2022 was quite the ride for me, writing-wise! I had my first book deal and a bunch of other “firsts,” highlighted below. These types of year-end posts are helpful for authors to stay accountable and celebrate successes in a path paved with a billion rejections.

My biggest writing milestone this year was announcing my first book deal in May. The book will publish less than a year later: MELINDA WEST: MONSTER GUNSLINGER will be available in February 2023 from Brigids Gate Press. This adult “Weird Western” adventure features gunslingers, diverse characters and a menagerie of nightmarish monsters, with Bonnie & Clyde + Witcher + Supernatural vibes. Author milestones including seeing the incredible cover by Carrion House; holding the physical ARC in my hand for the first time; and reading early reviews, which have been positive so far. I am so very grateful to Brigids Gate Press, the indie horror writing community, early readers and supporters, and many others for helping to bring this book to life.

collage of magazine and book covers

I also published more short stories this year than I have any year prior. 13 of my short horror/sci-fi/weird west stories were published in anthologies, magazines and/or podcasts, and I’ve signed contracts for 5 more appearing next year, including an audio version of my gothic horror tribute to Anne Rice, “Unrest,” by the excellent Tales to Terrify podcast.

2022 stories include tales of a sentient circus, a mean-girls creature-feature, a fused dog-and-owner consciousness dealing with the apocalypse, and many more. I’m thankful to Rooster Republic Press, Sley House Publishing, Dark Matter Magazine, Cosmic Horror Monthly, the British Science Fiction Association, Dread Stone Press, Cohesion Press, 34 Orchard Magazine, and others for the opportunities.

“The U Train” appears in Tales of Sley House 2022.

Of particular note this year was winning the Sley House Publishing podcast competition. Sley House Publishing presented its first-ever scripted audio drama, my weird horror short story, “U-Train.” The voice actors and production were phenomenal. There is nothing quite like hearing your story come to life by a talented team.

The year closed with a nice surprise: my horror poem about an obsessive botanist, “A Woman’s Weapon,” received a mention in the summation section in The Best Horror of the Year Vol 14 by Ellen Datlow. This is one of the premiere horror lists of the year, so even a mention in the summation list is a huge achievement. 

I was also featured in several interviews and guest articles this year. My favorites include “5 Tips for Writing a Horror Weird Western” on the Horror Tree (named as one of the “5 Must-Read Horror Articles” in October by This is Horror) and an author interview with Authority Magazine, which you can read here. A final highlight of the year was leading a short story writing workshop for the In Your Write Mind conference at Seton Hill, one of my favorite genre-focused author virtual events.

In terms of actual writing, I wrote 8 new pieces, two of which were around 9,000 words each, and two of which were SFF poems, a form I hope to write more of. In the second half of the year I began the next book in the MELINDA WEST series.

I am so thankful for the means and opportunities to write and share my work. The indie horror writing group is one of the best communities out there, and I find it provides endless inspiration. And if you’re seeing this, thank YOU for reading and for your support!

Here’s to a kind and creative 2023. Hope you stay afloat, find stories you love, and create art if so inclined!

  1. I hope you have a creative, writerly, and fun 2023!

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