To say I had an incredible year is an understatement. This year was ah-mazing.
Here are the highlights from one heckuva crazy/cool year:
Around the World (Or At Least the US)
|Edward and I in Staunton, Virginia during a |
mini East Coast book tour.
I was a guest author at over a dozen events, conferences, and book signings including the Georgia Council of Teachers English Conference, Muhlenberg College, the Amelia Island Book Festival, the Decatur Book Festival, and KillerCon.
Read: 8 States in 4 Days
Read: Saints and Sinners: A Recap
Center Stage (Or Being a Censored Playwright)
|The stars of Sky Lines:|
Jaime White, Jacoya Smith, and Bobbi Leah
Read: Sky Lines Makes History
Read: Are You All Right in There?
Read: Don't Mention It: A Trilogy of Plays for Women
Read: The Kiss That Got Me Censored
Don't Judge A Book (By Its Reviews)
Swimming to Chicago earned me the worst review(s) of my career (and, in all fairness, some of the best) and then went on to garner me the highest accolade to date when the novel was recognized by the American Library Association. Regardless, the book received more press than any other project I've ever written. Love it or hate it, I stand behind Swimming to Chicago. The emails I receive from young people who have read the book are a testament of why the book had to be written. No apologies. No regrets.
Mesmerized surprised everyone (including me) by winning the 2011 LGBT Rainbow Award.
I wrote two novels this year: The Jetsetters and Wonderland, both of which will be released in 2012. These novels mark a departure from anything I've written previously. The reaction to them will be interesting, to say the least.
Read: Accidents Never Happen Receives a 5 Star Review!
Read: The Facts of Life (my response to a critic)
Read: Swimming to Chicago Recognized by the American Library Association
Read: Mesmerized Wins 2011 LGBT Rainbow Award
Read: An Article/Interview from Ianyan Magazine About Swimming to Chicago
Read: Out in Print: Review of Swimming to Chicago
Wax Poetic (In a Manner of Speaking)
One of the most important projects I participated in this year was serving as a poet for the powerful art exhibit Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of the International AIDS Poster. I was asked to write five original poems (each inspired by an International AIDS Poster), which I read at the Museum of Design in Atlanta. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experience as a writer this year.
Read: An article in A&U about the poetry reading at MODA (includes a poem I wrote for the occasion).
Read: My poem Harm's Way in Red Booth Review.
Inspiration (Human Kindness)
I also received a beautiful response from author Anne Mazer regarding an article I wrote about why I write for young people and how her mother, Norma Fox Mazer, had an impact on my writing life when I was just 13.
By far, the best email I received this year was from a 15-year-old boy who wrote to tell me reading Swimming to Chicago changed his life. That moment - and his words - made my purpose crystal clear.
Read: Why I Love (and Admire) Nia Vardalos
Read: More Than Ever
Closing Thoughts (It's All About Gratitude)
I have the most incredible, supportive, loving partner and we have a beautiful life together.
We have a hilarious, adorable, eternally faithful dog named Lucy who makes it all worth it.
I have beautiful, honest, inspiring friends who not only have my back but are never afraid to tell me how it really is.
I have a loving, sometimes complicated family who have always encouraged me to be me.
I'm truly fortunate to wake up every morning and go to a job that I not only love but in which I'm given an opportunity each day to make a positive difference in someones life.
In my career, the stars aligned when I walked into a pitch meeting with Len Barot, Greg Herren, and Victoria Oldham and they offered me my first publishing contract, making Bold Strokes Books my first publishing home - and giving me the opportunity to work with people who not only encouraged me to take risks, but have made me a better writer in the process.
Each time I receive a heartfelt letter from a reader who's found a connection with something I've written, I thank God for giving me the words.
"Everything we do should be a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us." ~ Lauryn Hill
Go have a beautiful new year.