But really, such things can have value. For one, it helps with the motivation to look back at where you started and where you finished the last twelve months. It also helps the ego, if the year has been good, particularly when your December has been inundated with rejection letters on the upstream swim that is finding an agent to represent you in a genre in which you're not already published.
. . . that may or may not have been my December.
So, allow me to present my year in milestones and celebrations:
First Published Novel
Yeah, that was pretty exciting. The contract was actually signed toward the end of 2009, but the book didn't release until August of 2010. I'd been writing professionally for a long time, working on everything from press kits to the Huffington Post to ghostwriting books for other people, but this was my first novel under my own name. I had the wild good fortune to be edited by Tal Valante, who taught me something new nearly every day. She made Counterpoint a better book, and she made me a better writer.
Since then, I've had the wild good fortune of many glowing reviews, happy readers, and--a first for me--fans. The contract for the sequel had been signed before the ink was even dry on Counterpoint. And people have threatened kittens to try to speed me through writing Book 2. All in all, I believe the word I'm looking for here is "elation." Also "gratitude": for Tal, of course, and for all my readers who made my first novel a success.
First Company in the History of the Facility of the Year Awards to Win in Two Categories
This has absolutely nothing to do with novels, but everything to do with writing. I was hired by a company called MannKind (yes, they have a sense of humor), makers of a new inhalable insulin, to write a contest submission for their new facility. I knew nothing about the biopharm industry, or drug manufacturing, or even FOYA, yet somehow I wrote a 40-page entry--half white paper and half History of MannKind's Facility--full of words like "cryopelletizer" and "bulk lyophilization." I even knew what they meant by the time I was done :-)
I mention this because MannKind became the first company in the history of the awards to win in more than one of the contest's six categories (equipment innovation and process innovation, to be specific). This was kinda huge. It also led to more work on another contest entry for the 2011 FOYAs. With luck, I'll be mentioning that entry next year as another win.
An Editing Client Makes a Six-Figure Sale
Shmirshky: Think Inside the Box. That's hilarious when you realize the book is about menopause. The writer, Ellen Dolgen, is also hilarious. We tore this book apart, rearranged chapters, cut out the fat, polished the prose. She made the decision to self-publish. A couple months ago she wrote to tell me she'd sold North American reprint rights to Hyperion (who tragically renamed it Shmirshky: Pursuit of Hormone Happiness) for a number I don't feel comfortable repeating in
My Second Novel
Speaking of never getting old, I sold my second novel this winter to Noble Romance Publishing. That's Anchored: Belonging Book One, which I've blogged about in the past and which releases on January 17. (Don't forget to follow the release party blog tour for tons of fun and free books and swag!)
My Goodreads, Blogger, and Twitter Debuts
I'm kind of a hermit, so getting out there in the world and interacting with people on social networking sites was a whole new experience for me. And what do you know . . . I loved it. I met a ton of great people, made new friends, even met a future co-writer. Which brings me to my next milestone:
My First Five-Day Novella (A.K.A. "NaNoWriMo Is for Wimps")
As my regular readers know (heh, "regular"; I've been blogging for a week :-p), I just completed a 25,000-word M/M cyberpunk novella called Break and Enter with the illuminating Aleksandr Voinov. First draft in four days. Editing on day 5. I'm pretty sure I broke something in the process, and I don't mean a record :-p But it was exhilirating. And it reminded me of what a person is capable of with the right kind of heart and inspiration and elbow grease and support.
In fact, this whole post reminds me of what a person is capable of with the right kind of heart and inspiration and elbow grease and support. I hope you've found it so as well, because otherwise I'm probably just sounding obnoxious :-p It's been a damn good year for me. And I'm looking forward to next year with enthusiasm and hope.
How about you? What are you proud of this year? Trumpet it from the hilltops; everyone deserves a little recognition every now and then.
Happy New Year, folks!