Yeah, I know it’s almost the middle of January, sue me.
So I’m taking a page from Pop My Culture’s year-end two-part podcast and doing a Top 5/Bottom 5 list, a resolution (or as I like to call them, “revolution”), & Song of the Year. Why? Well, because the podcast was awesome (seriously, go listen, it’s brilliant) and more importantly, I’m sitting here, waiting for my hair to finish processing color and I’m bored. (And hoping I don’t come out looking like the victim of nuclear fallout.)
So, without further ado, we’ll start with the Bottom 5– in no particular order:
Rejection. As in, rejection letters from editors. They suck. Nearly 15 years in the business & they still suck. A lot.
In that vein, not yet selling an adult novel. Not adult as in X-rated, you pervs, but adult, as in a novel/story intended for adults. It’s what I started out with the intent to publish, and it’s still my first love. I have some really good manuscripts still waiting for their turn. Hopefully, someday, they’ll get it. In the meantime, I keep creating new ones. (More on that later)
Fifty Shades of Grey I’m sorry. I try very hard not to badmouth other writers and or books but the manner in which this book made its way to publication and the level of popularity its achieved is just mind-boggling to me. And I’m sorry—it’s just a badly-written book whose characters were blatantly ripped off from another franchise (what I think of that one is a different topic altogether). What really pisses me off is how so many friends of mine who write really fine erotica/erotic romance are being accused of “jumping on the bandwagon.” On the other hand, it’s also served as a windfall for them, so that’s been a positive.
Ignorance/Intolerance. Sadly, this one carries over from year to year, but it seems to become especially prevalent during election years. I’m very live and let live—I have friends across the entirety of the belief spectrum, albeit leaning a bit more toward the left, but my staunchly-held belief system is one should educate oneself, should stand firm in one’s beliefs and grant me the respect of allowing me the same. You come at me with ignorance and intolerance and I have no use for you.
Taylor Swift/Justin Beiber/et al They just set my teeth on edge. Luckily, my kids have never gone for super lightweight pop music, so I’ve been able to escape most of it.
Okay, Top Five, also in no particular order:
Being approached by Harlequin out of the blue to write two young adult novellas. Especially amazing considering when my agent made the offer my response was, “But… I don’t have any novella proposals.” They simply liked how I wrote and wanted me to come up with something for them. Which I am in the process of doing.
Television I’m such a workaholic, I don’t get out as often as I should to movies, so I make up for it by having a cable package with every channel known to man. And even so, I don’t see the movies I miss in theatres because there are so many good television shows going on that are just smart and engrossing and fabulous examples of storytelling. Copper, Longmire, Mad Men, Justified, Vegas—and as a corollary to that, watching TV with my kids. It’s been so much fun to introduce them to old favorites and to discover new ones together—Firefly, Farscape, BSG, Dr. Who, Sherlock, Person of Interest, various anime programs. They’re so smart and it’s a blast to get their impressions and opinions. (And oh my, are they opinionated. Can’t imagine where they got that from…)
Music Also a constant from year to year, but the things that made it wonderful this year was discovering new artists via satellite radio and the Shazam app (As my husband says, “For a free app, it’s cost me a metric assload of money. Can’t say he’s wrong.) New artists discovered this year: Delta Rae, Z.Z. Ward, honey honey, Michael Kiwanuka, The Last Bison, Audra Mae & the Almighty Sound, Amy Stroup, The Head and the Heart, the Lumineers, Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rockettes—the list just goes on and on, really… (Go on, look surprised. I dare you.)
Twitter 2012 was my year of rediscovering Twitter. I had joined in 2009, somewhat grudgingly in that “It’s something I’m supposed to do for self-promo,” which most people who know me know I hate with the heat of a thousand suns, but after STARS released in late 2010, I got so sick of myself, I went on nearly ten-month twitter hiatus. I made a cautious return in late 2011 and slowly began restructuring my follow lists. Rather than solely publishing people I started following people in other artistic mediums and from there, just people whom I found interesting. I started actually enjoying Twitter as a social interaction tool—it’s actually a perfect method by which a shy, introvert can get to know people and ultimately, it’s allowed me to befriend and meet in real space, some fabulous people I absolutely adore, including Vanessa Ragland, one of the co-hosts of Pop My Culture which of course, prompted this rambly post. Cole, you’re next. It’s okay. I’m reasonably harmless.
Ballroom Dance What started out as research for STARS has turned into a hobby/exercise regime at which it turns out, I’m pretty good. It feeds into my artistic/creative/competitive sides and frees up the lizard brain to mull over the writing.
Writing Yes, I know this makes it six, but I’ll be the first to say I suck at math. Besides, it’s my list. 2012 returned to me the joy in writing. I didn’t finish any manuscripts this year, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t write, because oh my goodness I wrote. I wrote so very much that won’t ever see the light of day and I’m okay with that, because I wrote simply for myself, no expectations, no rules, just wrote for me and it was fun and it fed my soul and reminded me why I do this. Because I have to.
One more, because again, my list, and well, it needs to be added: Twenty. 2012 marked twenty years of being married to my best friend. I initially hesitated to include this, not because it’s not important (d’uh) but because I actually tend to keep my personal life more to the background. But hell, twenty years is pretty freakin’ remarkable, if I do say so myself. We went to Hawaii and fell in love with it, so that was another thing that was great about 2012, which I suppose technically makes it eight things.
Yeah, I really suck at math.
Resolution/Revolution Oy, I hate making these because it’s inevitably setting oneself up for failure, but I’ll give it a go: this year, I’ll finish Dorian, my adult horror suspense. There.
Song of the Year This is both an oldie and newbie: The Boxer by Mumford & Sons and featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon. First off, The Boxer is one of my favorite songs of all time. You have to understand—I’m a musician’s musician. I always glom onto music/melody first before lyrics. I can hear a song once and repeat the melody back to you, but there are songs I’ve known for thirty years where the lyrics will escape me (weird for a writer, right?). But The Boxer has always been one of those rare exceptions. Those lyrics have just always hit me straight in the gut and always seem relevant to some aspect of my life. The final verse, in particular, seemed to really reflect this past year for me:
In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving I am leaving but the fighter still remains
I mean, if that isn’t just the biggest “fuck you, you can knock me down, but I ain’t ever giving up,” ever, I don’t know what is—and as beautifully as Simon & Garfunkel sang it, there’s something so stunningly perfect about Mumford & Sons’ interpretation. The harmonies are as glorious as anything Paul and Art ever sang, but when it comes to the lead vocals, Marcus Mumford is just raw and gritty and he sings the lyrics with the sort of raw anger they seem to demand. Add in that Paul Simon contributes to the vocals and lap steel guitar legend Jerry Douglas adds his own unique sound to the mix and it’s the perfect marriage of old and new and goes to show how a great song remains timeless.
Not to mention, Marcus’ voice does funny things to my ladybits.
I guess all in all, 2012 wasn’t too terrible, although honestly, the Mayans were more than welcome to its remains.
So with that, I bid 2012 adieu.