Tag Archives: Year in review

2015 Year in Review – Is One Out of Three Bad?

It’s that time of year again…time for my fourth annual Year-In-Review post.

In preparing for this post I glanced over the previous three Y.I.R. posts. At the end of my 2014 Y.I.R. I made a bit of a prediction, which I whole-heartedly intended to fulfill – but in retrospect I feel as though I’ve let you down.

At the end of 2014 my list of goals for 2015 looked something like this:

  • The completion of a second collection of short stories about Ike
  • The completion of my 8th novel, Full Circle
  • The beginning (and possible completion) of a second Steve Salem novel

So let’s take a look at how those predictions panned out…

solotaire

Which Do You Want First?

There is good news and bad news about Muzzle Velocity – the second collection of short stories featuring Ike.

muzzle velocity

The good news is I’ve got nine good stories so far.

The bad news is I didn’t write any of them.

The plan was simple…I would write a dozen short stories (give or take one or two) and I would solicit short stories from a hand-picked group of my writer friends. Fortunately, my writer friends all delivered…Unfortunately, although I have ideas for several Ike stories, I didn’t have time to write a single one.

I feel like such a slacker…

Round and Round

Moving on to item 2 on the list – the completion of Full Circle.

Full Circle front cover

On this item I am pleased to say – done and done!

Yes, my eighth novel (one which I began writing in 1988) was released in mid-December.

In the interest of full disclosure…it should have been released before Thanksgiving, but I ran into a bit of an administrative setback. For a while there I started to wonder if the book was cursed – but those fears were premature, and the book that was 27 years in the making was brought into the world, officially, on December 22.

So far it has been very well received. Within days of its release a loyal reader posted a five-star review which eased the pain of the SNAFUs leading up to release!

And Then There Was One

Finally, the last prediction of the year – a new Steve Salem novel.

Steve Salem, as you know from Backseat to Justice, is a Flagler Beach Private Investigator. I had hoped to at least begin a new story involving him and his assistant/partner Val Casey, but it just didn’t happen.

BTJ cover

I’m not going to make excuses, it doesn’t matter why I didn’t do it – it only matters that I didn’t, and believe me, nobody is more disappointed than me.

So let’s recap.

2015 was a tough year – production wise.

However, I am very happy (and pretty proud) to announce that it was by far my best year from a sales standpoint.

For this – I can’t thank you enough. I thank you for your support, for buying my books, and for telling others about me.

Without you, I’d just be a guy wasting a lot of time writing stuff.

Calvin writing

I still haven’t been able to quit my day job, but as I told somebody at a holiday gathering last week… “I may not have reached that particular goal yet, but considering in 2009 my goal was to sell one book – I’m happy with how far I’ve come and confident in where I’m going.”

So – do I dare make another prediction for 2016?

I think I should – it will give me something to shoot for, but I think I’m going to need a good supply of ammunition because it’s looking like a target-rich environment!

First up – my next Ike novel, tentatively titled Blood in the Water.

The story will involve a hunt for a mysterious lost treasure, an unsolved missing persons case, sharks (gotta have sharks!) and a guy who is over his head until Ike steps in.

shark

I can’t wait to see how it ends!

Second – the aforementioned collection of short stories, Muzzle Velocity

It WILL be released before the Fourth of July. Not only do I enjoy writing short stories, but I’ve got nine stories written by some really good writers I think you will enjoy, so I’m determined to get it done!

Third – The next Steve Salem novel.

This project is something I really want to do, but I have to be realistic – in the midst of all my other projects I am not extremely optimistic about completing it – but we’ll see. At the very least I will begin.

Fourth – I am working on a fun little project with my friend Becky Pourchot.

Becky bought her first motorcycle this year and after about ten miles of riding she was hopelessly hooked. We started having conversations about the Zen of the motorcycle, and decided to gather some of our biker experiences and put them together in a book. Our plan is to have it ready for Bike Week here in Daytona Beach – which is in March, so the clock is ticking!

easy rider

And lastly…I’ve been invited to contribute short stories to a couple of anthologies being put together by other writers. As I said – I enjoy writing short stories so this will be fun!

So 2015 fades into the sunset and 2016 is coming at me with lots of stuff to do.

calendar

I should probably get to work!

See you on the first page of the new calendar

 

As always – thank you for reading

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2014 Review – It Was a Very Good Year

Once again we are watching yet another year fade away in the rearview mirror.

Sometimes I think there is some sort of universal phenomenon that causes the years to go by faster as we get older. Sort of like a roller coaster…the long slow climb up that first hill is followed by a neck-breakingly fast plummet which really makes you appreciate the scenery you ignored on the way up.

Anyway…I digress.

2014 is in the books and it’s time for the annual recap.

From the perspective of my writing career, I have to say that 2014 was, by far, my best year (to date).

Let’s run down the highlights (in no particular order):

 

5-Digit Territiory

I joined Twitter in October, 2009 – shortly after my first novel was released – because I had heard it was a good way to network and market.

