1.) This spring, I had the amazing opportunity to teach an Honors Vampire Lit seminar at the college where I worked. (Yeah, that means I got paid to teach Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) The course included a campus visit from Dacre Stoker—the great-grand nephew of Dracula author, Bram Stoker. Dacre Stoker is also an author in his own right, having co-authored the sequel to Dracula in 2009. Then in May, the students and I flew to London where we explored old cemeteries, visited the Operating Theatre Museum, and went on a Jack the Ripper tour.
2.) In March, I was on a YA Author Panel with Amy Christine Parker and James McTeer at the SCASL Conference at Myrtle Beach.
3.) This year I finished writing a contemporary YA Gothic novel. The novel deals with dark family secrets, murder, and mental illness and has required interesting research and footwork. Specifically, I interviewed a criminal defense attorney and a psychiatrist to get some background info on the legal and mental health issues. Then, through a flurry of e-mails and phone calls, I talked my way into getting a tour of a local abandoned asylum campus.
4.) While writing the novel, I received feedback from my amazing peer critique partners and fellow authors, Kristina Perez, Kami Kinard, and Jamieson Ridenhour. In London, I finally met Kristina in the Shad Thames area. We had a lovely and long talk about the writer’s life over dinner.
5. My essay about images of sex and death in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed book, Romancing the Zombie: Falling in Love with the Undead in the 21st Century.
6. In June my husband and I took our kids to South Africa. We had just enough of a long layover in London to get out and grab some greasy hamburgers and visit Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Our game drives through Kruger Park were breathtaking. I loved having the opportunity to share these experiences with my kids. Our bungalow was right next to the Sabie River, and I’ll never forget seeing Bull elephants meandering in the water just beyond the fence of our backyard.
7. In July, I spoke about my research on Jack the Ripper at the Palmetto Chapter Sisters in Crime meeting.
8. This fall, I taught my dream Young Adult novels course. We read several dystopian, contemporary, horror, and historical fiction novels including Ashfall, Fracture, Anna Dressed in Blood, and A Madness So Discrete.
9. My three kids all turned a year older. *weep* *weep* For my youngest child’s second birthday, we celebrated Eric Carle style.
10. I finished my first attempt at crocheting a blanket. It took me just three years and more episodes of Vampire Diaries than I would like to admit.
11. Here in the South, it’s traditional on New Years Day to eat collards and Hoppin’ Johns. As I sat down to eat, I noticed that my sweet potato was shaped like a perfect heart. I’d like to think that this means my heart is full as I start 2017.