Thankful Every Day


In keeping with my Thanksgiving posts of the past few years, I’ve combined a list of things I’m thankful for; not just today, but every day.

2018 has been a year of constant change. The hubby and I have finally settled into this empty nest of ours and have begun to really enjoy just being a couple again. We started having date nights (which sometimes consisted of a nice meal, followed by a trip to the grocery store). Hey…we’re spending time together so that’s all that matters.

Our daughter has flourished in this her first year out of the house, and in college as well. That’s not to say there weren’t some challenges…like the time she passed out in the school library or the time her sweet roommate was being hassled by an abusive man. She may not be living with us, but we talk almost daily. Thank goodness we’re only two hours away…and her very protective brother is only a few miles away. We're so grateful he looks out for his little sister. Oh…and did I mention she has a boyfriend? As I said, things are ever-changing.

The hubby got a nice promotion, which unfortunately resulted in traveling for work once more. Thankfully, he’s only gone a few weeks every three or so months. Which- let me be honest with you - has been a real adjustment for this gal. The first time he left for a week-long business trip I realized that I’d NEVER spent a night alone in our house. NEVER. Even when he traveled for business before, I always had one of the kids here. But I rallied…stayed strong and refused to watch any of the paranormal shows I love so much. I also had him install a hefty lock on our bedroom door for added peace of mind.

On the book front, things have slowed considerably. I’ve cut back on blog posts, Twitter chats and writing itself, simply because I’m just worn out. Never fear….I’ve still got story ideas and even though it’s slow-going, I’m still writing. Or rather….I HOPE to be writing.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my year in writing and in life:

January:

After months of searching for a good cover designer, then more months waiting for the design to come to life, I finally had Sophia’s cover in hand. Thanks to Sam at AngstyG for her beautiful work on this cover!

My girl returned to college after a month-long winter break at home. It was bittersweet, but I was thankful to have had her here so long. I have a hunch it won’t be that way always.

February:

On Valentine’s Day I celebrated the 1 year book birthday of "Taming Marco". After a crazy year of multiple releases and weekly blog posts, it was nice to back off and take a break.

March:

This month we took a week-long vacation with our kids & daughter-in-law to Lake Tahoe. Our first trip camping in the snow, it was not without blunders. But a wonderful time was had by all of us and we hope to go again very soon!

April:

This month I sent my first male/male romance off to the editor. I had originally planned to release it in June, which is Pride month. But because of the delays with Sophia’s cover, and a real need to take my time with this one, it most likely won’t be released until June of 2019.

I also completed a new M/M romance novel, book 1 of a 3-book series. I was inspired to write this series after my daughter shared the song, “Either Way”, by Chris Stapleton with me….and then she insisted I write a book about it. From that 1 song, an idea and intriguing characters and three separate story lines came to life. As soon as I finished book 1, I began book 2.

May:

The month of May found me and the hubby celebrating anniversary number 29. It’s hard to believe we were practically babies when we met (wink, wink). We’re still in discussion about how to celebrate our 30th, and now it’s down to two options: spending a week in New York City or hooking up our trailer and heading to an unknown destination. How would you celebrate this milestone?

This was also my first Mother's Day without any kids at home and suffice it to say I was pretty much teary for weeks. Then the most amazing thing happened....my kid's (and my daughter-in-law and my grandpups) surprised me by showing up for the weekend. BEST SURPRISE EVER. Have I mentioned that I have THE most amazing kids?? My hubby and parents were in on the surprise too and my heart still warms when I think of all that went into making sure my Mother's Day was magical.

June:

In June I celebrated the 1-year anniversary of "Breaking Roman". He’s by far my favorite Moran brother, probably because he’s beautiful mixture of sweet and naughty. The reviews were mixed on this one – mostly because a few of the bloggers didn’t like the heroine, Sabrina. Nonetheless, I’m proud of Roman’s story.

July:

This was a busy month for me. I received back my M/M romance, “His Secret”, from my editor, to rave reviews. She happily gushed about my two sweet men (thank goodness!). It was more terrifying than usual for this one, given that it’s the first I’ve written out of my usual genre. I must say, I completely enjoy this new writing challenge. I may be sticking with this genre for a while.

I also finished up book 2 in my new M/M series. The series is tentatively titled Healed, with book 1 “Heal Me”, book 2 “See Me”, and book 3 “Revive Me”. Titles subject to change, as always.

On a personal front, my daughter and I trekked back to Lake Tahoe to spend a fun-filled girl’s weekend with my two cousins. We did a whole lot of nothing – relaxed, ate too much, drank too much. Can’t wait for our next girl’s trip!

In addition to all that chaos, I began to outline book 3 of the Healed series (see above). Unfortunately, I think I’ve worn out my writer’s brain. Although I have the storyline and characters all fleshed out, the words do not want to flow. I’m resigned to back off and wait until they return. (*whispers to self*….I hope they return)

August:

On August 7 I released "Educating Sophia", the fifth and final book in the Moran Family series. I was very happy to see this series come to an end, although I will always love my characters and their stories. It feels as if I’ve done nothing BUT think about the Moran’s for the past three years. I’m happy to give them all wings to fly and sit back and concentrate on the future.

September:

Writing continued to be a struggle for me this month. Looking back on the past five years, it’s no wonder I’m suffering a serious case of the burnouts: I’ve released 7 books, started a website, a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I’ve written upwards of 10 new books. I certainly won’t say that I regretted any of it, but I do wish I’d have paced myself better. Now I sort of feel like a worn out shoe…..

October:

Vacation month!

The hubby and I, as well as my parents and my crazy cousins from San Diego, traveled to Catalina Island for our yearly 10-day vacation (which we managed to turn into a full 2-week vacay). We ate too much, as always. Sat around too much, as expected. Talked a lot, slept well and generally returned home rested and refreshed. Highlights of the trip will be the copious laughter, the big horn buck on the putting green that wouldn’t move (even after a bit of coaxing from my dad), and my first ever escape room challenge (if you haven’t tried it yet, you should. It’s SO much fun!). We’re already planning next year’s trip.

Although I’d hoped to return home from vacation with a new-found urge to write, it has yet to hit me. I do hear occasional whispers from the characters, but until they start screaming at me, I’ll have to sit back and attempt to NOT feel like a total writing failure.

November:

The hubby has been out of town for 2 weeks. I have actually managed to (so far) write one chapter. It’s slow going but thankfully I do hear a few murmurs from my characters. Now if they would just start screaming…!

I wish all of you a blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

-AJ

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