Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Wrap Up


This was a year of being nagged at by lots of little annoyances, mostly health-related, as well as the year one of my best friends, Ed Gorman, passed away. I still halfway expect to get an email from Ed promising me another Maserati is on the way in appreciation for something I did for him, when in truth Ed did more to help me than I ever did for him. More than a hundred Maseratis could ever pay back.

But not to dwell on the bad, 2016 was also a year in which a lot of good things happened. Bill Crider won the Sidewise Award for a story I published in TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE, and one of my stories was a finalist for the same award. I read a bunch of good books and watched a bunch of good movies and TV shows. I attended my first ice hockey games and discovered that I'm a hockey fan. (Actually, now that I think about it, it may have been right at the end of 2015 when I went to my first game, but it was this year I became a real fan. I even know what icing is!) The world is still a good place and I intend to enjoy it.

Writing

I topped a million words again this year, for the 12th straight year. I just take it year to year and don't know how much I'll get done in 2017, but based on the contracts I have, I should be in the neighborhood of a million words again. This year it broke down to ten novels, five more novels written in collaboration, and two novellas, both of which will have my name on them when they're published next year. I had a really good first half of the year, then slowed down some in the second half, largely due to my eye problems. Those seem to be under control for now, so I'm optimistic about my production for next year.

Reading

Here are my top ten favorite books I read in 2016, in alphabetical order by author, as usual.

SINNER MAN, Lawrence Block
THE SAVAGE PACK, Fred Blosser
ANGEL'S FLIGHT, Lou Cameron
PISTOL PASSPORT, Eugene Cunningham
A HANDFUL OF HELL, Robert F. Dorr
THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, T.T. Flynn
THE KNIFE SLIPPED, A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
POWDER SMOKE, William Colt MacDonald
MY FATHER, THE PORNOGRAPHER, Chris Offutt
NIGHTRIDER DEPUTY, Ralph R. Perry

Two that almost made the list are SOME BURIED CAESAR by Rex Stout and A GENT FROM BEAR CREEK by Robert E. Howard. I dropped them off because they were rereads. I also debated with myself whether to include Fred Blosser's THE SAVAGE PACK since I published it, but finally I decided to put it on there because I think it's a great frontier adventure novel. I think I blogged about all of these except the Offutt book, which is fascinating and disturbing and very well-written, and Lou Cameron's ANGEL'S FLIGHT, which I'll be posting about probably next week. I'll say this, though, as a teaser: it's the best book I read in 2016. My reading this year was dominated by Westerns, and pulp Westerns, at that. That should come as no surprise to anyone. I read 111 books in all, down quite a bit from last year's 125. I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I am going to try to read more next year. Seems like I always say that. We'll see.

So I'll close with a quote from my favorite philosopher (bet you didn't know I have a favorite philosopher), Marcus Aurelius: "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." Have a great 2017, everyone.

9 comments:

Walker Martin said...

Nice Wrap Up. I'm interested in your comment about Marcus Aurelius. He's my favorite philosopher also and I first practiced his stoic philosophy in 1966 when I was drafted into the army. I was certain I was not going to survive but his MEDITATIONS helped me through the two years.

Now that I'm running out of time I think I had better reread him again.

Keith West said...

Hmm, maybe I need to give Aurelius a try. I hit the big Five Oh a couple of weeks ago. Don't feel any different, but I've noticed more kids that need to get off my lawn.

Ben Boulden said...

I hear you about Ed Gorman, James. I expect to get an email from him nearly every day with a promise of a Maserati or two, a joke, but then I remember. He is missed very much.

Great reading list. I can't imagine writing 10 novels, 5 collaborated novels and 2 novellas in a year. Well, I can, but it's exhausting. The Fred Blosser novel is officially on my TBR list.

Here is to a happy 2017.

Victor Wadsworth said...

Yea I was sorry to loss Mr. Gorman as well. As to health, momma said there would be days like this, she just didn't say there would be so damn many.

Charlie Steel said...

James,

Very thoughtful and wonderful writing. A very enlightening reminisce.









larry said...

Love your year end wrap-ups.Always interesting.

JJ Stickney said...

Sinner Man and My Father were two o my favorites. Philosophy could help us through the next four years...

Charles Gramlich said...

When are you going to write your autobiography, man?

Cap'n Bob said...

Happy 2017 to you and Livia and the rest of the family. Thanks for all the good reading. I read Fred's book and enjoyed it a lot.