A Wonderful Year

You know the old saw: if you fall off a horse, get back on right away, or your fear will talk you out of it. As someone who grew up with horses, I can testify to the truth of this particular bit of hoary wisdom.

I’ve fallen off of Writing in the Dark of late. And–though it’s partly due to my impacted schedule of writing deadlines (my third novel), book tours, conferences and promotion–not to mention a day job and ubiquitous chores–it’s partly my fault, too. I’m a perfectionist–I like my blog to be a miniature sketch, complete with images, and if I’m too tired or too harried to make it that way, I tend to put it off.

Well, no longer. I’m also not one for resolutions (I detest the damn things), so call this a realization. The truth is that if I wait until I have the time, I’ll never get it done. I’ll be around more often and more consistently next year … and in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been doing:

October was Bouchercon. Crimespree’s Jon and Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik did a superhuman and tremendous job–nirvana for a conference junkie like me. I participated in two panels (one as moderator) and a marvelous author’s showcase with a group of buddies. Had a blast with a lot of friends. Attended my first Shamus dinner, paid respects to Mr. Poe. About the only thing I missed was hanging out with Sandra Ruttan and having coffee with Declan Burke–both of which are must-dos the next chance I get.

After B-con I was the guest of the lovely Sisters in Crime in Sacramento, participated in a library panel in Corcord, was the guest on an hour-long radio segment of Goddess Radio (American First Radio and KCAA San Bernadino) with Midnight Bookworm Vin Smith and Panney Wei, was the guest SinC speaker at the Gilroy library, read at the SinC Fall Soiree at San Francisco’s Books Inc, celebrated the 100th birthday of John’s Grill (home of The Maltese Falcon), and rang in holiday cheer at the annual MWA/SinC party at M is for Mystery.

I also finished my third book–a very dark, sweeping PI novel set in 1940 San Francisco. A big book. We’re hoping to see it with a big publisher, so we’re crossing everything that can be crossed, and a few things that probably shouldn’t be.

The year has been capped with a homecoming. I grew up in northern Mendocino/southern Humboldt Counties (northern California)–spent junior high and high school there. My parents live in the northern part of the county now, near Eureka. I had a signing at Borders in Eureka after Christmas that was more like a party and reunion–old friends from high school, former teachers, friends I haven’t seen in more than twenty years, colleagues who volunteer with my mom. David Dun, best-selling thriller author, Treasurer and one of the wonderful founders of ITW (International Thriller Writers) has a home in the area, and came to cheer me on–it was amazing and truly special! The Eureka Times Standard did me the honor of placing NOX on the front page, too–here’s the link:

After the signing, I was the guest at the lovely home of a lovely woman who hosts a book club. In one of those “it’s a small world” moments, I learned that Marsha Hunt–whose grace, radiance and star turn in Eddie Muller’s The Grand Inquisitor I wrote about last January (it’s almost time for the next Noir City!)–had also been a guest. I met a friend of Ms. Hunt’s and an absolutely lovely group of ladies. What a fantastic way to close the year.

For me, 2008 will always be the year my first book was published. It’s been quite a journey. It has been an honor to meet readers, booksellers and librarians–an honor to know people in places I’ve never been and may never see are reading NOX DORMIENDA. It leaves me with a breathless feeling, one of gratitude and humility.

I’m extraordinarily thankful to be a part of the writing community … friends and colleagues so talented, generous and giving that I wind up feeling like George Bailey every day. As I look ahead to 2009–with a new grog to debut soon (more details next week!), more work with MWA and ITW and SinC, another novel to research, and the second Arcturus book to revise–and hope on the horizon for a contract with a bigger house–I’m thankful to be where I am, ensconced in what is–to me–a wonderful life.

Thanks, all of you, for making 2008 a year to remember! Happy New Year–here’s to a great 2009! 🙂