There’s no possible way I can cram all the amazing of an entire year into one single albeit lengthy blogpost—I mean so many incredible people were met, new friendships forged, and buckets of awesome things happened, so not even trying to name everyone I’ve met and/or owe sloppy kisses of gratitude to this past year, and include pictures of awesome shit like my eldest minion's first college football game, the shark hat I was given and wore during SOoW Shark Week Shenanigans, the BACON cookies and brownies I was sent, Jenn Sterling randomly twerking, or Tara Sivec's breasts overflowing with cash, and leaving out the many automobiles that came and went from our garage due to Dave’s suspected car buying addiction, I’m gonna try to hit the highlights if I can, starting with a year ago January...
January: We brought in the new year of 2013 like always, with our annual New Year's Eve party, and this one was CRAZY. Coming close to probably 60 people including all the kidlets, our house was bursting with raucous laughter and the sights and smells of friends new and old coming together to celebrate our shared survival of another year. Shortly thereafter, my oldest minion turned 16. SIX-FUCKING-TEEN.Yes, I realize that this also means the girl who’s currently getting her groove on to “Little Brown Ants” by The Wiggles for fuck’s sake will be turning 17 very soon here, but I have 2 whole days left to swim in the river denial and I plan to do just that until Saturday rolls around and I have to sing the dirge of Happy Birthday to my baby who’s growing up way too fast, but we couldn't be more thrilled to watch her as she does it. We also found out that in her 16 years, she’s developed a deadly allergy to peanuts, making yet one more thing I’ve written about in fiction become a reality in my life. Our middle minion followed in her older sister’s footsteps and became a cheerleader, we said goodbye to our beloved, 16-year-old cat, Chloe, and Dave and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary, which obviously means we’re coming up on 18 years of wedded bliss, and all I can say is, holy shit. Who knew a dare could last this long?! Oh, and what happens in Vegas, doesn’t necessarily stay there, just FYI...we’re clearly living proof.
The girls and I saw P!nk in concert, and if you haven’t had the pleasure, I highly recommend seeing one of her shows live. She’s a phenomenal performer. We also ventured home to San Diego for a Friday the 13th/President’s Weekend of shenanigans and fun spent with our cousins and the Fair Glen Crew, where Karen’s house became the site of one of the biggest non-summer camp sleepovers in the history of ever. February also saw Shark Bait getting a facelift, going from a homemade cover featuring a rubber ducky to one that was professionally designed and GYP branded by a chick I’m blessed to now call friend.
March saw us clapping and shouting at Faith’s first-ever cheer competition, and also stocking up on cinnamon and tuna for our previously forgotten about imaginary 4th daughter, Gracie. We made another trip back to San Diego so that Alison could attend Valhalla’s Sweethearts dance with her lifelong friend, Tyler, who’s cool & mysterious factor of course went up several notches for importing his date and keeping her a secret until they walked in together. He was apparently also voted by the varsity baseball team as having the hottest date at the dance. (*Dave’s and my DNA takes a bow and says, “You’re welcome.”*)
April: Like always, April was filled with celebrating, and this year we not only celebrated the births of Davey and Faith, who finally became an official teenager and celebrated her birth with a movies in the pool party (we couldn't find a copy of JAWS, so she and 2 dozen or more of her friends settled for Sinister), but also my second published book in the Grab Your Pole series, The Other Fish in the Sea, was released, hitting Amazon’s Top 100 in 3 genres within the first 2 days of publication. In our month of celebrating, we also partied it up and wished the husband and father of our military family a safe and as boring as possible 8 month deployment to Iraq.
May: Our youngest kidlet, Erin, was inducted into the National Junior Honors Society for the first time, while Faith was re-inducted, and Alison gained entrance into the National Honors Society, and I also shed joyous tears in a moment with a dear friend in baring witness to her graduating high school amongst much pomp and circumstance. My entire family joined with the cousins once again to spend a fabulous time at the river over Mother’s Day weekend, where Alison drove a jet-ski for the first time, Faith and Erin along with the boys covered themselves in mud like strips of pre-Bacon, and I went to work on editing and putting the finishing touches on GYP#3.
May also brought with it the flurry of excitement of being nominated and voted into being able to participate in the YA Sisterhood’s 2013 YA Crush Tourney, which is an incredible honor and where I was given the blessing of not only having all 4 of my fictional boys be nominated in every category that they were eligible for, but also seeing Tristan make the tournament and even win his first round. That event also gave me some amazing new friends, both in the bookish world and real.
June: My youngest turned 12 in June, giving her dad and I just one last year before our home is filled entirely with teenage girls. We also welcomed into our family, Kripke and Buffy, sister kittens who’ve thus far provided us with many, “awww, they’re just so stinkin’ cute” moments and a few, “oh my God, you’re making me fucking crazy” ones as well. Also in the birthday world, my first published novel, Shark Bait, celebrated its first birthday among some blogosphere fan-fare and hoopla, which lead to conversations taking place in Orlando, Florida at Book Bash where I wasn’t in attendance, but where my writing was notably recognized by an industry professional at Atria, a publishing division of one of the Big 7 Publishing Houses, Simon & Schuster, which of course had me blushing profusely behind my computer screen and inwardly screaming and doing the Snoopy happy dance on mental tables where I was at home reading the enthusiastic and overwhelmingly positive emails from the aforementioned editor.
