2018: A Look Back

Well, this is it. The final day of 2018. I know that some of that time it seemed like we’d never get here.

I gotta be honest: When I started scribbling down what was going to be the outline for this post (Yesterday, as it turned out), this look back was going to be a bit on the dark side, full of determination and defiance.

Because who hasn’t taken their share of hits this past year?

Then it occurred to me that I’d been living under a rock for gods know how long, when a Tweet by Laura Anne Gilman mentioned First Night.

I had no idea what that was, but when she mentioned celebrating culture, and art, and music, that pricked my ears up, so I went looking.

How long has this been going on? Where the heck have I been?

It sparked an idea, and I totally scrapped the outline from last night. If you listen carefully, you can probably still hear the echoes of that sheet of paper crumpling up and hitting the recycling.

Today I am going to look back on all of the awesome stuff that certainly bears celebrating:

People I’ve met

This list of folk that I’ve gotten to meet turned out to be surprisingly long. I won’t try and list them all, but here are a few of the stand outs.

Jim C. Hines. Now I’ve met Jim a few times before. He’s an amazing guy. He’s also (and this sounds ridiculous even as I’m typing this) the first person with any degree of success in this field, to remember meeting me. He hasn’t been the last, to be sure, but I still remember the surprise I felt when I went to re-introduce myself and he remembered who I was.

Karen Osborne. Karen is my Agent Sibling and the other founding member of #Team Dorian. We’d never met prior to this year, and we met at Ravencon. It was such a good time, we met a little over a month later at Balticon.

Merrie Haskell. I met Merrie at ConFusion where a bunch of my Fellow Codexians gathered. It was there that I discovered that I’d been living under another rock and that she and some other local writers met regularly to write…and I drove past it, regularly. They welcomed me into the group, and I’m so glad they did.

Books I’ve read

The actual number of book that I read in 2018 that were released in 2018…well there were two. And they were both awesome:

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. Amazing from cover to cover and it left we lamenting the fact that the second book was still in production and that I couldn’t buy it right then. Go get it.

Flotsam by R. J. Theodore. Rekka had me hooked on page one. There’s a little bit of sci-Fi, a little bit of Fantasy, a little bit of Steampunk, all wrapped up in a Firefly vibe that hit all the right buttons, slid my volume up to 11. And there are sporks. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.

Of the other books I read in 2018, here are some other standouts

What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson. I entered this year with the idea that I would read things that were outside of my usual wheelhouse. As it turns out, I’ve got a deep interest in creative folk and the story of how they got to where they are. Of the biographies I’ve read this year, this one stands out.

Perdition by Ann Aguirre. I’m not sure how this managed to stay off my radar for so long but, damn if it wasn’t worth the wait.

Music

This year saw me stumbling onto a number of different bands. Here are a few Highlights:

Unleash the Archers. Power metal from Canada. Apex is their latest release. It listens like a concept album and there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Your ears will thank you.

Amaranthe. From Sweden, I’d heard of this band before, but I hadn’t given them a serious listen until this year. Helix is their latest release and I bought it off the back of the first single – 365.

Dreamstate. Also out of Sweden, this project seems to have lost momentum back in 2012. Which is a damned shame. You can check out their only release “Evolution” at their website. I listened to this song while I was typing this post. No Joke. If they released an album, I’d buy it off the strength of Evolution alone

Movies

I spent a bit of time scrolling through the list of movies released in 2018, my jaw slowly dropping ever more open as I realized that I had only been to ONE SINGLE MOVIE in 2018.

While this is something that I plan on seriously correcting in 2019, it is kinda fitting that the only movie I did manage to get out and see was…

SOLO.

I dug it. I really did.

Podcasts

WOW was 2018 the year for Podcasts. I did mention some of the podcasts I listen to on the Podcast editions of Five Thing Thursday. You can find them here, and here. Here are some that were particularly worth the listen.

Be the Serpent. A Podcast of extremely deep literary merit. Extremely Deep. Go put them in your ears. Future you will thank Present you.

The Hybrid Author Podcast. Covering a mixture of trad and indie published topics, Rekka and Brian are well worth listening to.

Get to Work Hurley. I’ve mentioned Kameron Hurley’s podcast before. It’s one of my favorites. Before the year is out, go listen to episode 12. It’s about an hour long, but so well worth the time. I’ve saved it and will listen to it more than once during the coming year.

That is a very incomplete list of everything awesome that happened in 2018. I finished the first draft of my current book and submitted a short story on top of it.

And let me tell you, taking the time to think about all of the great things that happened this past year has been a really good thing. Something I plan on doing more in the future.

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