As we all know, 2021 has been a rough year in many respects. At times, I’ve felt as if I were keeping busy just so I wouldn’t think about how many unpleasant and downright tragic things were happening in the world.
But I did keep busy: I wrote somewhere around 1.1 million words, the
most in several years. I read 202 books, the most I’ve ever read since I
started keeping records 41 years ago. (My previous record was 186.) I not only
kept my own writing going, but I also sold my publishing imprint, Rough Edges
Press, to Wolfpack Publishing and stayed on as the editor, guiding the
development of a line that I think can compete with anybody in the
mystery/suspense/men’s adventure field. So I think I accomplished quite a bit,
although it wasn’t enough for me to feel caught up. I’ll never be caught up . .
Not for a while yet, anyway. But another thing I’ve done this year is decide on the date when I actually will retire, except for maybe writing a few more books of my own and keeping this blog and the WesternPulps email group going, assuming those platforms still exist. More about that later, as the time approaches. For now, full speed ahead.
Which means listing my top ten favorites of all the books I read this year, in the order in which I read them:
GUN RUNNER, Larry Correia and John Brown
THE SPIDER: FURY IN STEEL, Will Murray
A WRITER PREPARES, Lawrence Block
MAGAZINES I REMEMBER, Hugh B. Cave
THE COMANCHE KID, James Robert Daniels
5 DECEMBERS, James Kestrel
MASTER OF MYSTERY: THE RISE OF THE SHADOW, Will Murray
STRIPPED AND BRANDED, Peter Brandvold
AMBA, Andrew Hallman
DROWNING ARE THE DEAD, Brent Towns
The last two on that list aren’t available yet. They’re books I’m publishing at Rough Edges Press, and they’ll be out next year. I read a lot of good books this year, and there are twenty or thirty more that could have made the cut for the top ten. I especially want to acknowledge the three issues of MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY from Bob Deis and Bill Cunningham, BATTLING BRITONS and the two follow-up issues from Justin Marriott, the Levon Cade series by Chuck Dixon, THE COMPLETE CASES OF THE RAMBLER, VOLUME 1 by Fred MacIsaac, THE GUN WITH THE WAITING NOTCH by Stone Cody (Thomas E. Mount), and two thrillers by William Christie that I’ll also be publishing next year, DARKNESS UNDER HEAVEN and BARGAIN WITH THE DEVIL. I’m very glad I had so many good books to read, and I want to give a big thank you to all the authors, editors, and publishers who made that possible.
I mentioned above that I wrote around 1.1 million words this year, the 17th straight year I’ve hit the million word mark. This is where I always say I won’t do that much next year, and then I wind up writing that much anyway. Right now, I’d say it’s doubtful that I’ll do a million words in 2022, but stranger things have happened. I still have some ghost work lined up, and I plan to write a few books under my own name, if I can get around to them. So we’ll see.
And that pretty much sums up my attitude toward everything that’s waiting for us in 2022. We’ll see. Because there’s nothing else we can do.