When you look back on 2014, what do you see? Did you have a year to remember for all the right reasons, or would you rather just shut the door behind you and walk away, because this year was one you’d rather forget? If the former, head straight to the next blog and into 2015 with gusto. If the latter, read on, because I sympathize, and just want to say, all is not lost.
My 2013 was one tough year that dragged itself all the way from late 2012 and into January of this year and only ended with the death of my father. It wasn’t just a tough year, it was a long one. Years can be like that, though, they don’t always respect the calendar, and they can seem endless.
But believe me, things will get better.
What’s that saying? - What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? It’s true. My rotten 2013 saw me pull back from most of my writing commitments. I managed just one Harlequin Presents in that entire year, Tycoon’s Temptation - and if it hadn’t been a part of The Chatsfield Continuity with no options for delays or extensions, I doubt I would have achieved that. As I told my editor, I had so much angst going on in my life, I didn’t have to make it up. My editor was brilliant and gave me all the time I needed.
And then a funny thing happened while I was stepping back from all the crud that was happening in my life. In the vacuum that my (lack of) writing had left, another idea was borne, an idea for a different kind of story with different characters who could make mistakes and laugh about it, and featuring a dog called Turbo that seemed almost human at times and that liked to eat chicken and chips, and this story was important to me, because it was set in a place where my father had grown up, so it was comforting too, and close to home.
There’s a saying here that one of our Aussie banks likes to use in its TV advertising. “From little things, big things grow.”
I’d like to offer a variation on that - From shitty years, good things come.
That germ of a story became my first single title, Stone Castles, published in December this year. Somehow a mad idea I’d had while at my wit’s end touched an editor’s heart enough for them to say, I’ll buy it. A gorgeous cover later and Stone Castles, the story I dedicated to my father, is out there.
You may not be a writer. You might be an accountant like I used to be, or a teacher, or a doctor or a factory worker, but I believe that something good can come from the hardships we face. Not just because we might learn from them, but sometimes because they cause us to veer off in a different direction and take us to somewhere new and exciting where we might not otherwise have ventured.
I hope, if you’ve had a tough 2014, your 2015 will shine in new and unexpected ways, and your days will be less about making it through to the end, but enjoying each and every new day.
Here’s to 2015. Happy New Year.