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.

farewell to 2014

This time last year, I was really looking forward to putting 2013 behind me. In 2013, I broke up with my boyfriend, my sister’s beautiful dog Gypsy passed away, and my boss of seventeen years and best friend was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Leukemia. So, despite the fact that my third novel and fan favorite Blogger Girl was released to outstanding reviews, and my debut Just Friends with Benefits was re-released by my current publisher, Booktrope, to surprisingly best-seller status, the year was pretty sucky all in all.

2014 started out much better. I began the year with a trip to California with several other authors where we talked, laughed, and drank lots of wine with the beach right outside our door. I met up with a guy I had dated several years ago and had such a wonderful time, I was certain we’d get a second chance. Best of all, my boss found a 100% match for a bone marrow transplant. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, the trip to California only lasted a few days and I returned to New York City and the Polar Vortex with a cold that lasted about four months. Despite the connection I was certain was mutual while out with the guy from my past, he kept putting off a second date until I had to assume he didn’t share my feelings. Worst of all, by far, my boss/best friend lost his battle with cancer, passed away in July, and broke my heart into a million pieces.

2014 wasn’t all bad. My publisher released an ebook collection with my three first novels on Valentine’s Day that made the Kindle Top 100; Blogger Girl and A State of Jane were re-released by Amazon Encore pursuant to an exciting licensing agreement with Booktrope; my fourth novel, How Do You Know?, was published in December, Just Friends with Benefits was released as part of a romance anthology called Blended for Love; and I am already halfway through the first draft of my fifth book, Novel Girl.

More important than “book” stuff, my friends and family really stepped up after my boss died and showed me how much they loved me. Their patience, understanding, and unwillingness to let me feel alone showed me how truly blessed I am and I will be forever grateful even while I’m still dealing with my grief on a daily basis.

I’m no mathematician, but I know that with each passing year, I will get a year older which, as those who know me are well aware, doesn’t thrill me. That being said, I am truly ready to put 2014 behind me. Although I have goals for 2015—publication of Novel Girl, possible solo trip out of the country, potential running of New York City marathon, refurnishing of my apartment—I am not making any formal resolutions. All I really want is to be happy.

Or perhaps the resolution is to figure out what it is that makes me happy and go after it.

Thanks to all of you for keeping up with my blog this past year. I hope I have entertained you with my life and book updates. Happy New Year to you all and see you next year!