Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I hope you’re enjoying a day of turkey, family, and friends with no extra serving of drama. This year is a quiet one for me. Hubby is at work, my younger son is at work, and my older one is out with friends. Which leaves me and my stories. Not so bad a deal after all. Especially if I add a nice glass of Chardonnay to it. LOL.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year, on the past month, or week and ask yourself, what are you grateful for? Sometimes, there will have been big changes in your life, big successes. Other times, the gains are small, but no less important. So, on this quiet rainy Seattle evening, I’m reflecting and asking myself questions. 2017 was a beast of a year for me personally as well as socially. But in all the tears and all the pain, there are some things, some people, who have been truly remarkable. Without them, I’d be rocking in a corner of my room with a blanket over my head.
So, what am I thankful for this year? Here’s my Top 5 list. Please comment with your own!
Top 5 Things I’m Grateful for in 2017
1) If you’ve been reading my newsletter or following me on Facebook, you might know that my father passed away in March. We were very close, and it was pretty painful to see him go the way he did. Fortunately, he was able to spend his last month in a fantastic hospice for cancer patients. His time there was filled with love, laughter, music, and good food. He taught me how to be courageous, accepting, and strong in the face of a disease that seeks to rob its victims of dignity. So, the thing I’m most grateful for was the chance to spend my father’s last month with him.
2) When we are going through difficult times, it’s important to have a solid support network. My hubby has been away for work a lot this year, but he was there for me when my father was sick and then when he passed away even though it meant driving 20 hours to get to where I was. He calls me frequently and always tries to encourage me. I’ve really appreciated the fact that he’s let me wallow when I needed to and later, when I was able, focus on my writing. Because writing brings me a lot of joy. So, the second thing I’m most grateful for is my husband.
3) At the end of the summer, I attended a conference on the east coast and managed to convince my mother to come stay with me for a few months. We visited farmers markets, went to the Casino (I won!), shopped, cooked, got our hair done, and watched shows together. I hadn’t spent so much uninterrupted time with my mother since I was a child. Having her live with us for that amount of time allowed me and my kids to reconnect with her in a way that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. So, the third thing I’m most grateful for is my mother, a truly wonderful woman and mom.
4) When we found out that my father was sick, we wanted to give him and my mother as many good times as possible while he was still able to move around and enjoy himself. Problem is, I live 3000 miles away. So, my sister and her husband took it upon themselves to take my parents out almost every weekend, whether it was to a restaurant, to a show, to a play, or to a grandchild’s house for dinner. She also took them to the doctor for visits and tests (several hundred all told), and this while juggling a family and a job. After my father passed, she took care of the bills, of the insurance, of settling the estate, and everything else that needs to be done at a time like that. It was hundreds of hours of work over 4-5 months. And when I went to visit my mother in the following months, my sister still arranged plenty of outings to cheer us all up. She’s been a rock and I love deeply. So, the fourth thing I’m most grateful for is my sister.
5) Writing in the first nine months of this year was a serious challenge. A good friend saved me from that. We came up with a terrific co-authoring idea and have already finished the draft of the first book in a new super sexy series! I’ve been dropping hints about it on Facebook. Stay tuned for more news this spring. Dana and I talk almost every day, whether face to face or via Facebook. She’s there when I need to rant about life or writing, and she’s there to lift me up when I’m down. I hope I do the same for her. So, the fifth thing I’m most grateful for is my dear friend, business partner, and now co-author, Dana Delamar.
6) Yes, I know I said this list would include only my Top 5, but there is one more thing I’m extremely grateful for and that’s the romance community. Over the years, I’ve met so many incredible authors and readers at workshops and conferences and conventions, people who talk with me on Facebook every day or just a few times a year. Authors who share their experiences and encourage each other during hard times. Readers who ask about new books and rave about characters and stories they loved. Every time someone says, “Oh, I’ve read that book,” while pointing at one of mine, or “When are you going to write the next Six-Alarm Sexy book?” or “Will there be more stories with Chad and Hollywood?” or even just a quick, “Hello, how are you?” it spurs me to write more. It gives me energy when I have none and hope when my dreams seem to be fading under all the pressure of today’s world. So the sixth thing I’m most grateful for is the romance community without whom I would not be a writer.
I love you all.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.