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NativityIt’s Christmas Eve. I haven’t been writing as much as I usually do. I guess I’ve been taking a “holiday” vacation leading into the Christmas season. It’s been a busy year for me, so I don’t feel too guilty (who am I trying to convince, anyway, you or me?), but I promise, after the New Year things will go back to normal.

So, the year in review for my girls and me. My sister Michele has a degree in Accounting. When she got a job at a newspaper, no one was more surprised than I was, but it was in the accounting department, so it seemed to fit. Then they asked her to write book reviews. I had seen her write. I wasn’t optimistic. So I helped edit every last one of them until she left the newspaper. And became… what you ask? A technical writer! Who would have guessed my sister was interested in writing and would not only develop an interest for it, but a knack for it, too. This year, she published her first two pieces: a memoire essay, “Letter to Krista,” which was published in the Spring 2012 issue of Pastiche and a poem, “Shadow People,” which was published in the Fall 2012, 6th issue of Canyon Voices Literary Magazine. Congratulations Michele!

My friend Rhonda is one of the most creative people I know. She has ideas that amaze me time and again. But she constantly insists that writing is difficult for her because she doesn’t have the education that I do (which I tell her is ridiculous… technique can be learned, creativity can’t). She’s been working really hard. We’ve attended local seminars, taken local classes and even gone to our first conference. With a lot of encouragement and even more hard work, Rhonda got two things published this year. She got a four-line western published in Cactus Country III and a short story called “The Devil’s Growl” published in Bigfoot Confidential: Finally the Truth Revealed. Way to go, Rhonda!

One of the local classes I just spoke about leads me to Joy. Rhonda and I met Joy in a short story seminar and we formed a writing group of our own afterward. We’ve become good friends through that experience. Joy is truly a joy… she brings laughter to our group, which is kind of funny, because she mostly writes horror stories. Joy is also an incredibly hard-worker. We meet around her work schedule (she seems to always be at work, and when she isn’t there, they seem to be calling her to go in), plus she freelances for a magazine, and she still finds time to write… and she has time for family and friends. She is, in short, a joy. And she is, now, a published author. She also got a four-line western published in Cactus Country III and got a short story called “Legend of Dark Mountain” published in Bigfoot Confidential: Finally the Truth Revealed. Nice job, Joy!

As for me, my progress and published works are always available for review by clicking on the tabs above, but I’ll give you a quick rundown here. My short story, “No Peace in the Quiet,” won second place in the Storytellers Magazine division at the OCW Conference. I had a story published in Female First, a UK online magazine, called “Bridging the Five Year Gap.” My short story, “The Den,” was published in Bigfoot Confidential: Finally the Truth Revealed. I also had a four-line western published in Cactus Country III. My short stories “Dudley” and “Code Blue” can be found in the HSFAC anthology. I won first place in an online teen fantasy fiction contest for my short story, “Rite of Passage.” And I’m now an Associate Editor for Frontier Tales, the Western Division of Pen-L Publishing. (Can you picture my fingers cramping? It’s been crazy!)

So, we’ve had a productive year, and we’re all working on projects that promise to make 2013 even better than 2012. Congratulations to my fellow writers mentioned above, and to those of you out there who also reached new heights in your writing careers this year. Let us know in the comments how you did, and what you are hoping for in 2013.

I’m done blogging until the new year. I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my family. The picture here is the nativity scene my brother and sister gave me and my husband as a gift the year before we got married. My brother built the manger and storage case; my sister was responsible for all the figurines. Not only is it one of my most treasured possessions; it’s what the season is really all about. I wish you all a blessed holiday, and I’ll see you all in 2013.

—  Staci

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