The Close and Holy Darkness

What a year. It looks like I’m celebrating Christmas tonight. Denise’s mom has been gravely ill and been in the hospital for the last few weeks. She’s  home at last, and we’re finally getting around to sharing presents under the tree and cooking a big meal.

The year 2014 started with news of mom’s diagnosis, and that horror has been running in the background through all our professional successes. The year started with me meeting a new client who wanted to write a book about his business. I wrote the proposal in January, and our agent sold it. The rest of the year was consumed with interviews, research, reading and writing. Publishers keep talking about how they want to be more nimble, right? Well, look: the year’s not yet out and that book is already available for pre-order on Amazon, slated to pub in April 2015, with a couple of Amazon Vine reviews to boot.

I wrote a second proposal for another client this year, late in Autumn. My agent sold that book for an enormous sum. But I ended up walking away from that deal, mostly because I wanted to focus on my own writing. It’s about time I did. I turned 50 in the fall and that has had a bigger impact on my psyche than I’ve been prepared to admit.

I love fiction; it’s why I got into this business in the first place. Ghostwriting aside, I managed to sell or place three short stories this year, and finish a first draft of the second book in my Mesmerist series. I hope to get that out in 2015 if the revisions go well. I’ve also been messing with revisions of a historical fantasy that I wrote in 2013. I may end up scrapping that book and writing an entirely new book with the same premise; deciding that will be the first order of business in 2015.

This is the time of year when we talk about the ones we lost. I don’t really have the time to get into all of them, but I will say I was saddened by the passing of P.D. James. I came to her work at the same time in my life as I discovered Elmore Leonard’s books. Such different writers. I’m amazed I loved them both. To lose them both a year apart grips me. Another writer who passed away was Mary Stewart, a British contemporary of James’s, who is perhaps best known for her Arthurian books set in Roman Britain. I came to those books in high school and they so strongly influenced me that they are probably the guiding force behind my WIP.

But hey, I’m pretty emotional tonight, acutely aware of the passage of time and the aging process, as one of my pals likes to say. I am hugely grateful for those of you who have stopped by this blog to check out what’s going on with me. Thanks especially to Stu, Jack, Kush, Rob, Loren, Hunter, and Candice. I wish I could more properly get down on paper what you all mean to me, but I’ve probably said enough.

I love this line by Dylan Thomas. It’s been running in my head since Christmas Eve.

I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

A Happy New Year to you all.