It’s the end of the year as we know it

2019 has been a hell of a year, the kind where some days felt like weeks and weeks felt like decades.

I feel like I could sum it up in a list song. I left my old job. I moved to a different state. I didn’t start the fire, but it’s literally burning in Australia right now. It’s the end of the world as I know it, but does anyone really feel fine?

I guess I do. I feel fine. Sometimes great, sometimes terrible, sometimes exhausted, sometimes furious, but mostly… fine.

Every year, people use the excuse of a new year to start being a new person. I like to tell my son that every day is a chance to start over–that you don’t have to wait for a good reason, that just wanting to do it is reason enough–but the collective milestone, the changing over of the calendar for most of the world, is a convenient demarcation. It’s a boundary we cross together, a door we all open, a portal fantasy where we can choose to leave our old lives behind and find a fresh adventure waiting for us.

Or not. No pressure. You do you.

This year, my first book came out. Chilling Effect wasn’t the first book I ever wrote, or the first one I finished, but it was the one that made me a published novelist. It’s wild to write that down, to know that after so many years of hard work it finally happened. And next year, unless the world completely combusts, it will happen again.

But then what? Well, hopefully another one, and then another, onward into the future. Beyond Prime Deceptions, I have two fantasy novels in different stages of completion, and plans for a third adventure for Eva Innocente if the publishing powers are kind. I have older novels I could revisit, revamp, rewrite. I have new ideas patiently waiting for me to pick them up and start scribbling.

No one knows what’s on the other side of the door, though. No one can predict what you’ll find once you step through.

Now we get to the part where I bestow upon you my sage advice. That could be a whole other list song, but I’ll keep it short and allusive: be excellent to each other.

My friends and family supported and kept me going this year in ways I could never have hoped to manage alone, and I’m intensely grateful for all of them. I hope in the new year I can pay it back, and forward, even though such things aren’t intrinsically transactional in nature. But the more kindness we spread around like seeds in a field, the more opportunities there will be for it to take root and grow and flower.

If you’re feeling lonely or helpless right now, I’m sorry and I hope it passes. I hope you find the strength to reach out to someone, or to accept a hand being offered to you, or to let go of whoever is holding you back.

May your 2020 be awesome, amigos. Salud, amor, dinero, y tiempo para disfrutarlo.

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