2021: A Writer's Rewind
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
And so we find ourselves in that cozy interval between Christmas and New Year’s. New Year’s Day is especially meaningful for me this year, as it is the publication date for my new children’s fantasy novel, The Maker-Man of Merryville.
But before we crank up the promotional engine for that book—which I can’t wait to put in people’s hands, by the way—why not cast a look back at what I’ve achieved with my writing in the year that’s almost come and gone. Maybe I’ll refresh your memory about a book announcement or two, or maybe this will all be news. Either way, I’m happy to provide you with a handy reference for my most recent work. (Who says you shouldn’t dwell on the past?)
January 22: The Portable Nine hits the streets. If I’m not mistaken, this is a thriller unlike anything you’re likely to have come across before. I had more fun writing this novel than any one man should be allowed, and plenty of struggles along the way, too. What I’m proudest of with The Portable Nine is that maybe in the end I managed to bring that sense of fun to the reader instead of hoarding it for myself, and that I was able to smooth some rough edges that seemed insurmountable at times. Here's the book trailer I made leading up to The Portable Nine's release:
February 4: I’m interviewed by IndieMuse: https://www.myindiemuse.com/3550/interview-with-pete-mesling-author-of-the-portable-nine/. Commenting on an interview I gave feels a little overbearing, so I'll just point out that if you’d like to know more about my thoughts on The Portable Nine, you could do worse than clicking on the above link and having yourself a quick read.
February 17: I publish my first publicly circulated volume of verse, Imperfect Lodgings. I compose poetry at a snail’s pace these days, so who knows if or when there’ll be a follow-up collection. You might as well act on this one. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It was a homemade affair from top to bottom, as I even designed the cover myself, which features one of my own photographs from a trip to London’s Highgate Cemetery. Something about poetry must draw out my crafty side, because the only other collection of poems I’ve ever published was a limited-run chapbook that I typeset using LaTeX and laid out in InDesign.
February 26: Richard Schiver asks, “When did you first consider yourself a writer?” Here’s how I responded: https://richardschiver.com/2021/02/26/fridays-5-02-26-2021/
March 5: Richard Schiver asks, “If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?” Here’s how I responded: https://richardschiver.com/2021/03/05/fridays-5-03-05-2021/
March 12: Richard Schiver asks, “In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?” Here’s how I responded: https://richardschiver.com/2021/03/12/fridays-5-03-12-2021/
March 19: Richard Schiver asks, “How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?” Here’s how I responded: https://richardschiver.com/2021/03/19/fridays-5-03-19-2021/
March 29: IndieMuse reviews The Portable Nine: https://www.myindiemuse.com/product/the-portable-nine-by-pete-mesling/. It’s always nice to have nice things said about your work, and though I’m not about to start including favorable Amazon and Goodreads reviews in this post (appreciative as I am for those!), I think it’s noteworthy when a review blog gives you a nod. So have a look. It’s brief.
March 29: I release a story to my blog from my forthcoming (at the time) crime collection, The Wages of Crime. Read "InPerson" here: https://www.petemesling.com/post/free-story-from-my-forthcoming-collection-the-wages-of-crime
May 3: Kirkus gives The Portable Nine a glowing review. But don’t take my word for it: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/pete-mesling/the-portable-nine/
June 10: Stranger Sights does me the honor of thoughtfully reviewing my horror collection Jagged Edges & Moving Parts (again, it’s a blog review, so I’m including it here). Have a look: https://strangersights.com/jagged-edges-and-moving-parts-by-pete-mesling/
June 30: The Wages of Crime, my first crime collection, sees the light of day—that you may see the dark of night. This one contains some of my personal favorites, but then so does Jagged Edges & Moving Parts from 2020. And so does Fool’s Fire, the supernatural horror collection I have coming out in 2022. I guess you’re going to have to read these suckers to see where you land. But I can tell you this much: I love short stories. I love reading them and I love writing them, and I wouldn’t put my name on a collection I didn't believe was the best I had to offer.
July 3: I post an original piece of flash fiction to my blog as a kind of coda to The Wages of Crime. The story’s sarcastic title is “God Bless America,” and it is dark. You can read it here: https://www.petemesling.com/post/god-bless-america-a-shocking-tale-of-criminal-hopelessness
December 22: Kendall Reviews publishes my review of Clive Barker’s “The Last Illusion,” from his infamous Books of Blood collection: https://kendallreviews.com/feature-the-last-illusion-pete-mesling-the-books-of-blood-advent-calendar-door-22/. The really cool thing, though, is that Gavin, who runs Kendall Reviews, set this up as a Books of Blood Advent Calendar. In other words, contributors were tasked with providing a review of one story from the collection, and each review was then “opened” every day running up to Christmas. I claimed “The Last Illusion” because I reveled in the idea of comparing the story to the film that Barker himself made from it (Lord of Illusions). To top it all off, Gavin wrangled Hellraiser expert Paul Kane into writing an introduction for the project, and he somehow cajoled Clive Barker friend and collaborator Peter Atkins to pen an afterword. For the full Advent Calendar experience, here are all the entries: https://kendallreviews.com/books-of-blood-advent-calendar-a-tribute-to-clive-barker/
December 28: The Maker-Man of Merryville gets its first review, thus setting in motion a tidal wave of momentum that will make it an unstoppable publishing phenomenon in the coming year. Well, it’s a really good review, at any rate, by author Steve Stred, no less (repeat after me, “Blog reviews are fair game for this post.”): https://stevestredauthor.wordpress.com/2021/12/28/book-review-the-maker-man-of-merryville-by-pete-mesling/. I made a trailer for this book as well, so if you haven't seen it, here you go:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my 2021—from a writing and publishing standpoint, anyway. If I've piqued your curiosity about any of my work, my Linktree is your one-stop shop. I hope that for all of us, 2022 is a year of health, good fortune, and peace throughout the land. Take care of yourselves and each other. I'll be watching.