Monthly Archives: December 2016

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

Book Review: A Stone Kissed Sea

This review is about a week overdue. Elizabeth Hunter’s latest came out one week ago today, and if you haven’t picked it up yet, do that RIGHT NOW! Need more convincing? Fine. I can do that.

The Blurb

An immortal wanderer. A brilliant scientist. A centuries-old menace written in blood.

Lucien Thrax, son of the earth and child of the ancients, is a healer of immense power. But years of work on a deadly vampire virus have not led to a cure, nor have they softened the wall he built around his heart. When he’s forced to work with Doctor Makeda Abel, Lucien is convinced he’s reached his limit of patience with humanity.

Makeda Abel may be human, but she’s far from impressed with the brooding vampire healer, even if his mind draws her reluctant admiration. She’s learned how to survive in the immortal world, and it’s not by being afraid. Working together may lead them to answers, but it also pushes Lucien and Makeda’s attraction to the boiling point.

When nightmares become reality, Makeda will have to trust Lucien with her life. Finding answers has never been more vital. Finding love has never been more deadly. To heal the Elemental World, Lucien and Makeda must follow ancient paths and ask for help from the most inhuman of immortals. Because even with a cure in hand, the battle has only begun.

The Cover

 

(SO! PRETTY!)

The Review 

AHHHH! I loved this book. I read the ARC that I got from Elizabeth because I am a lucky, lucky woman who is friends with this (among other) amazing authors.

Makeda is so smart. And she is not putting up with your bullshit, Lucien. This story involved one of my favorite romantic tropes: two awesome people who have so much sexual tension and also annoy the shit out of each other for reasons they can’t quite figure out.

It also had danger! and excitement! and magicscience! I know how much research went into making sure the magicscience was as sciencey as possible, and it really, really shows in the final product. There is no real reason to suspend your disbelief when the book gets technical about how the elixir virus is affecting humans and vampires.

This book gets so many bonus points for including my two favorite vampires: Tenzin (about whom I plan to write some fanfic where she’s my bestie and we have awkward get-togethers where we vacillate between TMI and no conversation at all) and Carwyn, who…yeah…sigh…(I’m not going to tell you about the mental fanfic I compose about him, because I’m a little afraid of Brigid.)

The amazing magicscience and my swooning over Carwyn are only the beginning. There is a huge chunk of the story set in Ethiopia, and you can tell that the author really has a feel for that land. Her research trips there really paid off and I could almost picture myself there.

Makeda and Lucien work with Saba, the oldest and scariest vampire of all, to save everyone from the Elixir, and that adventure gives you everything you’ve come to expect from an Elizabeth Hunter Elemental World novel: romance, sexy times, mystery, suspense, and amazing world building with really solid writing.

The Quote

“It’s an odd sensation,” he said quietly, “to give your heart completely to another. I feel as if my soul is tied up with yours.”

Swoon. That kind of love is the stuff of legend and just as terrifying and rewarding as you’d think.

The Verdict

Elizabeth Hunter is the kind of writer I aspire to be, and every book she writes is better than the last. You can tell how much she puts into each book, and this one is no exception. I can’t recommend this book (and this series) (and this author) highly enough. She is an excellent example of why fantasy and paranormal genres are just as worthy of recognition as anything else.

 

Thirty-one days

That’s all that’s left of this year. Thirty-one days.

2016 has been a ridiculous year. I moved into a new house. Got divorced. Lost my job.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. And you know, those three things I just listed that sound pretty terrible on the surface? Those things are part of the year of me.

They are, by far, the hardest things about the year of me, though. Moving into my own place was difficult. And expensive. Getting divorced was really hard. And expensive. And as much as I wanted a new job, losing my job without something else lined up was extremely difficult. And wow…finances suck.

There have been bright spots. Four amazing bright spots.

  1. This kid, for all that it’s been a hard year for him, is fantastic. He’s four and a half, so that makes him willful, independent, and boundary-testing. He’s also sweet, kind, and generally and happy little guy. He frustrates me and exhausts me and makes my heart grow three sizes every time he tells me how much he loves me.

img_0540

img_0570

"I will take our selfie, Mommy."

“I will take our selfie, Mommy.”

 

  1. This guy. The beer guy I’ve referenced once or twice. He has definitely been a bright spot in my universe this year. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the year without his support. It’s really been a fantastic journey and one that I’m looking forward to continuing, hopefully with much less stress at some point.

img_0513

img_4856

 

  1. This trip. My solo trip to Iceland, while also very expensive, was amazing. I really went a long ways out of my comfort zone, was wracked with nerves leading up to it, and ended up having an even better time than I’d imagined. There are definitely pros to traveling with someone (someone to talk to and with whom you can take turns driving are two that come to mind), but now that I’ve done this, I know I can do just about anything.

fullsizeoutput_6b8

img_6813

Version 2

 

  1. This job. It’s been a good writing year. I maybe haven’t been as productive as I would’ve liked, but I wrote two full length novels this year, have 1/2 of an Eleanor Morgan world novella done, finished initial edits of a book, hired a cover artist, hired an editor, and am getting close to finishing the BIG edit for that book. I’m hoping to have my first book ready for publication by my 40th birthday (if not before). It’s scary/exciting/terrifying/a little awesome.

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

img_7390

fullsizeoutput_9b2

 

So, while overall, my feelings about 2016 can be summed up in one meme:

15219410_1307438402640248_8617307086074812865_n

I wouldn’t change anything.

Well, maybe one thing.

clinton-trump-las-vegas-debate

 

I am, however, very much looking forward to 2017. I don’t know why the one-day difference between 12/31/16 and 1/1/17 will be a game changer, but I need something to pin my hopes on!

2017 – new job, new book, new home (again), and so many exciting new experiences to look forward to. My kidlet will start Kindergarten (!!!!), provided the new job is a decent paying job, I have plans to go to Romania (!!), I’ll get Eleanor Morgan #2 published mid-year (!!!), and I’ll turn 40, which I’m assuming means I’m entering my Awesome Period (!).

Best of luck to everyone out there just trying to make it through this one last month. Thirty-one days. We’ve got this.

Turn faster, dammit!

Turn faster, dammit!