The Top Ten for 2011

After kicking off the year in January by skipping my first Xena convention this century, I have to admit my expectations for 2011 were rather low. No books on the horizon and a lot of uncertainty about when I would start writing again. Now I look back and realize it’s been a fabulous year!

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#10. I swore I’d never do this. Nonetheless I made my singing debut along with my partner on Karaoke Night at the GCLS with our rendition of These Boots are Made for Walkin’. Yes, there is video.

#9. Any trip to the Castro is going to make my Top 10 list. This year I traveled to San Francisco to do a reading at the Duboce Park Café with the women from Betty’s List. You just can’t beat organic lesbians.

#8. The Tulsa Lesbian Book Club rocks! Thanks for having me via Skype to talk about Without Warning. Next time we’ll do it in person. 😉

#7. This wasn’t my year for publishing – not a single title. But I finished a book (Rhapsody) which will be ready for release at next year’s GCLS. It feels great to be writing again.

Normally there is no Number 6. In this case, there are two.

#6. Lesbian Fiction Readers Choice Award for Photographs of Claudia (Romance). Thank you!

#6. Lesbian Fiction Readers Choice Award for Mother Load (General Fiction). Thank you again! It’s a great thrill to be recognized by readers, and I appreciate the folks behind the scenes who promote our books with these types of awards.

#5. I became a *star* on the night of the Our Stars event at the Stonewall National Museum & Archive in Ft. Lauderdale. Speaking of boots … the boots I wore to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2001 (the trek that inspired Worth Every Step) are now enshrined in the museum alongside items donated by Martina Navratilova, Lily Tomlin, Melissa Etheridge & others.

#4. In June I picked up a Goldie Award for Romance for Photographs of Claudia. Many thanks to the GCLS for a first-class event.

#3. I joined the board of trustees for the Lambda Literary Foundation and began working my tail off immediately. Fortunately that’s just an expression. My tail is still there.

I really struggled trying to choose which of these last two highlights deserved to be my top moment of the year. I concluded that it was MY list and I could make both of them #1 if I wanted to, so I did.

#1. I was incredibly honored to give the keynote speech at the 2011 GCLS Convention in Orlando, a gathering of hundreds of women who know exactly what it means to feel driven to write these stories of our lives. In case you missed it, my blog from 7.5 has the links to YouTube, and Nann Dunne published it in her fall issue of Just About Write. Putting together that speech helped me understand what I wanted from this writing life of mine, and it was truly a privilege to share that with so many of you.

#1. If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would quit my job in market research to write lesbian novels, I would have laughed them out of the room. Then I got hooked on a website called the Royal Academy of Bards, a collection of thousands of stories written by fans of Xena: Warrior Princess and I realized what a wonderful, creative & generous community our fandom was. It didn’t take long to go from reading to wanting to write, and to be honored this year with the ROAB’s Lifetime Achievement Award put me over the moon.

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Thanks for sticking with me another year. I look forward to sharing TWO books with you in 2012, and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with an idea for anyone still looking for a resolution. Best of holidays to all, and safe travels wherever you go.

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