I think that picture represents the majority of 2015 for me. It was the year Natalie really came into her own and went from drooling blob of a baby (a cute one, but still a blob) to a vibrant, funny, crazy, and mobile little girl. This was also my first year as published author. Even though the rest of the world is having it rough (or so the relentlessly bleak media and social media echo chamber we’re all in would have us to believe) it’s hard to argue that I don’t have a pretty good life.
Spenser and Holly are coming into their own as well and I’m trying so very hard not to try and cram them into prefab ideas of who or what they should be. My own identity changes hourly, why should my kids be held to any different standard? I still don’t think I’m a natural parent and I still suck at more parts of the job than I succeed at, but I try. I really do and hopefully it pays off for all of us in the long run.
Now, about that published author thing. I got to open a box of fresh copies of my very first published novel, MURDER BOY. I had a book launch party at the very first indie bookstore I ever visited at Aunt Agatha’s in Ann Arbor which included an awesome cake with my book cover on it. I got to sign autographs like a rock star and talk about myself for an hour with good excuse. It’s really the dream. In addition to Aunt Agatha’s I had the opportunity to sign at two more iconic indie mystery bookstores at Murder by the Book in Houston and The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. These also were dream events. And the book sold well culminating in my very first royalty check. Seriously. My life is awesome.
But I also don’t want to be a one book author (and neither does my publisher who signed me for two books) so this year also saw me finishing my second novel, RIOT LOAD. That was an awesome feeling and I look forward to that feeling again next year when I (hopefully) finish my third novel. That will be a change of pace for me, a bigger book, a more challenging book, and, hopefully, a better book. I have other things I want to write including a cyberpunk novella and another book in my Murder Boy series, but for now this is the book that’s calling to me.
Both day jobs continued to be wonderful as well. I got to edit some great books for indie authors and for bigger publishers including one of the best books I’ve ever worked on. I still sometimes get wistful/bitter for my old Exhibit A gig, but they pass quickly these days. I think I’m in the perfect situation for myself and my family right now and I’ve got money coming in, great health insurance, and the freedom to write and edit whatever I want. Again, this is a luxury not afforded to the average American these days.
I also rediscovered video games and lost a significant amount of productivity with my purchase of an Xbox One. I like to think it’s brought Spenser and I together but for everyone else in the family I’m pretty sure been the devil. I hope to find a better balance in 2016. In fact, I hope to find a better balance in everything next year. Balance has never been my strong suit but as I get older and I have more on my plate and more complex life responsibilities, balance becomes more and more vital to my continued health and welfare. So we try, right?
My wish for all of you in 2016 is that you have the opportunity to be even half as lucky as I’ve been this year.