While the GYP series was felt to be a little too YA for Atria’s list, their enthusiasm and interest brought a jaw-dropping development in my professional life anyway...literary representation by one of the foremost literary agencies in the business, Dystel & Goderich, who represent some of the biggest and brightest new names in contemporary fiction such as Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines, Jamie McGuire, and Tara Sivec, just to name a few. July also saw the highly anticipated publication of my third novel in the Grab Your Pole series, Shark Out of Water, which hit Amazon’s Top 100 in multiple genres before the sun even went down on its release day, and yet one more trip back to San Diego was made for two weeks of beach and California fun.
We attended Discount Tire's annual Rising Starr event and banquet (this year's theme was sports, where all the children of employees are recognized for the their academic achievements of the past school year with awards including trophies, backpacks for the coming year, cash, and t-shirts. After that and all set to go, the girls went back to school; Alison a junior, Faith a top-dog eighth grader, and Erin in seventh, and the month was relatively quiet with all of us settling back into our regular routines. That is until I received an email that sparked a stressed out frenzy of excitement and frenetic designing of and ordering bookish swag along with dozens of print copies of my books for the event that was suddenly coming up the next month, and what I really could’ve used more than the 3 short weeks I had to plan for.
September: My. First. Author Event. Oh my God, I can’t even begin to describe what an incredible experience my first book-signing event was. To make it even more epic, I finally got to lick Tara Sivec, one of my first real beta-readers, a best-selling author, friend, and all around fantastic person. In addition to finally meeting Tara in person, I got to squeeze Karina Halle (yes, she’s just as beautiful in real life as she is in pictures), as well as hang out and most importantly, eat, drink, and be merry with some of my favorite book bloggers and readers; people like Ali from Ginger-read, Janice from the Demon Librarian, Laura of Little Read, and my loveable Megan of Reading Books Like A Boss, and of course Emily, Brenna, and Stephanie, all people who’ve become cherished friends in my everyday life. I also got to meet a the very sweet Trish Brinkley who organized the event among others, and I got to know several other incredibly talented and best selling authors such as fellow 7th Ring inhabitants as AL Jackson, who’s new book “Come To Me Quietly” is releasing in freaking Target stores on my anniversary this January 7th (so you know where I’ll be...) and Chelsea Fine who has THE cutest shoes and the greatest sense of style ever and I think has a closet crush on Giles from BtVS. Other authors I was finally able to meet face-to-face included Helen Boswell, Raine Miller, Katie Ashley, JasindaWilder, Jessica Sorensen, and Aleatha Romig.
And with the yummiest food and sheer epic company, the best meal of my 2013 has to go to dinner at the Arrogant Butcher with my bitch, Tara, Jenn Sterling, who is an all-out riot even when no one is watching, Jillian Dodd who might be one of the most business savvy and kindest people I’ve met, and Amanda Bennett who has a smile that matches her personality and can light up a room like the fourth of July. Not only that, but just simply being able to meet some of the people who’ve read my work and thank them in person was just...mind blowing. And, it made what I do very REAL for me.
Every single time someone would stop by my table and tell me they read one or all of my books and couldn’t wait for the signing so they could meet me was just such an incredibly humbling experience that I’m getting weepy simply remembering it.
September also included another homecoming dance and the addition of a new boyfriend for my eldest child, and at the time of this writing, they’re still together and going strong.
October (aka: The Best Month Ever):
The Grab Your Pole series went on its first official book tour and I celebrated my Hitchhiker Birthday by getting my 6th piece of mobile art, that would coincidentally end up taking 6 hours to be permanently inked onto my body, causing other customers who would come and go during the duration of my time in the chair to say things like, “Wow, you’re getting it all done in one sitting? You’re badass!” I don’t know about that, but I’m definitely in love with what I did on a whim and am happy that I gave myself a gift that’ll keep on giving (I'll get a picture up of it all completed at some point I'm sure) and following it up with eating an entire red velvet cake by myself while watching a marathon of Supernatural. Another gift given in October that’s still giving on a daily basis is the Siberian Husky puppy, Cuda (Barracuda abbreviated to save space), that I gave Dave as an early Christmas present. With that, I think I’m exempt from giving him gifts for the rest of our marriage, as his precious angel leaves us presents throughout each and every day, both inside and out.
It was another somewhat quiet month; if you don’t count life, the bookish giveaways I was honored to be a part of, the pre-release screening of Catching Fire that I was lucky enough to get tickets for the girls and me to attend, the antics of the puppy colliding with those of the kittens, welcoming our friend home safe and sound from his many months in a war zone and celebrating his daughter’s first birthday, house guests in the form of Karen and John who joined us for Thanksgiving this year, Black Friday shopping, and me jumping back into the writing game with a brand spanking new book that I hope to finish and subsequently release some time in 2014.
Kittens climbing and making our Christmas tree their preferred play place, Faith incredibly setting the bar even higher than years past with being voted VP of her school, President of NJHS, maintaing a regular position on Principal’s list for straight As, and now being named a school Hero by her peers yet again, more shopping and family coming together filled the month of December.
For information on how you might be able to help them make it through the coming year, a year that unlike most of us who are looking forward to it, won’t be bringing 2015 or a happily ever after to a twelve year old girl, please either contact me by email at contactjenncooksey (at) gmail (dot) com or message me on FB, and keep your eyes peeled for a FB fundraiser event that I’m hoping to put together in the next week or so.
In closing I want to wish you all everything good and wonderful in life including great books, Bacon and unicorns, with the hopes that we’ll all make 2014 our bitch, and for filling my 2013 to overflowing with epic and awesomesauce, I thank each and every one of you. You’re the best!