This has been quite a year for me. For all of my followers, I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts, and have gotten some useful and insightful tidbits from this blog. And I hope you continue to read, because in 2018 I plan to delve deeper into all things writerly, both for myself and to share with my fans and followers.
2017 has been a busy year for me, full of learning experiences, dreams being realized, and unexpected blessings. Here’s a quick rundown of my year:
- In the spring, I left the only home I’d ever known (central Virginia) and moved across the country to the inland northwest (north Idaho). I had no job or place to live lined up, but my sister and her family had moved out there the year before, and I was ready for a change. So I packed up my cat and my books in a U-Haul (don’t panic – the cat rode in the car, not the trailer) and drove across the country.
- Just a few short months later, I’m living in a little cottage built in 1929, surrounded by fruit trees and mountain views. My town has one traffic light, no McDonald’s, and no movie theater. Most of my neighbors have chickens, and it’s not uncommon to see someone riding a horse through downtown. It’s a border town, so I see as many Montana and British Columbia license plates as I do Idaho plates. My town does have a library and a used book store, though, so there’s that.
- I’ve met so many new writers this year, both in real life and online. There’s a pretty vibrant writing/artistic community in my area. And Twitter is a wonderful platform for connecting with writers from all over.
- I published three books this year. They’re all short (a novella and two short stories), but hey, it still makes me an officially published author.
- I’ve been delving into dieselpunk this year, and learning more and more about all the different nuances of this “punk” sub-genre of science fiction or historical fantasy. I’m learning that there’s a niche for every interest, and a market (even if it’s a small one) for every niche. If you’re not sure who your target audience is for your books, or what to call the kind of books that you’re writing, then keep searching and keep reaching out. You’ll find your people.
- I had a white Christmas for the first time in forever. I think I experienced a white Christmas perhaps twice my whole life in Virginia. I’m a big lover of snow, and an even bigger lover of Christmas and all things holiday, so having two feet of white powder on Christmas was pretty much a dream come true.
I hope every one of you had some good experiences in 2017. Whether 2017 was your best year or not, find something to be thankful, something you can learn from, and set your goals and dreams for the upcoming year.
Onward to 2018!
With Thanksgiving approaching for those of us in America, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. Gratitude or thankfulness I believe stems primarily from two aspects: perspective and choice.
When I think about gratitude as a matter of perspective, I see children. I remember back quite a few years ago when my south-east coast town was in the grips of a hurricane (not uncommon). This hurricane had brought more rain than wind, and the city was rapidly flooding. Driving home from work, I drove through a flooded intersection where the water was much deeper than the previous few flooded intersections, and my car cut off. There I was, stranded in a neighborhood far from my house, with a dead car that was about to start filling up with water any minute, and no cell phone. (Yes, cell phones had been invented, but I had not invested in such technology yet).
I had a lot to be thankful for in that moment, though it didn’t feel like it. I was alive. The person whose house I’d stalled in front of let me come inside and dry off and use the phone. When I finally did get home, my house was not flooded. But what struck me the most in that difficult and unpleasant moment was the neighborhood children. Continue reading
Like most of North America, I watched the solar eclipse on Monday, and am now posting about it on social media. And why not? Even though eclipses (partial, total, lunar, solar) are not rare occurrences, a total eclipse happening across a highly populated area is a bigger deal.
I was in an area of about 80% totality, and two things stood out to me about this event: one, how dark it got, and two, how dark it didn’t get.
The daylight changed, and everything faded – but not the way it does at sunset or as clouds roll in. To me, the outdoors simply looked like a computer monitor with the dimmer on – still clear, colors still the same, just not as bright. And at the same time, as I was marveling at the dimness, I also marveled at how well-lit everything still was. The sun was 80% covered by the moon, and yet was still powerful enough to illuminate the world. The birds did not go to sleep, the street lights did not come on. Continue reading
For those who don’t know, I’m moving in a couple of weeks. I’m moving literally across the country (east coast to west coast). Therefore, my blog posts may be a little thin for the next few weeks.
That being said, I’m sure anyone who has moved before (even if it’s just across town) and who loves books knows this to be true: you never realize how many books you have until you have to pack them all.
Sometimes in life, things change gradually; and sometimes, everything changes at once.
I’m at a point somewhere in between the two, but definitely more towards the “everything’s changing at once” end. All in a good way, though.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail in this post, but here are a few of the things that are changing in my life right now: I’ve done some major revising of my writing goals that I set a mere month ago at the beginning of the year, I’m getting ready to publish my first novella, and I’m moving. And apparently I thought that doing all of these at the same time would be a good idea.
So, nothing bad, and nothing truly earth-shattering in the grand scheme of things. But still, enough to keep me on my toes. I will keep blogging, Tweeting, and building my brand, though, because I want to continue adding value to my readers and connecting with people all over the world.
I’m excited about following these new roads, and I hope you’ll come along for the journey!
We’ve all read stories or seen movies that deal with great tragedies. Characters who suffer tremendous loss, through no fault of their own, whose lives get turned upside down by an unimaginable horror. We cry for these characters, identify with their pain even if we have never suffered what they have, and we cheer for them as they resolve to push through and emerge victorious in spite of everything.
The pain and empathy that we feel is often increased when we learn that the story is based on a true story, or inspired by real events. And then that pain and empathy is taken to yet another deeper level when it happens to someone you know.
There’s no shortage of pain and tragedy in the world, and everyone can probably point to someone they know (or to themselves) as an example. But just last week, I was stunned and horrified to learn of a great tragedy that hit my friend and fellow blogger Jessica Cangiano of Chronically Vintage. She and her husband lost their home and all of their possessions in a fire – personal belongings, the entire stock for her Etsy business, a lifetime of mementos and treasures, and one of their pets. Continue reading