2017 was a year full of ups and downs for me, personally and professionally. In late 2016, I found out that Midnight at the Orpheus had won a Rainbow Award for best bisexual fiction. I was delighted, especially as that book had been one that I’d been told was too complicated and should be either a lesbian romance or a mystery. So to have it win, and in its original form, was satisfying.
In February, I presented with M Jane Colette at Owl’s Nest Books, with “More Than a Guilty Pleasure: Reading and Writing Romance and Erotica in the Age of Plentiful Cyber Porn.” I was sick with a horrible cold, but the evening was fabulous, with a good turnout and great participation from the audience. (We even included our parents! And they didn’t seem to mind too much!)
I also contributed to the collection SCREW CHOCOLATE, adding a new Alex and Vee story to the lexicon. I highly recommend it, and if you want more Alex and Vee, my favourite May-December lesbian romance, check out my free reads and Vee: Volume One.
Most of my year was a quiet one in terms of my writing. I spent time with my Calgary Romance Writers of America chapter, attending two workshops, one with Eve Silver in the spring, and one with Marie Force and Joanna Mackenzie in the fall. Both were interesting and gave me ideas for new works.
In August, I attended When Words Collide conference in Calgary, and M Jane Colette and I adapted our presentation for More Than a Guilty Pleasure. It was fantastic, and again, great participation from the audience. I am always nervous with panels and presentations, but having such a great and amazingly inspiring friend like M Jane gets me out of my comfort zone. We might do a panel or presentation next year too, and though my stomach roils at the thought of being in front of so many people, I know we’ll have a good time, and hopefully educate and engage at the same time.
And then, oh my goodness. Thanks to the awesome Naked Girls Reading, who in November, read scenes from Midnight at the Orpheus during their performances at the Taboo! Sex Show. Nothing quite like a brand new audience, and to hear my words being read aloud, performed, by amazing naked women. Many thanks to Keely Kamikaze (and M Jane for introducing us!)
To round off my writing, I have a short piece in the YYC Queer Writers collection entitled Queer Christmas in Cowtown. The book was curated by M Jane, and though I missed the launch at Owl’s Nest (darn illness), I was delighted to hear that the book had sold out at launch, and made it into Calgary’s top-selling non-fiction book list! If you haven’t picked it up yet, please do, because all royalties go towards Camp Fyrefly.
In my personal life, I was definitely busy. Tony and I moved to our new place at the end of March and rented out my condo in Calgary. In the last ten years or so, I’ve moved probably five times (or maybe more) and it’s hectic and busy and nutty every time. And somehow I always end up with more books, clothes, and other things that I don’t know what to do with. But with Tony’s help, I managed to reduce my book collection, donate a bunch of stuff, and get everything ready to go. It was worth it though, as we’re happily settled in our new home and I’ve never felt so content.
2017 was also a year of some losses, some incredibly difficult ones. My cats, Pandora and Zowie, who I’d had since they were six weeks old in 1998, both passed away due to kidney disease. They had been with me for 18 (and in Zowie’s case, almost 19) years, and thus more than half my life. To have to say goodbye was tough, and it’s still painful, though getting better. I’m glad that I had support through the tough decisions.
But, in other happier news, Tony and I adopted a Scottish deerhound puppy from Fernhill Deerhounds in Ontario. He was born in February and is now almost 11 months old. Byron joined us in mid-May, at 12 weeks old, and has grown like a weed. He joined our 10 year old greyhound, Arch, who was not too certain he wanted to have to teach a puppy his manners. And after Zowie passed away in October, we adopted a 5-year-old cat from the Cochrane Humane Society, named Norton. So if you’re keeping track, that’s a household of two people, two dogs (Arch & Byron), and three cats (Percy, Bismarck, and Norton) as we go into the new year.
Coming up next year are a few exciting things, including a secret project which you will learn about in a few months… I can’t say any more yet!
And last but not least, I want to thank a number of people, without whom this year wouldn’t have been what it was. To my parents and family for all their support; to my friend and crit partner Cathy Pegau, who is amazing and thoughtful and a great writer too; to my CaRWA friends and chapter buddies, who are a great support and inspiration; to M Jane Colette for pushing me to do more stuff; and most of all to Tony, who makes every day better.