Looking Back at 2015

2015 was a quiet year for me, fiction-wise.

Just one new published story: “It Bothers Me,” published in the March/April 2015 of the great THUGLIT magazine (available for Kindle and in paperback). I’ll always be stoked to say one of my stories is in THUGLIT.

Word Crimes Podcast Logo2015 was much busier over on the TITLE 18: WORD CRIMES podcast.

Scott Detrow — who, amazingly, just keeps getting better — voiced seven great short stories by the likes of Paul Brazill, Rob Hart, Merry Jones, Jon McGoran, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, and Duane Swierczynski. Word Crimes also featured a fantastic story by S.W. Lauden, an interview with McGoran, and two episodes recorded live at NoirCon.

In December, we reached 5,000 total downloads, a number Scott and I are absolutely thrilled with. Thank you to everyone who’s listening!

If you’re not listening, check out Word Crimes on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Here’s a sample to whet your appetite, Scott Detrow reading “Appetite” by Jon McGoran:

Naval Ensign of the USSRIn other audio story news, I voiced one myself: “Death Train to Hell.”

It’s ridiculously over-the-top, packed with action, and it features a one-armed Norwegian train conductor saving the U.S. from a Soviet nuclear attack in July 1947.

You can listen to “Death Train to Hell” here:

BlackHood4ArticleIn the non-fiction realm, I was thrilled to write several true-crime essays for THE BLACK HOOD comic book (which itself is written by Duane Swierczynski and edited by Alex Segura). All the essays focused on Philadelphia, where the comic is set; they covered a tale of vast political corruption, a nearly unbelievable arsenic murder ring, and America’s first serial killer.

Seeing my work appear in comic books written by Duane, one of my absolute favorite writers, with art by the likes of Michael Gaydos and Howard Chaykin was amazing. Hopefully, it will happen again in 2016. (Actually, I know it will: Be sure to check out issue #8 of THE BLACK HOOD on January 13!)

I read my fiction four times in 2015.

NoirAtTheBarHarrisburgOn April 13, I hosted the first-ever Noir at the Bar to take place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had an incredible lineup and a lot of fun!

On May 24, the scene was Tumulty’s Pub in New Brunsiwick, New Jersey, at a N@B event hosted by the terrific Jen Conley.

On August 29, Jen hosted again at Tumulty’s. She knows how to put together a good show.

Finally, N@B made its way back to its hometown, Philadelphia, on October 29. At this one, I think I managed to make some of the audience pretty nervous for the first few minutes. One of my proudest moments as a reader!

Over at SHOTGUN HONEY, I continued serving as an editor up until 11:59 p.m. last night — although, truth be told, I spent much of 2015 leaning on my co-editors Jen Conley and Angel Colon, along with head honcho Ron Earl Phillips. I’ve been an editor at SH for more than two years, and it’s time to move on. The site is amazing, and I’m proud to call Ron, Jen and Angel (along with former co-editor Chris Irvin) my friends. Kent Gowran created a fantastic site, and Ron has taken it to new levels. Now that I’m out of the editing game, I’ll definitely be submitting to SH again.

Fortune - CoverUnder the category of old news, FORTUNE, the comic book that Dillon Samuelson and I collaborated on in 2014, received some very nice reviews in 2015. If you don’t have a copy, it’s still available. (You can even get a free PDF copy via NoiseTrade.)

All that said, the biggest — and, by far, the saddest — thing that happened to me personally in 2015 was losing my parents, Jim and Jeanne Arneson.

They were, no exaggeration, the greatest. Mom and Dad were unequivocally supportive of everything I tried, especially my writing. From the story I wrote in first grade about King Kong to the handwritten ATARI TIMES newsletter I published in fifth grade to working on my high school newspaper (THE OCTORARIAN) to writing for NOTEBORED magazine to my first published short story (“The Murder of Ernest Trapnell” in MARY HIGGINS CLARK MYSTERY MAGAZINE) to the last published short story before they passed away (“It Bothers Me” in THUGLIT), Mom and Dad were my biggest fans.

Hopefully this video gives a sense of how great they were.

Looking ahead to 2016, my one-word resolution is: WRITE.

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