Climbing into the New Year and Readable Treats

Blue Moods and Warm Sun
I woke up this morning feeling pretty darn good--motivated, cheery and rested. While my husband slept (and the poor over-worked guy is still sleeping as I write this), I got up and walked the dog. The sun was shining and the water on Long Island Sound sparkled as we strolled along beach. Although it was cold out there, the sun was warm on my face (Ahhh...). The dog, perpetually chipper Sandy the yellow Lab, was happy as a peach and trotted along doing her doggie thing with abandon (I still say dogs are Bodhisattvas, here on earth to teach us how to be happy and forgiving).

After our walk, we clamored back into the house and I decided to bake banana walnut muffins. Mind you, I'm not an avid baker, so wanting to make muffins was another indication of being in a darn good mood (btw, the muffins turned out extra-great--wish you were here, I'd share with you). Then to my surprise, I had the urge to blog. I've been wanting to talk with you and wish you happy holidays and see how life is for you, but I've been a little blue. When I'm blue, writing is very hard for me.

I've been slowly climbing out of this malaise for a couple of months now (clawing inch by inch, to be dramatic about it), hence my less than stellar blogging schedule. There have been a few stresses, (my dad's health, looming layoffs, college tuition for my daughter and worrying about her VERY stressful senior year in architecture, etc), but mostly I suppose the mood thing is seasonal or whatever, but it always perplexes me when it happens. I actually feel kind of guilty when I'm feeling down, since I have SO much to be thankful for and happy about. The world isn't a kind place to a lot of people, but I'm one of the lucky ones on the planet. All my basics are covered--I live in a safe and peaceful place, I have plenty of food and clothing, I have people who love me, and my family and I are healthy. Like most folks in the western world, I have aspirations beyond the basics, but when you really get down to it, I'm one lucky woman.

So as I said, I'm feeling pretty darn good and as I embark on a new year with you, I'm also feeling deeply grateful for all I have. And though it may sound a bit pollyanna, one of the things I'm thankful for is you. As my friends and readers, you truly make my life a richer place. You give me a place to share my thoughts and feelings, my fiction and my madness. Who else would put up with all my yammering? So please accept my thanks and my wishes to you for a new year filled with love, peace, excellent health and abundance. You deserve it!

Now, if you're still reading after all the whining and schmaltz, here's some great reading to look forward to in the New Year.

Apex Magazine
Here's the latest from Apex Magazine - CLICK HERE. It's online and it's FREE! Apex continues to bring us some of the best fiction in the business. Be sure to check out their up coming book releases, as well. They've got some doozies on the way. I got an early copy of Sara Harvey's, CONVENT OF THE PURE, and it's wonderful. If you like fast paced dark fantasy, you'll likely love this novella.

Dark Discoveries
Dark Discoveries is shipping it's latest offering--DD#12. Always an excellent read, buy a copy or, better yet, a very affordable subscription and help do your part to keep small press magazines alive. These folks have been dropping like flies lately, and DD is one of few still producing a fantastic print magazine. CLICK HERE for a look at DD#12.

Clarkesworld Magazine
Another fantastic online magazine that maintains a standard of excellence hard to come by online or in print. For excellent fiction online, both print and audio, be sure to visit the acclaimed Clarkesworld Magazine online FREE! And if you enjoy the visual delight as much as I do, you'll love Clarkesworld--they have some of the best cover art in the business. CLICK HERE for Clarkesworld Magazine.

So there you have it, gang. A few literary delights from some hardworking folks, plus lots of gratitude and new year's wishes from moi'. Onward into 2009!

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel

Note: Saint Bernard photo by corey and laura at flickr. Thank you!