Looking Back at 2016

2016 was a great year in many ways and a sad year in many ways, but it certainly was never a dull year. Here’s my annual look back at the now-past year.

In October, I released my first book — THE THROES OF CRIME, a collection of 26 short stories and six true-crime essays.

In May, Beth and I traveled to Wilmot, South Dakota, to present a check to the first winner of the James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship. It was an amazing trip, and we were overjoyed to both help remember the way my parents encouraged me and my sisters and to pass on a little bit of that encouragement.

In terms of new short stories, Shotgun Honey published “Heritage” in January, “Election Day” was included in the Replacements-themed anthology WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN, and “Swing and a Miss” was featured in the anthology CLOSE TO THE BONEYARD.

On this website, I published four more stories in Spanish: “American Beauty,” “Noose of Trust,” “The Murder of Ernest Trapnell,” “A Decent Hand.”

Season 3 of the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast was a sort of mini-season featuring a group of authors named Erik/Eric/Eryk reading each other’s stories.

I hosted two Noir at the Bar events in Harrisburg (on May 9 and Nov. 8), and read my work at N@B events in Philadelphia (twice) and Queens.

I also wrote true-crime essays for issues #8, #9, and #10 of Duane Swierczynski’s great comic book The Black Hood, appeared on The Crime Scene with Eryk Pruitt, appeared on The Comics Panel, was interviewed by Spinetingler Magazine and by Christopher Irvin, wrote columns for Shotgun Honey and Sirens of Suspense, and had a great time at Broke Hack Mountain.

Like I said, 2016 was never dull. Here’s to a great 2017!

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.

Looking Back at 2014

Fortune - CoverYear-end reports have become a sort of tradition for me, at least if three consecutive years can be called a “tradition.” (Here are my looks back at 2013 and 2012.)

So how was 2014?

Tremendously fun, so… win!

New short stories were published by Akashic Books’ Mondays Are Murder (“Sugartime”), Out of the Gutter Online’s Flash Fiction Offensive (“Not My Gun”), and NEEDLE Magazine (“Alive”). And I had a new story accepted by The Big Adios (“A Decent Hand”), which should be published in early 2015.

I also made good progress on some book-length projects. Hopefully, you’ll hear about one or more of those over the next 12 months.

But, looking back, what stands out about 2014 for me were the many collaborations with friends.
Continue reading “Looking Back at 2014”

Looking Back at 2013

I had a lot of fun writing in 2013 and even managed to get five new stories published — plus one previously published story included in an anthology edited by Otto Penzler and another previously published story featured on Seth Harwood‘s terrific CrimeWAV podcast. Many of my stories are now available in Spanish. I also became an editor at the fabulous Shotgun Honey website.

Definitely a good year.

The new stories were published by Out of the Gutter Online‘s Flash Fiction Offensive (two), BEAT to a PULP, Grift, and the Shotgun Honey anthology RELOADED. It’s an honor to have my work included alongside the many talented writers those outlets all featured in 2013.

Looking ahead to 2014, I have five short stories that are almost ready for submission and three more that are nearly ready to be given to Beth, my amazingly talented editor/wife, for her magic touch. I also plan to launch a podcast soon, working with the very talented Scott Detrow, and I’ve started work on what I expect will become my first novel.

Here’s to a great 2014!

Looking Back at 2012

When 2012 started, I had one piece of published fiction: “The Murder of Ernest Trapnell,” in the Fall 1998 issue of the now-defunct Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine.

In 2012, I took two classes at LitReactor.com (thank you David Corbett and Johnny Shaw for being great teachers) and had eight stories published in various outlets: four by Shotgun Honey and one each by NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir, Off the Record 2: At the Movies, The Flash Fiction Offensive at Out of the Gutter Online, and Near to the Knuckle. To all of the editors and publishers who saw enough in my stories to choose them, I can’t thank you enough. (The About Me page of this blog has a bit more on my stories.)

More importantly, I made a bunch of new friends in the crime fiction community (online and off). You’re an incredibly talented group of people. I even got to thank Mary Higgins Clark herself for publishing that first story 14 years ago. She also offered me some advice, which she summed up in one word: “Royalties.” I can only hope to reach the point where that means something to me…

Best of all, I got to work with my wife Beth a lot. She happens to be the world’s greatest editor, and she’s remarkable in every way.

Here’s to a great 2013!