Looking back, going forward
I'm not sure what happened to time. It seems to have morphed into something new and inexplicable, making the days long and the weeks fast. Most of the time, I'm not sure what day it is even when I go to work. I feel, like most people, as though I'm walking around in a haze that maybe, just maybe, might begin to clear up soon.
We're the kind of tired we've never been before. There's a surreal amount of mental exhaustion that goes along with all we've endured this last year. Each of our struggles may have been different over the last several months, but there's no denying that we're all united by the fatigue of it all.
I hate the idea of things being over but I'm not sorry to see this year go. Having said that, along with the bad and the scary, there were many good things too. It's just hard to remember them when the days all run together.
I haven't written on my blog since May 2019. That seems like forever ago. My youngest would have just been turning 13. My oldest would have just turned 16. I was releasing a book with Entangled. I hadn't yet thought about Ten Rules for Faking It which has been the bright spot in many of my moments this last year.
We would have been getting closer to our summer vacation plans-- we went to Oregon that year. We wouldn't have know how lucky we were that we enjoy our time together because we were about to get a whole heck of a lot of it.
I try to be thankful for what we have and who we have even when things seem darker. Now that 2020 is coming to a close, it's no easier to picture a day when I'll return to a busy store and not be highly attuned to the sound of a sneeze or a cough. I think, more than we know, we are forever changed. When I think back about this year, I want to remember the good. Yesterday, in my classroom, I wrote one of my daughter's favorite quotes on the board.
So, even though there were some moments I couldn't see the light peeking through, these are some of the people, moments, and things of 2020 that made me feel.
Whether she was bargaining for lettuce or sharing personal heartbreak, Chrissy Teigen was a source of light throughout the last year. I fell down the comical rabbit hole of her Instagram so many times. She has what we all sometimes lack and that's the ability to laugh at herself. She was, for me, a source of inspiration and an example of humility and humanity. I formerly thought of her as the woman who co-hosts Lip Sync Battle or John Legend's wife. There is so much more to her than either of those things. I know this now because she's given us access to who she is as a mom, a partner, a business woman, and a person.
Folklore, Evermore, Miss Americana, Long Pond Sessions...are you kidding me? She's a genius. The way she weaves her words together and how each song is never just a song but a story astounds me. Not just for the epic lyrics but for her ability to create beautiful masterpieces in a time where doing anything was, some days, a challenge.
Books got me through a lot of this year and Guillory quickly became one of my favorite authors. Each book was better than the last and I'm still not sure which of them are my favorite. Good news? She'll be a highlight of 2021 as well.
I read more cozy mysteries in this last year than I've read books in other years. I fell hard for Sofie Ryan, Bree Baker, Lynn Cahoon, and Regan Davis among others. These worlds let me escape with a smile on my face.
One of the best byproducts of writing books and trying to get them out in the world is the fabulous people you get to meet. I feel lucky to call Addie my friend. She's a truly cool person with a great outlook on life and a desire to help others see the positive.
My youngest daughter keeps telling me she misses her friends. I get it. I miss our people; a few in particular but I feel incredibly grateful that over this last year, we've found new ways to "friend". Facetime chats to play Qwixx, Marco Polo to say hello even if it's only that. Messenger, texting, Facebook, Instagram, in person hello's from six feet apart through masks, and that old fashioned way of communicating-- talking on the telephone. We can't be together but we can still connect. While it isn't the same, it's definitely helped.
I've never been more grateful that I both love and like the people I live with. I try to look at this last year as a gift of extra time with the people I love most. There may never be another time that we are forced to spend this much quality time together and while that sometimes comes with challenges, it has mostly been a delight. I live with really awesome humans.
Ten Rules for Faking It
This book is due out in the world 13 days from today. I'm so grateful for the people who have helped me along this path. It felt like a very long journey but finally, it's here and the accolades, the connections, the comments, and kindness I've seen and felt through the last few months has been a constant mood lifter. I have so many people who have been a part of making this book what it is. I won't be planning book signings or anything but somehow that hasn't lessened the happiness, the excitement, and the impact of this release. I cannot wait to walk into a store, with a mask, after sanitizing, to see my book on the shelves.
The Big Bang Theory
I truly enjoyed this series the first time around. I started it on a plane ride back from Disneyland in 2017. After finishing Friends for the third time as a family, we decided to give this one a go. Watching it the second time, with the girls, was so enjoyable. It was an absolute pleasure, a source of laughter, and a comfort to throw off the stress of the day and curl up together with this awesome show.
The words came slow. I beat myself up for this many times. But they still came and the response to them has been good. Falling For Holly was written during an especially intense time when I was really missing people and tired of feeling cooped up. Book three for my Sophie Sullivan books was finished up in September. I returned the edits on book 2 in that series in March. I wrote a new cozy mystery that I may have some news about soon. So, even though I feel like I've slowed down or slacked off (some refer to this as a break but that's new to me), I've produced something and for that, I am grateful.
What are you looking forward to next year and what will you look back at fondly from this year?
Summer Wrap Up
It might be early to be wrapping up the summer, but it's passing quicker than I'd like and with a trip to Disneyland coming up, I figured better now than never. Summer 2017 has been a blend of sweet and sad. We said goodbye to one house and hello to another.
We were very sad to say goodbye to our sweet little dog, Lola shortly after we moved in.
Which left our other little pup (and us) feeling pretty down. So very soon, next week actually, we'll be bringing this tiny bundle of fur home.
We've spent our time reading, baking, writing, unpacking, organizing, painting, lazying around and settling in.
Another bittersweet moment was the excitement of my final book in the Kendrick Place Series releasing. I do have another series coming out with Entangled: the For You series, which I'm excited about.
And, in the completely unexpected category, I went up in a hot air balloon!
So what now? Well, I have some very, very exciting news to share that I can't say anything about just yet. But when school starts up, I hope I can share some news about something a little different and a lot fun.
I hope the rest of your summer is great. Anyone have any plans to go anywhere? Any must-reads on your list before summer is gone? My next few reads are below :)
Who's Who Wednesday
Welcome to Jennifer Shirk!
My first Entangled Bliss publication was set to come out December 5th, 2016. My editor suggested I read one of her other authors as a way to get a better grasp on a specific trope. This was my introduction to Jennifer Shirk. Not only is she a great author-- I really enjoyed Wrong Brother, Right Match, but when I reached out on another trope issue....she was so gracious and helpful. I'll definitely be thanking her for her great advice and guidance on the first book in my new series. And I'll remember her telling me (when I wondered how she was SO good at this), it's easier with someone else's book. Here are Jennifer's answers to this week's Who's Who Wednesday. You can connect with her by clicking on the links below. Thanks for joining me on my blog Jennifer.
Who's Who Wednesday with Jennifer Shirk
What you write.
For those of you who don't know me, I write sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing.
Who are your influences?
Wow… so many to name. The first and queen of my influence would be Susan Elizabeth Phillips. But I also love Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, and Jill Mansell.
Favorite writing snack and beverage.
A lungo espresso (basically an espresso with more water in it) and either a little piece of dark chocolate or my healthy banana oatmeal cookies to go with it.
Hardest thing about writing?
The actual writing. LOL I should say just getting the first draft down. That's the hardest part for me. But once it's down on paper, the editing and making it all pretty and legible is my favorite part!
What you're working on now.
I'm working on the first book of a new 3 book series for the Entangled Bliss line. This is the premise: In a weakened moment, a depressed woman jilted by her longtime boyfriend has a one night stand with a wedding guest at a friend's wedding only to discover he's the man who recently bought her family's suffering business—and now happens to be her new boss.
Thanks so much for having me!