New Year’s Day 2016 – Highs, Lows, Best Books, and Plans
2015 was definitely a year of highs and lows, in both life and reading…
On the high side:
* Equal Marriage Rights in the United States – June 26, 2015. Can’t top that one this year. I’d add the joy of watching the Irish referendum confirm that it’s not just the courts, but the people, who believe that love is love.
* Seeing M/M romance move further into the mainstream, with authors and books getting mention in mainstream articles, and finding places on polls and best-seller lists that include het and LGBT books together.
* Writing my first novel with a transgender main character, something I’d planned for a couple of years but not quite managed.
* and some family joys and progress 🙂
On the low side:
* A political scene in the US that is increasingly nasty, bigoted, selfish and mean-spirited. Watching so-called leaders using tragedy and pain to further those ends. And seeing a sickeningly large proportion of the American population cheering on that viewpoint, unaware of how much money is being spent to push them into self-destruction for the short-term profits of the powerful.
* We saw plagiarism in the M/M community involve not just some random thief copying books to self-pub for fast cash, but a known author like Laura Harner copying entire novels and attending GRL to lie about how she came up with the ideas and characters. (Through rose-colored glasses, I choose to consider all the articles about it in the mainstream publications as a chance for some potential reader to find out M/M even exists…)
* We had painful reminders that the online community, which has brought me some of my now-closest friends, is also a place of risk, financial and emotional, as catfishing scandals repeated. The most hurtful was the exposure of Thorny Sterling et al as the years-long fraud of otherwise-talented author Missy Welsh. I wish I could believe the worst of such issues was behind us. But as long as the ability to exists create appealing characters, especially gay boys and men, who have potentially good reasons to never appear in person or on Skype, I’d bet this will repeat. It exposes the great heart of the M/M community and the ways that can be misused and abused. And is unfair to those who truthfully must hide online, and who face new distrust as a consequence.
* And personally, a couple of major health scares happened in the family, both fortunately now doing much better.
My “top books of 2015” list was too long to put them all here but some big favorites included…
Axel’s Pup by Kim Dare – a refreshingly new take on werewolves and bikers, (with BDSM,) – a hurt-comfort book that grabbed me by the feels and I reread twice in a week
The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler – a steampunkish alternate world with a great plot, fun world-building, and a very appealing narrator.
Maps by Nash Summers – fun, quirky, sweet, Young Adult storytelling
King John by Edmond Manning – the amazing Lost and Founds series continues; with each book, I find out new things about Vin and fall harder and harder for him. Can’t wait for his own true romance, but I’m loving the ride to get there.
Life Is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price – the completion of the Mnevermind trilogy with two great guys; I adore the alternate-world realism, and the way Elijah’s autism makes him the person he is, and yet someone Daniel can love; so well done.
Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft – a contemporary that somehow felt fresh and a little different in the personalities of the main characters.
Winging It by Ashlyn Kane and Breakaway by Avon Gale – I started and ended the year with two fun hockey stories, quite different but each with action and sweetness and humor and great characters.
Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero by Alex Gabriel – a book that managed to pull me into a comic-book world and still really enjoy the story and care about the main characters. Funny, but with surprising warmth.
For Real by Alexis Hall – this author’s writing always seems to reach my heart and mind and not let go. This BDSM about a young, inexperienced Dom and an older, world-weary sub is a top candidate for my favorite book of the year.
Redemption by Eden Winters – this is the fifth book in the Diversion series, and I’ve enjoyed every one. Lucky and Bo are a wonderfully mismatched couple and the mystery elements feel fresh and well-written. I enjoyed getting a bit deeper into the guys’ personal lives in this installment.
Guardians of the Haunted Moor by Harper Fox – book 5 in this wonderful paranormal mystery series. Lee is a sweetheart, and Gideon is such a wonderful, solid country cop.
Champion of the Scarlet Wolf by Ginn Hale – a wonderful fantasy duo of books in the world of and connected to “Lord of the White Hell”, one of my favorite M/M high fantasies.
There were many other good reads, but these were the books that jump first to mind when I look back at the reading pleasures of the year. I still have books on my to-read list that will no doubt join them on my favorites list as well. It’s a joy and a pain of the genre that every year reading all the good stuff becomes more impossible…
2016 Plans – On the writing side:
* Tracefinder: Contact is set to come out on January 9th.
I’m excited to see what readers think, and since this is a book with a HFN ending, I hope to get the next in the series out before the end of 2016.
* Hidden Wolves book 4 is almost re-written (although not yet titled LOL.) It overlaps a little in time with the end of book 3, and will reveal some of the events that rocked the Packs, from a closer viewpoint. Release… hopefully the middle of the year?
* Finding Family book 3 is the next project. Rick and Travis had a tough winter, and although they were in a good place at the end of book 2, it was hardly the end of the story for these two young guys with mountains yet to climb.
And then whatever other stories happen to come to mind. Planning is not my forte, but letting a story grab me by the heart and demand to be written? That I’m pretty good at.
Best wishes to you all for the New Year – may we become kinder to each other, more willing to take good risks, willing to support each other, and aware that when we cooperate to build a better world, we all win. May the spirit of compassion for others take hold and grow in all our hearts in the coming year. (And do remember to vote, wherever you live; whether the election is for two school-board members, or President of the United States, the people we elect do matter. Even if it’s a choice between bad and worse, please vote.)