The year 2022 can’t be measured with lists and Viking rituals. It simply started in the worst possible way.
I won’t go into the details, but I was in tremendous pain. I imagined the worst, and for good reason. All signs pointed down a road I’d traveled before that was scraggly and awful. As I struggled with the pain, tsunamis of anxiety and grief crashed down around me. For some reason The Unthanks’s haunting version of “Magpie” went through my head on repeat.
Devil, devil, I defy thee.
My world was falling apart in a way I knew all too well.
But then, a miracle happened. After my regular doctors failed to treat the issue, I went to a specialist. He ran some tests, and we found something. I won’t bore you with my diagnosis. However, I made a minor lifestyle change and…the pain vanished. Like that. Totally gone. All that anguish just dried up. It made sense. It really did. I just couldn’t believe how little it took. And it hasn’t been back since. So…whew?
The Good Girl
Meanwhile, I’d been looking for an agent for my memoir, The Good Girl. It became clear that it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t a celebrity, and my topic wasn’t, well, topical in the way some are. Not the stuff of Educated or Maid that speaks to larger social issues. While my story is highly relatable, it can also be quite provocative to the average reader.
So, I decided to submit the memoir to an independent publisher that my friend Tori Eldridge had published with: Running Wild Press. I forgot about it while I hired a developmental editor for my La Maupin book, The Blade that Lies. Former senior editor at Tor, Melissa Frain rocked the book in the best way. Not being in pain meant I could focus on that work. I also immediately tried to engage agents with the revised draft, but with no success.
And that’s when it happened. Lisa Kastner at RWP contacted me. A month later, we signed a book contract for the memoir. It’s coming out in 2024, edited by Aimee Hardy.
The Good Girl is the most important story I have to tell. It’s my 緣份 yuánfèn, my destiny. I feel like my whole life has rolled up to this point.
The New New Beginnings
I know what you’re thinking. “Another genre, Maria?” Yes, ANOTHER GENRE. Hey, I tell the stories I need to tell, okay? And this genre isn’t especially new. You bums have been getting my personal essays for free. The only difference now is that, instead of posting them to Medium or personal blog, I’m now sending them out to magazine editors. It takes a while to get traction, to find the right editors and publications. It’ll happen.
I can’t wait for you guys to read them, though. There’s a reason I’ve always just put them up on my blog. Life is too short not to laugh.
We also seem to have acquired another cat. Things haven’t gone well integrating her with the other two. We’ve named her Theodosia Wigglebutt. She definitely reminds me of another little gray kitty I once owned named Ophelia that appears in my memoir…
I knew the Scorpio eclipse on October 25th was going to swing a wrecking ball into my world. I was right. On October 27, along with 5% of our staff, I was laid off. (Our UX team was hit especially hard.) My teams and I have struggled to understand why I was one of those let go when I’ve been so central to much of the work we’ve done. There’s no answer except one with dollar signs.
The market is bleak. The astrological winds have been harsh and will continue to be so through January, but by February 2023 life should be looking up. (I actually have reason to hope March 1 will bring positive changes.) I have some ideas about how to make money while I’m out of work. And people are already asking if I’m open to freelancing. But I won’t soon forget this job I love and the people I work with.
Oh, and I got COVID after not having as much as a cold in 6.5 years. BAH.
The Next Step
Speaking of work, I’ll soon be hard at it on Aimee’s edits for The Good Girl. I won’t be able to afford the publicist I’d wanted to hire, but I can educate myself enough to get started on my own book PR. It could be fun! It could be hard. I could turn homicidal. I’ll try not to, though. I’ve succeeded lo these many years to stay out of prison. It’s hard to do signings behind bars. I’ll do my best.
I’m also working on a new YA horror mystery, and depending on what happens, I might have special plans for The Blade that Lies. Whatever happens, I’m taking a sword with me into 2023. If I go down, it’ll be swinging and stabbing.