Lately, I’ve been mired in the things that went wrong with 2016, and it took me a while to get in the spirit of writing a holiday message. You would think I’d lived long enough to arbitrate the ups and downs of our complex world, but I definitely took hard the disappointing political turn-of-events in the late months of the year. I stand by the right to be outraged and discouraged by the triumph of misguided and dangerous self-interest in our country. On top of that, the deaths of David Bowie, George Michael and Carrie Fisher–beloved icons of my generation–cast a somber pall over the year.
Still, those are not the only things that happened in 2016, and I am reminded I have many things to be grateful for.
Genaro and I spent a largely non-sectarian Christmas with my parents in Buffalo. He’s a lapsed and ambivalent Catholic, I’m a lapsed Lutheran and a slightly more assured atheist with occasional Ethical Humanist leanings, and my parents have always been that brand of sentimental, liberal Protestants who like the optomistic, goodwill message of Christmas, the carols, the Advent calendars, and the candlelit church services, though religion doesn’t rank high on their list of interests. We pretty much meet in a place of agreement that an occasion to give presents, spend time with family, and take part in holiday traditions is a good thing to do for its own sake.
A foot or so of snow was slowly receding from the ground amid unseasonably warm tempertaures, but it was indeed a white Christmas, which you can almost always count on in upstate New York. We had tons of food, several quite competitive rounds of Hearts, which has become part of our tradition, and a whole lot of lounging around. I helped a bit with dinner, making spaghetti carborana to go with our lobster tails for Christmas Eve, and a chocolate cream pie for Christmas dessert.
Over time, most of my hometown friends have spread across the country, like myself, but we did see one of my high school pals and her family for dinner one night. Besides that, our only outing was on Christmas Day to see the opening of the movie Lion. Though heartbreaking in parts, the movie, based on a true story, does a wonderful job portraying an Indian man’s journey through cross-cultural adoption, in my opinion; and I think that’s a well-chosen and under-explored topic for the big screen. Not the first title that comes to mind for a holiday movie, but the themes work very well.
Back home in NYC on Monday, Genaro and I exchanged presents. The highlights, for him, a fire engine red sports watch; for me, an insulated, winter carcoat. That night, we ordered in a double feature of classic movies (featuring Bette Davis, to maintain our homo cred): The Virgin Queen and The Man who Came to Dinner.
I’m off from work this week, but pretty busy with long-neglected tasks like making room in overstuffed closets and drawers and donating clothes, finally installing a new smoke detector for the apartment, and doing some networking and marketing to promote my books. This latter chore is not my favorite. I’d much rather be writing. But FYI, a couple of things you might take advantage of: LibaryThing is hosting an early reviewer giveaway of Poseidon and Cleito through January 2nd, and The Romance Reviews will have a contest giveaway for The City of Seven Gods at the end of January.
2016 was a huge year for a little author like me. My fourth novel Poseidon and Cleito came out in August, and my fifth novel The City of Seven Gods came out in September. I got out to meet readers and talk about my books at the Queens Book Festival, Flamecon 2.0, and the second annual Queens LGBT Book Night. It’s also been nice to see a twinkle of renewed interest in my first book The Seventh Pleiade, which has sold better in 2016 than any year since its debut in 2013.
I’ve got more writing in store for 2017. I’m currently working on placing the final installment of my Werecat series as well as a stand-alone novel in a contemporary rom-com vein. Also, my goal is to finish the manuscript for the second book in my Lost Histories series, and I’ll be attending the Saints and Sinners Festival in New Orleans for the first time this March.
Many thanks to my readers, my family and friends and my publishing team who make this unlikely journey of embarking as a writer possible. You bolster my courage, help me get up from the floor when things are not going as well as I would like, and you remind me that the dream is possible. Wishing you happy holidays filled with joy and love and a 2017 fit to be written in the stars. 🙂