Friday, December 20, 2013

The 12 Best Things about this Christmas

There are, no joke, a ton of things I could write about this year. 2013 has been really good to me, and there's so much I could share. But I'm neurotic and I love lists, so I'd rather do that-- and in keeping with the spirit of this event, I'm presenting you with: The 12 Best Things about this Christmas.

1. Familial support. My extended family found out about my publishing adventure via my mom (once I let her tell them), and they've all been so encouraging and excited for me. I actually can't wait to see them on Christmas day because there's nothing better than being tired, run-down, and listless (while pooping out at parties), and having people you love not only support your dreams, but to be excited to talk with you about them to boot.

2. Weather. I live in Northern California and many years around this time, it's warm enough (high 50's) to be wearing flip-flops even a week before Christmas. But this year? Uh uh. It's been cold! And while I'm a total whiner who tells everyone about how I hate being cold, it is kind of nice to have a season other than the perpetual spring we often have that can run from April through December.

3. My sister. She's off at college in Southern Illinois most of the year, and while I'm not grateful for that fact in say, April, because I miss her; I find myself extra grateful to even have her around the holidays because it's then that I realize how much I miss her the rest of the year.

4. My cats. Because wrapping presents with Creeper Kitty can be challenging, but it sure is fun.

5. My publishing family. Everybody from my awesome gals here at Indie Ignites to my personal assistant (and really good friend), to my sprinting buddies, and my Facebook friends, as well as the ladies I've met who have become so incredibly integral to my everyday world-- my life is very full and awesome.

6. Food. Let's be honest and just admit that I look forward to the holidays every year because I love variety, and I love food, and I get both this time of year. Cookie platters, FTW!

7. My coworkers at my day job. I've had the joy of seeing how really awesome some of them are this week. There's something about the holidays (and being off work for two weeks) that really brightens spirits and brings out the best in people. They absolutely make keeping that job worth it even on the worst days which means I have two pretty awesome jobs-- being a published author and being a paper pusher with great coworkers.

8. My mom. Yeah, I already said family. So bite me. Even on the days when I was to duct tape her mouth shut because she's on me in a way that should be illegal, she's 100%, no doubt, my biggest reader, supporter, and most rabid fan. I love that she not only reads my books, but that even when I've shocked and embarrassed her while reading, she still excitedly reads them and wants to talk about them. And what's wrong with me for some of the things I write, but that's another story.

9. Harleys. I want one, and I know darn well that there won't be a gift card big enough to buy one under the tree this year, but I feel compelled to mention that I'm grateful they exist because drifting off while fantasizing about which model I'd get-- Sportster or Softtail-- I've had many a dreamy sleep. So, thank you, Harley Davidson. Your very existence in this world makes mine a little brighter.

10. Blogging. Because of blogs like this one where I'm not only allowed, but encouraged, to absolutely be myself even though that often includes inappropriate content, "I Love Lucy" references, and other random crap; I get to spread my particular brand of insanity all over the internet.

11. Whoever invented the self-publishing platform. Because the Espresso Book Machine at only THE BEST BOOKSTORE EVER, Y'ALL (Powell's City of Books) is amazing and what-not, but ya know, it's in Portland. And I'm not. And self-publishing has never been easier, or more accepted. And, hell yes. It's literally changed my entire world. Being indie isn't just a label I use to explain what kind of author I am, it's how I define myself, and I've never been better because of it.

12. Books. My books in particular. (No, not that Books, but she's awesome, too!) I'm talking about the books I've published and the one I just finished writing that publishes next month. Every book was a challenge, and for a different reason. In a way, it gets easier, and in a way it never does. These objects that start out as a mass of words all strung together incoherently and with little direction eventually form and produce a story that I'm proud of. And once I'm done with that story and it's neatly tucked into the internet, enjoying its birth, and eventually put into paperback, I'm on to the next book. I don't know where this drive comes from, but having published four books-- OMFG, HOW HAVE I EVEN SHOWERED THIS YEAR?!?-- I can honestly say that nobody has it better than I do (in my mind, and that's a wonderful "place" to be within yourself). I don't know where I'd be-- or who I'd be-- now that I'm a published author. The future pre-publishing was so bleak for a variety of reasons (I'm being dramatic), but now it's bursting with color and possibility and a promise that the greatest gifts can't be wrapped (though some of them may be able to be one-clicked on Amazon).

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