Out With the Old, In With the New–Year that is. 2013, You Shall be Missed…

It’s that time of year again, you know what I’m talking about…the time when you look back on the year we’re about to usher into the past, and prepare to welcome a brand-new one, full of infinite possibilities. I’m going to start right out and say I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Waste of time. In the words of the immortal Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

So, in lieu of resolutions, I’ll set a list of goals. Then go make them happen. Sometimes things work out the way I want, sometimes not so much, but the end result is always more than I could have imagined the year before. Here’s a trip through my 2013, hope you enjoy it as much as I did living it. To write this post, I spent some time looking back on Facebook. It is a great time capsule of information, buried in between cat memes and apparently a lot of spiders.

January 2013 started cold…very cold. How do I know this? I was on the set of “Remission,” a feature-film by Midnight Frights I had to wonderful opportunity to be associated with. Filmed in the old Fischer Foods building in downtown Lincoln. It was…cold. I got to work on a script re-write, made some amazing friends, watched a film come to life, and froze my ass off. Not a bad start to the year.

In February, “Til Death Do Us Part,” racked up another screenwriting nod as a finalist in the Omaha Film Festival. (It also took the Bronze in the Oregon Film Festival, and made the top 25 Feature Scripts at Slamdance.)

March brought on the actual festivities of the Omaha Film Festival, and although I didn’t win for TDDUP, I did get to sit in a theatre and watch trained actors bring the opening sequence to life as part of the Writer’s Theatre. I’d call that a win. Survived the blizzard of OFF, resulting in an extra night at a posh hotel in downtown Omaha. Tragic turn of events, right? Met some awesome-cool filmmakers from all over the country, and generally had a great time. Meeting David Greenwalt, show runner for one of my favorite shows, “Grimm?” OUTSTANDING!

April was when things really started getting busy. “Modified Flight Plan,” had an editor deadline, the Nebraska Writers Guild had a conference, and I’m the President, so it was a busy month. One of our speakers, incomparable agent, Lee Hough, made a lasting impression on so many. He lost his fight with cancer later in the year.  I was blessed to count him as a friend. Spending time with my friend, horror writer, Jonathan Maberry, and self-publishing guru Joel Friedlander, made it a conference I’ll never forget.

Looking back over the year on Facebook, I notice a lot of airplane photographs. In planes, from planes, fixing planes… just a lot of planes. I lost a family member in a small aircraft crash in the late 1990’s, so if you had told me a few years ago that I would be spending this much time around planes, I would have laughed. But, Brian Thomas, my co-author and all-around favorite person has introduced me to a whole new way of looking at the world. In more ways than he probably realizes.

I’m also looking at photos from a kick-ass group of paranormal investigators from Paracon. My brothers and sisters, love them so much, even though my work and writing schedule seems to get in the way more than I want. Got to cheer on my Paracon buddy, Brian Kent, as he brought not one, but two books into existence this year. GO BRIAN!!!!

In the midst of the publishing fury surrounding “Modified Flight Plan,” I was also contacted about working on a feature script. “Lost in Oblivion,” is currently lost in pre-development, but I hit my deadline. On to the next—or until they’re ready to move forward.

May 16th was THE day. “Modified Flight Plan,” unleashed on the world. Book #4, first with a print release. Thus began a whirlwind of speaking engagements, television interviews, and book release events. The response to the book so far has been more than I could have imagined. We topped Meredith Vieira’s book on the bestseller chart for an entire week, and hit the #33 overall on Amazon. It was awesome.

Scrolling through Facebook… spiders, dogs, grandbabies, spiders, woodchippers, Minions… more spiders. What the heck is it with the spiders??

In September, “Modified Flight Plan,” made the quarterfinals of the Austin Film Festival. Not a win, but making the top 300 out of 8,700 entries, yeah, that’s pretty cool. Even more cool is when your screenwriting mentor asks you to come help teach his screenwriting colony. I was blown away that he’d even ask. (Side-note, THE winner of the Austin Film Festival? One of the students in the colony. Great guy, well-deserved win!)

October brought the Fall Conference for the Nebraska Writers Guild, and a re-election to my second (and last, thank you term limits!) term as President. Good friends, amazing speakers, yay!

November brought the first ever Prairie Lights Film Festival. Nebraska filmmaker heaven in Grand Island, Nebraska. Cool just for that reason, even better because “Remission” had a sneak-peek screening. Still some sound issues and story tweaking to be had, but I got to sit in a theatre and watch a film I worked on play in front of a live audience. It was awesome. NaNoWriMo happened, and I managed 56,000 words on “Walk Me Home,” which hopefully will debut in 2014. I also had the opportunity to do something every self-respecting child of the 80’s dreamed about, and star in a music video. Okay, so star might be too strong a word, but I acted in a music video. The fact that it involved fire, a big knife, a mask, and blood, was bonus.

Mid-December, time to go out on a high note, right? My health decided to take a nose-dive, but a really cool opportunity came of it. My wonderful-awesome friend from Dead Lantern Pictures, Mat Kister, wanted to talk screenwriting. At the end of the day, I got to write a short film script for “Last Breath,” and be on set while the amazingly talented Jazmyne Van Houton and Will Griffey brought the roles to life. I honestly don’t even have the words to describe the experience, and can’t wait to share this one when it comes to BluRay/DVD next year.

To make it even sweeter, my son and his wife welcomed baby #3 (grandbaby #10) on HIS birthday, Dec 20th. Little Wesley also shares a birthday with his grandfather, three generations!

Well, year recap:  Books:  1.  Movies: 2; one feature, one short. Music videos: 1. Interviews:  14.  Television appearances:  5.  Screenwriting nods: 4.  Grandbabies, kids, general friend mayhem? Beyond measure!

It’s been a great year, and I can’t wait to see how I can top it in 2014. Buckle up, it’s likely to be a bumpy but fun ride.

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