Trying to recap a year in one post is like trying to eat soup with a fork, you get the major stuff, but you end up leaving way more behind. Keeping that firmly in mind here’s an attempt to recap the highlights of this year.

Writing has helped me make a lot of new friends. This year was no exception. Between the DC Area MM Romance Reader Meet Ups, the Dreamspinner Author Conference and GRL, I met quite a few people in person I’d only met on line. I’d name names, but I’d forget people. I know that when I read a friend’s list of anything and they mention who they’re glad to know or who’s been a big part of their lives and I don’t see my name, I won’t lie and say I brush it off. Rather than leave off people, I’ll just leave it that I met a lot of good people who’ve made my life better for having them in it.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a few people believe in me as a writer and a person. Without Lily Velden at Wayward Ink Publishing, Elizabeth North at Dreamspinner (who so many people owe a lot to), and Lynn West and Anne Regan at DSP Publications I wouldn’t even be the small name in the crowd that I am. They’ve all been wonderfully supportive and they’ve helped make 2014 as great as it’s been for me.

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I also was able to attend GRL this year as a supporting author. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I can’t say I was super excited in the days leading up to the trip. Part of that came from the fact I don’t enjoy self-promotion (seriously, who does?), but the rest of it came from I didn’t know what to expect. My one big take away was all the wonderful people I met. Cliché? Yes, it is. This is one of those stock phrases we’re all expected to say to prove our humility. Got it. But in truth, there were people I met there that I’d never met face-to-face but had talked to all the time on line. Meeting people in real life always strengthens the bonds for me. In a guest post I did for Love Bytes Review Blog, I talked about how I still prefer to meet people in person and how that just makes the connection so much stronger for me.

Some other people who stand out as having helped make my ’14 writing year such a good one for me:

Joyfully Jay – JJ helps arrange the DC Area Meet-ups, but more than that she was a real godsend when I was trying to get ready for GRL. With all the other people who vie for her time, she never forgot me when I needed something and never asked for anything in return. Thanks.

Joyfully Jay and me

Joyfully Jay and me

Lily Velden – yeah I mentioned her already, but she asked me to be part of Wayward Ink Publishing. Sadly, work and life forced me to step away from being a part of the something great she is creating, but that she believed in me enough to ask was a real highlight of the year. (I do not have a picture of us – ugh!)

Brandilyn Carpenter – I will never forget how much of a big sister she was to me at GRl (never mind that I’m a bazillion years older than her, the way she took charge and made sure I got where I was supposed to be and did what I was supposed to do, she made me feel like a child in comparison.) In addition to that – and really, isn’t that enough? – she invited me to be a guest author monthly on Prism Book Alliance. I don’t know that I deserve to be among all the other great authors who guest post for her, but I’m ever so grateful for the invitation. (Double Ugh – I followed her around all con and never got a picture.)

Update:  Here’s a picture of us that someone else took: 😀

Dani Elle Maas – Dani is one of those beautiful and humble people who make you smile just being around them. I’m not sure she really appreciates how much she helps so many of us with her efforts. Dani also believed in me enough to offer me a spot as a guest contributor each month on Love Bytes Review Blog. I feel a bit out of place among the other authors who guest blog for her, but again, I’m grateful for the voice she gives me.

My one and only with Dani Elle. At least we can see her.

My one and only with Dani Elle. At least we can see her.

Larry Benjamin – I feel like a child with a crayon when I read his work, but he’s always there when I need to ask a question. One of my goals for 2015 is to meet him in person and have a face-to-face talk.

So this one is really quite obvious – at least to me, but J.P. Barnaby. Here is a person who probably does more for others than she does for herself. I swear she must have Time Turner like the one in Harry Potter to do everything she does and STILL write so many great books. I’m so fortunate to count her as my friend and hope to be able to repay her kindness to me this year in the future.

Randi (no last name as she’s not an author). I could not have survived GRL without her. From allowing me to send my boxes to her house, to keeping me on schedule and making sure I ate, she was my conference buddy. I know I said thanks before, but that’s really not enough.

My conference buddy and life line - Randi Latko. Thank you for helping e survive.

My conference buddy and life line – Randi. Thank you for helping e survive.

I’m not sure if cousins count, but my cousin Lorraine has been wonderful. She is a professional editor who never says no to me and charges me such ridiculous rates – breakfast with ‘lil q or staying in my spare bedroom when she’s here – that I feel like I’m robbing her. Beyond that she taught me more than a few things about writing that make me a better author.

As I’ve said that’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.

Some other highlights for the year:

My father turned 80 this year and the entire family was there, his children, grandchildren, his siblings, their children and their children’s children. It was the first time everyone had been together since the two youngest members were born – ‘lil q and my cousin’s daughter who is 6 weeks older. That was a special day.IMG_1074We took ‘lil q to her first baseball game. Given that Mike and I both love baseball, it was a great day.

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I turned 50 – okay, so that’s not really a highlight other than I made it to 50, but it was a milestone of sorts I suppose. Thankfully there was no party. I’d never have survived if I had one.

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‘lil q told Santa what she wanted for Christmas for the first time. Of course I bought everything BUT what she asked for so I had to run out and get her some more things. Still cute.

And now for some things that didn’t go so well:

I didn’t finish Harp Strings like I meant to. Sigh. I will in ’15 for sure. (fingers crossed)

My performance posting on Fridays in the Free Fiction Friday Group has been abysmal. Time to kick myself in the rear.

I wasn’t as organized or as productive as I had hoped. This applies across the board and not just to writing. I’ll have to figure out a better way next year.

I think that more than covers it. Tomorrow I’ll post a list of things I hope to accomplish next year. (Stop laughing, I didn’t even post them yet!) But I leave you with a last picture of ‘lil q of 2014. We took this today on her way to school for the last day of the year.

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-AQG