TOR jumped through hoops to get copies to Denver Comic Con, almost two weeks early, so I could have signing there!  I can’t thank the entire team at TOR enough. We sold out of all the copies they brought.That turned out to be one of most memorable weekends of my entire life.

That would have been enough, but that weekend (and throughout the rest of the year), I rubbed elbows with literary titans the likes of which I had never dreamed of. I won’t drop names, except for this one fun photo which was taken in the green room of DCC as proof to someone I was texting that I wasn’t lying.

DCC kicked off a whirlwind summer as I attended my debut signing at Barnes and Noble and fulfilled an important item on my bucket list, being able to walk into B&N and purchase my own book. The book was well received by the critics and readers alike! And we sold out at my debut B&N signing as well!

GRAVEYARD SHIFT came out on Audible, read by the inimitable Michael Kramer, and I got to hear my words read by another for the first time. It was a unique revelation that drove me to tears as I realized that I was an actual real writer. For reals!

Then there were numerous other signings at more B&N locations, the venerable Tattered Cover Bookstore (photo at the top)…




and later the vaunted and well-lauded Boulder Book Store.


Then there were a whirlwhind of other Cons and panels. I had an absolute blast at Salt Lake City Comic Con (I guess it is called Fan Expo now?) and I’ll definitely be back.

And then nothing could have possibly prepared me for the grandeur that was New York Comic Con. Seriously, as much of a geek as I am, I was not prepared. (I look prepared though, look at this pic and tell me it doesn’t look like I’m about to drop some knowledge on some peeps).

It was absolutely nuts, but that could go for the whole year. As it winds down, there are a lot of folks I have to thank for helping me take a crazy ride.  Special thanks to the entire TOR team who helped make my summer one for the ages: Diana Pho, Moshe Feder, Terry McGarry, Stephen Youll, Lauren Jackson, and Patty Garcia. Thank you to everyone who listens to the Long War podcast and tunes in for our silly webcasts. Really special thanks to everyone who bought and read GRAVEYARD SHIFT. (And if you haven’t, you really should…. Those of you who found Netflix’s BRIGHT interesting will really like it).

Thank you to the entire KT Literary Team, but especially Hannah Fergesen for hosting me in New York .

And really really super special thanks to my agent, Sara Megibow (shown here with some goofball who thinks he knows what he’s talking about).

And extra special thanks to my wife, Penny, who has to put up with all my rants and nonsense and creative artistic narcissism and crippling self-doubt, not to mention the small fortune spent on gaming and hobby supplies.

This year is winding down, but I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going and build on it to greater things in the future. I’ve sent out two more novels to my publisher, a sequel/prequel to GRAVEYARD SHIFT, and a pet project you could say I’ve been working on since high school. Fingers crossed.

In a little over two weeks, myself and the other heretics at The Long War are going to kick off the first Long War Doubles GT. It’s going to be a blast.

And then we’ve got Adepticon and DCC and the release of GRAVEYARD SHIFT in paperback at the end of July 2018.

Some bad things happened in 2017 also, but I’m going to use the magic of selective memory and put them out of mind. As far as I choose to remember, 2017 was a triumph. And, as a history major, I’d be remiss if I left out a key portion of the triumph. 

Memento Mori. 

(Yeah, this whole thing was just an excuse to show off my Shadespire Deathrattle gang.)