2018: Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, I thought I’d post my year in review. I cannot believe how quickly the year flew by, although every year seems to pass quicker than the last. It’s scary, yet it doesn’t stop me from constantly looking forward to something in the future rather than making sure to appreciate each day as it comes. Alas, that is a subject for another blog post!

This year came with a lot of changes. For one, my diet changed significantly since I was unofficially diagnosed with IBS at the end of last year. For the most part, I’ve given up wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, and lactose and all the foods and beverages that contain them. There are a lot of them! I’ve learned how much and how often my system can handle certain ingredients and how to portion control to avoid an outbreak of symptoms. It’s been a challenge but for the most part, I feel SO much better than I did this time last year. The constant full/bloated feeling has subsided by about 80%. Going out to eat (and sharing appetizers) is trickier, but my friends and family have been so supportive in this regard!

I broke ties with the group of women I’d socialized with most often over the last few years. I have a lot of other close friends but since most of them aren’t local, my social life took a bit of a beating. To be honest, I was 100% okay with that. Because of the faith/love/support shown to me by my other friends, and knowing they were a phone call away and always had my back, I didn’t mind losing the company of women who no longer provided that level of friendship or wanted it from me. I still feel a pang of hurt over the way things went down, mostly because my argument was with only one woman and yet I somehow became persona non grata to several more. I shrug it off because I obviously overestimated the strength of the other relationships and you can’t miss what you never really had. I am happier now and more comfortable and confident in my social circles than I’ve been in a long time. I also have a greater appreciation of the ease of friendship I share with my other pals—some for two decades—and the freedom to be myself.

I made significant progress in my writing this year. My seventh romantic comedy was published in April and I completed another one, including rounds and rounds (and rounds) of revisions and edits from outside critique partners and beta readers. Until now, I’ve had publishing contracts in advance of completing a book and set release dates. That is not the case for my newest novel. I don’t know when it will be published because I’m seeking a different path this time around and it might take a very long time. In the meantime, I’ve started plotting out my next book and can’t wait to lose myself in another fictional world.

I attended three writer’s conferences this year, both to hone my craft and network. I became more involved in my local writing community and spent more time attending (and participating in) book signings and readings, and dining with other authors/bloggers/publishing professionals.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 100 books so far this year! Favorites include One Day in December by Josie Silver, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, Limelight by Amy Poepell, On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Ried.

I’m dating here and there, but there is nothing monumental to report on that front as of now 😊

Thanks to AncestryDNA, I connected with a cousin I never knew I had. Her great grandmother and my grandfather (on my father’s side) were sister and brother. The discovery had me shedding happy, sappy tears! We’re going to meet for dinner after the new year.

I’m still at the day job and happy to report that there is nothing to report there: I still have a job, a steady pay check, health insurance, and a 401k. Yay!

I don’t take the good health of my parents and other close relatives for granted and I’m happy to say that everyone is doing well.

With 16 days left on the calendar, that is my year in review for 2018 so far. Best wishes to you all for a merry and healthy holiday season.

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Build me up Buttercup

Every so often, I get down on myself and I vow to be more positive, accepting, and appreciative of who I am. I considered writing down the qualities I like about myself, much like people jot down “grateful” lists. And then I decided to not only write the list, but to post it as a blog. So, here I go: Some things I like about myself:

I never completely lose hope. Even when things are going wrong—in the world, with my books, in my love life, with friends—I’ve never yet reached a point where I feel completely hopeless. I’m a bit like Little Orphan Annie in that I know things might royally suck today, but “the sun will come out tomorrow.” If I’m wrong, at least my “glass-is-half-full” outlook got me through the day.

When I love someone, I really, really love that person. I’ll admit that while I *like* a lot of people, the list of individuals I love is smaller, but I would do anything for them. I think it’s just as wonderful a feeling to truly care about someone as it is to know someone truly cares about you. (Of course, this does not include toxic, abusive, or otherwise “unbalanced” relationships.)

I am willing to work really hard for what I want. That’s not to say I don’t accept help when it’s offered (or ask for it), but I’d rather do the heavy lifting to make my dreams come true, even if it’s painful and tests my patience, than accept something less than what I want because the journey is easier or will take less time. (Someone please remind me of this in the coming months as it relates to my next book being published…)

I’m funny. I’m not Tiny Fey stand-up-comedienne funny, but my particular brand of sense of humor is appreciated by many. (And it helps with my writing.)

