It’s January 1 and like a lot of other people, this is the day I take a step back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished in 2016 as a writer.
At times, writing can be a lonely, solitary place where it’s very easy to forget all that you’ve accomplished throughout the year. So, dear reader (s?), here we go.
On this day in 2015, my writing resume was a half-written piece of flash fiction. That was it. Those few hundred words were my fiction writing career in its entirety. I knew it was time to poop or get off the pot if I was going to write fiction.
Suitably chastised by my lack of production (but increased pontification skills), I got my head down and finished that piece and wrote two more to go with it – a trilogy no less! I’ve now decided to merge and rewrite them as a short story to be called “The Road to Hell”. Since then I’ve completed 10 short stories and pieces of flash fiction that are all published here on The Haunted Pen website.
Talking of websites, I put this site together in early April using WordPress, as I have for all my other websites. I’m a big fan and find it to be a versatile and easy-to-use platform. I’m pleased to say that has it had nearly 2,500 page visits. Not too shabby for just over eight months.
In terms of social media, a Facebook page was created in late April that I’m proud to say has (at the time of writing this) 267 likes. A Twitter page was created in early January and currently has 1,250+ followers.
My work has received some great feedback and comments from readers that completely blew me away:
Mary Carson on “He’s Making A List”
“I enjoyed this story from beginning to end, my interest never lagged. It’s not your run of the mill Christmas story (with a happy ending) but I recommend it. The story is a quick, enjoyable read with an interesting storyline with some well-drawn out characters. It’s perfect for a lunch-break relax. What’s next from the Dave Burnham and the Haunted Pen? More of the same great story writing, I hope!”
Steven Grant on “Purgatory Road”
“Excellent story. The tale is very well constructed, well written and scary but not in the typical gory way. Kept me very entertained, I savored each and every word.”
In his excellent book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, Stephen King says “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” Who am I to argue with one of the masters?
My reading list for 2016 included several works from King –
• “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” (read twice)
• “End of Watch”
• “Just After Sunset”
• “Bazaar of Bad Dreams”
Honorable mentions to my reading list for the year are as follows –
“Red Flags” by Tammy Kaelher
I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of this title, but I would’ve bought it anyway as I’m a big fan of Tammy’s Kate Reilly motor racing mystery stories. This is the fourth Kate Reilly title tammy has penned – the previous works being “Dead Man’s Switch”, “Braking Points” and “Avoidable Contact”. If you’re a motorsport fan or simply like a damned good mystery story you’ll enjoy these books. Thanks to a serious bout of the flu, I read “Red Flags” in three sittings and loved every page. Great work and thoroughly recommended. I’m looking forward to the next one that will be based around, I believe, the historic Indy 500.
“The Cuckoo’s Calling”, “Silkworm” and “Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
I read a very good review of these books in “Mystery Scene” magazine during the summer and a few hours later found two of the titles on the discount table in Barnes & Noble! It would’ve been rude not to buy them, and I’m not a rude person…Having never read any of Rowling’s other work – apparently, she wrote some books about a kid who was a wizard that were quite popular – I found I loved her style of writing and world setting. I once read that Stephen King is a fan of her world building and I can see why.
“The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler
I’ve been reading this book over the past few days after watching the movie on TV. I consider it to be first person POV storytelling at its very best. I love the movie and love the book and will definitely be reading more from Chandler. Watching the movie gave me a new appreciation for the noir style of private investigator movies. I intend on reading some of the Sam Spade books written by Dashiel Hammett in the New Year to complement Chandler’s works.
After Stephen King, Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels are some of my favorite reads. I added “Make Me”, “61 Hours”, “The Affair” and the thoroughly dreadful “Reacher Said Nothing” by Andy Martin to my list of books read.
I could write a blog post on how self-indulgent and awful “Reacher Said Nothing” was, but it’s already been done many times. The book was simply a platform for a university professor to spout big words and name drop. I learned very little about how Lee Child creates his stories other than he used Arial font at 10 points, has his screen set to 150% and has a metal writing desk. We also established that Child chain-smokes Camels and drinks a lot of coffee. Er, hello Andy, most writers drink a lot of coffee, I didn’t need to shell out $25 to find out that particular nugget of information…
“Reacher Said Nothing” easily surpasses Ted Dekker’s “The Bride Collector” as the worst book it has been my misfortune to read.
In closing, I would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone for your support of The Haunted Pen in 2016. Here’s to an amazing New Year, full of writing, reading, fun and love. Have a great one.