I am nothing if not an optimist. It’s been a crazy year, but a good one, and as we come to the start of a fresh new year and a fresh new decade, I’ve been reminiscing over the last ten years. They were pretty great, actually. There have been some doozies: I stopped working full-time so I could pursue life as an author; I survived and fought my way back from a life-altering traumatic brain injury; we experienced the death of a close friend, which encouraged us to give in to our wanderlust and stop waiting for the perfect time to travel and see the world. There have been highs and lows, excitement and boredom, happiness and love. In fact, this last decade has been my most creative, most productive yet. Since January 1, 2010, I have:
- published five romances and two children’s books;
- taught creative writing courses at two community colleges;
- been a book reviewer for four major media outlets, in the greatest genre in the world (romance!): MacMillan Publishing’s Heroes & Heartbreakers, USA Today’s Happy Ever After, BookPage, and Frolic.Media;
- travelled to nine countries: US, Canada, Grand Cayman, Belize, Barbados, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland;
- recreated in 5 of the Seven Seas: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico;
- visited 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites;
- seen three Roman colosseums in three different countries (Tarragona, Spain; Rome, Italy; Lyon, France);
- had one audience with the Pope;
- been blessed with having my mother and my mother-in-law still with us (who are both still lots of fun);
- celebrated twenty-five years of adventure with my husband;
- thoroughly enjoyed life with our *amazing* son;
- been working on two children’s manuscripts;
- been working on two romantic suspense novels and one contemporary one;
- moved out into the country and had three super-successful summers of Victory Gardening; and
- raised the best beagle on the planet.
And best yet: I’m still in my mid-40s!
So a little advice: say Y.E.S. when someone asks you to experience or do something new. Take a leap of faith. Believe in yourself. Save for a vacation – you can do it. Nobody needs to eat several lunches or dinners out each week. Pack a lunch and cook at home. Put priority on your happiness, and enrich your hearts and minds with family and friends. Learn a new language. Take piano lessons. Plant a victory garden. Make a new friend. Volunteer at your local food bank or homeless shelter. Be the best YOU you can be. Think positively: this is going to be a great decade!