Tag Archive for: happy new year

Looking Back at 2013 and Ahead to 2014

by Linda Rodriguez

This will be a short post of mostly links to other posts because
I’m battling pneumonia right now. I’m getting better, but with steroids,
antibiotics, and the pneumonia itself, I’m just knocked pretty flat.
2013 was a terrific year. My first novel, Every Last Secret, was named a finalist
for the International Latino Book Awards. My second novel in the Skeet Bannion
series, Every Broken Trust, published
in early May to lovely reviews and was the selection for September of the Las
Comadres National Latino Book Club. I spent the summer and fall either touring
or writing the third book in the series, Every
Hidden Fear
, which will launch May 6, 2014.
Also, in 2013, my book and I were featured on Cosmo, sandwiched between “The Joys of
Hangover Sex” and “Hot Sex Tips,” and I wrote about that in “Interview Anxiety”
here on The Stiletto Gang. https://www.thestilettogang.com/2013/06/interview-anxiety.html
At the beginning of the year, my friend Richard Blanco was
named the Inaugural Poet, writing and reading a wonderful poem at the
Inauguration, which some of the poetry and political establishments slammed,
and I wrote about that here in “Of
Tempests in Teapots, Po-Biz, and a Welcome Return to Sanity.” https://www.thestilettogang.com/2013/01/of-tempests-in-teapots-po-biz-and.html
In February on my
own blog, I wrote a tribute to a dear departed friend and all those comadres
who’ve made my life so meaningful. http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com/2013/02/comadres-forever.html
In April, on my
blog, I put on my poet’s hat, which I’ve worn much longer than my novelist’s
hat, and posted a two-part guide for those who want to learn to write or
understand poetry, but can’t afford to go off to some expensive workshop.
And in June, I wrote
about the writer’s dreaded enemy that keeps us cleaning fridges and Facebooking
instead of writing in “Resistance.” http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com/2013/06/resistance.html
When summer turned
into autumn, we had big changes here on The Stiletto Gang. Several of our
established members said goodbye for various reasons of life cycle and
schedule, and we added a whole new cohort of blog sisters—Sparkle Abbey, Sally
Berneathy, Marjorie Brody, Lynn Cahoon, Debra Goldstein, and Kay Kendall. They’ve
brought a new fizz and energy to our daily cocktail of musings and stories that
we offer to our readers, and it’s been exciting to be a part of our new
expanded group blog.
So here’s to 2014. I
can’t wait to welcome this new year in—once I get well.

My Writing Resolutions for 2012

by Susan McBride

I used to make New Year’s resolutions annually.  Until I realized I didn’t really stick to them.  By the end of January, they were forgotten, buried under deadlines and other craziness.  This year, I’m not even going to try to pin down things in my personal life that I’d like to tackle, other than to deliver a healthy baby in June, meet all my obligations as best I can, and thoroughly enjoy every day as much as humanly possible.
Instead, I decided to make a few resolutions regarding my writing that I want to strive for in 2012 and each year after.  Since this is the perfect place to share them (so you all can check on me later and see how I’m doing!), here they are:
**To boldly go where no man has gone before!  (Well, at least where this woman hasn’t gone before!) Yes, like the opening sequence in “Star Trek,” I want to tackle new galaxies in my writing life.  I want to keep trying new things and writing books that I haven’t written before (or even read in some cases).  It’s always scary taking on a path that isn’t familiar.  But I’m finding that I thrive on it.  It’s a risk, yes, and I realize I’m taking a gamble with every novel I write that isn’t a series or that encroaches on new turf, but it gets my blood pumping.  I get excited just thinking about stretching my creativity and seeing how far I can push myself.
**To stop worrying about reviews.  I want to stop feeling compelled to check Amazon and other places, only to break out in hives because someone gave my latest literary baby one-star and said it’s the worst piece of crap they’ve ever seen. I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It feeds me.  It drives me.  I would write even if Ed and my mom were the only ones reading.  Knowing that a hunk of the book-buying population will never warm to me does not affect how I work.  I don’t think about it when I’m composing, not one bit (although I know authors who do—one who even told me he considers readers’ suggestions about how he should approach characters and plotlines while he’s writing).  All bad reviews do is make me feel lousy personally. So I need to follow in the footsteps of Laura Spinella and Maggie Barbieri who make a point to avoid reading reviews. If I can wean myself in 2012, that will be a very good thing.
**To do a better job at setting my deadlines so that I’m not working on two projects at once in tandem with a new book release and a million other things.  It’s amazing how much I feel like Superwoman when events on my schedule are a year away.  But once life starts happening—say, you get pregnant!—and other book-related demands crop up, suddenly there’s not enough time in the world.  I have always prided myself on getting things done on time, if not early.  So it’s been a challenge this past year, juggling everything and making sacrifices.  I need time for my real life and my book life…and a few moments to breathe in between.
I feel so fortunate to be doing what I love every day of my life.  I just want to make the experience better and better in every way possible.  Oh, yeah, and did I mention I need to work on stressing out less?  I’m definitely better than I was at that a year or two ago, but I’m still not close to achieving my black belt in Zen.
Happy New Year, everyone!  Any resolutions you want to share?

