2016 in Review

Every year has its ups and downs, its achievements and its misses. Given this past election season, and the anxiety I harbor about the year ahead, I thought I would take a moment to remind myself of all the awesome in my life in 2016.

Concerts & Shows

This year I attended more concerts and shows than I have in any year of my life

  • March 30th – Attended Ask Me Another show/ recording in Orlando with Karen
  • May 5th – The Play that Goes Wrong – with Toby
  • May 6th – Lush concert – The Roundhouse – with Toby
  • June 3rd – Weird Al Yankovic Mandatory Fun World Tour – with Toby, Ron, Dave, Tessa, Zachary and Leo
  • July 7th – Welcome to Nightvale show Ghost Stories, Tampa – with G.W.
  • December 2 – Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – University Auditorium, UF – Allyson, Nick, Lila, Kendra, Carlos, Allison
  • December 11 – A Night with Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, and Jherek Bischoff – Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale – With Toby and Ron


Places I went – Some for work, some for fun.

  • Hattiesburg, MS- IRDay (April)
  • London, Paris – Concert and vacation (May)
  • Orlando, FL  – ALA Annual conference (June), FL- Scholarly Communications Interest Group conference (June), visit friends (Various)
  • Alaskan Cruise with Melson family (July)
    • Seattle
    • Juneau
    • Skagway
    • Glacier Bay
    • Ketchikan
    • Victoria, BC
  • Indianapolis, IN – GenCon (August)
  • Columbus, Ohio – USETDA conference (September
  • Bok Tower Gardens, FL – day trip on Homecoming holiday (October)

Books Read

Over on Goodreads, I set up a challenge for myself to read 40 books. I met my goal, and you can see Goodreads’ summary here. It’s a very pretty visual. There are some books I feel are worth highlighting:

Learn and Grow

  • Attended Mindfulness Retreat weekend in January
  • Attended two Writing The Other masterclasses, transcribed a third
    • Writing Native American Characters: How Not to Do a Rowling!
    • Writing Deaf and Blind Characters
    • Writing for Trans and Non-Binary Narratives
  • Read from a banned book at ALA for Banned Books Week series videos
  • Walked with PFLAG in Pride Parade
  • Attended UF Quest conference
  • Became board member of PFLAG
  • Attended PFLAG Transgender symposium

Celebrations and Connections

  • Treated myself to a spa day in January for my birthday
  • Visited friends who live in England when they were in Orlando
  • Attended Toby’s godson’s HS graduation party
  • Attended Bobby and Lee Kirby’s wedding
  • Attended Stephani and Vince’s wedding
  • Attended Birthday lunch with Tempest
  • Went with Allison to get her tattoo
  • Went to the 30th anniversary showing of Labyrinth in theaters for Karen’s birthday
  • Went with sib to start the legal name change process for them
  • Hosted Thanksgiving for my family
  • Visited Toby’s family for Christmas

Random Tidbits

  • Attended the UF home Gymnastics season
  • Attended several UF home Football games
  • Started office hours as IR Manager – Fall term
  • Early Voted
  • Got rid of a lot of paper in my office – scanned a bunch then recycled
  • Created shelf / necklace holder
  • Created art for Amanda Palmer, gave it to her, and got a kiss on the cheek in return

Live at 1:45 12/31; I’ll come back later and add photos.


Six month plan – Writer’s Table model

Whelp, we have officially wasted half a year. Only six month remain to make what we want to out of 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at myself for what I have/ haven’t achieved so far this year, but I can say I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, particularly on the writing front, which means maybe a new tactic is in order.


I had the good fortune to meet Eleanor at a book signing tour in New Orleans in 2011

Luckily the latest newsletter from The Writer’s Table, from the charming and brilliant Eleanor Brown arrived with not only the reminder that the year is half done, but also a way to set realistic goals for the rest of the year.

