Another year nearly gone by. A time for reflection and a time for resolutions. The end of this year feels fraught with anxiety for me, for a variety of reasons. I know I'm not alone in this regard. There seems to be a collective UGH that the people around me are saying. 2016 can't go away fast enough, for me, and for many others out there. 

The year began with the loss of David Bowie. I had been telling my friends how I thought Black Star was one of the best albums he had ever released, not knowing all along the travesty that awaited for us on January 10th. Now I have a hard time listening to it because when he recorded it, it was clear he knew he was going to die. It was his last message and last gift to millions. For the first time, I felt truly wrecked about a celebrity death. Even now as I write this I find myself with tears in my eyes. 

So many other horrible and baffling things have happened this year: terrorist attacks across Europe, the war in Syria and the devastating ruins of Aleppo with the subsequent refugee crisis that so many nations now face, the Zika virus, police shootings, Brexit, the Pulse nightclub deaths, Russian hackers, fake news, the deaths of many inspiring and influential people, and the election of most thin-skinned, orangest narcissist that ever lived. It's no wonder there is a collective cry to bury 2016 deep deep in the past. 

There were some other personal things in my life toward the end of this year that have added to his big pile of excrement, some of which I won't talk about, but other things like some of my dearest friends moving away didn't help either. 

That said, there were many good things that did happen. As I move into 2017, which is going to ROCK, l want to look back at the good things. 

  • I edited FEAST OF SORROW, met the Touchstone team, got my ARCs back and in general realized that this is really happening! I am publishing a book! 
  • Became part of the Debutante Ball team which has turned out to be one of the brightest blessings in my entire year. What an incredible group of women! 
  • I also joined the '17 Scribes, another group for debut adult novelists. I can't begin to tell you how many wonderful writers I've met and how many great books I have read! 
  • I spoke at Grub Street's Muse & the Marketplace in front of 500 people about my upcoming novel, FEAST OF SORROW. It was an incredible opportunity after over a decade of attending the conference as a writer, then an instructor and finally, a novelist. 
  • I went with my writing group, the Salt + Radish Writers, on our annual retreat to Maine and yet again, we had an amazing time, wrote a lot of things and bonded even more. I love and appreciate these women more than they will ever know.
  • I went to Rome again for a week of research on my second novel. Escaping to Italy is never a bad thing. 
  • I wrote big chunks of book 2 and I hope to finish that off early in 2017.  And Benjamino at Casa Dei Coronari gave me a huge idea for something big that happens in the book. 
  • I've been living vicariously through some of my best friends, Melissa and Phil, who are on their Wiggly Path traveling the world for a year..maybe more.
  • I far surpassed my goal of reading 75 books this year, locking down 88 (and may be 89 before tomorrow). I'm not going to do a big post on the last chunk of them but instead you can head to Goodreads and see them all. 
  • I finally got to see Vanessa Peters play live, when she was here in Boston a few weeks ago. YAY! Her new album, The Burden of Unshakeable Proof is wonderful. 
  • One of my childhood and still best friends, Leanna, continued to commiserate with me and share her love of unicorns and monkey babies. For that, I'll be forever grateful. :-)
  • My husband and I celebrated 16 years together. YAY! 
  • I had the chance to meet one of my biggest Rome inspirations, Katie Parla, and sample delicious dishes from her new cookbook, Tasting Rome, when she was in Boston doing a dinner at Stir. 
  • Through the magic of Twitter, I met classicist Emily Hauser, whose gorgeous book, For the Most Beautiful, about the women of ancient Troy, comes out in January. She gave me some great help on my own book, correcting the Latin and pointing out some weird historical things she noticed. Whew! 

I'm sure there are more things I could add to this list. There are more people that inspired me, affected me, helped build me up. We often don't remind ourselves of the good things, and that's important. 

Goodbye 2016. Here's to an incredible 2017 ahead! 

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