At the time I looked at networking and marketing the way a St. Bernard looks at catnip.

When I met Armand Rosamilia a year later I think I had about 80 twitter followers. Armand showed me how to use twitter and, most importantly, how to avoid being intimidated by its rapid fire, life-at-a-million-miles-an-hour pace.

Within a month I was up to 600 followers.

Here we are, just four years later and I have crossed the 10,000 follower mark – something I never thought possible.

twitter 10k

I thank you all for your support! I am truly appreciative for every single twitter follower as well as facebook fan and everybody else connected to me through social media.

 

An Audiophile’s Dream

When 2013 ended I was doing two radio shows on Surf 97.3.

Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers (Friday night from 7-8 pm) was in its infancy and I was also partnering with Armand on Friday Night Writes (Friday nights from 8-10 pm).

In the early months of 2014 Armand’s schedule took him away from the show, leaving a two hour void in Friday night’s programming. B Sides cover

This void gave birth to The Tim Baker Friday Night Music Extravaganza.

At the suggestion of station manager DJ Vern I took over the 8-10 block, flying solo and replacing the writing-related talk with good ole’ fashioned rock and roll.

The show airs on Friday’s from 7-10 pm EST on Surf 97.3 FM and http://www.Flaglerbeachradio.com. It has been fun for me since day one and has developed a loyal, if not somewhat rabid, following!

Every Friday night I spend “the best three hours of my week” entertaining people with music, but even if nobody was listening I would still love doing it (although DJ Vern might not be too thrilled)!!

 

Oh! The Horror!!

Those who read my work know that my genre (the one that defies classification) will never be confused with horror, yet 2014 saw me contributing stories to two horror anthologies.

The first story was called Dying Days – Angel and appeared in the anthology Still Dying 2… an anthology of stories released by Armand Rosamilia based on his Dying Days zombie series.

I also submitted a story called Road Wearier to a collection of short stories called State of Horror – New Jersey. SoH New Jersey

I surprised many of my readers with these stories, and to tell the truth, I surprised myself a little too!

 

Singin’ the Blues

In the fall of 2014 I released my 7th novel – Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man with less sense than luck, and a knack for landing in bad situations.

Convinced that his life is beyond salvage, Martin decides the witness protection program will provide him with a fresh start.

Sort of like hitting the reset button.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Unfortunately he hasn’t witnessed anything and things go downhill from there!

Practically from the day it was released Eyewitness Blues has been receiving great feedback.

Several readers have told me that, of all my books, it is their favorite. The reviews on Amazon are extremely flattering.

 

The Off-White Knight Rides

It seems that Ike took on a life of his own in 2014.

The final project of 2014 was a collection of short stories featuring my enigmatic anti-hero.

The book is called Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike.

The title came from a quote (by Ike) in one of the stories where he tells his compadre, Brewski “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

Florida author Susan Nicholls  penned a very nice foreword for the book and internationally acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher wrote an amazing review.

Six other writers contributed their own stories about Ike to the book. I don’t know how other writers feel about fan fiction, but I take it as a huge compliment. The fact that my character made enough of an impression on other people to inspire them to write their own stories is incredibly flattering and (at the risk of sounding cliché) why I write!

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_nSales of the “Ike has my back” tee shirts were better than expected too!

The Ike Anthology has been so well-received that work has already begun on the 2015 edition. I plan to write at least twelve stories for it and there will be additions from 11 other others.

Stay tuned for a blog post in the very near future formally announcing the other participants.

 

Speaking of 2015

I am hardly a prognosticator, but I’ll do my best to let you know what’s on tap for 2015…

The aforementioned collection of Ike short stories is planned to be released in early December and is tentatively being called Muzzle Velocity.

Many of you have heard the story of my ill-fated, 1988 attempt to write a novel called Full Circle. Well the time has come to drag Full Circle out of the closet and give it the attention it deserves.

From the day I began scribbling it down in a spiral-bound notebook all those years ago I have always felt it was a book that needed to be written – and now its time has come.

I have spent the past few weeks gathering & reviewing the 15 or so chapters I had written back in the day. I’ve also been going over the many thoughts & notes jotted down on everything from post-it notes to cocktail napkins (and never thrown away!) as well as compiling some new ones. As soon as the holiday madness dies down I will be diving into Full Circle. If all goes well it should be available in the fall of 2015.

I also have an idea for anBTJ coverother Steve Salem (he of Backseat to Justice) novel and I am going to try to crank that out as well.

Hopefully, a year from now I’ll be writing a recap about all three of those projects!

 

Thank you to all of you for sharing 2014 with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

I hope each, and every one, of you are blessed with peace, love and prosperity in 2015!

 

As always – thank you for reading

 

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Another Year in the Books – 2013 Year in Review

Another year is in the books, let’s recap…

In short, 2013 was awesome.

As the year began I was still riding the wave of success brought by Pump It Up (released in late 2012). Pump was a fun story to write, and judging by the responses, it was fun to read as well.

