Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The good, the bad and the way better than expected… Kandy Shepherd

Was 2011 a good or a not-so-good year for you? At the turn of the year, I was concerned by the number of people, both around me and on social media, saying 2011 had been a terrible year for them. It made me think about my year past. I concluded that—although the world situation was an ongoing cause for concern—it hadn’t been a bad year for me, though there were some ups and downs.

I like to think the beautiful rainbow over our farmhouse brought it good luck and saved it from destruction by fire.

Last July, a fire at our farmhouse destroyed the kitchen and caused severe smoke damage to practically every possession. Thankfully, no human or animal was hurt. Months of angst, disruption and inconvenience followed. We are only just this week moving back in.


The insurance company was fabulous. They provided a “disaster recovery” team who cleaned and restored what they could and a builder to replace the kitchen and make repairs. What can’t be restored we can replace. Looking around the beautiful new kitchen, carpets and window coverings in the newly-painted rooms, we think maybe the silver-lining part of this dark cloud turned out to be pretty substantial! 
Lots of rain plus sunshine equalled magnificent roses in my garden
As a family, we seemed to catch every cold and flu going around—despite having flu vaccinations. I swear I felt ill for half the year! My teenage daughter had mononucleosis (glandular fever) twice. Would we ever get better?
Of course we did. My daughter successfully got through her first year at university. Medical tests concluded that there is nothing seriously wrong with any of us. So reassuring!

I learned to cook Thai food--yum!

After a long wait for confirmation, a two-book contract with a big publisher didn’t happen for me. Very disappointing. But that’s publishing for you.
Excited by the surge in indie publishing, and with some trepidation, I decided to self-publish my contemporary romance The Castaway Bride. To my ongoing amazement and delight, it became a Kindle bestseller. The Wall Street Journal recommended it in its "Reader’s Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers". I’ve gained lots of wonderful new readers. Now that really is an “Up”! 
My Kindle bestseller

Over the course of twelve months, there was much to celebrate: ongoing friendships; my pleasure in my family; the joy from my animals; good books read and movies enjoyed; new recipes tried and enjoyed; the biggest and most beautiful roses I have ever grown. I’m hoping for more ups than downs in 2012—not just for me, but for you too. 
Happy New Year!
Just looking at them makes me feel happy!

What about you? Any particular ups and downs for you in last year? Any hopes for 2012? I’d love to hear about them!

Please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of my contemporary romance Home Is Where the Bark Is published by Berkley Sensation. Be sure to include your email address if you want to be in the draw.

Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction.


TashNz said...

Hi Kandy! I'm sorry to hear of your downs but I really like how you were able to see Ups in them. I cant say this year was my favourite but with the world wide tragedy's that have happened I will not complain. I and my family are alive and healthy...ish. I didnt know authors can self publish and I think that's awesome about your achievement. Best wishes with 2012.

TashNz said...

ooh... please include me in the draw if this is an international comp. You will find me at tashnz75 (at) gmail (dot) com :)

Colobus said...

I noticed people in Christmas card notes saying 2011 wasn't a great year for them, either, so I'm glad you can see the positives.

BW said...

Home is definitely where the bark is. My Westie would agree with that statement.

BW said...

I forgot my email:

traveler said...

You have achieved so much and are fortunate indeed. Your photos captivate your positive outlook. Best wishes and happiness for 2012.

Maureen said...

I would say we definitely had ups and downs this past year. Our family is usually very healthy and we all got so sick but that was many months ago and we are all healthy now.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Di said...

That fire must have been traumatic! Then to follow it by the reconstruction too. I had a new kitchen built along with bumping out the back of the house - that was planned and still incredibly disruptive. But now you can look forward - as they say - when one door closes, another opens.
I really like you comment that you 'write fun, feel-good fiction' - those types of books are so helpful to lift spirits on a grey day.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Renee said...

To be able to look at the positives inspite of the bad is a gift and should be cherished. Sometimes my mom used to say the God backed up the dump truck and just let go. Those were always the times that I felt like we really pulled together and became closer as a family. I hope that is what you have experienced.

