I love the opening lines of John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War is Over). So this is Christmas, And what have you done…I like being reminded, amidst the season’s celebrations, that it’s a good time to pause, take stock, and give thanks. It’s definitely one of my favorite holiday tunes, but some years, those opening lines not only give me pause, they make me panic. I start thinking: What have I done? Did I accomplish anything I set out to do on January 1st?Some years, the answer is no. I didn’t run that 10K or drop five pounds. I didn’t clean out the basement or fix the broken drawer in the kitchen. But this year? This year was different. 2013 was a seminal year for me. Perhaps not as life-altering (in a good way) as the year I got married, or the year our daughter was born, but definitely one with milestones worth mentioning, remembering, and celebrating.
My first two young adult novels were published this year. HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES debuted in May and FAMOUS LAST WORDS was published in July. After years of feeling like it was never going to happen, having both books come out this year was huge.
In June, I had a launch party to celebrate. At the risk of sounding like a five-year-old, it was one of my best days ever! We had it at one of our favorite pubs in New Brunswick, the city where I met both my husband and my agent. It was also where our daughter was born. The music—provided by my husband’s band—was great and so were the nachos. The sheet cake looked like my book cover, and the cupcakes matched the color scheme. But the best part about my launch party was that I got the chance to bring together all the people who were there for me during every mile of the long road to publication. Being the friend or family member of an aspiring author takes lots of patience, and I’m blessed to have people in my life who never got tired of giving me a pep talk—even when the rejections were well into the double digits.
So yes, this was a year of firsts for me. After years of interviewing other people, this was the first time I was interviewed by bloggers, journalists, and even talk radio hosts!
I had my first bookstore appearances at two amazing independent bookstores in New Jersey—To Be Continued…in Metuchen and Booktowne in Manasquan. The folks at both stores went out of their way to make a first-time author feel special, and created awesome displays for my books.I saw my books on library shelves for the first time and did my first (and probably only) photo shoot at the legendary Convention Hall in Asbury Park. I felt very rock star that day.
This Saturday, I’ll add to the list when I make my first library appearance at the public library in Little Egg Harbor. Bookish types in southern New Jersey, feel free to stop by at 2 PM!
For once, I’m not worrying about what next year will bring. Right now, I’m still celebrating this one. And for that, I am very, very grateful.