Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Apocalypse!

I know, I shouldn’t joke, the day is young... but apparently they all survived in New Zealand and Australia, so I’m optimistic. 
Actually this end of the world is turning out to be a lot less viral than the one with the crazy – or Really Media-Savvy - preacher last year. Maybe we just had too much lead time on the aptly named Mayan Long Count - sort of the way I feel about hurricanes as opposed to earthquakes, actually. There’s so much anticipation to a hurricane that by the time it hits, no matter how much of a disaster it really is you’re already emotionally burned out on it. Earthquakes, you get all your adrenaline rush at once.
More likely, though, we’re all too numb from our two most recent real-life end of the world tragedies, Superstorm Sandy and the Newtown massacre (that my friend Gar Haywood posted so eloquently about on Murderati this week, my feelings exactly) to be able to make light of any theoretical apocalypse. It feels like we’ve had it. 
And then there’s just the ordinary anxiety of the holidays. The first day of January is really just one day after the last day of December, so why do we put all this pressure on the END of one year and the BEGINNING of another?
A better way to look at it would be that we get to let all of the baggage of the old year go and start over fresh. Maybe some people do do that and I’m just late to that party.
I think a lot of my Christmas anxiety is because my tendency is ALWAYS to think I’m not doing enough, and the end of the year brings that out (What did you DO all year, anyway?). So today I’m going to go back over my year to remind myself I got a hell of a lot done, and even enjoyed myself doing it. (Sort of like Facebook is encouraging us all to do now with some app about our 2012 Year in Review highlights.  If someone could tell me how Facebook knows what the highlights of my year were, I’d be grateful.)
But these were my own highlights, in relative order.
- E books have been good to me. I got my backlist up; every one of my books is now available for the infinitely reasonable prices of $2.99 or $3.99, and I’m thrilled to have more control over my writing schedule, release schedule, and book pricing, not to mention a regular, understandable, and perfectly livable income.
- I launched a new series, my first direct-to-e thriller, Huntress Moon, which instantly became an Amazon bestseller in mysteries and police procedurals, and I’m thrilled to report that it made Suspense Magazine’s list of Best Books of 2012.
- Writing the series is giving me a chance to get reacquainted with all my favorite places in California, where I’m living again, though I’m still unsure if I’m going to settle in the Bay Area or the Los Angeles area. I love them both! I’m loving the research, though, and Book Two in the series, Blood Moon, will be out in late January or early February. 
- My dear friends Heather Graham, Harley Jane Kozak and I had a blast co-writing the next installments in our paranormal mystery series The Keepers; this time we took the series to L.A., and the new books come out in January, March and May.  
- I’ve also been teaching a film class in L.A. – basically I screen my favorite movies and talk all the way through them, raving about all the visual excellence and story structure brilliance. And they call this working! Such a scam!
This summer I was the keynote speaker at the Romance Writers of Australia National Conference on the Gold Coast, and had a wonderful time teaching my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshop and doing panels on e books and writing paranormal suspense with all those crazy Aussies.  Then my friend Elle Lothlorien and I did a wild road trip down to Sydney, driving on the wrong side of the road and leveling – I mean visiting - every beach city along the way.  Love the country, love the people, want to go back as soon as possible.

- Then I came back and put my house on the market (meaning two months of the worst kind of emotionally fraught prep), and it’s currently “under contract”, so a lot of the beginning of my 2013 is going to be house-hunting. If I can ever narrow the prospective location down from just “somewhere in the world, possibly California.”
- Throughout the year I did my usual insane conference traveling, with appearances at Left Coast Crime, Romance Writers of America National Conference, Romance Writers of Australia National Conference, the ever –inspiring Bouchercon – and I just returned from paneling, performing, and dancing the night away at Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans, my favorite conference in my favorite city, which is just as fabulous at Christmas as it is every other time of year.

(French Quarter photo with Elle Lothlorien and Chantelle Osman)

Somewhere in there I did an entire website overhaul: designed by the fabulous Madeira James of 
- I've also embraced Facebook as the virtual cocktail party it really can be. This might not sound like an accomplishment, but promotion and networking is a fact of life for authors, and to find a way to do that that feels a little like taking a break to hang out at the conference bar with witty and like-minded friends - without ever leaving my chair - is pretty damn cool, if you ask me.  
- Even though I didn’t quite get Blood Moon finished (finished in my definition of the word) for a December release - I’ve put together a boxed set of three of my spooky thrillers called Haunted. Anyone who doesn’t already have these books can now get them all for just $5.99, and give themselves or special friends nightmares for days! 

 On Amazon, $5.99

And to bring this back to the end of the world: I have a brand new anthology out this weekend: Apocalypse: Year Zero, with four end-of-the-world novellas by me and my award-winning dark fantasy friends Sarah Langan, Sarah Pinborough, and Rhodi Hawk. We cover 9/11, tsunamis, Hurricane Katrina, and The Big One, as well as, in no particular order, Hollywood, sex, rage, and the Four Horsemen, who turn out to be not men at all.  
So if tomorrow you wake up, are still here, and feel cheated out of your Apocalypse, no worries - we’ve got you covered.

Okay, I bet you know the question of the day!  What were the highlights of your 2012?
Or if that's too personal, let's talk Apocalypse.  What are some of your favorite Apocalypse stories, in any media?  Yes, I am already missing The Walking Dead... and since I just got back from Australia, I'm thinkingThe Last Wave...
And don't forget - today is not just the end of the world, it's also the winter solstice, a very powerful day for manifestation. Make a wish.

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