May 22nd marks the tenth anniversary of my arrival in this country. A decade of birthdays, a decade of teaching, a decade of fumbling around with the language, and making temporary friends who inevitably leave for bigger and better things, and eating kimchi, and being 13-14 time zones away from where I grew up (there’s no daylight savings time here).
In that time, a ton has happened: my home country went from being reviled and feared around the world to being respected and admired around the world (we’re close to fear again, but hopefully reason will trump that resurfacing hate). North Korea attacked South Korean soil for the first time since the end of the Korean War. Jong-il died and Jong-un ballooned.
I’ve made a number of friends in this country, and inevitably all of them have left. Vicki moved back to Kansas, Sean moved across state, and then started a new job in China. Misbah moved to Saudi Arabia to clear off his horrendous school debt, James moved to Jeju, probably to be away from me, Mark went to Africa, then the UK, and then to Thailand? I can’t keep up, I think Mark can teleport.
But one thing I haven’t stopped or altered a lot is my writing. Sure in the last couple of months I haven’t written a full-length novel, but it’s because I’m making a web comic with my best friend (over 50 pages so far, and growing), editing books, and being a dad.
But here’s an accounting so far:
2007- I self-published a book called ‘Breaking Benjamin’ through Authorhouse. Don’t ever pay a vanity press. Ever. Don’t do it. Especially not these bloodsucking bastards.
2007-2010- joined several writing workshops, most importantly one with a fellow named Sean, one Sara, and a Jeff, who helped fix up a lot of my work in very important ways.
2011- published a whole bunch of short stories from the ‘Breaking Benjamin’ assassin school world, called ‘From the Desk of Col. Garrett Ross’ and started the trend of putting together my own covers in photoshop. These are nearly all free.
2011-12- Published a novel about candy.
2012- Published my book about Korea
Followed by the first novel in my superhero series, Super Nobody.
And then from 2012-now things got a little crazy.
All these are set in the same Michael Washington, Super Nobody world, which is pretty great. Some covers I’m not super proud of, but the writing was a blast.
Also last year, aliens invaded. While the third book has been put on hold pending edits, the whole trilogy was also quite fun to write.
In the middle of that, we also had editing jobs, cover design jobs, and looking back, I don’t feel so bad. More than a dozen full length novels is a pretty good number. Add 30+ short stories onto that and you feel like a novelist.
While 2015 was a bit of a downer, I’m climbing back on the horse and trying to ride again.
Just this past year, I was privileged enough to join UnCommon Bodies with my horror story, Skin.
And coming in the next few months… UnCommon Origins, with my very short short Ifrit.
Here’s to another 10 years of productivity.