Can I say that a month by month look back at a year’s worth of posts is a tradition here? Even if I’ve only done it once?
No? Okay, then this week, the tradition begins. Here’s my second recap of a year’s worth of posts on Southern Exposure. It’s always fun to look back, especially when originality has to await my complete recovery from whatever bug grabbed me and wouldn’t let go this week. (I’m almost there.)
Did you miss some of these? It’s not too late to catch up.
So now, let me tell you about 2016.
In January I was clearly stewing about the editing process, my private dark moment of the soul with each of my books. I explained a bit about how I write and what the word “stet” means. Little did I know my fabulous and tolerant editor, Leslie Wainger, would soon be gone from my life, moving on to a new one of her own.
In February I told you all about the way we novelists turn our outdated backlist into charming new ebooks. I even promised you would see one of my own favorites, Dragonslayer, in February. I am sad to say I was wrong, but only because I didn’t realize how all-consuming The Swallow’s Nest would be and how little extra time I would have to get Dragonslayer in place. The good news? I will be putting it out in 2017. And this time I’ll keep that promise.
In March I asked “What’s in a Name,” and told you how I choose character names, the many things that determine each one, and my search for a name for an important, though minor, character in The Swallow’s Nest. You gave me great suggestions. I chose one, got a third of the way through the book, and realized that I had to change the character himself in very important ways. And guess what also had to change? “Boyd” became “Blake” because, well, he was no longer the same guy. I couldn’t think of him as Boyd and still change his story. Writers are, if nothing else, weird.
In April I took you behind the scenes for a cover shoot for When We Were Sisters. In this post I showed you the photo I loved most. While it ended up on the back, the fact that they put it on either side meant they cared what I thought. And who can argue with the whole beautiful cover, front or back?
In May? Well, in May, I debuted the playlist for When We Were Sisters. This was a brand new way to promote the book. Cecilia, one of two major characters, is a wildly popular singer-songwriter, and of course, we needed songs she might sing, songs about her life, songs about the book. Right? So I put together a playlist for you to enjoy on Youtube, and it’s still there if you’re so inclined. If you don’t like a song, skip ahead. But every selection has meaning for the story. And this was probably my favorite way ever to celebrate a book’s publication. Will I do it for The Swallow’s Nest? No, this time I’m doing something else that relates directly to Lilia, the major character. You’ll see.
In June I talked about resurrecting the past. My characters in When We Were Sisters, out that month, were forced to resurrect their own. In an odd moment of real life mirroring fiction I found old baby books and other memorabilia of my own life. I said: “In the rush of days it’s sometimes easy to forget that we weren’t always the people we are now. We’re made up of memories and feelings about them. Sometimes looking back is the right way to move forward.” Do you agree?
In July I asked and answered ten questions about myself. Did you know my oldest son appeared on the cover of All Those Years Ago, one of my Special Edition romances? Well, he did.
In August I visited my publisher, watched a brass band parade for literacy and suffered hideous attacks of writing anxiety while working on The Swallow’s Nest. I’ll admit to many more of those attacks, and every time I read through what I’ve written, I wonder why. Including this week. I like it. I think you’ll like it. Time to finish and move on. But it was interesting to see that back in August I was worried enough to write this post.
In September I ran a “mini-series” of posts about Publishing Today. My favorite is the quiz and a list of strange publishing facts that I ended with. But if you’re interested in the ways publishing is changing, you can find more about that, too. (On my blog at the end of the column on the right, you’ll see “Archives” then “Select Month.” Select September. All those posts are easily accessible.
In October I did one more post on Publishing Today, and another about the way I conduct research. But my favorite was about the election, one I debated writing. I didn’t tell you how to vote, I gave some ideas on how to stay calm and focused. They still apply.
In November I asked if readers want facts or a fabulous story and used my favorite new TV program, This Is Us, as an example. Some of you still wonder what I alluded to as a problem with “facts” in the pilot. Here’s a hint. I’m an adoptive parent. I know how adoption worked during the time frame of this show. Enough said? Do we care?
And now, December. Since so far there’s only a Sunday Inspiration in place, so let’s talk about Sunday Inspiration in general. We (my husband and/or I) put up one inspirational thought each Sunday. Sometimes it’s a quote, sometimes it’s more. The messages we choose span religions and are really meant to help you think about your life, or our crazy world, or the best way to move forward. Not to change your minds, or set you on a different path. I know from feedback that you read and enjoy them. Thank you for your gracious, insightful comments this year, not just on Sunday Inspirations, but on all my posts.
I love my readers. I really do. Thank you not only for commenting, but for just reading along this year. I blog because it’s a joy to do so and to share thoughts with you. I am so glad you’re part of this two-way process.