J. M. DeSantis

Reflections on 2013

I’m not a particularly superstitious man. I’ve never been sensitive to black cats, broken mirrors or Friday the 13th, yet I was never able to shake the sense that the day on which I graduated from Pratt Institute had somehow cursed my career as a writer and artist. May 13, 2005 was a sunny day, but it was a Friday. Since then I heard many say how much they enjoy my writing or my art, but it never seemed the vast majority were catching on (especially editors). Given there have been successes along the way, but nothing that I would consider substantial. That said, if ever the curse existed (and if one believes in numerology), the year 2013 has at last broken it.

At first I felt I accomplished very little this year beyond writing the first book of a two-part graphic novel (which at an estimated 148 pages, that first half is longer than most one-part graphic novels) and creating the art for twenty pages of it. However, upon further reflection I came to realise that not only has 2013 been my most prolific year to date, it may also signify a turning point in my career.

Finally putting pen to paper again for the first time in many years on a long work of fiction feels like a great accomplishment in itself. I still love short fiction, but my dream has always been to write novels, children’s books and graphic novels, with short stories in between. What’s more, I’ve always wanted to work on stories of my own creation, and with Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows I have begun to do just that. Not to mention the graphic novel is actually the third Chadhiyana story, thus, it has already become a series.

Aside from Chadhiyana, I was approached this year for a number of illustration jobs including illustrations for poems, an online publication (Book of Lies) and covers for a short story collection and a novel. My artwork was featured in three gallery shows and one private show (including Fan-Tastic which runs through December 30th; visit artgaragenj.com for more information). I gave a talk at a college. I rebuilt my website and began this weekly blog. I built chadhyiana.com and there launched my graphic novel as a web-comic as a look for a publisher. I also began shopping my first children’s book around to publishers and may have found one. Another of my comic scripts was approved for publication and my short comic story, Diwali, was published (being the first story I’ve written which I opted not to illustrate). I was appointed one of the creative directors of the Comicbook Artists Guild and became a member of the Fictioneers. I also took a new post as a full-time Art Teacher. Never mind I met a number of wonderful new people this year and had a number of personal accomplishments which I will pass over quietly.

Now, I don’t mean to brag. Truly. If you know me well, you know that despite my penchant for acting a bit overconfident at times, I’m not given to congratulating myself on a job well done. I always think more could have been accomplished or something could have been done better, so it’s really quite remarkable that I’m feeling this pleased about how I did in 2013.

Of course, it wasn’t a perfect year. I meant to start a mailing list and make my prints available on more websites besides devaintART; neither happened. This year’s New York Comic Con was not my most successful convention. I didn’t make as much time to write prose fiction as I would have liked. And, of course, there was the very recent passing of my grandmother, Patricia J. Troy McCabe, who, growing up, was as wonderful a grandparent as a person could ask for. Yet despite these things, I honestly feel this year was a tremendous success, and I am (perhaps for the first time in I cannot recall how long) satisfied, or at least content.

That said (and in stark contradiction to my previous comments about superstition), I don’t want to jinx the year to come by getting overexcited about how well the current one went. Nor do I believe there isn’t much further for myself to go. On the contrary; I think this is only the beginning. It’s my hope that every year going forward will be even more successful than the last, at least for a while. For now (as there are two weeks left in this year), I’ll start getting chapter I of Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows ready for its start in the New Year and ponder my New Years’ resolution (something to the effect of losing more weight and finding more time to write prose fiction). Enjoy the holidays and the wishes I’ll post over the next two weeks. I’ll see you all again in 2014. Let’s make it even better than 2013. Cheers!

J. M. DeSantis

J. M. DeSantis is a writer and artist (Write-ist), best known as the creator of the Indian dark fantasy heroine, Chadhiyana (chadhiyana.com) and the humorous web-comic, Gentleman Cthulhu: Emeritus Moribus Monstrum (gentlemancthulhu.com). DeSantis has also authored a number of short fiction and artworks. Support his work through J. M.’s Patreon at patreon.com/jmdesantis.

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