This year was a busy year for me, with work life, mom life, and personal life constantly colliding in ways that alternated between exhilarating and heartwrenching.
- WORK LIFE: This year, I published the much awaited second book in my Fantasy trilogy, Selkie II. I attended two signings, and for most of this year, I loved writing just as much as I ever have. The publishing world continued to open up to me, I made new friends, and I'm thrilled with the way I've grown more comfortable as a business-woman.
- MOM LIFE: My daughters are growing into beautiful and kind-hearted young women right before my eyes. My oldest daughter is entering the teen years with excitement and pride, and I'm thrilled to watch her mature as she becomes the woman she will someday be. My youngest is a budding bookworm with a soft heart and a huge personality, and I've enjoyed watching her learn more this year about the world around her. Together, they are my biggest accomplishment and my dearest source of pride and joy. If I do nothing else right in this life, I will always be proud of my part in raising them to be who they are.
- PERSONAL LIFE: After a long effort to work things out with my former partner, deciding to really call it quits and move my life in other directions has opened my heart in ways I never expected. The changes this brought into my life have been whirlwind and terrifying - but my confidence has grown in leaps and bounds, I've learned more than I ever expected to about recovering from adverse circumstances, and I'm finally in a place where I accept myself unconditionally.
Much of the above-mentioned growth has become the catalyst which changed this blog in such a strong way. Now, it's more than just another author blog, more than my effort to sell books and reach readers. Now it's an outlet, and I hope very much to see it become a community. Sure, I'll still talk about books, but I also plan to talk about other things, too - like movies and music, mental health and my pursuit of happiness, my favorite things, and maybe even a few sponsored posts, so that I can support my blog, my writing, and my family, all while sharing the best of everything in my life with you, my readers.
For now though, let's end the year on a high note - with a look back at what you loved the most about this blog in the last twelve months. Here are ...
The Top 10 Posts of 2016
1.) "Responsibility May Be Heavy ... But At Least It's The Good Kind" - in this post, I talked about my own responsibilities, and how I feel about bearing up under the burdens.
2.) "Fighting For Freedom" - in this one, I talked about why Fighting For Freedom is one of my favorites of my books, and how closely its subject matter aligns with my personal life. As this year went on, I felt more and more connected to this story - to the point that I had to take a break from writing it. I hope to see a return of my ability to put my own personal circumstance aside, so that I can continue to share Christine's story.
3.) "Self-Confidence And Body Positivity" - here, I made a point to address a review on Fat Chance. The reviewer accused me of fat-shaming in that book, and as a plus sized girl who wrote the story in hopes of giving the rest of the world a glimpse at what plus-sized life can really be like, I was justifiably upset. The rest of the review didn't bother me, and I'm really fine with the fact that all books are not always satisfying for all readers - but I couldn't sit back and let anyone accuse me of fat shaming without saying something about it.
4.) "What #BodyPositive Really Means (To Me)" - the body-positive movement was still very much in my newsfeed and it came up often in conversations I shared with friends, so it was still on my mind, and judging by the pageviews, I wasn't alone. This was truly about body-love though, and how I manage to love my own body - despite what is often negative societal feedback.
5.) "Saturday Sentiment: I Can't Vlog, So ..." - I love vlogs, and every so often I think I'd like to give it a shot. And I usually do - I pull out the camera and record some footage, but then I watch it, delete it, and continue to believe that vlogging is not for me. In this post, I talked about how I feel about that, how I plan to deal with it, and where to go from there.
6.) "National Pregnancy And Infant Loss Remembrance Day" - on October 15th, seeking a good blog topic, I went hunting for "National" days. I think there's a National day for just about everything now, but this one resonated with me because I've experienced miscarriage. So ... I wrote about that, sharing some of my story, how I remember the child I never got to hold, and how that lost child reminds me to be grateful every day for my daughters, who walk and talk and live and breathe - although sometimes with a bit too much fervor.
7.) "Selkie: An Excerpt ... And A Surprise" - not very link-bait-y, but at least it's self-explanatory, right?
8.) "Depression Is More Than A Keyword -- My Depression Is My Fault, Part II" - this post was the sixth in a seven-post series about Depression. In this series, I explored the societal view of Depression, addressing the stigma and the perception of Depression in society, as well as the reality of life with this crushing illness.
9.) "Christmas Eve: A Peek Under Our Family Tree" - in this post, I shared some of what kept the magic alive for my family this Christmas, despite the things our family was going through. I also shared a little peek at what was going under our tree, with my thoughts and hopes for how the gifts I chose for my daughters might be received.
10.) "Five-Star Reads, 2016" - these were my favorite books this year. It's not always easy for me to find five-star reads, as I generally reserve the five-star rating for books that I truly loved or which impacted me personally. So this post was my list of favorites from 2016, and I hope you'll love some of them too.