Ten years ago tonight we were trying to figure out what the hell to do for The Big Night, and ended up going down to Anchorage city centre to watch the fireworks and listen to the Native drummers bang in the new millennium. Actually, that was a fairly cool way to start it, and it’s one of the few times in my life I haven’t more or less been reading a book, looked up at seven after midnight, and said, “Oh, hey, Happy New Year,” and gone to bed.
We moved to California not very long after that, cementing San Francisco in my heart as a Favorite Place To Live. It’s still on the short list, if I could ever afford it. We spent a couple years there. Our college friend Shaun moved in with us. I wrote URBAN SHAMAN on my train commute. We watched the Dot Com industry blow up around us. When it blew Ted’s job away, we moved back to Alaska, where I continued to work for the California company and Ted worked IT until they abused him so much that the only sensible thing to do was quit.
I went to the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference in September 2002 and it lit a fire under my ass. I set myself a goal of getting a book contract in three years. Fourteen months later I sold URBAN SHAMAN and two sequels to Luna Books. Jennifer Jackson became my agent. URBAN SHAMAN hit the shelves three months before my 3-year-get-a-contract deadline was up.
Ted went to culinary school, where his more-than-passable cooking skills became Fully Qualified Chef Skills, a fact which, for the past six years, every time it is mentioned to a woman of my acquaintance, garners *great* envy.
We bought a house, one which I hadn’t even wanted to look at but Ted insisted. Ted, it turned out, was right; it was a great house, and we put an offer in about five minutes after walking through the door. (Ted, it turns out, is often right.) One of the things I particularly miss about that house is that the kitchen had a breakfast bar where I could sit on one side while Ted cooked on the other, and told me all about what he was doing. I called it Ted TV. :)
Six months before URBAN SHAMAN came out, in December 2004, I sold the Cate Dermody novels and got re-organized out of my web design job for the California company. I haven’t had a day job since. Instead, I’ve written some 2 million words, on the order of about fifteen books. I created a five year plan for writing, the goal of which was to have a visible amount of shelf space dedicated to CE Murphy titles at any given bookstore (at least the chain stores). I went back to the RMFW conference in 2005 and met Betsy Mitchell, who became my editor at Del Rey shortly thereafter, which helped with that goal.
In late 2005 we threw all caution to the wind, sold our house, and, in a move almost as widely envied as my husband the chef, moved to Ireland. This has been an adventure, with all the varying meanings contained in that word applied. I’m not sure I actually think moving across the world wholesale is a wise course of action, though it does force you to go with what you get, since you can’t really afford to run away again. We moved just in time for the recession, pretty much, and the dollar has been very weak almost the whole time we’ve been here, which has meant finances have been…exciting. It’s not an excitement I recommend.
Living in Ireland is very much like living in a foreign country, despite the nominal language in common. There are aspects to it which I’ve accepted in the sense of “Yes, that’s how they do things here”, but which I will probably continue to beat my head against for as long as we continue to live here (the answer to which question is, “until the US gets the health care system straightened out”). On the other hand, our visit back home last month astonished us with ways in which we’d accepted some aspects of Irish/European culture (smaller cars! walkable city centres! RECYCLING!), and we came to the unassailable conclusion that if we *did* move back to the States, we would really have to move somewhere which accommodated our new way of thinking, rather than adapting our behaviors back to our old ways. That was quite the revelation to us.
And we’ve met truly wonderful people while living here. Ireland has a science fiction/fantasy convention scene, which, though small, is considerably larger than, say, Alaska’s. We would not have missed meeting our Irish (and British, and, oddly enough, occasionally American) friends for the world. Nor would we have wanted to miss Ireland’s music scene, which is VASTLY larger than Alaska’s. We’ve seen Eric Clapton, The Who, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Elton John, and somebody else radically cool I’m forgetting right now since we’ve been here.
I wrote and produced a superhero comic book, a process which took, from start to finish, about four years. Next time hopefully it’ll go faster. I also went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time (without Ted, who may have forgiven me by now, though I’m not sure I’ve forgiven myself), with the expectation of the comic book being announced there, and was bitterly disappointed. The con, however, is mind-boggling, and it was worth going on several other professional levels, so that was good.
The five year plan is almost up. I have (including the comic book as one unit) fifteen books out. Ten of them are CE Murphy titles, which was the number I was after. June, which is the proper end of the 5 year plan, will see an eleventh CE Murphy book on the shelves, too, plus two or three anthologies with my name as one of the leads.
It’s been a busy decade, and I am quite, quite certain the next one is going to be even busier.
Happy New Year, and Decade, to all!
(x-posted from the essential kit)