Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

It's that time of year again... My annual look back at what changed, what hasn't and the highlights of the year that's about to close.
2012 was an amazing year. Not only did I stay in touch with a lot of dear people, I met some new friends who have also become very dear to me. Friendship wise, life has been good to me again this past year and I can't ask for better people in my life. 
My family is growing again... I found out early this summer I am going to be an aunt again for the fourth time! It came as a bit of a shock, but a good one, and I cannot wait to meet my sister's new child in February. She's due around Valentine's Day and by the looks of things, she's having another girl. No complaints from my end, it's another child to love and spoil. Children are always welcome in my family after all. Sister, I wish you a very quick, safe and painless delivery and may both you and my baby niece be healthy! I have resolved to be the eccentric, loveable and cool auntie to her children... I can't have any more myself, as much as I would like to. So I'll just spoil my son and her kids as much as I can! *wink* I have the best son, nieces and nephew, what can I say?
Son went into Grade 2 with flying colors... He's mostly an A and B student with one or two Cs but that's okay, it's all stuff that is considered "normally difficult" for kids on the spectrum like he is... We are helping him, as is his teachers and his TAs. Speaking of which, one of his TAs is the same one he's had since Grade Primary... And when I found out Mrs. O was going to be with him again this year, I just about cried. She's been more than a helper to my son, she has been his FRIEND and that is what makes the difference. He's still doing great and is still way ahead of his classmates in regards to mathematics. That child is something else, I tell you. LOL
Hubby was moved up to full time at his workplace and I am very proud of him. In some ways it's like he never left, and I adore his boss, she is one sweet lady. 
Whom Gods Destroy had their first live performance at a memorial jam in May of this past year. I was there, it was awesome and both them and Billion Dollar Alice rocked the house! I am so proud of the guys, they've put a LOT of hard work into their music and I wish them all the best with their musical careers!
This year saw us lose two animal friends... My sister's beloved German Shepherd, Prince Shepherd, passed away this last fall. He was 11 years old and a big sweetheart. He is very missed. I can still see him walk into my house, go over to Birdie and NOT settle down until that cat beat the stuffing out of him. They loved each other and Prince was a dear, loveable boy. My sister was very heartbroken because he wasn't just a dog to her, he was her friend, and such a loyal and dear companion. Our home saw a loss this year too. Our fluffy white cat, Noelle, passed away from a stroke which was a complication of an ear infection this past June 30th. We were very upset over it... She was not quite 17 years old and wasn't just Hubby's buddy, she was mine too. She would sit on top of my computer tower, demanding attention constantly and when I was watching TV, she would lay on my lap and sleep, and purr like there was no tomorrow. There is still a big hole in our household although we still have one cat residing here, Amber, and she does her best to make sure all of us get plenty of kitty kisses, cuddles and purrs.
Our human family saw some losses too... We lost three beloved family members within two months in January and February... Aunt Barbara, Cousins Freddie and Naomi, we all miss you horribly and we know you're waiting with the rest of the family for our turn to cross the veil. Give Nanny, Grampie H, Uncle Bill, Aunt Doris, Uncle Tom and Aunt Betty our love and we will see you sometime... 
Samgaran Sanctuary, my main online home and mentor's forum, saw new skins added to its rotation. I currently use the o_Opacity skin, which we have set up with the picture of a red rose on slate in the background behind the posts and a banner with a red rose and the forum's name that I designed specifically for our little online home. My co global moderator, Sleepy, also has several of the banners he designed in the banner skins and the forum looks absolutely fantastic! P and I are so proud of the look of our main hangout spot, it's such a wonderful place with positive and loving energy! The link to Sanctuary is in my links section on the left hand side of the posts here. Feel free to check it out when you can. The banner on the "cream" skin is one I designed by the way. Sleepy's banners are on the Blue Noir, Yellow Noir, YaBB 2.1 and camo skins. We are still using YaBB 2.5 and we love it. Thank you again D for all of your hard work in the behind the scenes stuff, you do amazing work! (I still say he's the best tech guy anyone could ever ask for, he's that good! LOL)
As y'all know, my beloved mentor finally saw her dream of becoming a published author come true back in October! Keyholder's Castle, Book 1: Homecoming was released on as a self published work and YES I did purchase a copy of it. I'm very proud of her, I know she's been waiting for this for a very, very long time and I was almost as excited as she was to see her dream finally come true! I shook for days after it was released and if I was excited, she was even more so! Book 2 will be released on sometime in the new year but we are unsure of the publishing date at this time. I will let y'all know when it is published though! I have a prescreening copy of Book 2 but haven't had a chance to read it yet... I've been so busy working on my own writing projects!
