Winter Solstice

If you have to get up early in the morning these days, like me, then you are aware it is that time of the year. The time of darkness. The season of death. It is no wonder the major religions have a festival of light at this time. Because all this darkness can get a person down.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. As all good yoga teachers know, this is a great time for turning inward, for curling up in front of the fire place, for slowing down, for reflecting. As part of my yearly reflection, I decided to go back and read my blog from one year ago concerning my new year's resolutions.

Well, one year ago I was resolving to publish my first novel in 2014. I sort of almost achieved my goal. I did hire a professional editor to go line-by-line through the thing. She must have deleted close to a million commas. Boy, do I loves me some commas. She also hated almost every single one of my metaphors and similes. Yikes! You need a thick skin in this business! (Have I ever mentioned how paper-thin my skin is?)

I took her corrections with a tiny grain of salt, decided to keep a few of those hideous metaphors despite her hatred, but realized the novel still needed work. I am at it again, chopping whole scenes and also adding some information to help readers better understand the background of my characters. I have a very strong feeling I could work on this one novel for the rest of my life and never be completely satisfied. Perhaps it will never be ready for publication. At this point, I just can't say for sure.

What I do know is that I published my first short non-fiction piece called "My Grandfather's Gift" in a Chicken Soup for the Soul titled Touched by an Angel. This volume is a collection of true stories about angels in our lives. If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, this book might be a great addition to your list. The stories are uplifting and inspiring.

In 2014, I was also long-listed in the British crime writing contest called the Debut Dagger. Out of approximately 500 entries, my story was chosen as one of the top 25. Only a dozen were short-listed, and then one winner was chosen. I plan to enter again in 2015 and hopefully improve my standing.

I also completed another round of NaNoWriMo (National Noval Writing Month) this past November.  I wrote a first draft of my fourth novel in a series of mysteries set in Nyack, New York, the small Hudson Valley town where I grew up. Yes, you heard that correctly. I have now written four of these suckers without managing to publish a single one. What does this say about me? Well, I happen to LOVE the writing process, especially the first draft. Nothing more exciting than letting the imagination run wild and hoping the fingers on the keyboard can keep up. As for the rest of the process: the endless editing, then the business of publishing, and (God forbid!) the eventual marketing, I can do without all of it.

So, if you've been chomping on the bit, desperate to read a full novel of mine, I apologize. I can't put it out there until I feel it is the best I can possibly make it. (Can you say "perfectionist"?)

May the dark days of the Winter Solstice and the accompanying reflection bring you insight into your own mind, habits, and challenges. Remember to revel in all your accomplishments. Cultivate gratitude for all the good in your life. And celebrate the return of the light!