Happy December friends! I can’t believe we’re in our final month of 2014. What a crazy year it’s been! Here are 10 things I’m thinking of today as the year comes to a close.
1. It’s hard not to feel down when there is so much horrible stuff going on around the world, both close to home and far away. But it’s times like these that remind me of a Mr. Rogers quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Let’s make a stand to be the helpers. Here are some things you can do:
Smile more. Give loved ones your time. Step in when those around you need help. Say ‘I love you’ more. Hug. Use your phone as a talking tool, not just a texting tool. Be generous. Practice empathy. Stay positive.
One of my friends posted this to their Facebook page:
Let’s do more stuff like this. Let’s spread love in these troubled times. Are you with me?
2. My birthday is this Sunday! Want to know a confession? I cry every year on the day before my birthday. How terrible is that? I never thought I’d be the person who would mourn getting older. And I can’t even promise it won’t happen again this year. However, I’m also starting to view each birthday as the start of something brand new. My 36th year held so many wonderful things. What are my intentions for my 37th? This is something I’ll be thinking on for the next week until my new year begins.
3. My most recent book, The Road to Hope, actually hit the Amazon Bestsellers List this week! It got as high as #64 in the Women’s Fiction category, which is really, really hard to do. This was due to everyone taking advantage of the book’s discounted pricing, shooting it up in the rankings, and making it much more visible to other readers who may not have seen it otherwise. I cannot thank you enough!
BTW, The Road to Hope is still less than $1 for a limited time if you haven’t downloaded it yet. Check it out here: bit.ly/road2hopebook
4. It’s raining on and off here in Northern California, a foreign phenomenon in our drought-riddled parts. I don’t think I’ve ever loved the sound and smell of rain more than I do right in this moment. So what do you do on a rainy day? Go on a hike! The Mr. and I took a trek over to Mt. Tam to check out the waterfalls right after the rain broke this weekend. We weren’t disappointed. I took a video of the waterfall and included it on my YouTube page so I could share the magic.
5. This year I vowed to read more books. I made a goal over at Goodreads to read 24 books, figuring that 2 books a month would be a lofty, but worthy, goal. As of this moment, I am currently reading my 29th book, The Hunt for Wolf Eyes, by Sonoma County writer Ty Strange. I read all 29 of these books on top of writing and publishing several books, and discovered a bunch of new authors this year. Who knows, maybe I’ll aim to read 3 books a month next year…
Here are a few of my favorite books I read this year:
Maybe Someday, by Colleen Hover
Going to Solace, by Amanda McTigue
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green
Kissing Midnight, by Laura Bradley Rede
I’m always looking for recommendations on new books, so if you have a suggestion, send me a note.
6. Speaking of written books, I conquered my 5th NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year! If you don’t remember, that’s when writers strive to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I managed to cross the finish line on day 20, and finished the novel’s rough draft just a few days later.
7. And on that note, this novel I just wrote will be book 2 in my upcoming “Dessert For Dinner” series, coming out in 2015. This series combines magic, desserts, and lighthearted romance with 4 delicious stories. The first novel coming out is called Come Here, Cupcake. The book focuses on Morgan Truly, a girl who discovers she has the power to infuse her baking with her feelings – but not before she affects the whole town. Stay tuned for information on when this book will be released!
8. This holiday season, I am utilizing the talents of some of my artistic friends to give some gorgeous gifts. If you know any crafty people, I encourage you to do the same. Not only will you be giving an original gift that no one else can replicate, but you’ll also be directly supporting local artists! It’s a tough world out there for creatives to make a living off their craft, and there is a lot of competition from bigger companies with deeper pockets. Your support would be more than appreciated.
BTW, if you know of local artisans with gift-worthy creations, let me know! I’d love to spread the word on my Facebook page so that other people can find them too! If visit my page now, you can already find a few indie gifts there.
9. Earlier this year, I published the book, Forever Thirteen, the sequel to A Symphony of Cicadas that was never supposed to be. I just found out that it received an Honorable Mention for Young Adult books in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards for 2014! This is like winning 2nd place among thousands of entries! And to think, if my friend hadn’t insisted a sequel was in order, Forever Thirteen wouldn’t exist. Goes to show how much power readers have. 🙂
10. I am so grateful for YOU. Here’s the proof. (P.S. Did you notice it’s snowing here? Love that about WordPress!)
Love you guys! And thank you for all your support!