It is time for the annual Plucker year in review.

What have I done this year? It’s never enough. I always feel like a slacker, even when I sit at my writing desk every night from dinner (or after Modern Family) until bedtime.

I began the rewrite of my novel “The Garage” in earnest on approximately June 15th last year, and I wrote 135,000 bloated words, currently entitled “Bury the Hatchet.” I begin editing in July, and Imagine it will be 100k or less, as I wrote three concurrent storylines, two of which were backstory, and they will be incorporated into the main one, after all the fat has been cut. I find it easiest to write the scenes that define the character in detail and then cut them out later.

I’ve written (and had accepted) around 22 stories since last June, from little humorous pieces to a 7500 word monster. Flash fiction is still my favorite challenge, but my ideas are more character based lately, and I’ve been writing long. The latest is a 3500 word Denny story for the Watery Grave Invitational, at Naomi Johnson’s Drowning Machine, entitled “Train.”

I broke two personal records in the weight room in December- a 555lb trap bar deadlift, and a 260lb bench press (I have two torn rotator cuffs). This is nowhere near my max potential, and we have reset after my Achilles tendon became inflamed, but I am lifting heavy again. There are setbacks. You don’t quit. You do the most you can do.

In September, my story “Black-Eyed Susan” won the 1st place Bullet award. I forgot to enter for the Derringer, and would like to have seen how I would have done. It was a tough year, and some great stories won that one. The e-book Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, in which “Susan” appears, won the Spinetingler for best anthology. I’ve had a lot of readers compliment my writing, including one who compared me to Andrew Vachss, and I can think of no greater honor.

I published Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, a collection of 30 flash fiction stories inspired by my friend Fiona Johnson’s writing challenge. Together we’ve raised over $1600 for PROTECT and Children 1st. I have a second volume in the works, set for a September 1st release.

Sarah and I celebrated our first anniversary of marriage, and a great year it was. We’re both fiercely independent, but fit together so well. It’s only been a few years together, and I can’t imagine not being with her. Her support has been essential to all these accomplishments, and in the next issue of Hardboiled Magazine, you’ll get to read a little tribute to her, when my story “Firecracker” is published.

Thanks for a great year, Firecracker. Here’s to 41 more.

3 thoughts on “41

  1. It has been a great year for you, buddy. Long may it continue. I’m honoured to have been a part of your writing successes (Van Candy) and our “mix-up!” Haha!

    Well done, Thomas.

  2. Thank you, David! Yes… I was a stupid noob, only a year and change ago! But the funny thing is, the two stories I wrote to make up for that gaff- Black-Eyed Susan and Van Candy- seem to be the most popular. Just goes to show you, that owning up and doing the right thing pays off.
    In fact, “The Forest for the Trees,” which you accepted for the TFFO guest spot, is another story readers have said touched them deeply. You’ve been a great editor, and I wish you the best at Out of the Gutter. I’ll be sending stories to you and Court soon, I owe a lot of people tales this summer. I’ll be a busy Plucker!

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