46c5293a-81ef-41b4-b4da-d9d0597f067fMichael Pool is a private investigator, writer, and martial artist born in Tyler, Texas and living in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. His crime noir novella, Debt Crusher, is out now from All Due Respect Books. A collection of Michael’s short fiction, New Alleys For Nothing Men, is also available from Short Stack Books. Michael’s first full-length novel, Texas Two Step, will be published by Down and Out Books in 2018.

Michael’s short fiction has appeared in All Due Respect, Out of the GutterThuglit, Heater, Urban Graffiti, Shotgun Honey and othersMichael is the Editor-in-Chief of the crime fiction publication Crime Syndicate Magazine, and is the editor/ conceptualizer of the critically-acclaimed  Short Stack Books eighties-themed anthology, Fast Women and Neon Lights: Eighties-Inspired Neon Noir.

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img_5744As I write this last post of 2016, I’m sitting alone in a hotel room in Glenrock, Wyoming after a long day of surveillance, my first completely solo case as a private detective, which is by all accounts a difficult case even for seasoned investigators, if my peers and bosses are to be trusted. I feel like I’ve recently begun to prove myself at this job, and I’m happy that my superiors were willing to invest so much faith in such a relatively unproven commodity, which I certainly am.

Someone I cared about once called my desire to enter this career another one of my “pipe dreams,” and I had a moment today where I had to laugh and admit to myself that, though I am not a very accomplished or stable man, I’m certain I can come up with better pipe dreams than sitting on the side of some desolate Wyoming highway trying not to get my ass shot off for filming strangers! I’d be lying if I said that even while I was laughing at myself about this, that comment didn’t still really sting deep down–I’d only ever considered the things I’ve attempted to do as sincere dreams, and it hurt to realize I might be considered a heel for daring to dream them, which I still dare to do today. I made a lot of mistakes, but pursuing my dreams at all costs will never be one of them.

It’s strangely fitting to be spending the end of this crazy year alone, in a desolate place, working toward something that feels really uncertain and hard to nail down at times. I spent most of this year absolutely heartbroken, and in a lot of ways I am just now really beginning to recover from it. It was one of my worst on record, and yet I had two books published, edited a well-received anthology, and produced two issues of Crime Syndicate Magazine. That alone should have made it a banner year for me as a fledgling professional writer, but in the meantime, so many other things were falling apart that it feels like tossing sand into the ocean to even try to consider myself successful this year.

But life goes on, that much is certain. The alternative ain’t too good, as they say. And I’m happy to be alive, excited to see what next year will bring, and in the process of rebuilding my life as a single, divorced man, something I never anticipated being. Maybe I deserve it, I don’t know. But this year I have felt the respect and acceptance of so many people, too.

Strangers have become family, close friends have become even closer, and integral parts of my family have become near strangers. Somewhere in that dichotomy, there is a truth that I’m too afraid to really embrace right now, though I plan to do so soon. I have recently remembered that life is what you make it, and also that there are no redos either way. That sobering fact has led me to feel all kinds of passion and drive once again.

As for you guys and gals, I hope that you are building the lives you want, or else learning to want the lives you’ve built. My greatest hope is that you stay loyal to your people, stay true to yourselves, and that you make 2017 the best year of you that there has ever been. I know I’m going to try to, no matter what comes my way. I wish everyone peace and accomplishment and understanding in the year ahead. And also love; lots and lots of love. I’m not sure if I wish love for me again yet, but I’m working hard on developing that feeling. Cheers to you all, and since I literally won’t see any of you until next year, happy new year in advance!

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