Happy Clean Slate Day!

Happy Clean Slate Day!

I’m not one to celebrate holidays, but I do love the idea of a new year, with a clean slate and plans to make the upcoming year even better than the one in the rearview mirror.

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First, I’d like to look back, then I will look forward.

January 2016 came in strong. At this point I’d been running (run/walk, actually) for about three months and had finished a 5K and 5 mile race. My second 5K came the end of January, when I did the Run for the Paws. I was so happy to help the animal-related cause, but decided running with that many dogs wasn’t really my thing (it got a bit messy). At least Pam and Sabrina (who wanted to run, but with her short little legs (Sabrina, not Pam!) I thought better of it) were waiting for me at the finish line.

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On February 1st my 5th novel, Anywhere, Everywhere was published. There is nothing in the world quite like having your work come to life in paperback and e-Book form. As if that wasn’t enough to make February a stellar month, I was offered the job I’d been pining for at Big Cypress National Preserve! Same agency (NPS), same unit (BICY), same building (HQ), same commute (still with Pam), just a new position.

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On March 4th I had a reading and signing at the clubhouse in my community, Artesia Naples. It was a great night with friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

AIso in March, Pam and I embarked on our first trip to Austin, TX. We fell in love (not with each other, that was decades ago…) with Austin! We went to San Antonio, saw the bats under the Congress Ave bridge, walked around downtown and at Mount Bonnell, and went to Enchanted Rock while we were there.

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April 1st brought us to the reason we went to Austin, and the highlight of the trip, the Lone Star Lesfic Festival. It was amazing to hang out with much of my Affinity E-books Press family, meet new people, and see old friends. One evening while hanging out with the Affinity folks, I got cocky and said I would get them a romance in six months. I’d never written a manuscript in less than a year and immediately went into panic mode over my bravado.

When we returned to Florida, I went right into my new job as Big Cypress National Preserve’s Supply Tech and Property Officer. I was excited to be challenged and learn something new, and it didn’t disappoint.

In May, I committed myself to writing the new romance, and based some of the story on my weekly running and sushi dining with my friend Carrie. The need to immerse myself in my new characters’ lives kept me running when I just wanted to be lazy, and the running kept me motivated to keep writing about the location/characters when I felt stuck. That’s what I call a win-win.

Also in May, I started playing Pickleball more regularly. Never heard of it? Google… it’s amazing. And it’s quite a good workout and very addictive. (Oh, I just found the right workout for my next main character.)

June found me traveling to Denver, CO for the first time. On the plane and at the airport, I found myself stepping away from that romance I’d promised and taking notes on something else – a dystopian romance that was/is totally out of my comfort zone. I stayed in my hotel room most nights while I was at training for my new job and worked frantically on this new story. I did manage to get out twice with some guys I’d met in class, once to Buffalo Bill’s gravesite and once to Red Rock. I don’t think I’d ever seen landscape so majestic before, but oh wow was the altitude wreaking havoc on my head.

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I returned from Denver late on July 2nd and then Pam and I left on the fifth for the GCLS conference in DC (Alexandria). We managed to see some family and friends while at the conference, I did a reading and then mostly worked the vendor table, and had an overall amazing time. I spent my writing time this month split between Pausing (my promised romance) and Kai’s story (my dystopian romance).

On August 20th, I officially finished my first draft of Pausing. Off to my beta readers (Kit and Christine rock!), some tweaking, and marinating…

 

I submitted Pausing to Affinity on September 14th, five months after starting it. I had done what I planned to do and felt like it was my best book yet. I signed the contract on the 26th.

September also brought me to the first Sappho’s Scribes of Florida event, in St. Pete, FL. Back in July I’d talked to some other Florida writers about getting together and doing events in Florida as a group. The Scribes are me, Alison Solomon, Barbara Clanton, and Ali Spooner. Our first gig had three of the four of us (we missed Ali!) doing a workshop on writing with an amazing group of writers and readers.

Palm Tree Illustration

October was an exciting month, I went to my first LCLC con in Palm Springs, CA. I fell in love with Palm Springs, Casitas Laquita, the con, and so many wonderful new friends. What’s not to love about doing a reading while sitting on the edge of a pool and reading to a swimming/sunbathing audience?

Later in October, I had my first ever professional photo shoot. Eileen did an amazing job!

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November found me going home to Virginia. Hanging out with family and friends is always a great way to reinvigorate. I had a signing at 37th and Zen in Norfolk, then went to hang out at the Hershee Bar. HB’s always feels like going home. And there’s the extra nostalgic angle in that I met my partner there in 1987.

After going between three different stories, in late November I committed to working mostly on the dystopian romance, its working title now Kai Brodie after the main character.

December 1st I had a reading/signing at Mary Martin’s Gallery of Fine Art in downtown Naples. Art and books… a great night. On the 17th I ran my second Marco Island 5 mile hill run – just like Jordy in the upcoming novel Pausing.

On this last day of December, I have hit the 25K word mark on Kai Brodie. And I feel oh so excited about where this story is going!

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Wow, 2016 had some really cool experiences.

And upcoming…

January 13-14 I will be with the Scribes at Silver Threads celebration in St. Pete, and on January 28th we will be back at the Metro Wellness Center (also St. Pete) to do another workshop.

February 17-19 I will be hanging out with GCLS friends at the Amelia Island Book Festival. Beach and books… I can’t wait.

April 1st is back to Austin for the 2017 Lone Star Lesfic Festival. And… it’s pub day! Pausing will be available in time for this great festival!

July brings us back to GCLS, this time the con is in Chicago. This will be another first for me. I’m so excited about seeing all the great women of GCLS.

October is LCLC again! This year I’m combining it with a family trip up the coast of CA with Pam and Sabrina. This is going to be epic.

So, these are just some of the dates. There will be much more to come with Sappho’s Scribes of Florida, another trip home to Virginia, and of course the completion of Kai Brodie, and possibly another romance. I will keep everyone posted on the dates of the additional events as they are confirmed.

I cannot wait to dive into 2017!