How Was My Year? It's Complicated
All in all, I am not sorry to see 2014 pass. There were some very good things that happened: my oldest son graduated college and is off to a five year masters to doctoral program in music composition—on a full scholarship. Yes, that was a very good thing—but bittersweet since my firstborn has now moved to California. After two weeks of holiday togetherness, his imminent return will not be a dreadfully tearful affair. Nor will the return the following week of my middle son to his final semester at college. This May, another graduation celebration and I'll be happy to see them both again—for a little while.
I finished my doctorate. Four words that sum up two and a half years of scholarly research, reading, and writing. For those who know me personally—and I've been nicknamed the brainy brunette—this might not seem such a big deal. But for those who know me as a writer of fantasy fiction who still has not mastered use of the comma, researching Santeria and studying astrology and Tarot, this may come as a big of a surprise. But I have figured out a way to combine the two and found out that me wandering the streets of The Bronx, going in an out of botanicas is a legitimate form of research: ethnography. How I will publish that in academia remains to be seen but I really don't care. I CAN GO BACK TO WRITING FICTION!!!
Despite the rigors, I have managed to finish two short stories (both fantasies) that need revision. The Widow's Walk, which is the first in the Unfinished Business paranormal romance series was published in November. The prequel, Breakwater Beach, is being novelized from the novelette published in Haunted. I hope that will be published in 2015. And then I will write the third and final in that series. Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams has made the rounds of agents and publishers, with some very encouraging but heartbreaking rejections. Nevertheless, I plan to hit the mean streets again to research the sequels and keep on submitting. Snippets published in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, and Beltane: Ten Tales of Magic have gotten good reviews so I believe this urban fantasy series will find a good home.
It was a rough transition to middle school for my daughter—and unfortunately the New York City Public Schools are not getting better-despite what former mayor Bloomberg and the current mayor and batty school chancellor say. I had to take her out of public school and send her a local Catholic academy—for all of our sanity. Those who know me, and how committed I am to public education, understand what a hard decision that was. But last year they would not let her play in the orchestra, there were no field trips, no foreign language classes, and no science fair at her school. That was the first time my kids did not participate in that March ritual since my first son began in Kindergarten in 1996! I feel like I caved, gave up, sold out and still have regrets, but I have some control over her curriculum choices and am not up at the school for some issue or another once or twice a week. She misses her old friends, and for that I am sorry but there are always new ones to be made.
All our Beta fish died. The last one, who belonged to my oldest, lived with us for three years. She waited until Nick got home for Christmas to give up, though she was failing for weeks. We just had her funeral. This may seem very silly, but since I wound up taking care of them all, I got very attached to those very social creatures. Sure, they'll eat each other alive but being so solitary they have personalities and interact with their caregivers for far more than just getting fed. Maybe they're fantasizing that they're going to eat me alive but I'd like to think they're as feisty as I am—and very kind until you cross a line at which time you better watch out.
I had the distinct pleasure of traveling to London and environs this summer to attend Lon Con, where I met other members of Anticipation workshops for tea and an Indian buffet. There was no one there from Taos Toolbox 2011, but they're all doing quite well with sales and I'm very happy for Alan Smale and Scott Hawkins, both of which have big releases coming up. I was able to meet with my good writing friend and mentor since 2007, Rayne Hall, meet her lovable Sulu cat, another Professional Author's group member Jonathan Broughton in Hastings. Another highlight of the trip was spending an evening with Andrew Richardson, who also is churning out new novels. Andrew and I have been critique partners for ten years. Meeting them all, and Noura all the way from UAE was a delight and I hope to get back to England someday soon.
And yes, I did stand on line for more than an hour for a photo op at Kings Cross Station.
And then here was that part of the year I really want to forget. Since March of 2014, a series of rather serious health challenges have come up. It could be worse, and I don't want to complain or dwell on it, but if you have not seen me around town at KGB Fiction readings or cons or other events, suffice it to say I am limiting myself to one activity per day because I am still feeling the after effects. So, in addition to getting back into creative writing, I have gotten back to the ballet barre again and resumed my general exercise routine. Sitting at a computer writing research papers with breaks to track research participants down all over The Bronx do not provide enough physical exercise and emotional release to maintain sanity—and I have been very depressed and very bitchy.
But it's January 2015. I am now Dr. Moleti. I am getting a new Beta fish tomorrow. Downton Abbey returns tonight. The 18 year old cat, 12 year old dog, and I are hanging in there. My daughter and I already started her science fair project. May will mark the tenth anniversary of my entry into creative writing—and the release of the last Star Wars film that spurned me into becoming a novelist. My Star Wars spin off is in a box in my attic, where most first novels wind up, but it seems strangely synchronous that in 2015, another Star Wars film is being released. That helps me look forward rather than back –and I've got many things to look forward to on my brand new calendar.