2020 In Review by Grindhouse Press’ owner, C.V. Hunt

Whoa, boy. I don’t think any of us saw that coming. I’ve never looked more forward to the beginning of a new year. I know nothing is going to change overnight once we make it to January 1st. As much as we’d all like for 2021 to swoop in and save us, the reality is that’s not likely to happen. Experts tell us it’ll get better but it might not be until the end of 2021. A year . . . I don’t know about anyone else but a year seems like an eternity. Even for someone at my age where a year seems to go by in the blink of an eye. In the meantime, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling a little more than abused. I feel like 2020 is a championship boxer and I’m regular old me and I’m crawling across the mat, barely hanging on to consciousness, and the coach is in the corner screaming that I just need to hang in there for twelve more rounds.

I won’t spend this whole review rehashing 2020 and the dumpster fire it has become. I think we’ve all had enough. But it’s definitely the elephant in the room so why not get it out of the way because aspects of it will be mentioned throughout. It’s unavoidable.

Grindhouse started off 2020 much like previous years, with a publication. And we haven’t really stopped since then. As I’m writing this we’re diligently working on the last publication of this year, which we plan on making available before Christmas. Here is our complete list of publications for 2020:

The Cycle by John Wayne Comunale

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik

The Fucking Zombie Apocalypse by Bryan Smith

Luciferin by J. Peter W.

Cocksucker by Lucas Milliron

Savage Mountain by John Quick

The Perfectly Fine House by Stephen Kozeniewski and Wile E. Young

Blood Relations by Kristopher Triana

Crazytimes by Scott Cole

Depraved by Bryan Smith

Deathtripping by Andersen Prunty

Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror edited by Samantha Kolesnik

Depraved 4 by Bryan Smith

Horrorama edited by C.V. Hunt

Gone to See the River Man by Kristopher Triana

Girl of Prey by Pete Risley

Go Down Hard by Ali Seay

The Rotting Within by Matt Kurtz

Invitation to Death by Bryan Smith

Nineteen. Nineteen publications from Grindhouse Press this year. That’s more than any other year and all ran on a two-person (sometimes as many as four people) operation. This list doesn’t include the eight publications from Atlatl Press (our parent publisher) that we also worked on and numerous cover designs I created for both presses plus others. And the only reason we were able to pull this off was due to a fifteen-week period when we were furloughed from our forty-hour-a-week day jobs. Essentially, we made publishing our full-time jobs for those fifteen weeks. It kept us distracted from all the chaos.

During the furlough I also had surgery. Try having heart surgery in the middle of a pandemic. It’s some seriously scary stuff. If you don’t want all the details you might want to go ahead and skip this long paragraph. I felt the need to add this because, much like the pandemic, it played a huge part of what was happening behind the scenes and continues to be a part of some decisions I’ve made. The heart has its own electrical system that makes it beat and mine went janky in September/October of 2019 after having my gallbladder removed. I don’t know why and I still don’t know if the two are connected. My original diagnosis was Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). My heartrate would jump to 220 beats per minute. Yeah . . . it feels as scary as it sounds. I ended up in the ER several times and even got my first ambulance ride after waking up at 2:30 AM with my heart racing 220+ beats per minute and persisting for more than an hour while having chest pain (this happened just as the first four cases of the virus hit my state of Ohio and I wasn’t furloughed yet). Also, it was the first time I’d been around when someone called 911. After the ER doctor decided I was just stressed out I decided to follow every instruction I was given: I took a medication that made me very ill and made my blood pressure constantly bottom out, I didn’t consume caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or nicotine, I cut back on salt, I did what I could to cut out stress. This has led me to deleting all of my C.V. Hunt social media accounts in an attempt to eliminate as much external stress as possible. But no matter what I did, the SVT persisted. I ended up in the care of a cardiologist (heart monitors, blood work, medications, oh my!) and having a cardiac ablation. The ablation consists of burning some tissue inside the heart near what is called the Sinus Node. The Sinus Node is referred to as ‘the heart’s natural pacemaker’ and I knew going in there was a possibility of something going very wrong during the surgery and I could wake up with a pacemaker. Luckily, that didn’t happen. I was told there was a 10% chance it wouldn’t work. Here I am, six months later, and the SVT is almost nonexistent . . . unless I exercise. Exercise triggers the SVT. Now I do yoga. But it isn’t over. Since the surgery, I’ve developed another form of tachycardia called Atrial Tachycardia (AT). It’s basically the same thing but less severe (at the moment) and in a different and less scary area of the heart. I’ll have three to four quick and erratic heart beats every few minutes. I’m currently trying a different medication and waiting to see if it helps as this problem seems to cycle. I’ll have the episodes all day for a couple of weeks and then I’ll be okay for a couple of weeks. The cardiologist is trying his best to keep me out of the operating room again and I’m on board with him. If it comes down to it, I’ll do it again as AT can damage the heart if left untreated for an extended amount of time. The first ablation wasn’t fun and I’m not down for round two but I’ll do it if nothing else works. I know you weren’t expecting to read about all my health issues but, like I mentioned before with the 2020 dumpster fire, it’s a huge part of how this year of publications came about since I was on bedrest for a while and why I’ve personally taken a quiet step back from having an online presence.

Needless to say, you’re going to see a decline in the number of publications coming from Grindhouse Press in 2021. Partially due to our return to our day jobs and partially due to burn out. Also, our lease is up at the end of July 2021 and we’ve already made up our minds that we’re at least going to take a look at our options starting in Spring, provided the pandemic isn’t completely out of control then. We didn’t even contemplate moving this year with everything that was going on. I don’t know about anyone else but every time I move (I’m a bit of a wanderer and can never stay in one place for too long) it throws my life into chaos for about three months leading up to and after the move. And other than this post and numerous emails, I personally have only written one five-thousand-word story this year. If I were to continue publishing at the current pace (there is no way I could continue at this pace without quitting my day job) there would never be another book from C.V. Hunt. We currently have four titles scheduled for 2021. There will most likely be a few more titles added as I have some previous agreements with a couple of authors. But basically, lack of time, a pending move, ongoing health issues, and wanting to write a book of my own are the reasons things will be slower next year.

Don’t misunderstand me. Grindhouse Press isn’t going anywhere. We’re just taking a breather and reassessing our work practices. You know . . . All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All of this has also led me to rethink how submissions will be handled in the future. The idea I’m leaning toward at the moment is to break the submissions into two separate events. One would be for returning Grindhouse authors only and the other would be for authors who are not published with Grindhouse Press and instating a cap on the number of acceptances from each group. There will be more about this much later but at the moment I think we all need a breather and a chance to make it safely through 2021. Let’s take this one step at a time for now.

Here are the slotted publications for 2021:

Mage of the Hellmouth by John Wayne Comunale (January 8, 2021)

Paradise Club by Tim Meyer (February 5, 2021)

House of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson (March 26, 2021)

Birth of a Monster by A.S. Coomer (April 2, 2021)