December Already?!

How can it be December? The calendar must have sped up. I’ve conceded to this time warp, though, by beginning to listen to Pentatonix music.

For some reason, as a kid I used to really like “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Maybe it was the fun repetition or countdown of numbers. (Modern update: My nieces and nephews now do coordinated hand motions to the song.)

I also like reflecting over the year as it closes out, so here’s my writerly spin on the List of Twelve:

  • 12 Drafts Drafting
    Maybe I didn’t do twelve drafts, but it felt like it! I juggled a lot of writing projects this past year (some got shelved). These creative bursts included a nonfiction essay on cozy mystery writing, short stories for contests or anthologies, young adult light science fiction works, a cozy mystery manuscript, and a series proposal.
  • 11 Pentel Pens
    I have this thing about pens. I’m big on trying and collecting new ones, but I will always go back to the tried-and-true Pentel for consistently smooth writing.
  • 10 Recipes a Reaping
    Writing cozy mysteries with recipes in the back calls for a lot of experimental baking and cooking. Who knew it’d be so hard to get the ingredients and steps down? (Even then, I will still need my copyeditor to rework my formatting for recipes.)
  • 9 Boxes Stacking
    I read a lot in 2021 since I was a judge on an Edgars Award committee. The official results came out during the Edgars ceremony in 2022, but I still had stacks of books piled at home.
  • 8 Meetings a Making
    I set up and coordinated a lot of virtual meetings last year, not the least of these were for a nominating committee to find board members for a great organization, Sisters in Crime. Sisters in Crime is an inclusive community for all writers and supporters of crime fiction. (I was VP of it last year and currently serve as President.)  
  • 7 Kids a Speaking
    One amazing event I did this year was speak to a middle school book club. A wonderful aspect of cozy mysteries is that the reading of them can cross generations. The kids were so welcoming to me and even wrote and drew a thank you card.
  • 6 Drinks a Posing
    My brilliant marketing idea was to do bubble tea selfies with Death By Bubble Tea to showcase it. I’m not sure the photos got a lot of traction, but I did get to have some yummy drinks!
  • 5 Post-it Notes
    Thanks to a workshop by Julie Cohen, I was inspired to get a stack of Post-its. I’m using them to plot, insert clues, and change timelines. Pro tip: Pull them apart from the side (not the top) so that the note stays flat when sticking to a surface.  
  • 4 Conferences
    It was a heavy travel year with attendance at four conferences: Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, and Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
  • 3 Flying Hassles
    (See above.) I almost missed a flight because of the long lines. Happily, I’m now approved for TSA PreCheck—so worth it!
  • 2 Speed Datings
    At both Left Coast Crime and Malice Domestic, readers sat at tables while authors (like me) rotated locations and shared about their books. Hope a few bookish love connections happened there!
  • and a Cover Reveal on Social Media
    Love working with Jane Liu and her artistic designs. The colors and mood of the latest L.A. Night Market Mystery, Hot Pot Murder, are fire!
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