There’s no denying it’s been a devastating year for the lesbian fiction community. After the heartbreaking loss of beloved authors Nene Adams and Sandra Moran, it’s hard to want to scroll back through the year’s social media posts and blog entries. I remember going through this same exercise in 2007 only a few days after my father died, and again three years later as I sat in my mother’s hospital room. I must admit it was therapeutic for me to also see reminders of the year’s smiles and triumphs. Life is all that.
I’ve had a busy year, so I tried to shove a lot of highlights into my Top 10 of 2015 list. Counting them down:
#10 — I started the year in Palm Springs with a retreat for the Lambda Literary board. Face time with these selfless, hardworking people is always so energizing — we feed off one another, and come away inspired and ready to get to work.
#9 — No one’s ever accused me of being an introvert, but I still cringe when I have to get out there and promote my books. I truly appreciate all of the folks who give writers opportunities to talk about their work. In 2015, I logged a whole weekend of Q&A on Facebook with The Writer’s Block, a GCLS Presents video interview with Liz McMullen, and an hour with my friend DeeJae Cox on her radio show, “California Women 411.”
#8 — Creation Entertainment swears the 2015 Xena Convention was their last, and though they’ve said that before, this year I’m inclined to the believe them. As someone who began her career writing fanfiction for the Xenaverse, I’ll always be grateful for the inspiration and encouragement. And I’ll especially cherish the lifelong friends I made through the message boards and book fandom.
#7 — A big thanks this year to Rebecca Swartz for organizing a reading at Malaprop’s, one of the finest bookstores anywhere. It was great fun to gather with Rebecca and fellow authors Ann McMan and D. Jackson Leigh in Asheville, NC.
#6 — In November, I squeaked in under the wire with my second 2015 release, Touch of a Woman, a book that gave me a chance to explore a new perspective to an all-too-familiar tragedy. Thanks to all who’ve posted reviews and recommended this book to their friends.
#5 — Books are a lot like children when it comes to an author being asked to name her favorite. I’m breaking that convention with T-Minus Two. I’ve wanted for years to write a book about an astronaut — and ended up writing about two of them. Picked up some nice reviews in AfterEllen, Curve Magazine and Books on Fire — thanks a million!
#4 — In the summer of 2015, the GCLS returned to New Orleans, the site of its first convention eleven years ago. This annual gathering is a must for lesbian readers, who’ll find all their favorite authors gathered in one place. It’s especially nice to see how they clean up for the Goldie Awards, where Anyone But You was a finalist for the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.
#3 — We had an amazing night in New York at the Lambda Literary Awards. Watching Gloria Steinem present the Pioneer Award to Rita Mae Brown was one of those pinch-me thrills. John Waters, Liz Smith, Alan Cumming, Alison Bechdel. Like I said, an amazing night.
#2 — Lambda Literary already holds two spots in my Top 10 this year, yet I’m compelled to mention it one more time at #2 because I was elected in June to the presidency. As you can probably imagine, it’s both an honor and a tremendous responsibility. When my term is finished, I want to leave this organization financially secure for years to come and on a path of continued growth. A tall order, but we’ve got great people working on it.
#1 — Some of those “great people” are you, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find that you’re #1 again. You stepped up big this year to answer the call for the charities I support and promote, and I appreciate it more than I can ever say. Together, we raised over $10,000 for two literary organizations — Lambda Literary and GCLS. Nonprofits like these exist because we believe their mission is important enough to fund. They celebrate and promote LGBT literature, nurture emerging writers and create community with those who share our love of LGBT stories. Not everyone who reaps the benefits of Lambda Literary and GCLS can afford to give, so it matters a great deal that those who can be generous, are. I just love you for that.
I wish all of you the very best in 2016!