I get kind of dizzy thinking about 2015 because so much happened. I can’t believe Jake and I squeezed so much into a single year, but here goes. Let’s sum up an incredible 12 months.
1. THE MOVE
Jake, the farmer boy, with my parents.
Jake and I built a life together in Phoenix, Arizona, for five years. We moved there so Jake could have a lifelong career as a nuclear engineer only to have him realize he actually wanted to be an organic farmer, which he is, here in Chardon, Ohio. Four months ago, I returned to the state of my birth and have already been seduced by the small town charm, friendly neighborhood, and excellent dive bars. It’s great to be so close to my family now, too, just a few hours away. Despite my affiliations with the Michigan Wolverines and Pittsburgh Steelers, I haven’t been run out of town yet … and we’ve had snow three times!
2. BITE SOMEBODY
Back when I was still in Phoenix, I sent a query letter for BITE SOMEBODY to World Weaver Press and their imprint, Red Moon Romance. A lovely gal named Trysh wanted to see the full manuscript. She adored it and even laughed at all the right parts, but she needed me to do a rewrite, which I painstakingly undertook in one week, knowing I needed to pack all my worldly belongings for a cross-country move to Ohio. Once in Ohio, I got the email: BITE SOMEBODY had been accepted, to be released in the spring of 2016. Now begins the final edits, cover design, and publicity. Now begins a whole new chapter, literally, as I work on the BITE SOMEBODY sequel. In 2015, my dream of being accepted as a published novelist finally came true.
I can’t count the number of photo shoots I did in 2015. I can tell you about the one I did underwater which earned me the nickname “Mermaid” (although I swallowed about six gallons of water to get the perfect pic). Or the one where we shot in an abandoned house with a massive beehive in the wall. Modeling has, strangely, become part of my routine, and I even have a teammate here in Ohio: makeup and hair stylist Megan Lacy Sullivan. I used to think I was the awkward girl with goofy charm. Now, finally, I think I’m beautiful.
4. PUBLISHED SHORT STORIES OF 2015
“Project: Terminated” in New Myths
“Why do you do that?” She gestured to the sleeping man.
“You always touch him when he’s asleep.”
Violet stood by her captain and glanced back at their Emotive. “Oh,” she said. “Well, his dreams are beautiful. He lets me watch.” She shrugged. “And he feels peaceful when he sleeps. Which of us can say the same?”
“The Wendigo Goes Home” in Flapperhouse #8
“The tumor in your brain. They’ve told you it’s inoperable. How long do you have before the symptoms start to show?”
“You can smell cancer?”
“I smell death.” He put his nose against Blake’s throat and inhaled. “It smells delicious.”
“A Good Match” in Romance Magazine
“If you want honest answers, Alice, then kindly ask good questions.”
“I never gave you permission to call me Alice.”
“And I have given you permission to call me George, yet you refuse. We shall frustrate each other equally.”
“Sounds like marriage indeed.”
“Forever Dead” in Blood in the Rain
I spent a whole week with him that visit, because I couldn’t bring myself to say something stupid like, “I love you,” but I also couldn’t bear the thought of being away from him. Finally, he was the one who said it.
Well, he said, “No.”
“I’m not in love with you.”
“A Man of Light and Scales,” Maricopa District Writing Competition Winner
You fall into conversation, and it’s not the usual, polite, getting to know you babble. Graydon Kelly says odd, irresponsible things like, “You have an amazing mouth” or the worst, “What do you think of me exactly?”
You only respond to the last comment: a terse, “I’m not sure.” You know this is a lie. You’re wild about every inch of him.
“Mouth and the Muscle” in Over My Dead Body
“Fuck off, Chuck.” Only Max would have the balls to say something like that to a drug addict criminal with a gun in his face.
Chuck hit him good for it, gun to forehead, which almost sent Max sideways. He managed to stay on his knees, and Chuck grabbed him by the hair and forced the silver muzzle between his lips.
Here’s where things get kind of fuzzy.
“The Way We Forget,” Liar’s League NYC
“Are you doing okay?” he says. “You seem to be doing okay.”
In movies, women ask men to have sex at times like this. They say something like “I need to feel something other than pain.” I wonder if that’s why Ethan is out here now.
“Hope in Orange” in Chicken Soup for the Soul
I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe Perryville Prison is haunted by the women themselves. The ghosts of the past surround their heads like teased hair, and I see reflections of loved ones in the edges of their eyes.
“You Were Here” in Under the Gum Tree
When I leave this place for the last time, the house will not explode. It will not burn to the ground. It will remain, and there is some comfort in that. Another family will move in. I wish I could tell them, explain all that happened here, but then, I would be haunting them with my ghosts—forcing my memories to fit their lives.
5. BOOKS READ: 54
Best of the bunch: The Girl on the Train, Welcome to Night Vale, Furiously Happy, The Curse of Crow Hollow, Reasons to Stay Alive, Carry On, The Uninvited, and The Diva Rules.
6. COMING IN 2016
I finished a new novel this year that’s, well, pretty damn dark compared to my usual fare. It’s also erotica, which means my mother will not be reading it. The as-yet-untitled new manuscript is with a first reader now (someone I trust), so we’ll see what I end up doing with it.
Other than that, I have a short story in Bop Dead City in January and another in the Marked for Scorn Anthology. I’m the January featured interview in Arizona Cinematics Magazine. In February, my novella, “Wolf Among Sheep,” will be released by Hot Ink Press. In March, “The Saguaro Apocalypse” (Stoneslide Corrective Contest winner for “striking use of wit”) will make its debut on the magazine’s website.
Then, there will be BITE SOMEBODY. Yes, I suppose 2016 is already shaping up to be a busy year. For now, I wish everyone a Happy New Year’s Eve and a fond farewell to the wonderful year that was!