The goals work backwards from the big picture to today, and I think this will be a technique I can really work with – because let’s be honest, part of my not accomplishing writing goals for the first half of 2016 was not having clearly defined goals. Hard to achieve goals when they consist mostly of a nebulous “I should write more.”

The questions Eleanor recommends you ask yourself when setting your 6 month goals are:

  1. Where would I like to be with my writing by the end of the year? [12/31/2016; 183 days away]*
  2. In order to achieve that goal, what do I need to have accomplished by Halloween? [10/31/2016; 122 days away]
  3. In order to make it there by Halloween, where do I need to be by Labor Day? [9/5/2016; 66 days away]
  4. In order to reach that Labor Day goal, what do you need to do right now? [7/1/2016; right now]

*Dates and # of days away are my own addition, to help me conceptualize this better. And I know this post is several days after 7/1/2016, but work with me here 😉

Upon reading the newsletter, I came up with these possible writing goals:

  • Time writing per day/week
  • Finish and begin submitting  Here There Be
  • Write and submit to critique group the Garret short story (to send to Writers of the Future in Spring)
  • Write first draft of Casey Watkins and the Missing Mascot
  • Complete second draft of Foxglove and Queen Anne’s Lace – find Gamma readers
  • Expand the Snow White inspired story to novel length
  • Get to halfway point of next draft of Divine Madness (1/2 point defined as 1) through second trail or 2) 60,000 words)

As you can see, I have too many writing goals to do them all in the next six months (or the last six months, which is probably why I stalled out). I have decided to focus on the two in purple text, one is polishing a short story, and beginning to send it out, the other is working on a second draft. I chose that one because it sounds difficult – I find generating story ideas and coming up with a first draft relatively easy – the part of my craft that I need the most work on is editing/ getting to the point of submission.

Wish me luck, and best wishes to all of you taking the opportunity of the new month to reevaluate goals.

Continue reading

Snapshot Saturday gone wild: Photo Blog of ALA

Last week I attended ALA Annual – (the larger of the American Library Association’s conferences) for work. While I was there to present one poster, and co-present a second, and learn from fellow library professionals, I also had the opportunity to enjoy myself. My friend Karen, a local to the Orlando area, let me stay at her house, and accompanied me to the conference’s exhibit floor, as well as sharing some other local joys with me, including her lovely four-footed child, Zelda.

Professional Development


All checked in with the first day’s conference paper.


I presented “There’s a policy for that?” at the Saturday morning poster session. Photo by Brian Keith.


Selfie with my poster.


George Wade with the poster we co-presented, “7,000 and Counting


Meeting Authors 


When the author asks for a selfie with you. Apparently I ask good questions. Photo by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo


An articulate and inspiring young lady – Selfie with Jazz Jennings.


Meeting an NPR celebrity – Paula Poundstone

Robin Stevenson, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Ingrid Abrams, Alex Gino, E.M. Kokie discussing LBT+ representation in YA and MG novels.

Robin Stevenson, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Ingrid Abrams, Alex Gino and E.M. Kokie discussing LBT+ representation in YA and MG novels.


Taking on Important Issues


Karen’s contribution to the “I Stand with Orlando” board.


I stand with Orlando because love and not hate is what should define humanity. #OrlandoStrong


In light of all the hubbub around bathroom bills, I was thrilled to see this sign in one of the main banks of bathrooms.

There was a booth to create videos for banned books week. Karen read an excerpt from It, and I chose And Tango Makes Three.

There was a booth to create videos for banned books week. Karen read an excerpt from It, and I chose And Tango Makes Three.


Other Weekend Fun


Ice cream sandwiches, cupcakes and a cafe with comfy chairs and books – snacking heaven.

Me and Zelda chillin'

Me and Zelda chillin’

Logging books I scored in the exhibit hall in Goodreads

Logging books I scored in the exhibit hall in Goodreads

Zelda just wanted a seat at the table.

Zelda just wanted a seat at the table.