Who said growth was comfortable? 2018 has been a growing year for me–a year that stretched my mind, challenged my skills and sometimes worried my soul. It was a year when I asked myself, over and over, is my art getting too political? And it was the year that I decided, unless one lives in a cabin with no media and gives all of her/his/their books away for free, writing is unfortunately, political. Stories continue to be my balm, my trial, my open hand, and my raised fist. In 2018, I opened my hand to collaboration and raised my fist against the sexism still clinging to American culture like mud. Sometimes the page taunted me, my mind aswirl with so many ideas about stories and the best course of pragmatic political action. Sometimes the words rushed out in torrents.
Thanks for riding the rapids with me, dear readers! I know it isn’t always easy to read dark fiction, and some days we all want to hide under a warm quilt and binge-watch Outlander or escape into Vera solving a mystery along a wind-swept coastline… The blessing of fiction is that it can be an escape when we want it, a puzzle went we crave it, and a blade when we need it. When I published Enduring Spirit: Stories in May, I hope I offered escape, wonder, and challenge.
Speaking of blessings, I have so many people to thank this year! First of all, thank you again, dear readers! It’s a risk to send one’s stories out into the ether, and y’all make it all worthwhile. I particularly want to thank those of you who are subscribing to my work on https://curiousfictions.com, your $5 a month in patronage gives me the luxury of starting new work between paid projects. It’s the ultimate gift-writing time! Family demands meant that I had to ease out of my evening critique group. So I offer my heartfelt gratitude to those members who found the time for coffee and feedback. As I’ve mentioned before, I learned a lot from collaborating with artist Lee Steiner this year. Delving further into work with Women in the Visual and Literary Arts has been so rewarding! I also met a great new group of folks at Comicpalooza Houston 2018, and the enthusiasm and creativity of the horror authors and Nerdfest members has been an inspiration! The weekly writing prompts in Nerdest have kept my brain sharp. I’ve started work on a horror novella about human trafficking; it’s a light and sunny piece from my pen. Kidding.
As an editor at Spider Road Press, I edited and published my first novel. Boy, was that a learning curve! It was my first editing adventure in historical fiction. Written by a smart gal named Kate Spitzmiller. It also features a more positive, and more personal, piece of my flash, “Flying.” Sharing a coming-of-age piece was a first for me, too. A thousand “Thank Yous” to the professionals who lent expertise & moral support during the always interesting & sometimes bumpy road to publication for Companion of the Ash! The beta readers were, once gain, a Godsend! A special thank you to my patient & sarcastic husband for listening to my excitement & worry and understanding when this editor mama had to give my “part-time” job hours & mental space on the weekends! And to my son for knowing that Mommy misses him when she is working with the door closed. Gratitude to talents D. Marie Prokop, Enos Russell, the gracious Heidi Dorey, Jody Townsley Morse, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, Melissa Algood, Rebecca Nolen, Gay Yellen, Vi Moore, Kessika Johnson, Jae, Mazer Kimberly Fish!
Happy Holidays, readers, writers, and supporters! Writing is my vocation and my privilege. I couldn’t do it without you!