Friday, December 29, 2017

2017: A Year in this Writer's Life

I suspect most of you will understand when I say I won't be sorry to see the last of 2017. With a few notable exceptions, it was a difficult year, personally, professionally, and in the world at large.

Still, I have been fortunate. I have good health care and our family has financial stability. Those two things alone make me an outlier.

And, while I haven't written as much in 2017 as I had wanted or planned to,  it was still a full year of writing news and personal news.

Writing Life

Chris Howard knocks it out of the park again with this cover image.


2017 saw the publication of PARALLAX, the 4th book of my space opera science fiction series Halcyone Space. 

I also contributed a new original short story to the anthology ORPHANS IN THE BLACK called "In the Clutch", unrelated to the universe of the Halcyone Space books. It's a bit of an homage to Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance mission. With reptilian aliens. 

Writing in Progress

The drafting of book 5 (A STAR IN THE VOID) has been going more slowly than I had anticipated, but I'm still working within my original publication time frame of Summer 2018. 

After several false starts, I finished another short story for an upcoming themed anthology and am awaiting editorial notes. It's a bit more on the literary side than my novels and I'll be interested in seeing what readers make of it.

In other new writing, the Vito Nonce project that I'm co-writing with Rick Wayne has taken a brief hiatus as both of us are working on finishing current series, but will be a focus in the new year. 

So between novels, short stories, blog posts, and poetry, I've probably eked out 50,000 new words in 2017. Considerably less output than I've managed in prior years, but I'll take it as a victory. 

Events and Honors

I addition to attending ARISIA (and garnering an invitation to participate in 2018) and participating in programs at BOSKONE and READERCON, this year marked a convention first: 

One of these days I'll learn to to take goofy photos.
But not this day.

I was invited to be a Guest of Honor at G.A.M.E. in Springfield, MO. They folks at G.A.M.E. were gracious and welcoming and I had a great time meeting old and new fans and talking about SF&F tropes that needed to die. 

This year also found me in Denver to attend MILE HIGH CON. The highlight was getting to meet Nathan Lowell in person for the first time since meeting him virtually 4 years ago.

DERELICT picked up a new honor in 2017: It was chosen as the inaugural title for a new Feminist Book of the Month Club, featuring speculative fiction titles. It also had another run on Amazon as a best seller during a sale in the fall, introducing the series to a new group of readers. (Welcome!)

This fall, I was able to spend a productive and wonderful week in the company of writing community friends from Writer Unboxed when we gathered for a retreat in the wilds of Vermont. 

And finally, in December I was interviewed by my fellow Broad Universe member Rona Gofstein along with Kevin Ross Emory on their show: Dragons & Unicorns & other creative creatures. 

So if you've ever been curious about my creative process, my stories, my ceramics work, or just what to hear my squeaky voice and watch me talk with my hands, have a look. 

Personal Life 

Star Field Farm rises

In January of 2017, my husband and I closed on a home in Central Massachusetts on a 54 acre piece of property that is part farmland, part Rivendell. Ultimately, it will be where we retire to. In the meanwhile, it will be a personal and writing retreat space.

In March of 2017, my gallbladder and I decided to part ways. It was less an amicable divorce than a forced separation. I don't know how it is faring, but I'm a lot healthier without it in my life. 

My birth mother, circa 1962
The year ended with an incredible discovery: my birth family. After decades of searching, and after believing that door had closed permanently, I have made contact with aunts, uncles, and cousins related to my (late) birth mother. It has been quite a journey finding new family in my 50s and discovering that, yes, poetry and geek are carried in the genes.

I suspect that I'll be continuing to process what this all means for me over the coming year both in my journaling, my poetry, and my stories. 

In looking forward to 2018, I wish you all a year of creative energy, of personal growth and breakthroughs, and most importantly, of peace and joy.


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