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and own up to my mistakes. I can apologize. Think about the people in your life. I bet you can find at least a couple who never say they’re sorry or even acknowledge their role in anything negative. I’d rather be wrong and admit it than always think I’m right. And by admitting when you’re wrong, you learn about the other person—how willing they are to forgive or meet you halfway.

I don’t take my loved ones for granted. I’m not sure I was always this way, but losing someone I loved more than just about anything or anyone else in the world opened my eyes to how quickly things can change.

I know when to let go. I tend to hold onto things for a long time because of the aforementioned “glass-is-half-full” mentality. Because of this, I’ve stayed in relationships (platonic and romantic) for too long because I gave someone the benefit of the doubt or assumed things would get better. But I have a threshold and once it’s met and I realize things are shitty and not likely to change, I acknowledge that I deserve better and I move on without looking back (much). On the one hand, I wish it didn’t take me quite so long to reach my limit, but on the flip side, I never want to get to a point where I’m easily able to turn my back on someone I once cared about without even trying to resolve our issues.

I possess the ability to forgive. People, even really great ones, screw up sometimes. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” I don’t believe in unconditional forgiveness, as there are some things that are unforgivable, but I’ve found that I am a happier and healthier person when I don’t hold onto my anger. This is especially true if a person has expressed sincere remorse, but it’s also possible to forgive someone in your heart without them even knowing.

I’m easy to please. Just treat me kindly, show me you appreciate and accept me, listen when I speak, make me laugh, laugh with me (and at me in a kindly manner), allow me to respectfully disagree with you sometimes, have my back, and trust I have yours, and we’re good.

I’m not a follower. I try to form my own opinions about people rather than blindly take someone else’s word for it. I try to understand that a person’s negative feelings about another is based on their own experience with said person and that there are three sides to every story—person A, person B, and the objective truth.

I prefer understanding and kindness over making fun of others for entertainment value.

I’m a work-in-progress. I embrace learning and becoming a better person.

Well, that’s all for now. If you know and like me, feel free to comment about how great I am! Kidding! But, if you’d like, share any qualities you appreciate in yourself in the comments.

Idle October

I sent my latest book to three beta readers this weekend after already doing a heavy round of edits with a critique partner. There’s nothing left for me to do right now besides wait—something I’m not very good at.  I asked my beta readers to try to get the book back to me by the […]

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Win a bundle of RomCom books!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with 15+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Romantic Comedy & Chick Lit novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You can win my novel  THE BOYFRIEND SWAP, plus books from […]

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Weekly (er, Monthly) update

Remember that blog post I wrote a couple months back where I promised to blog much more often? Yes, that one. You’ve probably realized by now that I lied. I really tried, but time (and life) got away from me and a weekly blog post slipped through my fingers like sand from the beach vacation I haven’t […]

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I will never stop.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the day I lost my best friend, Alan, to cancer. July has been hard for me since he’s been gone. The long Fourth of July weekend has become less about day drinking and fireworks than it is a reminder of the day I spent getting drunk with a friend […]

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The Paris Theater

If you’ve read my books, you’ve probably noticed that there’s at least one reference to Sex and the City in most of them. It’s not a “thing” I do or even a conscious decision. I think it’s because the majority of my heroines have been single New Yorkers. Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha are iconic single New […]

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worry wart

I had a ninety-minute full-body massage on Saturday. It was wonderful, but it took me a little while to fully relax. Until that happened (probably around the forty-five minute mark…) my mind wandered. I thought about the lunch and drinks I’d have with my friend after the massage. I thought about the hair cut I […]

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My thoughts on Book Club

I saw Book Club this weekend. As a writer and a voracious reader, a movie about a book club is immediately appealing to me. Throw in some of my favorite actresses, like Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda, and no additional incentive is required. That being said, I do have my own issues with aging, especially the discrepancy […]

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Come on, get happy

Back in the olden days, like 2015, I wrote a blog post almost every week. Then my life—my publishing life—became too chaotic to maintain that frequency. I was busy writing, editing, promoting, and releasing—wash, rinse, and repeat times seven—and blogging took a back seat. For the first time in a while, I don’t have any […]

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