It’s been such a busy time of year, I’m not going to do any better than putting up one post this month. It’s my annual Happy Holidays post, and I’m reminded of how much I have to be grateful for this year. As a writer, I could not keep at it without my family, friends, readers, writing colleagues, and publishing house staff cheering me on. I am incredibly fortunate to have so many supportive people behind me!
2017 has also been a difficult year for many of us, but I’ll focus on the good stuff first.
In late 2016, my novel The City of Seven Gods came out, and–as humbly as I can say–2017 was the year when I could add: “award-winning author” to my biography. Early in 2017, The City of Seven Gods was shortlisted for 2016 Sci Fi/Fantasy Book of the Year in the Foreword INDIES, and then, in August, it won Best Fantasy/Horror in the 2017 Killer Nashville Awards. On a night I will always remember, I attended a literary awards program for the first time in my life, and was called up to the podium to accept the prize and give a victory speech.
Another big highlight of the year was the release of The Sim Ru Prophecy in June, the fourth and final book in the Werecat series. It was gratifying to bring Jacks’ story to completion, a project that began in 2012 and was brought to life by Vagabondage Press. Working with VP publisher Fawn Neun and my editor N. Apythia Morges, we put together a new marketing plan that reinvigorated the series, including re-releasing the first installment The Rearing as permafree. The books soared in the charts throughout the last half of the year with The Rearing holding a spot on Amazon’s top ten best sellers in gay fiction for several months.
I also placed a new novel with a new publisher, to be released in late 2018. I’ll have more news to share about that in the coming months! Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a follow-up to The City of Seven Gods. I hope to have that out in the world in 2019.
Personally, it was also a great year for friend reunions and celebrations. In July, Genaro and I visited our good friend Jorge in Mexico City, and he hosted us at his fabulous B&B The Red Tree House. We celebrated Genaro’s big 5-0 just a few weeks back on a Caribbean cruise with some of our closest friends, including Jurgen and Thorsten from Germany. 🙂
I do have to acknowledge that in the background, from start to finish, 2017 has been harrowing, surreal, and at times terrifying with respect to the political climate, the erosion of civil rights, under the U.S. President’s regime and our Republican-controlled Congress. Nearly every week, there has been an assault on human dignity and social justice. Many of us have felt it personally. With the president’s nationalistic rhetoric and posturing, and the spectre of so-called “Religious Freedom” legislation, I have never felt less safe in America as a gay man. I have also been anxious and angry on behalf of the many women in my life as well as friends and colleagues who are transgender, or undocumented, or Black, or Muslim, or assumed to be Muslim by their skin color. To describe our national climate as hostile would be an understatement.
There have been bright spots with the failures of Trump’s immigration ban on Muslims and his attempted ban on transgender servicemen and women as well as the defeat of the Republican-led repeal of affordable health care. We have been mobilized as #TheResistance and created the largest worldwide political demonstration in history: The Women’s March. We successfully preserved progressive legislation in many cases and even won elections for fair-minded candidates. We have supported women and men coming forward with their stories of sexual assault and harassment vis-a-vis the #MeToo campaign and held perpetrators accountable for their actions across the film industry, the halls of government, and many other sectors.
The fight goes on, and here’s to hoping that 2018 is the year when defense turns to leadership. Wouldn’t it be great if we weren’t reacting every day to some outrageous attack on fairness and human dignity and instead had leaders who were guided by those values? I think the tide is turning. I cannot shake my belief that there are more Americans who believe in the promise of a diverse, pluralistic, democratic society than those who seek to destroy it. Anyway, that’s what’s been getting me through the day.
My very best wishes for a happy, peaceful, joyous holiday season, and my deepest gratitude.