I released Unfinished Business in June and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. This was especially satisfying when you consider the fact that I was hesitant to release it because I wasn’t sure you’d like it (read about my concerns here). It seems as though every person who reads it says the same thing…this would make a great TV series or movie.

UB cover

I take that as very high praise.

Several people also suggested a sequel. As I stated in a previous post I’m generally not a big fan of sequels, but in this case it might be warranted because there is so much potential. In fact, it could almost become a series.

I’ll take it under advisement for sure.

After Unfinished Business was released, I dove into my next project, which I am tentatively calling Protect This.

The idea for Protect This came about while I was watching the TV show In Plain Sight which is about people in the Witness Protection Plan. I thought what if somebody wanted to get into the witness protection plan, but they hadn’t really witnessed anything?

The more I thought about it, the more I loved it, so I started writing. At this time I have about 40,000 words written and I figure I’m about two-thirds complete. Look for that (probably under a different title) in mid-2014.

I worked on two other projects this year (both completed!).

Both projects were collaborative efforts with my friend Armand Rosamilia.

The first was the sequel (there’s that word again) to our 2012 zombie story Dying Days: The Siege of European Village – and it was called Dying Days: Siege 2.

Siege 1&2

I’m not a horror/zombie author but Armand and I have so much fun writing together that I couldn’t say no.

Finally (as for writing projects) Armand invited me to contribute a short story to his anthology of zombie short stories called Still Dying 2 (yet another sequel!). I was honored to contribute when I saw the list of names included in the book and I’m not ashamed to say that my story is among the weakest in the book.

2013 saw one other big, new development in my career.

Back in the spring Armand and I met Vern Shank, local DJ/musician/writer/entrepreneur, and he told us about his latest venture…he had purchased a radio station.

Before I knew what was happening Armand and I (along with Becky Pourchot) had a weekly radio show devoted to writing and other artistic endeavors. Becky has since left the show, but Armand and I can still be heard Friday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 EST on www.flaglerbeachradio.com.

cover4

In addition to that show, I also have a show of my own, airing Friday nights from 7:00 – 8:00 called Tim Baker’s B-Sides and Deep Cuts. For a music lover like me, this is a dream job!

I’d say that any year where you can claim 3 new releases and land 2 awesome gigs on the radio is a really good year.

blimp

And of course I owe it all to you – thank you all for buying and reading my books. You are the ones who make it possible for me!

Let’s hope that a year from now we’re still doing it!

As always – thank you for reading

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The World Didn’t End – Looks Like I’ll Have to Keep Writing

Another year comes to an end.

At the risk of sounding cliché – where the hell did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was wondering what 2012 would bring.

Well – now that it’s over, let’s take a look and see.

2011 ended with the November release of the sequel to Living the Dream – No Good Deed.

When 2012 began I was working on Pump It Up, which I finished and sent off to the editor in March. The editor and I worked very hard on Pump, putting it through three solid rounds of edits. Judging by your response, the finished product was well worth the effort.

I also decided to release a print version of Backseat to Justice in 2012. It had been written in the summer of 2011 and released in e-version only, with half of the profits being donated to a dog rescue organization called Golden Huggs. I ran the book through a quick edit, commissioned a cover from the same designer who did Pump (Keri Knutson) and she came up with another beauty. The two books were released within two weeks of each other bringing my catalog up to five.

Not bad for three years. I was very pleased and thought 2012 was going to end up being a very good year.

Not so fast, it wasn’t over yet.

In April I had met Armand Rosamilia, another author living in my town. We quickly became good friends and, sometime around September, decided it would be fun to co-write a book together.

There were a couple of challenges; the first being our genres were miles apart. Armand is a horror/zombie writer and I…am not (for more information on my genre click here). The second challenge was writing this book, editing it and having it published before Christmas. We wanted to release it before Christmas hoping it would help with sales.

Long story short…we did it. We took three of my recurring characters (Ike, Brewski and Didi) and immersed them into Armand’s zombie world in Dying Days: The Siege of European Village.

cover2

The entire process was a blast and Dying Days Euro had its debut at our “End of the World Book Signing” on December 21st, selling 48 copies in two hours. A success we hadn’t imagined.

So – to sum up…2012, great year – 2 ½ books.

What’s coming in 2013 you ask?

I expect the first draft of my current work-in-progress Unfinished Business to be finished before the New Year begins. It should be released sometime in the summer of 2013.

Once Unfinished Business goes to the editor I’ll start working on my next novel. The question is – which one?

I have two works in mind…

The first I call Protect This. It will be the story of a man who feels his pathetic life can only be salvaged if he enters the witness protection program. The problem is that he hasn’t witnessed anything.

The second will be another Steve Salem novel (as in Backseat to Justice) where Steve and Val take on two unrelated cases. When things begin to heat up they have to figure out which case is the reason…and why.

There will probably be another co-writing effort with Armand, since we’ve already started talking about it.

So stick around, it looks like 2013 is going to be another busy year.

As always – thank you for reading.

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