This year has brought challenges and tears; heartache and frustration. It’s also brought some great things and people into my life. This is my chance, in no particular order, to acknowledge them.
• Cat Connor: My writing this year has brought me in touch with people I would never have had the chance to meet. The amazing Cat Connor is a thriller writer based in Wellington. I hunted her down on Twitter and read two of her Byte series books. Cat gives me hope. She’s an incredible writer. Her narratives make your heart leap into your throat. I have no idea why she isn’t on the New York Times best seller list. She’s also become my go-to girl for anything related to guns. What more could you want in a friend.
• Kate: I used to live next door to Kate. I had no idea what an amazing person she was then. After I lost Jesse, I was sitting at a cafe one morning, close to tears. Kate came over and asked me to join her. I said no. Kate never took offense. She gave me space, and later, still extended a hand of friendship to me. That’s her beauty. She’s supportive and wonderful, and one of the truly amazing people I’ve connected with this year.
• Sara J. Henry. Dear God. I met Sara through a writers’ site and she took me under her wing. I read her fabulous book, LEARNING TO SWIM, and discovered what solid writing and serious editing can achieve. Sara took time to go through my book, THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER, I don’t know how many times, pointing out errors, telling me where I could make it better. I cannot thank her enough. When her new book, A COLD AND LONELY PLACE comes out next year, I’m first in line to buy and devour it.
• Jenny Milchman. Dear God, for a second time. I ended up on the phone with Jenny when I got into a complete conniption over agents. She lives in New York and doesn’t know me from a bar of soap. And yet she took time to guide me through issues, give me the most incredible advice, and finally, with her wonderful friend Judy, create opportunities I could never have imagined without them. Jenny’s book COVER OF SNOW comes out in February. It’s on my list along with Sara’s. I suggest you look out for it.
• Nikki. We met last year at the ThrillerFest conference. She’s a mom, an ER doctor in Indiana, an amazing writer. She makes me laugh, she frequently astonishes me, she constantly makes me grateful the conference organizers sat us together. I can’t think of a friend and writing buddy I’m more grateful to know. I love her generosity, her spirit, her incredible vitality. Nikki has just scored her first agent. I’m so thrilled for her. When her book comes out, I’ll be first to shout it from the rooftops.
• My darling Chukka-boy, his gorgeous wife, and my beautiful grandson. Good Lord. I’m a grandmother. Where has the time gone? Chukka-boy, we’ve been through some stuff, you and I. But you’ve kept me young. Probably a little crazy as well, but the young part I’m pretty grateful for.
• The Girl. Man, where would this blog be without her? She’s a little star in her own right, and she doesn’t even know it. She probably doesn’t care. I have no idea how long I’ll have her for. She was never meant to last this long. I’m blessed for the lessons she’s taught me, the love she gives me; the life we share. Maybe not so much for the coffee stains. You can’t have everything.
• Last, but not least, my wonderful, amazing sister, Chookie Lou (and yes, I actually call her that). Honey, it’s been a long road. We’ve known each other for fifty-six years. Not all of those years have been easy. The last few have been better. This one has been amazing. We connected in the ways that sisters were meant to connect. We’ve discovered ourselves reflected in each other; we’ve talked to, held, and supported each other. You know me better than anyone on this planet. I love you for your kindness, your generosity of heart, for your love. Some sisters never find this place. I’m more grateful than I can tell you that we did.
People may say to me, “Man, 2012 was a tough year.” I say, “Yes, it was. 2012 sent me some trials. It sent me some hardships and quite a few tears. But when I look around, the journey was worth it. And look what I gained.”