If I don’t do anything else in 2015 — a most unlikely scenario — I’ve already had a phenomenal year. I posted in my last blog that I was headed to the Xena convention in Burbank, but I haven’t had a chance to tell you about it because the moment I got home I had to get ready for another event. So let me just run down what the last few weeks have entailed.
First … yes, the Xena convention. I’ve been attending these since about 1999, usually with my partner Jenny, but she couldn’t make it this year. (She says “Hey!”) I have so many great friends in the Xenaverse and it’s always such a thrill to see them again. As this was (ostensibly) the FINAL Xena con, it was bittersweet to feel the love and simultaneously realize there were many folks in the crowd I likely won’t see again. Thanks to all who stopped by the Bedazzled table and bought books. I arrived with 4 boxes and went home with 4 books. Huzzah!
It was especially fun this year because I got to share it with my dear friend Genoveva from Stockholm, who’s currently doing a postdoc at one of the big telescopes on Hawaii. She served as a resource for my upcoming book T-Minus Two, the story of two women vying to be the first to colonize Mars. It was Genoveva’s first US con, and I enjoyed seeing that burst of excitement through her eyes.
Recognizing that I’d probably never get another chance, I also went for a photo op this time with the lovely Lucy Lawless, and here’s a photo of that photo. Don’t we look happy! I did one years ago in Chicago but it was so awful I chased the photographer down and made him delete it from his camera, and then watched while he dumped his trash bin. This one turned out pretty good, yes?
Next up was a board retreat for Lambda Literary, where we convened in Palm Springs for two days to hash out our wish list, priorities and strategies for the next couple of years. Since we’re a national board, most of our meetings are conducted by teleconference, and everyone scrambles to get all of the committee reports into Dropbox, review the financials, etc. Frankly it’s a lot like work. But then each time our board is able to gather in person, there’s a whole new energy — camaraderie, excitement and a genuine sense of joy about the things we do. These are the moments we’re all proud to serve on the board, knowing that Lambda Literary helps bring authentic LGBTQ stories to our community all over the world. I feel so lucky to be able to work with such wonderful people.
On a personal note, most of you who’ve followed me a while know that I’ve suffered for the last six years with debilitating back pain that’s grown steadily worse despite extensive surgery and other treatment. It hasn’t kept me from an active life, though it bothers me a lot when I have to sit for more than a few minutes. That makes writing a challenge, but I’ve found lots of ways to adapt.
Anyway, the news is I recently had another surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator. It sends out electronic pulses to interrupt the pain signals, and I’m optimistic it will help. Not a cure, but I’m for anything that means I can focus better. It’s possible we’ll add some wires later to expand the reach … we’ll see. That should shed a little light on the title of this blog post, and also on the reason I might be smiling a little more than you’re used to seeing.
And finally, the update on my book progress: In the midst of this recent whirlwind, the galley proof for T-Minus Two landed in my inbox. I managed a three-day turnaround, so it’s off to the printer. I’ll definitely offer a chance for those who want to get an early copy, autographed. Watch for that near the end of March.
And I’m 20,000 words into my fall story, The Touch of a Woman. They haven’t actually touched yet. That may be a problem.