2015: A Look Back (Happy New Year!)

2015ReflectionWow. Just wow.

Writing-wise, 2015 was a pretty stellar year. I sold the sequel in the Royals of Solana trilogy, went to my first RT Convention and met some incredible authors/friends, attended six book signings, finished half of the 3rd novel in Royals of Solana trilogy, wrote a new short story in its entirety (with ideas for 2 more in the series), and plotted a brand new Young Adult novel. For extra kicks, I finished the first 3 chapters of it, and invested in my public relations and marketing brand with a kick-a** PR company (Y&R PR).

2016 is lined up to be just as big, if not bigger! I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to NewYear Clockstart on those lofty goals!

In the personal side of my life, intense highs balanced some vicious lows.

First and foremost, my husband and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary! I’m so blessed to have this man as my companion in life. He took me to the Bahamas, where we spent four incredible days scuba diving! Several wreck dives, huge schools of fish, even a shark sighting! Water is a major place of peace for me, and allowed me to recharge with the one I love. Boy did we both need it! (And a huge thank you to my parents, who watched our two angels, despite everyone getting sick while we were gone!)

We also moved into a new house, an seven-year-long savings effort that we finally achieved!

Our seven-year-old started first grade in a new school, and those changes don’t mesh well for someone with Autism Spectrum disorder. Adjusting and acclimating to new surroundings, teachers, and friends was a tremendous challenge for him, and many days were extremely rough. Combine with major hassles with health insurance, including a still ongoing legal fight, my stress was at an all time high in 2015.

Despite all these, there are still so many things for which I am thankful. Our youngest had his cranial helmet removed and learned to walk (actually, went straight to running!) He started part-time daycare and made new friends. A billion more things with my hubby, family, and friends, and all their tremendous support that I cannot thank enough!

2016 is going to have some significant challenges as well. Goes with the territory, but I’m well prepared.

2016 Goals:Remember WhereYouve Been

Continue “Go With the Flow

New mantra: “When you start doubting yourself, remember how far you’ve
come.”

No more soda 🙂 (already 2 days into that one!)

I wish everyone a peaceful and happy New Year. Here’s to a phenomenal 2016!NewYearChampagne

Taking Stock of 2013

champagneAnother round of New Year’s resolutions and goals. This normally includes taking stock of the previous year.

This past year, I had 1 primary goal: Go with the Flow. It was the first year I didn’t have a list of concrete, measurable and trackable goals.

Considering the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. It was a very challenging year (we knew it would be), with good days and bad days. But my personal goal was to go with the flow when the really trying moments came up.

And then a whole bunch of things happened:

*I sold my first novel, after years of rejection and shredded manuscripts.

*I became pregnant, after several years of no success.

*My 5-year-old would finally have a conversation with me about his day.

There were a million other little victories that happened this year too, mostly centered around my son. I learned more about the world of ASD, and met some truly talented and wonderful people. I learned even more about the madness of insurance, claims, appeals, and benefits depts. I learned how hard parents have to fight to get their children the services they really need, not just from insurance companies. From people who are ‘supposed’ to work in the best interests of the child.

More importantly, I learned how strong my son is. How strong my husband is. I already knew he was an incredible man (that’s why I married him!). But I have a much more thorough appreciation for his hard work, dedication and perseverance after going through something like this. Just proves to me more I really did pick the one man who broke the mold.

There’s one very big lesson I learned this year, on top of all the above. I learned how to ask for help. In certain situations, outright demand it and not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This feeds in really well to my writing. I finished another manuscript and am halfway through it’s sequel. I’m able to shrug off rejections easier, and at the same time identify the difference between criticisms that are nuggets of gold, versus lumps of coal.

2013 was a year full of lessons, and some incredibly wonderful surprises! Undoubtedly great successes. I think my plan of non-measurable goals worked out well. Thinking of going the same route for 2014. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

My grand plans for a farewell to 2013 includes spending a quiet evening with my family, and probably falling asleep before the ball drops (I have a valid excuse: preggo!)

Happy New Year, everyone!new-year-2014

 

Merry Christmas! Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s some Christmas fun from Straight No Chaser, one of my favorite Acapella groups. Click on the link above to go to the YouTube video.

XMasLighthouse

Once again, no matter what religion you practice or if none at all, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and great New Year’s. I appreciate the message of peace in any religion, whether it be Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza, Buddi, or atheism. Stay true to your religion: there’s nothing wrong with sharing it.

Since I’m Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

 

Go With the Flow

Normally my new year’s resolutions include very concrete goals. Measurable, cut-and-dry with no gray areas. Goals like ‘blog twice a week’ or ‘1000 calories per day, max.’

I’ve been that way most of my life. Planned, organized, driven and directed. I owe a lot of that to my parents, my discipline with diving, and of course my husband.