Kathleen O said...

A fire is can be devistating, but no lives were lost and that is a real upside..

Not so for my family this year. We lost our mother, so that is a real downer for us. But knowing that she is free of pain is an UP.. And I got a really great unexpected Christmas present and that is another UP..

marybelle said...

I'm pleased to see that with every down there was an up. Life is generally fair that way - not always - but mostly.


Jean P said...

Can say that last year was mostly up, nothing major that got us down. Just plugging away.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Chrisbails said...

Loved the rainbow picture. I live in the country and have some really good shots also. This past summer I had 2 awesome shots of double rainbows. I am also a big dog fan. I have a mastiff-she is 4 years old. I also have a pitbull and he is 1 1/2 years old. He was our dogsitting job for a friend. We were only supposed to have him for a month. It turned into 6 months and then they never came back and got him. He was about 3 months old when we got him. We have had him for a little over a year. I also have cats. Most are outdoors and the cats & the dogs get along. Very well. I have seen the dogs protect the cats when they fight with each other.
This book looks great and would love to win and read. I love the title and the cover is fantastic. Thanks for the chance to win.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Apologies for not being on line sooner to answer your wonderful comments.
DOWN--no internet access for several days because of electricity interruption at farm caused by fire damage still not quite corrected.
UP--I got lots of writing done!
ANOTHER UP--I got to read your comments all in one hit!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Tash, thanks for being my first visitor! So glad to hear all is well with your family and that 2011 wasn't too unkind for you.
The indie-publishing has become quite a phenomenon--mainly because of the explosion in e-books and e-readers like Kindle and Nook. It's a whole new world!

Kandy Shepherd said...

So you saw the trend too, Colobus, let's hope that 2012 is full of positive good news!

Kandy Shepherd said...

I love Westies, BW, so cute and full of character! You must have such fun with yours.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you Traveler, all the best to you too for 2012-may it be wonderful in every way.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Maureen, it seemed to be a year of sniffles and bugs, no matter where we live in the world. So glad to hear that you and your family are over it all and well and healthy.

Kandy Shepherd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kandy Shepherd said...

You're right, Di, the fire was traumatic. The phone call from our neighbor alerting us to it was really the kind of phone call you hope you won't get too many times!
Of course reconstruction of any kind is disruptive, but the rewards come too! Your new kitchen must be wonderful.
I'm glad you like "fun, feel-good fiction". If I can make my readers smile, then I'm happy!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Renee, what a wonderful way of putting it--thank you so much for sharing that thought.
Yes, the family did pull together. Importantly, there was no blame dished out. It was an accident and we treated it as that. Being kind to each other is the way to go in such circumstances, I think!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Kathleen, I am so sad to hear about your mother--such a loss. So glad, though, to read that you could find an UP there, too. My best thoughts for a wonderful 2012 after having had such grief in 2011.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Very aptly put, Marybelle! May you have more Ups than Downs in 2012!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Sometimes that "plugging away" kind of year can be the best kind of all, can't it Marybelle? I hope 2012 continues to be an Up year for you!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Chrisbails, so glad you liked the rainbow photo. My husband called me out to see it and said "grab the camera". Your double rainbow one must be beautiful.
So nice to hear about your dogs and cats--I love where you say the dogs protect the cats. They must all be very special animals!

Michele L. said...

My mom had a house fire a year and a half ago. It was terrible also. Everything was ruined from the smoke plus a whole corner of one side of her house was gutted. It was a terrible year for all of us. She is now back home in her newly renovated home. Thankfully, the fireman pulled her out but her little dog died. :-(

Let's all wish for an awesome 2012! Hip, hip hooray! Toast (clink) Loved your pictures! They are very inspirational.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Michele, I'm so sad to hear of your mother's house fire. Glad to hear she got out, but so, so sorry she lost her little dog. How tragic. Thank heavens none of my animals were inside at the time of my fire.

I'm joining you in the toast for an awesome 2012--here's my glass clinking against yours!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you so much everyone, for your wonderful comments. I so enjoyed reading them.

The winner of a copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is Chrisbails.