Saturday, January 1, 2011

Good bye, 2010. Get goin', now.

I told myself I wasn't going to do this. I said to myself (and others - i.e: WagTheFox) that I wouldn't do a 'year end retrospective', or a 'best of' list, or a top 10 - 20 - 1 million best whatever, or anything like that.

And, for all intents and purposes, I won't...but I have to say something, right? I mean...this year has been fucking huge, hasn't it?

So how do I feel about it?

Yeah. You can see how I feel about 2010 by taking a look at that picture to the left there (which I appropriated from my wife's site - KinderScares - Thank you, hon.).

Me.

Covered in blood.

Drinking far too much coffee.

It's been an absolutely brutal year. For all of us, I think. Not only have we lost waaaay too many people (I'm lookin' at 3 + 1 beloved cat, myself), but we've also seen the end of an era in the publishing world with the dissolving of Leisure/Dorchester's mass market paperback division.

Their mmpb division, I've gotta tell you, is the reason I started this goddamned review site in the first place, and exactly why I called it "Paperback Horror" and not something like "I-like-to-read-horror-books-and-talk-about-them.com. Now you can pretty much understand why I took that news badly.

It's all good though. We can make due without that format, right? Right.

But what of the authors who were contracted to them? Leisure's folding of their mmpb format lost the general public quick-and-easy bookstore access to the likes of Jeff Strand, Gord Rollo, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Ronald Malfi, John Skipp, J.F. Gonzalez, Bryan Smith, Wrath James White, and so many others. Not to mention robbing us of seeing Joel A. Sutherland's Leisure debut with Frozen Blood sooner (fret not - it will be released digitally in May 2011).

But more importantly, that move also lost a shit-ton of authors their bread and butter. How many people saw fine authors hitting the message boards, wondering what the hell was going on? I saw 'em, and my heart bleeds for them.

In the most extreme case I've seen, Brian Keene up and took all of his rights back (with good reason) and was forced to take things into his own hands. What a tough choice that must have been. I can't imagine having to do something like that.

If I had the money, I'd start my own publishing house and pay them all myself.

But I can't.

And that kills me sometimes.

Face it, by the end of 2010, the future of horror in literature looked bleak as all hell.

But looking at all of this in retrospect, looking at the crap we've all been handed, at the collapse of some great publishing houses (Necro Publications went away on June 9th, 2010), the publishing world's push into the digital era, the tanking of the economy, the fighting, the pain, the hardship and the horror; there has to be a light at the end...right?

As with most good fiction, that's up to you - the reader - to decide.

Do you suspend your disbelief, enjoying the tale? Or do you walk away from the story, taking away only the spelling mistakes, grammar mishaps, and plot holes that can be overlooked because of the absolute brilliance of what you've just experienced?

I can.

I learned a lesson this year. I learned that no matter how hard you try, someone is always going to want to whoop your ass back down below, down to where they think you belong. And most of the time...well...most of the time that someone is going to be ourselves.

It's time we broke out of the rut and headed for higher ground. We all deserve it, do we not?

Greg Lamberson has been busting his ass for how many years?, and now he's sitting on top of one of the best genre series that I've ever read. Not to mention the fact that he's just released Slime City Massacre - the sequel to his cult classic - Slime City. A great feat, if I do say so myself.

Brian Keene took his lumps (and how!) but he's back up with his own book imprint, a beautiful (and massively talented) fiancee, an incredible list of upcoming projects, and the beginnings of what look to be an incredible future in publishing.

John Everson is seeing 2 of his books turned into audio books, Oshawa, Ontario saw the first ever Darklit Fest of Durham, courtesy of Joel A. Sutherland (and it was a smashing success), Rue Morgue Magazine has topped the lists of many people as 'the best horror mag in the world', Steve Vernon won the Rannu Fund award for his piece of poetry - Barren, and so many other incredible things.

What else did we see? A massive amount of incredible books. So many, that I didn't get to review on this website, but will in the coming year.

I met so many incredible people, and I want to take a moment to let you know that I appreciate you more than anything. This year alone, I met:

John Everson - The king of erotic horror, who is also an incredible influence and an amazing, big hearted person.

Gord Rollo - Who continually surprises me with his creative abilities (and the fact that he can pound 3 beers and not miss a beat in whatever story he's telling)

Greg Lamberson - A writer of such immense talent, and a hero in my eyes. A great friend, and someone who makes me want to be a better person. Some people have pictures of their kids on the fridge. I have a flyer with this guy's mug on it, tacked up there. He guards my ice cream.

Sephera Giron - The epitome of everything you ever thought was sexy in literature, and fantastic writer of horror and erotica.

Ian Rogers - who was (and still is) the person who drives me to continue this project.

James Roy Daley - of Books of the Dead Press, and an incredible author in his own right. Proof that being a fan of horror can take you far if you have the drive to do something about it, and a massive inspiration to me, in total.

Chris Zenga - who is quite possibly the nicest person in the world, and a fantastic artist.

Liisa Ladouceur - who keeps my heart beating at an insane pace with her incredible poetry, gothic beauty, and awesome encouragement.

Mike Oliveri - a hilarious, painfully intelligent, awesomely talented author whom I've come to respect and admire...even if we only talk via Twitter.

Tomb Dragomir - Who creates some of the best radiola sounds in the entire world with Rue Morgue Radio. Seriously folks. Don't let the deep, scary voice throw you off. This guy is 100% pure, unadulterated love and awesome. Also check out his new YouTube Channel. This guy has no limits to what he can do.

There are so many other people.

This year, when I think about it, has actually been a year that has opened my eyes. I've had a lot of doors open up, and a lot more slam shut in my face.

But through it all, my incredible wife has stood and weathered the storm right by my side. Without her, I don't even think I'd still be here. She's the most loving, intelligent, creative person I've ever known. (She's also incredibly hot...which always helps) I'm looking forward to facing 2011 with her, and owning the hell out of it.

I want to thank you all for sticking with me. You've been incredible inspirations, and driving forces. I appreciate all of your comments, even if I don't get around to responding. I read what you say, and take it to heart.

I would love to talk to you all, to sit down for a drink and chat about our favorite authors. And we will, someday. Come hang out with me on Twitter. I don't bite...much.

Heh. I didn't mean for this to be so long, but if you've read this far...you're my kind of person.

Someone who reads to the end.

I'm looking at a fantastic year ahead of me. A year filled with so much work, but also so much of a payoff. Whatever it is I choose to do, I'm laying the groundwork here.

Right now.

January 1st, 2011

And so are you.

Thanks for everything, folks. See you on the other side of the page.

PBH.

3 comments:

  1. Please also know that those who've just met you this past year, also have garnered a ton of respect and admiration for you and your continuing projects. We need more folks like you, and I personally am honored to call you a friend. Much love, luck and success in 2011.

    JD

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  2. You make me proud to be your mother!!! (Although you didn't have to post this for that to be the case!)

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  3. It has been a pretty wild year, hasn't it?

    -Neal

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