The Five!

1. Okay, so it’s the last blog entry of 2011. What to say? It’s been a crazy, busy year. I saw my tenth book come out and went all over the place to promote it, including a tour stop in Canada for the first time (but definitely not the last). I got to be on GMA holding a YA sign. I spoke at the BEA Breakfast, which was the scariest AND most awesome thing I’ve done professionally, AND had a Whoopie Pie food truck with my name on it. Whew! I also learned how to make balloon animals, sponsored a race car team and marched in a parade. Quite the 365 days. I can only hope 2012 will be half as exciting. Here’s hoping!

2. What this new year WILL be about, for me, is writing. Stephen King has a great quote about writing with the door closed and editing with the door open. I think being on book tour and doing events is also like leaving that door WIDELY ajar, for weeks at a time. It’s fun and social and giddy and exhausting, but not exactly conducive to getting any novels written. To do that, I need to be home, have quiet and dependable childcare. There were times, during this last year, that I kept thinking that ten books might be enough for awhile, that maybe I didn’t want to write any more for a bit, take a breather, see what happened. But that has passed. Now I am not only working but WANTING to work, both great things. I will shut the door gently (no slamming, promise!) and emerge when I am done. Although I might dart out now and again for chocolate and coffee.

3. I really am not a fan of New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s all my years as the designated driver, when I had to corral and drag my friends out of parties to make curfew. Or the fact that my kid, who wakes up at 6am, will not CARE if I have stayed up late to greet the new year, still expecting me to be ready to play before the sun is up. But it’s also one of those holidays where you always feel like you need to be doing something fabulous, and I am not good at fabulous. I live far out in the country, I like to go to bed early, and fancy shoes make my feet hurt. Hence, I will be here tomorrow night, making chili and cornbread, in my Uggs. Which is fabulous in its own way. At least, it is to me.

4. I wrote in this blog last week about the CD Swap we did with our close friends this year instead of gifts. It was just SO awesome I think we are going to make it a holiday tradition. I should know this already, via Owen Armstrong, but you really know someone SO much better when you get a glimpse of the music they love. Also, I am now feeling semi-hip in that I’ve been introduced to all these hip bands I never would be listening to otherwise, like Neutral Milk Hotel and Sleigh Bells and The Magnetic Fields. I would almost feel cool…if I was not also blasting The Laurie Berkner Band and The Best of Sesame Street from the same car stereo. Oh, well.

5. Finally,a new year’s wish for all of you: I hope you have a SAFE New Year’s Eve (get a designated driver to corral and drag you out of parties!) and a wonderful 2012 filled with hope and good cheer and great things. I hope you have black-eyed peas and collard greens on Jan 1st (Southern tradition, the greens are for money, the peas for luck) and good chocolate, coffee and (if it’s age appropriate) adult beverages all year round. Here’s to a year of good writing, good reading, and just plain good. I’ll wrap up this entry with a list I made on the return flight of my LAST trip of this year, where I decided to write out all the places I’d been on book tour since May. I look at it and know that next year, I’ll be sticking closer to home. Although it sure was fun:

Yep, that bottom line says 7 month, 12 trips, 18 cities. Whew! No wonder I’m still tired.

Happy New Year, everyone! See you on the other side.