Part of the reason for this tepid output, in case anyone's interested, is my life went into a major tailspin just six days into the year due to poor car maintenance skills and an old car part that finally gave out after 110,000 miles. January 2014 was very cold, for those with short memories, and like an ignoramus with machinery I tried driving without anti-freeze on a sub-freezing Monday, never having added it myself in past years. Add to this a water pump giving out the same day making my car nonfunctional and I was screwed for getting to a commuter job - no public transit option for the shift times I worked evenings and weekends to make the 20-mile journey.
Thus I was forced to take another job offer closer to home (something I had been trying to find during 2013 without success) and quit my almost one-year foray into non-telemarketing call center phone work giving surveys to strangers across the US (sometimes mistaken as a telemarketer). This job was offered by an old high school classmate and current case manager from the therapy clinic where since November 2013 I had been getting treatment and counseling. Thus in February 2013 I then became a house manager at a newly opened assisted living group home, seeing to the needs of one to six clients that lived there. I will not divulge anything about these individuals due to a little federal law (apparently which I am subject to as someone working in the managed care industry - failure to comply with promises some stiff punishment) called the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act or HIPPA for short. As a medical consumer, I never put much faith in the federal government's promises of protecting my privacy, but that's another story. Still there due to limited circumstances, it's a job and that's all I got to say about that. I don't love it and never will. If I could do what I love, write fiction, for a living then I would not be where I am now. The greatest drawback to my job is that even with spare time to type this when not busy seeing to clients' needs or some chore around the assisted living house, I have no solitude or as much time as I would like for the love that remains a glorified hobby - fiction writing.
This year I have made exactly $25.00 from one story accepted in an Emby Press anthology back during late 2013 being published by May 2014 - not complaining about the publishing schedule, just glad it got out there in the collection called Monster Hunter: Blood Trails and the story is entitled "The Vampire Hunter's Final Temptation" (another story about my private eye vampire hunter Jack Petrov). Check the collection out if you're a monster hunting fan or other publications by Miles Boothe's Emby Press. So, I'm not getting rich at writing, but want to make a decent living doing what I love - something few ever get while living. But $25.00 is the most I've ever been paid for a single story publication so far, making that my personal milestone and it only took 15 years to reach it. I'll probably give it a few more years before quitting in disgust, but unless something wonderful (and God knows what I mean by that if the rest of you don't) happens in my intended career in the next two years, I might just lose the will to live. There, I said it.
In 2013, I lost my computer to a malfunction that erased the hard drive and also subsequently lost a number of stories or other documents written between May 2012 and early July 2013 forever. For the next three months of 2013 I began rereading my self-published novels from 2011-2012 to pass spare time and work time breaks. Sadly, I discovered my past proofreading skills remain inadequate for any would-be professional author and the books still contained embarrassing errors that astute readers (the few there probably ever were) might catch I did not when revising them before publication. So, I set out to rewrite each one and re-release the corrected manuscripts through CreateSpace. This year I completed one of those manuscripts (putting aside another after having already started revising it before losing the computer once of two times in 2013), my superhero fantasy novel The Circle of Light which shrank from its original 310 pages to 292 pages, even after adding some additional scenes. The cover illustrations are also vastly improved in terms of dots per inch. I am finally pleased with the end product and hope it gets a second chance out there in the fiction universe. Currently I am revising my other worlds fantasy novel Sister Helena of the Sword (volume 1 of the Sepharata Saga) and it may expand from its previous 290-page size. I also intend releasing that novel finally as a Kindle (never had the spare money for the conversion fee at CreateSpace when first publishing it) and go on to write two promised sequels (for a trilogy) to the volume about the title character's daughter and granddaughter and their later adventures on the planet Sepharata. I also intend revisiting my private eye vampire hunter novel A Legacy of Blood (only partially rewritten) and finally rewrite my parallel worlds science-fiction novel Worldjumpers. If I can do all that and get a horror trilogy I generated in 2013 from the first and longest novel I'd ever written in 1999-2000 (collectively titled The Nightmare of Aarontown) into print at Dark Recesses Press (once I can help pay for the book cover artwork artist's fee apparently) in 2015, maybe next year will prove better than this one.
So, I managed to stay positive writing this farewell to 2014 - big deal. I now bow out to that calendar year and force myself kicking and screaming into the future. Maybe I'll even get a few more short stories finished during 2015. But I can only look back in envy at the time I was formally unemployed (and on unemployment after a stressful telemarketing job in 2009 from which I was laid off gladly after 10 months) in 2009-11. In that period I was more prolific as a writer than any time before or since. In that period I wrote 65 short stories, 12 poems (some of those published in 55 different small press anthologies or poetry collections with a few dozen works) and three new novels (one of which was published in 2013 as Claws of T'birsk by Dark Moon Press, with two of my other novels getting self-published in 2011). I want to become that prolific again, but with a job I live at dealing with other peoples' needs often each day (even on days off there) that freedom to write so much no longer exists. Therefore I need enough professional success in fiction writing for becoming independent financially of needing a day job to have the free time to work at what I love. Other writers will tell me that is the dream they too want and have yet to accomplish in many cases.
I want this career so badly I can taste it and believe myself willing to do anything short of becoming a corporate whore through networking or selling my soul for getting to that life goal. God willing, I will finally reach that milestone too.