It’s been an incredible year, personally and professionally. Good and bad.
I had three releases this year:
- Pour it On (second novella in the Keystone Couples series)
- Between the Vines (third novella in the Keystone Couples series)
- The Haunting of Chatham Hollow (co-written novel with Mae Clair)
To those of you who supported me (critiquing rough drafts, tour hosting, tour following, purchasing, downloading from KU, reading, reviewing, or any of the multitude of ways you’ve helped me out), please know you have my heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude. To paraphrase my bio—I write because I’m compelled to, but I publish because of you. Much appreciated.
My second annual Christmas cookie exchange was a a blast. We more than doubled the participants from last year, secured interest from more people to join in next year, and got some wonderful new recipes to try. Not to mention all the fun we had. Many thanks to all who participated and to everyone who followed along. The fun keeps going… Sally Cronin gave the event a nice shout-out, for which I’m very grateful. If you missed the fun the day it happened, you can catch up by reading the master list and clicking the links for the recipes. I’ve added them all to my recipe box.
My editing and design business is still suffering since taking a hit during the pandemic. But it continues to slowly rebound, I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my back, so I can’t complain.
I was consistent with my newsletter releases (once I got back into the swing of writing one). My list has stayed pretty consistent since I culled it. I joined a newsletter swap, but it hasn’t really impacted anything. I’m going to work on expanding it next year. If you’re not on the list and would like to join, click here. (You’ll get some free stories when you sign up, and you’ll get exclusive content once a month. I never sell my list and don’t burden your inbox with frequent mailings.)
To date, I’ve published twenty-one pieces on Vocal Media (about one-third of them were in 2022). I was also chosen as a “creator they’re loving” twice. I fell off my goal of one post there a month, but I got busy. (Yes, I know that’s no excuse.) If you’d like to follow me there (for content you can’t get anywhere else), click here.
Story Empire continues to thrive and grow. My posts this year focused on story development, from ideation through self-editing, with a bonus entry on series creation. In case you missed it, here is a link to the first post, at the end of which you’ll find links to the rest of the series. While you’re there, I encourage you to browse. Our members wrote a lot of valuable content this year.
My first grandchild—Evaluna Jane Callirgos, AKA Eva or Lulu—was born in February. She’s the light of my life. I got to spend the first couple of months with her and have enjoyed many visits since then. (In fact, she’s at my house right now.) We got a photo of five generations of the women in my family on the weekend of her baptism, a rarity I’ll always treasure. Eva has been walking since she was eight months old, and she’s amazing in every respect. (This isn’t exclusively a not-so-humble grandmother brag. Her pediatrician is constantly astonished at how far ahead she is developmentally.) My daughter calls her a Covid baby. We both wonder if there was something in the vaccine [Sam was vaccinated while pregnant] that’s influenced Eva’s development.) Regardless of how it happened, she’s incredible. I love her more than I can say, and she brings me boundless joy.
I moved away from my extended family in Pennsylvania to return to Arkansas to be near my son and back with my dogs. Bonus, it gets me a lot closer to my daughter’s family. (I’m choosing not to dwell on the move, which was an absolute disaster that I’m still dealing with.) While I’m happy to be with and/or close to my kids, it took me far from the rest of my family. That pain of separation was amplified when we lost my grandmother this month. I wasn’t able to be with her in her final days, and that eats at me. But she lived well into her 104th year, and she was an absolute joy. She’ll be missed by all who knew her. (You can read a little about her in this post.)
My apologies if I’ve missed something critical. This is already longer than I’d intended, and as I’m distracted (I did mention what a delight my granddaughter is, right?), I’m sure I’ve neglected an update or a thank you.
So, long story short, I want to thank you all for the support. And for bearing with me when I needed time away for familial obligations. It means a lot to me that you waited for me instead of leaving for good.
As I write this, my granddaughter is tearing the paper I took out to wrap gifts. (At least I don’t have to re-wrap them… yet.) My daughter just made me breakfast—avocado toast with an over-easy egg on top. (It’s one of my top three favorite breakfasts. I could get used to her making it for me.) It’s cold outside; far colder than it should be in Arkansas. (I guess I brought winter with me when I moved south.) It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
I’m now officially winding down my online presence for the year. I want to enjoy my family when they’re all under one roof. Too soon, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter will be gone, and it will just be me and my son in town. We’ll take down the decorations and get back to our regular work schedules. It will be as bleak in the house as it is outside.
While the lights are twinkling, the music is playing, and the house is full of good food and better family memories-in-the-making, I’m signing off. When I come back in January, we’ll talk about our hopes and dreams for 2023. Until then, wishing you the merriest Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) and a safe and happy new year. We’ll catch up in a few weeks.
Buon Natale e felice anno nuevo! Saluti!
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