It was a wild ride, so I figured I kind of needed to sit down and put everything in one place, if only for myself. The fact that any of y'all choose to read about it is just bonus.
The Major Events of 2012 actually began back at the very end of 2011 when I found out I was
and I proceeded to welcome in 2012 with the most spectacular morning sickness. I mean, I kinda laughed when all that news came out about The Duchess of Cambridge and her little trip to the hospital. Honey, I know how ya feel.
In January, I took a trip to NYC to visit my (also pregnant) sister-in-law, attend the Writer's Digest Conference, and do a little location research for my book THE SHIFTING DARKNESS.
I finished my manuscript (MS) back in August 2011, and spent the rest of the year revising it. So I felt like I was ready to get it out there in the world. Thinking back on that, however, makes me do this:
Because it soooo was not ready! But this year was a year of learning, so I have NO REGRETS!
The Writer's Digest Conference itself was amazing and I made loads of new writing buddies. But the biggest thing was the Pitch Slam. I stood in this:
...for four hours and got to pitch my novel to 8 agents! As if it wasn't nerve wracking enough talking about my book out loud to Important Strangers for the first time, there was also the morning sickness. I'm seriously, seriously surprised I made it through the whole thing without barfing on anyone. But it was SO FUN!
Getting to walk around the city with one of my besties from college and take pictures of the major locations from my book was exciting and beyond inspirational. I remembered enough about the locations from when I used to live in Manhattan, but simply being able to walk in the footsteps of my characters made me all tickly in my tummy. Or, maybe that was just the morning sickness? Nahh.
Here are just a few of my locations for THE SHIFTING DARKNESS:
The bar downstairs at Sidney's office:
The location where the second body is found:
The red staircase:
Sidney's living room:
View of Chrysler Building from Sidney's bedroom (it's prettier at night):
Sidney's back bathroom:
The window in the bathroom lets out onto the roof:
Only a week after I returned from NYC, my husband and I set out on a journey across the country. He got a new job in California so we packed up and headed out. It was heartbreaking to leave the life and home we'd built in Georgia, but great things never happen when you're in your comfort zone. So, we just went for it. Carpe diem and all that.
Being alone and pregnant in a new place drove me to Twitter. For that reason, I'll never regret our decision. All through 2011 I felt a void in my writing life because I'd been out of college for so long and was no longer surrounded by my writing community. I've met my true writing soul-mates and teachers this year thanks to Twitter. I can't even begin to describe what a difference my new friends have made in my life. Listing them out would take a million years, but you can find the list of people I follow here and you really should go follow them all because...really. I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be anywhere close to finding an agent if not for my group of amazing Critique Partners who support me on a daily basis.
April 8th, 2012 was Easter Sunday. It was also my 30th birthday. I must say it was physically difficult and took me a few minutes of sitting here before I could type that sentence. I think I might have fallen into the Depths of Despair had it not been for the fact that I had a finished MS in my hands. Sure, I graduated college with a 3.98 GPA and got married in my twenties, but I kinda felt like college and marriage is something most people do, so it didn't feel so much like an ACCOMPLISHMENT so much as an affirmation of normality. Is that even a thing? I just made it up. However, loads of people TALK about writing a book, but how many people actually sit down and finish one? Writing is the one thing I have that's only for me. It's my thing. It's what I do. So, being able to say I finished a book before I turned 30 was a big deal for me. Achievement: Unlocked.
On July 7th, I celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary with my dear sweet husband. Normally, we probably would have done something spectacularly romantic like take a trip to Paris or Hawaii. But being eight months pregnant kind of put a damper on all that. So instead of champagne and diamonds, I had decaf coffee and creme brûlée at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay. In all fairness, the dessert was amazing and the view made me feel as though I was back in Wales. So it was kind of like being whisked away to a romantic faraway place.
Early in the morning on August 20th, a year and two days after I finished my manuscript, I finally got to meet my son. He's been an amazing joy and a complete pain in the ass and I wouldn't trade him for anything. I'm 100% smitten and I can't imagine what life was like without him. Okay, yeah I can. I totally remember what life was like, it was filled with chocolate cake and endless hours of uninterrupted writing time. It was quiet and glorious. But I still wouldn't trade him back. I'd feel like Peter Pan losing his shadow.
Being a mommy has changed my perspective on life in a way I never thought possible. I used to hear other parents say stuff like that and be all like, "Yeah, totally." I "knew" kids change things but HOLEY BUCKETS do they change things. It's like my favorite episode of The-X-Files, "Quagmire", when the dude says that licking a toad will "swing the doors of perception WIIIDE OPEN". Yeah, becoming a parent is totally like licking a toad.
In the great Circle of Life there is birth as well as death. It just so happens that not long after I became a mommy, I lost my own on November 17th. She'd battled rheumatoid arthritis for 22 years and finally decided she was ready for some rest. She was the strongest, most generous, most loving person I've ever known. A lot of women dread the day they turn into their mother. All I can hope is that someday I can be half as amazing as mine was. She was my best friend, by biggest champion, and will inspire me until the day we meet again.
Later in November, I got an email that made me literally do this:
No, no, I'm still waiting on an offer from an agent. In a way this was even better. It was the set of blueprints I need to take THE SHIFTING DARKNESS from "Ohhh, I love this book" to "Recent New York Times Bestseller". Okay, maybe I'm getting a leeeetle too ahead of myself on that. But it's definitely what I need to make this the best book it can be. Just like I want my baby boy to succeed, I want my book to be successful too, and it's up to me to do everything in my power to give it the best chance possible.
That being said, I'm heading into 2013 with a solid plan and a ship full of hope. May your New Year be filled with blessings of all kinds!