A beginning and an end

December is a weird month.

In the Catholic calendar, last Sunday (December 2) was the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent marks the beginning of a new calendar year in the church. In a way, this means I’m at a beginning, much like January is the beginning of a new calendar year and September always feels like the start of something new because it’s a new school year.

But December is also The End. Father Time with his long, white beard is getting ready to hand things off to a brand-new Baby New Year (if you’ve seen the old Rudolph special from Rankin & Bass you’ll have a visual to go with those words). Snow covers the ground. Mother Nature is in hibernation. It feels like the perfect time to cuddle up with a book and a blanket, to look back at the year to see what’s been accomplished, what’s left to do, and what might be done better next year.

Hello, dichotomy anyone?

2017 was the year the universe reminded me this writing gig is a long haul. After so much success in 2016, I went 1 for 6 on submissions for the year. Humbling, ain’t it? Yet at the same time, I’d say the stories I wrote this year were better than some I’ve written previously. I have a number of lovely rejections from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine to show for it. I could let those rejections be “the end,” but I choose to view them more of a “not yet.”

The Girl (my 17-year-old daughter) is also feeling this “beginning-end” tug of war. In a couple weeks, she should receive a decision on her application to her college of choice. An acceptance means the beginning of a new phase in her life and education. At the same time, senior year is The End–the end of high school, prom, curfews, and the ability to rely on parents for all your meals and clean laundry.

So where am I?

Well, some things are definitely ending. After searching for an agent for two years, it’s time to consider other paths to publication. That’s an end…and a beginning. It’s time to close the book on some stories (at least for the time begin) and start new ones, something I’ve already done.

Maybe there is no beginning or end. Maybe time is more like the infinity symbol: looping and twisting, sometimes going up and sometimes dragging you down. Maybe this concept of “beginning and end” is just a human conceit.

See? December is a weird month!

But here’s a definite beginning! We’ve got exciting new things coming to Mysteristas in 2018 and we’re kicking off the year with a contest? You’ve seen our “peeping girl” icon (top of the page at the right). We’ve decided she needs a name and who better to name her than our readership? And we’re giving away a Kindle Paperwhite to the winner!

Here’s how to enter: Comment on this blog, or on our Facebook page, with your suggested name and a contact email address. The contest will be open for the entire month of December and over our scheduled holiday break. It will close at midnight on January 6. We will contact the winner and announce upon our return in January 2018.

And stay tuned for more awesome beginnings next year!


Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She survived growing up through reading, cutting her mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and, of course, Nancy Drew. As an adult, she finds escape from the world of software documentation through creating her own fictional murder and mayhem. She lives near Pittsburgh with her husband and two teenage children, and fantasizes about owning a dog again - one of these days.

14 thoughts on “A beginning and an end”

  1. Time as a continuum. Well said and perfect, we are constantly channeling all we have learned into all that we do and refining it. Love it! I’ve got my fingers crossed that your daughter gets into the school of her dreams. I know 2018 will be the perfect year for you and yours, for the Mysteristas, and for the Mysteristas readers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel that push-pull in December, too, but I think it’s more muscle memory than anything else. With all the kids grown and most of them living elsewhere and no grandkids, Christmas isn’t a big deal anymore so I find myself looking forward to that pristine January where all things are new and fresh. Yeah, yeah, I know. My new calendar is already cluttered, too. So, yes … continuum. Let’s just keep doing what we must to keep us in good health, mentally and otherwise.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas for our Peeping Girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As someone who finds the holidays stressful, I’m always grateful when they’re over and the new year begins. It’s like a weight is lifted and I’m ready to fly again.

    My suggestion for your Peeping Girl’s name is Allegra LeMaster.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so with you. Somehow I got this reputation of being a huge Christmas lover (deserved, I’m sure) but I’m older now and easily stressed. And people exect certain Christmas-y things from me. In October I begin looking forward to January when I can get my routine back.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good luck with all of the new beginnings on your horizon! I spent three years searching for the right agent before deciding to go Indie two years ago. I can’t say it’s been easy, but I’m still happy with my decision. Whatever path you choose, writing is definitely a long haul!
    I’d already posted on Facebook my suggestion for a name: Madeline.
    Happy holidays to you and the entire Mysteristas team!


  5. I think the perfect name for the “peeping girl” is Nancy. When I ask authors why they write mysteries, most reply that they have read mysteries since childhood, starting with Nancy Drew. Even the readers in my book club mention that “Nancy” was their first mystery. Nancy is mentioned as an early influence by prominent women including Sandra Day O’Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush. Her books have been continually updated and reprinted since they first appeared in 1930 and are among the top 50 all-time bestselling children’s books. She even out-sells Christie.
    There is a Nancy Drew Convention, with the next being April 25-28, 2018 – Key West Florida.
    Before Lizbeth Salander, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, or Renee Ballard (the list could go on and on) there was Nancy. It is only fitting that Nancy is peeking out from behind a book to see what we are up to.


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