Though I blog every second Tuesday over at Women & Words, I rarely write a personal blog. I’m not sure why. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I really don’t have that much to say (despite all evidence to the contrary). I think, too, I don’t have much time. Like everyone else, I have lots of things going on that require my attention: the day job ... writing ... playing with the kittens ... being ever-vigilant in my preparation for the day when I find a dead body while running. Any one of these is a full-time job.

But still, I should make time. Even if I don’t put it out there for anyone else to read, I really should make time to write something short, focused and just for myself. And, given that it’s almost fall, I have decided to put it on my list of things to change. I know most people look at the start of a new year as the perfect time to make changes, but I’ve never really bought into New Year’s Resolutions. For whatever reason, change doesn’t stick for me if implemented on January 1. When I make changes, it has always historically been right around this time of year when summer gives way to fall.

Don’t ask me why this is the case; I don’t know. All I can tell you is that almost all of my really big, life-altering changes have occurred in the fall. Maybe it’s because I get to break out the sweaters and scarves I’d forgotten about over the heat of spring and summer. Maybe I get drunk on the heady aroma of burning leaves and the sticky sweetness of the trees as they eke out a last, vibrant hurrah before the cold hibernation of winter. Maybe it’s the fact that there is just some indefinable, palpable energy that inspires me to make changes. As I said ... I don’t know why, but fall is my New Year’s Eve.

I know a lot of people don’t like change, but I find it exciting ... invigorating. It is refreshing. And even though it can be scary, I believe it’s necessary to move forward – which is why I am writing this blog and why I’m sharing a little about the changes I have/am going to make. (And yes, there are three.)

First, my partner and I are going to be moving from Kansas City to Asheville, North Carolina. We have purchased land and hope to start construction on a house within the month. It was not a decision we made lightly, because my family and friends, my LGBTQI community, and my job are all in Kansas City. But, it’s time for a change.

And that’s the thing about change. Once you make one change, all sorts of others occur. One of my personal goals is to eventually write full time. I’m not there yet, but when we make the move, I’m going to put myself in a position where I’m going to try to make that happen – which leads me to the second change. I have decided to begin the transition to full-time writer (and part-time something else to pay the bills). I have been blessed with the opportunity to take on every career that interested me. Newspaper reporter – check. Politics – check. Archaeology and teaching at the post-secondary level – check. And now, it’s time for the next chapter (see what I did there?)

And that brings me to the third significant change. As some of you may have noticed, I have joined the Bywater Books family of authors. I am honored that they wanted to sign my as-yet untitled (and also unwritten) novel that follows the lives of five Harvey Girls in the 1920s and 30s. I’ve always had the utmost amount of respect for Marianne K. Martin (with whom I’m working on a lecture series to document and provide social, cultural and political context for the work of lesbian authors throughout history). And it goes without saying that I think Kelly Smith is an amazing editor who will push me to write at a much higher, more literary level and hopefully, help me achieve my goal of writing full-time.

Bywater comprises a fabulous, supportive group of women that starts with Marianne and Kelly, and now includes their new publisher, Salem West. And then there are Bywater’s authors, too many to name, but whose work I have read for years and am so humbled to now have as colleagues. Having the chance to breathe their same air is exciting (and slightly daunting, were I to be honest).

Speaking of books, this coming year is going to be big for me. Not only will the Harvey Girls novel be published by Bywater Books in the fall of 2016, but also in the spring of 2016, Bedazzled Ink Publishing will be releasing my first mainstream book, State of Grace. It is the story of a young girl’s murder in the 1980s in a small Kansas town and how that impacts her best friend as she grows into adulthood. I have the utmost amount of respect for Claudia and Casey at BInk and I’m eager to see their business take off under their new distributor, Independent Publishers Group (IPG).

Change is scary—especially as we get older. But I firmly believe that if I am going to continue to evolve and grow, change is both necessary and good. I look forward to the next year and I’m eager to share the journey with you.

So ... shall we?

*This is totally "borrowed" from songstress and fellow Kansan, Melissa Etheridge, and her song, "Change."