I can’t believe another year has passed! 2016 was a wild ride, and although it was full of challenging moments and turbulence, I still consider it a gift. I was tested in a lot of ways, and I’m happy to say that I came out “on top”! 2016, even with all it’s faults, hasn’t beat me down and it won’t.
I’m looking at the not-so-grand things that happened in 2016 as tests that I did fairly well at. I’m looking at 2016 as the year of change.
I started off this year still recovering from the surgery I had in November of 2015, and I had to accept the fact that I won’t ever be 100%. Since then, I’ve learned how to work with my new normal. Sometimes, I get a little bummed out that I’ve had to add a billion things to my “Struggle With” list, but for the most part I’ve found ways of getting around my limitations so that I can still enjoy the things I like to do.
I pushed past my insecurities and fears about “public speaking” and started doing monthly #WineWithJC events in my FANnigans group, where I go live and talk to my readers. It’s still scary, but I’m trying not to let fear guide me.
I published my fifth novel (and second book in the Damaged Series), RECKLESS ABANDON, on January 15th. I also struggled with intense waves of mom and chronic pain guilt as I adjusted to my new normal with my work demands.
In April of 2016, my then-publisher Booktrope announced it’s closure. I was mad, scared, and had no idea what the future would bring. After a few days of sulking, I got back at it. I didn’t sit around and wait for the things I wanted to come to me, I prepared for my re-introduction into the self-publishing world, and I was able to re-publish all five of my books independently by June 1st. I also published Rebel Soul, the first novel in my Rebel series and my sixth book. I had to learn how to look at my writing as a business, not just a hobby, and I had a lot of help from others in the industry along the way. I hustled, and I hustled hard.
I started writing a new book, Rebel Song, and I hope to finish it in January and start the whole publishing process shortly after.
I went on a kid-free camping trip with my husband and friends in French River and had a blast, even if I left all of my spoons there. I created a lot of memories and may have even thought up another several plots for future projects.
Unfortunately, I missed out on the Ignite Your Soul Author Event that I was so looking forward to, thanks to the flu, but I was able to do my first Chapters signing event in October and in November, I released the second book in my Rebel series, Rebel Heart.
In 2016, I learned how to live through the rough days of depression with the mindset that mental illness is a boomerang. I tolerate a down day every now and then, but I make sure I whip that shit far away from me as soon as I can. Even though I know it’ll eventually return, I trust myself to catch it and throw it again. Metaphorically, of course. I also discovered how to be my own advocate and that taking mini-vacations and binge-watching Netflix is crucial to my mental health. Sometimes, anyway.
I did my first ever interview for a documentary on artists that is being submitted to the Toronto Film Festival. It was nerve wracking, but Taylor made it fun! I can’t wait to share the details with you all in the new year! I’m so excited to see it all come together!
And finally, the [latest] thing I did in 2016 was publish my first ever novella, Rebel Christmas! I wrote it for my readers, and because I love Christmas.
According to Goodreads, I read 54 books this year–passing my goal of 50. Between all the writing and the releasing of new books, I’d say that’s a pretty awesome achievement. Next year, I intend to read 100. Check out my top reads of 2016!
Real talk…towards the end of 2016, things got challenging for me. I still haven’t really been able to get into the why things are challenging, but I’m still processing everything and still coping with resentment and anger. I know 2017 will only test my endurance, patience, and integrity further but…I’m ready for it.
Bring on 2017!
I hope you all have a grand time ringing in the new year tonight! Be safe and make good choices!
P.S…here are some posts I’m proud of from 2016:
- Body Pride. Wouldn’t you know I spent years avoiding, ignoring, and trying to hide all of the things I didn’t like about myself? I dressed in layers and was never comfortable. I’ve since then learned how to embrace my differences and love my body the way that it is. This is a lesson I desperately hope to pass on to my kids, and to any other person out there struggling with their body image.
- They Were Fiction. Thanks to the invention of social media, we can watch couples that we know and become envious of all of their beautiful selfies and adventures together. We build up fictional stories in our head of their greatness, and the reality of it isn’t always as beautiful.
- Falling For the Bad Guy. Honestly, there’s something about those bad boys…
- Festering Fears: When Your Children Inherit Your Chronic Pain Disorder. Pretty self explanatory, my fears for my children’s future with MHE.
- Raising Boys With Chronic Pain. I wrote about raising boys who have the same chronic pain bone disorder I have and The Good Men Project picked it up.
- They Are Getting Older. Reflections of my parenthood journey thus far.
- Your Curiosty vs My Comfort. My ramblings on dealing with the curious questions from strangers regarding my body and disability.
- Keep Climbing. Wherein I discuss motherhood and chasing my dreams.
- Here’s to Childhood [Memories]. An ode to childhood memories, of course. Who would we be without those?
- What I’ve Learned About Relationships From My Relationship and it’s follow-up, Let’s Talk About Relationships Again. Because as a romance author, I can’t not talk about relationships, right?