2011 – what a ride!
This time last year I had just signed the MLR Press contract for Life Lessons, my first ever published work. I was looking ahead to 2011 with excitement and trepidation, and a lot of uncertainty. Well as 2011 draws to a close, I have to be amazed at what a year it has been.
On a personal front, there were a lot of ups and downs. Seeing my oldest daughter turn 18, seeing my elderly mother become more confused with each passing day. There was a lot of travel, a lot of joy, a lot of tears. Hospital visits and new kittens, learning to ice-skate and finding out I’m definitely too old to spin. (Vertigo, not just for Tilt-a-Whirls any more.) A roller-coaster year.
My first self-published book came out in April, unseen by anyone else, unproofed, unedited except by me, because I was so new to the game I didn’t realize you could ask or pay people to do that for you. And yet Lies and Consequences was so well received it gave me hope that I could actually do this writing thing. Then Life Lessons, my first pro book, was published in May. And people were actually willing to pay for my work. Some really liked it. And following links and reviews led me to Goodreads, and a community of people who enjoyed the types of books I read and write.
That was a revelation for me. I “met” new friends. I had fans! I found a score of wonderful authors I’d never heard of, and more great books than I could possibly read. Although I tried. What a wealth of amazing stories can be found on those shelves!
I made mistakes. I said the wrong thing in the wrong place, and angered an author whom I deeply respect. I didn’t say the right thing in the right place and damaged a new friendship. I found that I can care deeply about people whom I have never met, and whose full names I don’t know. And that caring brings joy and pain and frustration at being unable to help, and fear of misunderstanding. And yet makes life far wider and richer for an introvert like me, whose real life is constrained by shyness.
I made friends. Wonderful friends whom I hope to continue to get to know better. And I wrote books. Lots of books. I learned the pleasure and the anxiety of putting the work of my imagination out to be read by strangers. As the year ends, I have 4 novels and 5 short stories in print, 2 more novels and 2 shorts scheduled for release. And if I get my edits on Life Lessons #3 finished tonight and sent in, I’ll add another submission to that list. I have had my Young Adult work accepted. I have had every success I could have hoped for, more than I ever imagined.
Not that I’m ever going to get rich on book sales, but I earned enough to make my husband stop calling my writing a fluffy hobby. And my work has showed up on best-of-the-year lists on Jessewave, and was nominated an incomprehensible 15 times in the Goodreads M/M Romance Member’s Choice Awards. I want to give an enormous thank-you to the people who nominated my books. I am proud to be found in the stellar company of those nominee lists. (Winners to be announced January 7th, incidentally.)
So I look back on 2011 with a touch of disbelief, that all of those things happened to me. And I look forward to 2012 with the hope that the joys will once again outweigh the pains.
My resolutions for the New Year are simple – to be more mindful in my life. To listen more carefully, write more eloquently, and take more time for the things that matter. And I want to wish everyone who has read my work a wonderful upcoming year. May you find joy and laughter, may there be discovery and creativity, and good things in your lives. And may you read lots and lots of wonderful books.