While I did all sort of fascinating freelance work in 2012, I couldn’t survive another year like that. Thankfully, 2013 was different as I settled into a job as Communications Manager for government. This meant regular paychecks, but less time for writing, which is exactly what I needed.
Despite this, I still managed to do some interesting work. The big news from 2013 was the publication of The Wallace Line. My short story of a fundraising trip that goes horribly wrong was a finalist for the Nelson Algren Award. It was beautifully printed as a custom booklet that appeared in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row. And I got $1000, the most I’ve ever made in literary fiction.
But what made the experience invaluable was the opportunity to work with top editors from the Tribune. Seeing how closely they edited my short story was instructive. I learned a lot watching them. Their editorial diligence demonstrated how you edit fiction.
I blogged all year long, on joeflood.com and other sites. I did a couple a guest posts for Digital Book Today, blogging about how reading novels is good for you and that coffee shops are ideal for writing. And I wrote about government communications at GovLoop with posts on storytelling and Steve Jobs for govies.
Coffeeneuring (where you bike to seven coffee shops over seven weekends) became an obsession, combining my love of writing, photography and cycling into one irresistible package. I blogged a lot about biking, including the memorable moment WABA Ambassador Pete Beers gently educated a driver about not running him over.
In March, I was on a DC Shorts Mentors panel on screenwriting, discussing my work as a judge for this film festival and my award-winning screenplay Mount Pleasant. I also worked on a screenplay adaptation of my novel Don’t Mess Up My Block – I’m not sure it’s ready for prime-time. And in May, I got to judge the AU Visions contest once again.
DC Shorts (now in its tenth year!) returned in September, and I provided my advice on where to eat, drink and chill in the Penn Quarter during the festival, as well as the best films to watch online. One of the great things about DC Shorts is its screenplay competition. The winner, Five Days in Calcutta, was selected after a live reading at the Atlas Theater. Look for it next year at DC Shorts.
What’s next? I’m working on another novel! Murder on U Street examines Washington’s art scene, as Detective Jefferson investigates a suspicious death at a hip gallery. It’s a sequel to Murder in Ocean Hall. Look for it later this year.