But I’m changing things up this year.

Because I have to.

Now, for the entire year, I have 1 goal:gowiththeflow

Go with the flow.

And mind the rocks.

Wrapped up in this 1 goal are a trillion little things to help achieve this. Not sweating the small things, don’t fight the rapids, take one day at a time, keep smiling… all those clichéd statements.

My mantra: I am not in control, and that’s ok.

Do what I think is right and see what happens. That’s all I can do.

Because when I think about, I already have everything I need. The things that make me a better person are already in my life. Why change that?

2012: Roller Coasters and a Sweet Tooth

2012 was another roller coaster year for us. Great highs, a few tumbles, several rollerviewwhirl spins and whip lashes, and in the end we’re still here (sorry, Mayan apocalyptic enthusiasts). And just like fresh off a roller coaster, I’m breathless, excited, nervous and full of anticipation for another round.

I’m certain next year will bring some struggles for us, and we’re ready for them. But at the same time, I’m grateful for every minute I have.

I learned a lot this past year. About myself, as a mother, a writer, a friend- what I’m made of, things I can take, and areas I’m not as strong as I thought I was. And, incredibly, areas in which I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for. I may kick, scream, cry, beat myself to a pulp, but in uncertain situations in which I have no qualifications or control, by God I can adapt.

I have an amazing family and forgiving friends who put up with me during those moments. Who build me up when I need it and have a drink with me when I celebrate.

I know now is when most people create goals for the next year, and in previous years that’s exactly what I did. But right now I look back on 2012 and shake my head in amazement.

I cry for the losses of loved ones (still), I rejoice in magnanimous moments of others, and I marvel at the capabilities of the human spirit. How resilient my son is and no matter how difficult something is or how sick he feels, he’s still such a happy kid who loves with his whole heart without reservations. And how much better a person I am because of him. Because of my family.

toastSo instead of a toast to 2013 and what is to come, I raise a glass to 2012. You threw a hefty test as us, and we’re still here. I’m still trudging forward with writing, with the plans our family made, and handling the curveballs you whizzed at us. With the sours, there were plenty of sweets. And I have one hell of a sweet tooth.

 

Writer’s Goals for New Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be double-edged swords, if you let them. The typical resolutions to lose weight, earn more, quit smoking, drinking, or whatever other vice (Diet Coke for me) seems daunting and casts negative air over what resolutions are supposed to be about.

Improvement. By either pledging to do something positive or remove something negative from your life.

Resolutions aren’t a reset, but a re-check. Make sure your headed in the right direction.

For many people, 2011 was uncharacteristically harsh. Judging by the Facebook and Twitter posts I’ve seen recently, most are happy to close the door on last year and usher in 2012 with the promise of something better. At least more hopeful.

I learned a lot from 2011. Mostly learned a lot about myself, my limitations, discovered new strengths, and new ‘areas of improvement.’ I met new people that have become invaluable to my writing endeavors- my ‘specialized supporters.’

Most importantly, I think I discovered how to let go of this illusion of control that I tried desperately to keep a grip on last year.

Things happen despite my best abilities to prevent them, other things don’t happen no matter how hard I tried to make them flourish. And other sideswipers come out of no where to make life even more chaotic.

This illusion of control stems from my ever-consistent behavior to internalize everything. And God love my husband and family for helping me to let that go.

So this year, my resolutions are aggressive, but much more forgiving if I lose track along the way. Just as I know my family and friends are. Supportive. Always trying to help me be my best, and forgiving when I lose track.

In addition to a few personal goals regarding family, and overall health and wellness (no New Year’s resolutions would be complete without them), here are my targets:

~Reduce my Diet Coke intake to 1/week (gradual, to prevent nasty withdrawals).

~Gym twice a week.

~Blog twice a week.

~Submit to other blogs I partake in at least once a month.

~Read 1 Book/month.

And for the daunting writing goals:

~Finish rough draft of WIP (Audrey’s Promise) by March. Specifically, write 5K words /week.

~Finish Audrey’s Promise revisions by November. Meaning, 15 pages/week.

~Finish my previous manuscript’s revisions (Rip It) by May. 20 pages/week.

~Submit either of these manuscripts to Golden Heart contest in December.

~Query Rip It to agencies/publishers starting in June. Specifically, 4 queries a week.

~Finally, plot my next novel (middle grade) by December.

These goals are evenly spaced out over the year, so I’m constantly busy with writing, but not overloaded. I think that’s my husband’s Project Management job rubbing off on me. Leave it to him to create a timeline spreadsheet for me, to help track my goals every week down to the individual word and page count. Goal tracking on steroids!

As always, love more, laugh more, and keep writing forward.