2014 will go down in my history books as a great year.

On numerous fronts it was the worst one I have ever had. It would be easy and natural for me to go and count the horrible things that happened this year and how much I wished this year would have never happened. I have more than enough reason and material to make a blog post a mile long detailing every rotten and difficult thing I had to endure this year. I've shed more genuine tears this year than I can even begin to count. I lost my mother this year if that gives you any indication of how much it sucked. 

However that is all you will hear from me on that topic right now. Those of you who know me already know the bulk of it, and those of you who don't know me that well yet can sift through previous blog posts (It's reallllly easy to do. It's the same blog you're reading this on right now.) and get caught up to speed. Doing so will give you a better overview than any distillation I could provide here and I'd even venture to say, you'll enjoy it more. So go do that if you haven't already, or just keep reading this post (maybe even finish it before digging around) and see what I do have to say.

2014 Was the year I played my hand... and won for once.

Without heading into an excruciating amount of detail, I will tell you that I finally secured a solid source of income in 2014. That isn't to say I was ever unemployed or destitute thankfully, as I have been employed continuously from age sixteen until the present day. What I mean to say is that after over a decade of fighting tooth and nail, I negotiated myself into a position where I am paid on a salary basis and not an hourly/commission structure. A really good salary actually. There are some benefits to staying with a company long enough to make yourself nearly indispensable. 

For those of you who have never worked commission, let me try to depict what it's like:

After that, you just get right back up and run for as long as you can until you eat the dashboard again. Can it be lucrative? Sure. As long as you have things to sell and people that are buying. If you are short on product or short on people that buy it, you crash your metaphorical face into the sales floor, and it sweeps you off without a second thought. Fortunately that's not me anymore. I can take time off without worrying that I'm hemorrhaging money with every minute. I can enjoy the days I don't work knowing I'm not missing anything that will affect my life in any measurable way. That in and of itself makes this year a good year. But I'm not done...

I started twittering and found... so much

I have been working on my debut novel, Sakura Softworks, since the tail end of 2012 so it's coming up on two years. What started as a silly exercise I started to vent and purge all of the frustrations and anger I had, has become something else entirely. I blame 2014 and my putting my self out there on Twitter for much of that progress. Again, I won't detail it here, since it's been addressed in previous blog posts. But suffice it to say, Twitter has been my lifeline. I had previously joined various writer-oriented sites in hopes of finding at least one friggin' person who would read my stuff and I could read theirs so we could help each other. I was dying to find a community of people who could help and encourage and support me and I, them during the process of writing a book or at least attempting to. I even powered through National Novel Writing Month's Summer Camp (NaNoWriMo) with a cabin full of people writing books. Whaaaaaat? Surely these like minded individuals would be the group I was looking for. That's what I thought, until they evaporated like a New Years resolution. 

Twitter changed all that. Never have I found such an effective conduit for connecting people of like minds and goals. I found people who encourage and support beyond what one could ever expect. Not only that, but people who are at entirely different stages in their writing journey, all working together and lifting each other up. I have people who I call friends on Twitter that have published dozens of books, and yet are still willing to help someone such as myself who hasn't published a damn thing other than a blog. I have people who I call friends on Twitter who have been working on books for a shorter period of time than I have who I am able to learn so much from as well. I won't go through the list of names here, because quite frankly, you know who you are. Well... that and I know I'll forget a few and feel like the floor of a taxicab once I realize it. If you've read this far you're one of the people who made a difference in my life this year. I *am* talking about you. Deal with it. Without you I wouldn't be who I am today, nor who I will be going forward. Seriously. Thank you. YOU made my life better. However, there is one person I will mention by name here.

Debi Smith changed my life.

That's not hyperbole nor is it a trite saying. It's the honest truth. I don't make friends easily. I have high, thick walls that protect each and every aspect of my life from... well, from everybody. I have not allowed myself to have someone new in my life that I would call a "best friend" in over ten years. Before that it was over twenty. I am on the decade plan of BFFs. If you want to be my BFF, I'm sorry. The next forecasted opening for that position is in 2024. Why did she get the honor you ask? (Please, you flatter me... "the honor".)

Because ever since we started bonding over a threat to trash her own work-in-progress, we have discovered that we have so much in common, it's frightening. From our love for food to our obsession for music, we are in lock-step. We laugh at the same things, which in many cases are wildly inappropriate things. We have read each other's works-in-progress and have learned that we can help each other immensely in so many ways even in that respect. We lift each other up when we are discouraged, we lift others up side by side when we see a friend struggling, and we are a good team. She is an amazing author who likes to get in shouting matches with me over text and Twitter on who is more awesome, me or her. In all actuality, it's a probably a tie. We are just the Awesome Twins. 

Before your mind gets all cray cray, the most amazing part about this friendship is that it's not a romantic relationship. Never has been. It was formed on the foundation of mutual respect, shared ideals, and a ridiculous amount of laughing. Oh good lord the laughing. I've laughed until I'm hoarse with Debi. If you had told me a friendship like that between a man and a woman was possible last year I would have told you you're a nutbag. A big one.

I was wrong. 

(Well you still might be a nutbag but I was wrong about the whole friendship thi- you get the picture.)

Now on to a new year, and with it many new adventures with all of my new friends. (Yes, you.)