2016 has been a year. Yes it has.
Sides have been taken. Predictions made. Proven wrong. Then revisited. Twitter has taken on a whole new life and a whole new role in the political landscape. And no matter which side of the argument you were on, it’s a time of trepidation and unchartered territory for all of us.
But then again, we have books and movies and fandoms to save us, thankfully. Full immersion in the worlds created by authors and screen writers is at an all time high.
Thank you Harry Potter. Thank you Star Wars. Thank you Marvel Universe. Thank you Barnes & Nobles and indie book stores. Thank you bloggers and podcasters and fan fic writers. You keep us living what we love.
And you know what? I sincerely believe that 2017 is going to be even bigger for those of us who work in the imagination trade. Yay us.
But until then here are a few of my favorite memories of 2016:
I didn’t actually see The Force Awakens until January 2016 so even though it came out in 2015, I’m counting it as one of my favorite memories this year. Reliving the magic of Star Wars meant remembering my parents (who are in everything, still) who always gave my siblings and me a love of magic in all forms. I couldn’t be more grateful.
I was on the First Books panel for FL SCBWI January conference with fellow Tuesday Writer, Melody Maysonet.
Along with Steven Dos Santos, I presented a YA masterclass for the Big Read at Broward County Public Library.
The Tuesday Writers launched our group blog. First post was written by our lead-off batter, Jonathan Rosen. Yay us.
At the midyear SCBWI conference I met my editor, Annette Pollert-Morgan and had dinner with her and my agent, Nicole Resciniti where I pitched ideas for future projects using Jonathan Mayberry’s formula for pitching: start with the heart of the piece and show us why we should care. It worked! I laid the ground work at that meeting for the two book deal Nic and Annette and I penned. One book to be released November 2017. The other November 2018.
I experienced ALA 2016 and for the first time I found my own personal version of Nirvana. My Disney World. My Eden. And it all started, as most really good things do, with Harry Potter where Tuesday Cathy and I tried to win a prize. I’d like to say we left empty handed, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth as you see Cathy’s bookhaul:
Over the summer I was part of a multi-kidlit author panel for young writers in conjunction with Nova University. Honestly, it might have been the most fun thing I’ve done all year.
In July I did my first ever school visit as an author at Glades Central High School.
In August we adopted our third dog from Big Dog Ranch Rescue. A puppy we named Delilah who has brought us equal parts of deliciousness and destruction.
In October I turned my third manuscript in to my editor. Then I got to emcee an amazing literary event at EmKo on race and immigration sponsored by The Cream Literary Alliance.
In November my second book, The Homecoming was released. Much partying ensued. Also some silliness. As is my nature. You may have seen the pictures.
In December The Sister Pact was named one of Pennsylvania School Librarians Top 40 books of 2015. I was beyond humbled.
2016 has been a year. Yes it has. But it’s good to remember the highlights along with the lows. (My NY JETS are def a low but my Gators made it to the SEC Championship game. Go Gators)
This weekend will signal, for many people, a time of peace and kindness to all, for others a celebration in the ability to persevere, for others a renewal of core values and beliefs. For all of us, hopefully, it will be a time to be with family and friends. A time to remember that goodness and light exist even in dark times.
Thank you, Tuesday readers, for giving me this chance to wax sentimental about the previous year while facing the challenges and enjoying the rewards of the year ahead.
Peace to all of you whether this holiday season finds you in the beautiful snow lined woods or on the sunny beach.