My writing year in review

Having seen a friend do this, I thought that I’d take a look back at my writing activities in 2019. Despite family health issues and California wildfires, I got a few things done.

Ghost Stories, an anthology I edited with my pal Lisa Morton, came out from Pegasus Books in January, as well as the festschrift I edited for the Baker Street Irregulars Press for Peter Blau.

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s, published by Pegasus Books in 2018, got nominated for the Edgar. The nomination was a terrific surprise–a mere 13 years after my last nomination (though, as I pointed out to my wife, I hadn’t actually written anything eligible for an Edgar in 13 years)! And I won the Morley-Montgomery award from the Baker Street Journal for the best article published in 2018. This latter award was one that I had long hoped for.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. What?, an anthology edited by my pal Christopher Sequiera, came out in Australia after a long gestation period. I wrote an intro called “Sherlock Holmes among the doctors.”

I came up with an idea for a major annotated book by a legendary living author. I reached out to him, and he agreed. Almost a year later, we’re still waiting for the green light from the publisher.

Neil Gaiman and I finished Annotated American Gods. We spent a lot of time on the telephone going over note by note–an incredible experience!

I had to skip the Edgars this year because of family health issues but I won the Edgar for “Best Critical/Biographical”–Laurie King graciously accepted on my behalf.

Graeme Davis’s Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Pegasus Books) appeared, with my introduction on “The Origins of Sherlock Holmes.”

In the summer, Classic American Crime Fiction was also nominated for the Anthony and the Macavity.

Lisa Morton and I signed a deal with Pegasus Books for another anthology, Weird Women, a collection of stories by often-forgotten women horror writers of the 19th century, and turned it in a few months later.

The Haunted Library of the Horror Writers Association (to be published by Poisoned Penn Press) got rolling. Eric Guignard did the heavy lifting of editing and formatting Phantom of the Opera, The Beetle, and Vathek, and I wrote notes for those volumes and made minor edits to Eric’s intro and discussion questions. These come out in early 2020.

Similarly, we got the wheels turning for the Library of Congress Crime Classics, a partnership with the Library of Congress and Poisoned Pen Press. The first three titles, That Affair Next Door, The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope, and Case Pending, are done. I supervised the editing of the text and contributed notes, an intro, and an author bio for each. These too come out in early 2020.

New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft: Beyond Arkham finally came out in early October from Liveright/Norton. Fortunately, we were able to bring copies (which sold out) to NecronomiCon in Providence in August.

Based on a discovery I made at the Lilly Library in 2018, I transcribed a letter from Howard Phillips Lovecraft to Vincent Starrett and decided to annotate the letter. This turned into an essay that appeared in the Winter issue of the Baker Street Journal, my 25th solo article for the Journal (my first was in 1995).

I wrote a short essay on “The Empty House” for my Christmas booklet (for the BSI Dinner) and, to my surprise, got tapped to write a toast to Mycroft Holmes for the Dinner.

Looking back, it was a productive year, though not as many books came out as in 2018 (when I had four appear). I’m anxious about 2020–while several projects will come to fruition, I have no major writing scheduled. There will be three more volumes in the Haunted Library and the Library of Crime Classics series to work on, and Laurie King and I are editing another anthology of Holmes-inspired tales, so I won’t be just twiddling my thumbs.

This is the life of the nonfiction writer–pitch, pitch, pitch, and wait, wait, wait! Stay tuned for developments!

Compliments of the season to all!

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