Friday, December 31, 2010


Oh, 2010. This past year has been very good to me, if at times overwhelming. I'll do something rare now and lump myself and my evil conjoined erotica-writing twin Cara McKenna together for this post.

2010 was my first full year as a published full-time writer, and the first year I made any money at it.

I saw my very first published ebook story release in February, to be followed by six more, plus a paperback anthology. I finaled in the Golden Heart. I made seven sales this year, including my first two romance sales to Samhain and Harlequin Blaze, plus I sneaked in three more submissions that are currently on my various editors' desks. I worked with four different publishers and five different editors. I attended three writing conferences, recorded a podcast interview, took part in my first mass book signings, started a second website and this blog, shuffled my priorities as I took on a second genre and author identity, and magnificently rose to the challenge of further putting off the search for an agent. I made several respectable bloggers' best-of-2010 lists and suffered through a few lousy reviews, buoyed by a surfeit of positive ones. I joined Twitter and made a gazillion writing-trench comrades whom I can now never imagine living without.

In January I traveled to England and Scotland for the first time, to visit one of my best friends and also to meet some of my dad's long-lost kin in Yorkshire. I went to Florida for RWA National, New York City and Oregon to visit with my bonus family, Ohio and Minnesota to visit friends, and drove up to Maine several times to see my parents. I went fishing with my dad and caught nothing but weeds. I got my tarot cards read with my mom. They were right.

I fell back in love with running this year, joined the gym when the weather turned grim, watched many good and bad movies including thirty-four starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, read many books, listened to weeks of radio. Collectively I spent nearly two days with Dan Savage in my ears, and even more with The Archers. I saw several excellent exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum, was treated to a live performance by Preacher Jack, and nearly witnessed the Celtics win it all. I got hooked on new and awful television shows, reclaimed my posture, began learning conversational Italian, and sniffled as some beloved pets met their makers (R.I.P. Moira, Captain, Guy Noir). I rode the ferry, the subway, the train. I received many duck-related articles and news clips from my vigilant antipodean pen pal. I whooped and wept as my friends changed jobs, went back to school, graduated, got engaged, got married, fell in love, fell out of love, got themselves lost, got themselves found.

I watched the herons and egrets arrive in the cove across the street, only to give way to the buffleheads and brants and eiders as the days grew shorter.

I got addicted to Machinarium then Angry Birds then Sudoku, traded early-mid-life-crises with my husband, popped bottles to mark our professional achievements and sniffled over our struggles, made plans to move then amended them. I diagnosed us each with many ailments, often incorrectly.

I ushered bags of tropical fish up and down the slippery back staircases of the New England Aquarium. I dyed my precocious silver roots no less that fifteen times and walked through yet another pair of Chuck Taylors. I acquired an iPad and we are as madly in love today as we were back in August.

I drove far more than I would have preferred, yet fell afoul of no tickets or dings or mishaps. I stripped wallpaper and painted our bathroom. I suffered through another Halloween season in Salem. I spent two separate evenings dressed as a flapper. I bought my first pair of high heels in a decade. I clapped for my NEC-RWA chaptermates and baked an awful lot. I learned to make chili and dinner rolls and perfected a few new mutations of my unbeatable chocolate chunk cookies. I did not burn the house down.

I wrote blurbs and bios and blog posts and tweets, and with shaking fingers composed e-mails to kind readers. I cried over rejections and frustrations and general confusion and hormonal crises. I saw many new birds in person for the first time, including upwards of forty quails. I hiked up mountains and peed in the woods and I went jogging in the territory of cougars and was not mauled. I went sailing as an active participant for the first time and now bear my scar proudly. I drank with friends. I shot skeet. I got laid. I bowled poorly. I got excited for Christmas shopping for the first time in a few years. Not all in one day, mind you.

I reflected on the past year and all I managed to do, despite the fact that I sometimes beat myself up because I feel I don't do enough. I made plans for the new year, with room for adjustments. I wrote this blog post, and I hit "publish".

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