Three days. How did this year fly by and what's changed? In January of this year, I had three books scheduled to come out. Jaded Love with my co-writer, Kara Leigh Miller. Our second and last book for Aniah Press. Falling for Home from Penner Publishing, my first with them and my first chance to hold a book I'd written all on my own in my hands. Damaged came out next...a story I wasn't sure I'd get to share, but am so glad I did.
Since those releases, I signed a three book deal for the Kendrick Place Series with Entangled. I've gotten to work with my wonderful editors, Stacy and Alexa, on two of those books now. The first, as you may know, More than Friends, released this month. Through that release, I met my publicist, (I just really like to say that) Lisa, who is beyond fabulous. In total, including Falling for Kate, I've released four books this year. Next year there'll be three more releases for sure.
Another highlight of 2016, I MET my agent. In real life. She was adorable and completely "New York", which I loved. I queried Fran for the first time in 2013. And now we're on this journey together. A journey which may include some more good news for readers, but we'll save that post for the new year.
I wrote another book. I won a couple contests. I started a NEW book. I met a bunch of truly awesome people online and started The Romance Chicks with my pals Christina, Dylann, and Renee.
Believe it or not, I have a life outside of writing. It's a good one, too. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by so many people that are kind and funny and supportive. My family and I are really enjoying the holidays. My husband and I are both teachers which means we get all of the same vacations. Being paid to stay home and snuggle my girls while watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel is one of my favorite things ever.
We've also managed some festive outings, including a beautiful light maze in Vancouver. We found all nine reindeer, in case you were wondering. The rest of the holidays include writing, more movies, family time, lots of food, and seeing friends.
I'm one of those people who absolutely loves the holidays, but it also makes me a little weepy. It's a reminder that life goes so fast and the years seem to be skipping by. I both love looking forward to things to come and hate saying goodbye to anything that is over. It's a strange contradiction and Christmas/New Year's kind of highlights that bittersweet feeling. I have so much to be grateful for and I never take that for granted.
I hope that you and your families have a magical holiday season. I know that it isn't magical for everyone and for some, it's not even a favorite time of year. But still, I wish everyone a safe and happy rest of December. Thought I'd share some of my photos from our holidays so far. Merry Christmas everyone.
This has been a long, trying summer that has pushed every one of my boundaries and challenged me to really understand how much I can handle before I break. Apparently, it's a fair amount. Regardless of what you are waiting for: agents to get back to you, editors to respond, your book to come out, reviews to come in, strikes to end, school to start-- the very act of waiting is a tedious, debilitating thing. That sounds dramatic, but I find that waiting is so much harder than just having to face something and deal with it. When we are forced to sit on the sidelines, unknowing of what is happening behind the scenes, what the outcome will be, and how it will truly affect us, we are under far more pressure than having to actually make a decision and act.
Between the waiting for responses or waiting for this strike (the longest teacher strike in BC history) to end, I have felt an overwhelming restlessness that refused to abate. Every. Single. Second. There is something about having no control that makes this feeling worse. Alas, (yes I just said alas because I like that word) it is coming to an end. Tomorrow, three full weeks into the school year, after missing the last two weeks of June, we are going back into the classroom. Am I happy? Yes. But I'm also the opposite of happy. Not sad. Happy, defined by Websters, is "delighted, pleased, glad, over some particular thing". Yes, I am those. But when I think about going back, reestablishing a routine that involves working full time, being with my family, and fitting in writing, my chest gets tight and I wonder how. How I did it before and how I will manage again.
Change of routine can be a hard thing for many people. For me, it is a multifaceted trigger. I don't like when things are over, but I like when things start. I don't like getting up and going to work, but I love being there. I don't like being away from my family, but I enjoy being with others. I know that I managed to write more than one full-length novel, while working full time and being a reasonably competent (sometimes even good) mom and wife. Yet, I can't get my mind around how to go back and do that, starting tomorrow.
I would imagine that there are a lot of people with mixed feelings about tomorrow. Happy and sad. Excited and worried. The more I write, the more I see the correlations between teaching and writing. It is something you do because you can't imagine not doing it. That is what I was faced with quite often this summer as I subbed my newest manuscript and waited for any sort of news about the strike ending: I wondered, is this still what I want to do? Do I want to teach? Write? Put myself out there, in the classroom and the writing community when I'm not sure that it'll always be a positive response? That it won't always work well, that you can't please everyone? The answer ends up being yes. Even when I tried to explore the idea of what I could do other than teach, I couldn't come up with anything (other than writing) that I wanted to do as much as I have always wanted to be a teacher. Same with writing. I could stop now. I could close all of my open word documents, take a break from Twitter, and just be done. But it doesn't stop it from being there, from wanting it. So I guess, if anything good came out of the strike, or out of some rejection letters, it was that it made me sure.
I'm as sure that I want to keep teaching as I am that I'm not ready to close up my word documents yet. All of this waiting, this hovering around inside of my own gloomy thoughts, showed me, for sure, that there is something worse than waiting: the thought of not doing either of the things I love at all.
I guess the simple reason we put up with waiting and not knowing and not getting the answers we want, is because the opposite of that is giving up and letting go. And if you think I'm bad at waiting....you can't even imagine how bad I am at letting go. So I haven't and I can't see myself doing that anytime soon.
But thanks to my powers of second guessing, I'll likely regret positing something that's nothing more than a random jumble of feelings that probably didn't need to be shared. So read quick, in case I pull the post ;)