Speaking of my writing projects, more has happened in this last year that I could have ever dreamed...
NR was still Untitled 7 when I started working on it again this past year. However, as it progressed and ideas for it started hitting me more and more, the name for it formed in my head... Since it's a journey of two people, and a long one, the name is VERY fitting. I just hope a publisher thinks so!
NR wasn't very long when I dove into it at the start of this past year. In fact, it had barely 23,000 words and most of that total was removed/86'ed because there was a part of it that I decided wasn't necessary... The "Interlude" as my mentor called it. That was taken out around springtime and once I decided to remove it, things started flowing easier for me. It wasn't writing, it had turned into a chore and was dragging me down. I couldnt' think of any ideas for that part, and what few I had, I kept changing... So I talked it over with a few of my writing pals including my beloved mentor and that's when the decision to use "flashbacks" to the gap between the end of Part One and the start of Part Two was made. It was one of the best decisions about NR that I had made yet. 
By the time summer vacation rolled around, I had not only Part One finished but I was well into Part Two, around what is now Chapter 30... And when September rolled around again, I was back into it like I hadn't taken a good chunk of the summer off from writing! Within seven weeks of school starting, NR's first draft was completed and I was feeling like a squirrel on speed... It took me a few days to settle down and once I did, I realized I was another step closer to my dream of becoming a published author too.
My Author's Page on Facebook was set up on October 15, 2012 and the link to it is in my links section also. It is updated once in a while, when I have anything major to report writing wise. I have less than 20 likes right now but all of the fans of the page are friends of mine, people who have supported me with the writing as NR progressed, and in some cases, LONG before that. I hope the fanbase will grow after I get published.
My mentor was the very first person other than myself to see NR in its entirety... She read it, wanted to shoot a few of the characters in it but overall, liked the story. I did have to add a couple of things into it the last few days and she picked up a few typos here and there but otherwise, it turned out pretty darn good for a second draft.
When she was finished reading it and I had made all of the necessary corrections and a couple of additions, NR finally went into DRAFT 3 MODE as of 8:40 p.m. December 30, 2012. I also double spaced the manuscript, meaning it went from 321 pages long to 642 pages, then I made sure all new chapters start on new pages... So NR is now 660 pages long, double spaced with size 12 Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins all around... Basically what most publishers like to see in a submitted work by a new/unknown author.
It's now back into perking mode and will remain there for a few more days, if not a few weeks... I'll update as things progress with Draft 3, but after it starts going out to publishers and agents, I will be silent about it. Only a few select people will know when it goes out and when I get a rejection. HOWEVER, if I ever find out that someone IS wanting to publish NR, and when I find out the date it will be coming out on shelves (traditional shelves or e-book shelves!) I wont' hesitate to announce it here, in FB and in Sanctuary!
NR will be sent to some publishers and agents as ONE full story, others will be getting it as a duology. It all depends on their requirements and the maximum length they're willing to publish as one novel. It's over 200,000 words... I'd prefer to keep it as ONE full novel but if I have to break it up into two (duology), I will. We'll just have to see what happens and who is willing to take a second look at it I guess. LOL
I also started two more writing projects this past year... I started the rewrite/overhaul of RH, a short story I had written back in 2000. The story wasnt' just out of date, it was not very logical in a lot of ways, and since I do want it published at some point, I thought redoing it with the basic idea of it still intact would be for the best. It's not going as well as I'd like it to be but it's slowly coming along.
The other project I started late in the year was what is called Untitled 8 at the moment. Some people would call it the "sequel" to NR because it focuses on a character one sees in that story and yes, a lot of that story's main characters WILL be in it at some point or another. It's another one of those complex stories filled with some twists and turns but I don't think it's going to be quite as intricate as NR turned out to be. NR wound up being a LOT longer, a LOT more complicated and sooooooooooo much better than I had hoped it would be when I first got the idea for the story back in June of 2010! Who knows, these two stories could be the very books that get me known a little bit in the writing world. I HOPE SO! LOL
The new year is less than 8 hours away in my timezone.. Other parts of the world are already in 2013... 
I wish all of you out there peace...
I wish all of you joy...
I wish you all prosperity...
And most of all, I wish you all the best in the new year.
Have a safe, fun and responsible new year everyone! I'll see you in 2013!