Goodbye 2007

(The notebooks I’ve filled with rough draft fiction and some nonfiction over the last year.)

It’s now December and for eleven months I’ve been a freelance writer and for the last four months I’ve made the transition to living off of fiction, book reviews, and manuscript critiques. It’s been a tumultuous year, with many triumphs and many defeats as well. I feel a bit bloodied but happy to still be standing.

The lows included Shriek, my best novel, not being up for any awards anywhere (cue: crying of spoilt child) and not being able to get it in front of a mainstream lit. audience as much as it needed to be, something that ultimately I think was good for me–it humbled me and made me hungrier than ever. Other lows I can talk about publicly mostly had to do with people I thought I could trust stabbing me in the back, and adjusting to the freelance lifestyle, in terms of not getting every gig I went after. This latter low is normal, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had to put myself out there quite so much.

All of these lows have just made me hungrier, as mentioned, and they’re more than compensated by the highs: teaching at Clarion (probably the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had), getting invited to Utopiales, re-starting the Ministry of Whimsy, working on the Predator novel, and writing tons of fiction, including three published this year: The Third Bear, The Surgeon’s Tale (with Cat Rambo), and Appoggiatura, a trio I’ll put up against anybody’s work. (Other stories completed or started this year will appear in Other Worlds, Polluto Magazine, the Jack Vance Dying Earth antho, etc.) And, finally and most importantly, the support of so many great friends and fellow writers.

When I switched to WordPress, I tried to thank a lot of you. Now, in addition to that, I’d like to thank my wife again, without whom my life of writing fiction wouldn’t be possible or worthwhile, and the following individuals who have shown me great kindness in the last few months: George RR Martin, Cat Rambo, Jill Roberts, Jacob Weisman, Jay Lake, Ellen Datlow, Tom Nissley, Scott Edelman, John Scalzi, Ron Charles, Ed Champion, Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, Tessa Kum, Dave Larsen, Horia Ursu, Luis Rodrigues, Victoria Blake, Juliet Ulman, and especially Matt Staggs. I know I’m leaving a lot of people off, so thanks to everybody for your support.

The transition is now complete and I’m looking forward to a great and productive 2008. I will be finishing my just-sold Finch (more details on that deal in February), doing a short novel called Borne, finishing my Jack Vance antho story, finishing off Predator, writing several short stories, and continue doing reviews for, SF Weekly, The Washington Post, and others.

Eight anthos co-edited by Ann and me will appear in 2008, along with my long story in book form, The Situation (accompanied by a short film with music by Tarantella) from PS Publishing, and the Predator novel in Sept. 2008. That ought to keep me busy, too!

I hope everyone has a great New Year’s! Ann will continue with her Weird Tales posts, but I will probably submerge again until after my Jan. 14 Predator novel deadline.

Much Love,



  1. says

    Same to you and Ann, Jeff. And I have to say that I think you’re a superman. If I were half as effective as you are I’d be several orders of magnitude more effective than I actually am. You’re one of the handful of people I look up to and look forward to, and it’s an honor.

    All the best,

    (Now I have to go fly my helicopter.)

  2. says

    Happy New Year, Jeff. And keep in mind that Vonnegut wasn’t an instant lit-crit darling either. He couldn’t pay people to pick up Player Piano and Sirens when they first came out. Stay hungry, dude. (And write more essays on the state of the genre. I don’t care how many people you might have ticked off, Triumph of Competence was one of the most inspirational things I read all year. That was a call to arms for every writer/editor/reviewer in the industry.)

  3. says

    Oh, it got good reviews from mainstream lit reviewers…when it actually got in their hands and they read it. Sometimes it’s as much a matter of access as anything else.

    Thanks re the essay–appreciate it. And no worries there, re writing more essays. :)


  4. says


    I did what I could re: Shriek, but as you and I have discussed privately, the lack of award and mainstream acceptance of the book was disappointing. As always I have theories, but none that I’ll bore your readers with. Let’s just say this, Shriek was one of the best books published in 2006 and deserved much more recognition.

    Best of luck in the coming year. Especially with the Steampunk anthology… ;)

  5. says

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