It’s that time of year again, when you can’t swing a wet cat without hitting someone’s insufferable Top 10 list. If you’re like me, you read every single one — movies, books, songs, sports moments, viral videos, offensive Tweets — just to see if your favorites are on the list. If they are, it’s because the list maker is very perceptive. If not … well, misogyny usually.
I’ve been counting down my Top 10 “things” for several years, and found it helpful to look back, if only to see if I got anything done. Thanks for suffering through this list with me.
10 — Last spring I drove in to West Hollywood from the desert to attend OUTWRITE!, a Lambda Literary Foundation event honoring five groundbreaking pioneers of LGBT literature: Malcolm Boyd, Katherine V. Forrest, John Rechy, Lilian Faderman and Patricia Nell Warren. It wasn’t technically *my* event, but listening to the tributes filled me with such awe and gratitude that I have to include it on Top 10 list.
9 — This was the year of my 40th HS reunion, which I wrote about in a summer blog. It makes the list because 10 years ago I wrote a hopeful book, The House on Sandstone, about a woman who returns to her small-minded Southern town to find more acceptance than she ever thought possible. I felt that way at my reunion, and was especially glad to reconnect with one of my dearest friends (pictured at left). We won’t lose touch again.
8 — Those of you who have followed me for a while know I began my writing career in the world of Xena fan fiction. The annual Xena Convention always makes my Top 10, but I had a scheduling conflict last January and missed it. I did, however, attend my first Star Trek Convention, and while I can’t say it feeds the Muse (since I don’t as yet write sci-fi), it certainly releases those self-imposed constraints on creativity. Seeing 4,000 revel in an imagined world is a powerful reminder that fiction can have a lasting impact.
7 — I was honored to be included in the program of a marvelous event hosted by the LGBT Center of Palm Springs. Katherine V. Forrest, Ronnie Sanlo and I read to a full house at Matchbox before fielding questions and signing books. Much thanks to The Center for doing the heavy lifting.
6 — I finally made it in person to the Dallas JEWEL Book Club, where we dissected Rhapsody and I previewed West of Nowhere. What a great bunch of dedicated readers (and writers)! I was especially impressed with their hospitality, and their wonderful 1970s lounge venue. I hope they’ll have me back someday.
5 — It was a busy year for interviews. I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to those who use their marketing expertise to host forums, radio shows, blogs and vlogs that give authors a chance to showcase their work. Thanks this year to Fan Fiction Lounge, Cocktail Hour, California Women 411 and the Liz McMullen Show for having me as a guest.
4 — I celebrated the release of two books in 2014 — West of Nowhere and Etched in Shadows, and turned in a third to my editor (Anyone But You). Thanks to all of you who spent your hard-earned cash to read them, and especially to those who dropped me a word, a note or review to let me know what you thought.
3 — I’ve never missed a GCLS convention, and it always ranks high on my Top 10 list. This year in Dallas, I had a chance to teach a GCLS Master Class — The Book Within: The Use of Literary Devices in Popular Lesbian Fiction. I had a blast putting together the presentation, and even more fun sharing it. Thanks to all who showed up. And hotdamn! I won a Goldie for Playing with Fuego!!!
2 — I’ve been to the Lammys five or six times, and it always lands on this list. It’s a wonderful celebration of LGBTQ literature, but this year’s gala featured a special bonus — Janis Ian singing her wonderful anthem, “At Seventeen.” Swoon!
1 — The top spot this year goes to … YOU. I went to the well a half-dozen times this year asking for your help in supporting various causes near and dear to my heart — a character auction at MaryD’s to raise money for Starship Children’s Hospital, first dance at the GCLS post-awards celebration to fund scholarships to the con, and several book giveaways for Lambda Literary Foundation, where I sit on the Board of Trustees. You dug deep in your pockets and came through each time, and thanks to you, these organizations got some much-needed help toward fulfilling their missions. I feel incredibly honored to belong to such a kind, generous community, and it puts a smile on my face every time I go to work at my desk knowing I write for you.
Thanks for hanging with me for another year. Let’s go make 2014 the best ever!