All right! The first five chapters of my Division novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION are up on Darkfuse’s website. Give them a read, let me know what you think, and spread the word to anybody who enjoys well-written dark fiction.
Buckle your seatbelt (this was a busy writing year…)
At the beginning of 2011 Ellen Datlow picked three of my stories for Honorable Mention in her Year’s Best Horror, volume 3! The first three stories I sold! It was a good start to the year and a nice buzz.
This year I’ve had stories published alongside some great writers in mags and anthos and webzines I love! Shared space with Joe Lansdale (x2), Lee Thomas, Jack Ketchum, Bentley Little, Jason V. Brock, Ken Wood, Maggie Jamison, Jeffrey Thomas, Michael McBride, Tom Piccirilli, Weston Ochse, James A. Moore, Nick Mamatas, Gene O’Neil, Ronald Malfi, Kevin Wallis, Steve Lowe, Shane McKenzie, etc. in Delirium’s Horror Wired anthology (February), Dark Discoveries #18 (May), Apex’s Zombie Feed, vol. 1 (June), Shock Totem #4 (July), Literary Mayhem (October), A Hacked-up Holiday Massacre anthology (November).
I sold the second Division novel THE DAMPNESS of MOURNING to Darkfuse Publications on October 19th! (Going to be released in signed/limited hardcover and digital in February 2012 and has a killer cover by Dani Serra. Bam!) This novel also came out early (Dec. 8th 2011) as a Kindle Exclusive. Pretty damn neat.
I sold my standalone novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL to Delirium Books on Dec. 14th (my dad’s birthday). It’ll come out in 2012 as a signed/limited hardcover and digitally! Another badass cover from Dani Serra! *Dance* This is one of my favorite pieces and was so difficult to write that it made me cry several times. And my hero Tom Piccirilli commented on WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL when I shared the rough opening on here. It made me extremely happy. Not only is he a badass author, he’s encouraging and kind and such a great guy. I’d probably give him a kidney if he needed it. Maybe not mine, but somebody’s.
My buddy, Jassen Bailey, bought me a book I’d been searching for forever! Tom Piccirilli’s first novel Dark Father! Thanks so much, bro! What a thoughtful, dude!
I wrote reviews for The Crow’s Caw which is a great site if you want to know what books are rocking the genre.
I’ve sported some stylish threads thanks to The Bag & The Crow. I think their tees have gotten me laid a couple times and increased my creativity.
I wrote quite a bit even though I was insanely busy working 60 hours a week at my regular job spring and summer, plus some Sundays at my old job, critting friends’ work, studying writing, reading, doing some reviews. Then when worked slowed down in the fall I spent most of my time playing guitar, drawing and painting (which I’ve never really invested any time in but found it’s super fun), and I had a blast talking life and its great mysteries with my buddies Shaun, Jassen, and Susan. I love those guys so much. Those three are like soul mates to me.
I’ve seen Susan search for truth, dive deep into the waters of her soul, and come back even more incredible, and I’m so proud of her. What a woman.
I’ve watched Jassen blossom despite slogging through the most challenging year of his life.
I’ve witnessed my buddy Shaun hone his writing voice and the stories he has to tell to a razor sharp edge. I can’t wait until people read his novels.
I’ve seen these friends suffer and watched them grow while facing adversity, with honesty, heart and dignity. Listened and shared. Lived and loved deeply and more passionately and honestly than I’ve ever been capable of before (and surprisingly, to me anyway, it had to start with loving myself and letting go of a lot of self-loathing and buried resentments. How weird. LOl).
My buddy and long time critique partner Kevin Wallis finished his first novel! Was a pleasure to read and give him feedback. Can’t wait until he sells that bugger!
My publisher, Shane Ryan Staley, built me a sweet website! How awesome is that? I could hug him several times, maybe even rub his feet.
I went to my first convention in October (Rock & Shock). Got to meet up with uber cool Jassen Bailey, sexy kitten Susan Scofield, iron man Ken Wood of Shock Totem, fellow authors Bill Gauthier and Adam Bloomquist, Tom Moran of Sideshow Press, watched Jordan Norton get molested by a big hairy guy and Scott Wieser of Morning Ablaze laugh at him, Andy Royal made me laugh my ass off, Danny Evarts was kind, Matt and Melissa Herron of Corrupt Culture were great and funny in the booth next door, and Kurt Newton and me had a fun talk. Sold out of the paperbacks of Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children (thanks to everybody who bought a copy and spent some time with me!) as well as learned some very valuable lessons. I really enjoyed seeing people picking up my novel, asking questions about it, as well as talking to them and signing copies for them. How fucking neat. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful time!
I spoke to a 6th grade class (Jassen’s daughter Jayda’s) about creativity and imagination while on vacation in Maine. It was a total blast even though I’m very introverted. I read them the first chapter of my teen book Before Leonora Wakes, they sent me a very kind thank you, and I sent them a physical copy of the book. Win-win! Looking forward to speaking to more kids about creativity in the near future!
I did a fun and personal guest blog tour (though I did fall way behind on it since writing fiction was my number one priority and I didn’t have the energy for both some weeks. Yet the people who allowed me on their sites are beautiful and gracious and so understanding.)
I’ve had a ton of great reviews on pretty much everything that came out this year. From my first novel Nursery Rhymes for Dead Children to my first novella Iron Butterflies Rust, and garnered some nice mentions on stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Sweet! Thanks to all the book reviewers who have taken the time to give me and my work a chance!
Brian Keene doesn’t know me from Adam, but he was kind enough to mention me on his website, which was damn cool of him! Then my buddy Susan sent me a link to Brian Keene’s Top Ten Books of 2011 and my first novel, Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children, is on there. So, a big thanks to Brian for taking the time to read it and for sharing it! And thanks to Susan for always letting me know stuff like that is out there because I’m kinda lazy (or focused on writing) when it comes to keeping track of what’s going on.
Plus Brian let me use this awesome blurb!
“Thompson’s voice is his own — strong, hypnotic, and unsettling. Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children is a bleak fucking book, and therein lies its danger. So beautifully-constructed is Thompson’s prose, that the reader is often caught off-guard, mesmerized by a turn of phrase or a descriptive passage, until the book grabs you by the balls and rips them right off, breaking your heart and your psyche in the process.”
My favorite short story, Beneath the Weeping Willow, from Shock Totem #4 was recommended for a Bram Stoker Award. This story and the protagonist tie-in directly to the second and third Division novels. I’m very proud of that one so it holds extra special significance to me that other people dug it. Plus it’s cool to see my name near Stephen King’s. When on vacation at Jassen’s in Maine, Jassen took me to his house, too! Thanks, dude! I wish Stevie would have come out and we could have wrestled in his yard, that’d have been fun!
I feel like I’ve grown as a man, a friend, a lover, and a writer. There were a few times when I was utterly exhausted and I thought I might take some steps back—sometimes I probably did, I can get cranky or anti-social when I’m not well-rested or sick—but what a year it’s been. I’ve worked my ass off, but I’ve also been lucky to have so many amazing people in my corner. Because really there is only two halves of my success… First: I write. Second: I’m fortunate enough to have people as excited about the work as I am. People who give me feedback, a publisher who believes in me, book reviewers and readers, lovers of literature and people full of imagination.
So many, many thanks to everyone who has been my friend, taught me valuable lessons, offered honesty and encouragement, bought the books, reviewed my work, and spread the word!
Let’s see how 2012 shapes up next, huh? Perhaps it’ll bring some of us diamonds to share with the world.