Happy New Year

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- KindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery – e-book series
Murder Off the Books KindleNookSmashwords
Murder Takes the Cake KindleNookSmashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords


by: Joelle Charbonneau

The New Year is approaching fast. Normally, I looked to the new year with a sense of excitement and anticipation. There are so many possibilities. I am always anxious to see what the year will bring. This year I am finding it hard to look forward. I know there are great things coming. I have two books coming out this year. My son will be doing all sorts of wonderful and exciting things. There are stories to write, songs to sing and life to be lived to its fullest. And yet, I find myself clinging to the old year and wishing I could go back. Not far. Just a few days. Just to last week or maybe the week before. I just want one last moment of this past year to fully appreciate what I had and now have lost.

Last Tuesday night, my father-in-law, Joe Blanco, suffered a severe

aneurysm. Wednesday morning some friends arrived at his house to see him and grew concerned when he didn’t answer the door or the phone. They called 911 and found my father-in-law unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital, but there was nothing that could be done. On Thursday, we were forced to say goodbye.

To say that his passing was unexpected is both true and untrue. Dad B was a walking miracle. Over 16 years ago, he had a heart transplant that gave him a second chance at life. And boy did he use it. He retired from his high powered consulting job and began to teach. He worked with special needs college students. He revived a struggling homeless shelter program at his local church and founded a second one at a different church. He worked on breast cancer walks. He volunteered to drive seniors to their doctor appointments. He sang in two different vocal groups. The list goes on and on. But more important than all of that – Joe loved his family.

Nothing was more important to him than spending time with his family. We saw him only two days before he collapsed. We talked to him that night. Yes, we knew that at any moment the gift he had been given 16 years before could be taken away and yet- we thought somehow he would live forever. Maybe because we needed him to.

And now he is gone and time marches on. A new year approaches….a year he will not ring in. A year he will not be making resolutions for. A year he will only live in our memories. And I don’t want the year to come.

And yet – I know he would not want time to slow down for him. He believed that each day was a gift. I owe it to him to embrace the new year with joy and hope…not with sorrow. And I will try. Today, I will sing at his funeral and say one final goodbye to the man who held my hand when my own father died and did his best to fill that hole left in my heart. And tomorrow I will do my best to look to the future with hope and happiness because that is what he would have wanted.

So to my Stiletto family I say – may 2012 bring you great hope and great joy. And may you remember that every day of that year no matter how frustrating or unhappy is a gift to be treasured.

Starting 2010 on the Right Foot (or the Left Foot, If You Walk That Way)

by Susan McBride

I’m not sure how 2010 got here so quickly, but it did. Sometimes I’m glad when a year’s over, and other times (like now) I wonder how 365 days could’ve zipped by in a couple of blinks. Regardless, I like the idea of getting a chance to start over, if you will. What better excuse to attempt self-improvement than making New Year’s resolutions? So I’m going to show you mine, and maybe you’ll show me yours.

Resolution #1: Banish negative thoughts and stop dwelling on ickiness from the past. I just read EAT, PRAY, LOVE, and that’s a huge theme running through the book. My goal this year is to keep scooping out the poopy stuff like used cat litter so I can better focus on the positive. Or as John Burroughs put it, “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.” Amen.

Resolution #2: Pause before I speak (or email). Instead of reacting emotionally and immediately to everything, I need to step back and take a breath first. I’ve had a few chances to practice this recently, and I did a pretty good job. Maybe one of these days it’ll become second nature.

Resolution #3: Keep cheering on my friends and their triumphs because a victory for one is a victory for all. Really. The more good stuff that gets spread around, the better.

Resolution #4: Practice random acts of “just because,” like surprising someone with a thoughtful note or kind word when they least expect it.

Resolution #5: Be self-disciplined enough to exercise regularly and eat good things because my body deserves it. How can we care for those around us if we don’t take care of ourselves?

Resolution #6: Enjoy the moment. I am famous for looking too far into the future and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet (although I’m not as bad as I used to be). If I stop and smell the roses more, I’ll spend less money on Tums.

Resolution #7: Forgive myself for bad judgment and recognize that everyone I’ve met who’s had an impact on my life, good or bad, has helped me to make a choice and/or learn a lesson and/or realize what I truly want/need/love. Stepping in doo-doo sometimes reminds us of how unpleasant it is to have stinky shoes. So next time, we’re a little more careful of where we walk. (If Confucius didn’t say that, he must’ve thought it.)

Resolution #8: Continue to test myself as a writer, tackling projects that once seemed terrifying and out of reach. Every time I survive something crappy or write something I never imagined I could write, I understand better how anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Resolution #9: Read as much as humanly possible in a variety of genres. Reading, like exercise, is something I’ve been carving out more time for. I love when I find stories that not only entertain me, but inspire me. Like, Garth Stein’s heartfelt THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, Sarah Addison Allen’s magical GARDEN SPELLS, Kate Morton’s meaty multi-layered THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s engagingly soul-baring EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I so agree with Thomas Jefferson’s remark that “I cannot live without books.”

Resolution #10: Stop writing resolutions because I could go on forever, and life’s too short.

A-hem. (Lifting a virtual glass.) Here’s my toast to everyone as we enter 2010: May we always strive to be the best we can be and forgive ourselves when we stumble now and then; may we never be too busy to appreciate the sweetness of a kind word or a held hand; and may we never run out of wonderful books to read so that our minds can explore new people and places without having to pack a bag or leave the house. Cheers!