The year 2019 was an incredible year of mostly highs, but oh baby, watch out for those dips. Here are some of the highlights and “lowlights”:
The year started out routine and normal. I released Alien Mischief (Alien Mate 4) in January, started writing a new alien dragon shifter romance, Under Fyre, and my husband and I booked a 3-week vacation to Scotland and Ireland for later in the spring.
We’d scheduled the tour for the end April/May, so I put Under Fyre on preorder and scheduled the release date for mid-May, a week after we returned. Good plan, huh?
A month before we were supposed to leave, my mom’s doctor scheduled her for a total hip replacement the week after we got back from the trip, coinciding with the book release. No problem. I figured I could stay with her and do all the new book release stuff from her house. (Mom, who is 81, had a part-time caregiver who promised to help post-surgery and who would be there with her while we were on vacation).
Two weeks before leaving on vacation, I went in for a routine mammogram. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (That same day my mother’s caregiver quit with no notice, no explanation. It was a mad, mad scramble to hire somebody else!).
The cancer was found at a very early stage, but I required surgery (a lumpectomy) and radiation. After conferring with my doctors, I decided to continue with our vacation and deal with the cancer when I got home. I’m pleased to say I was able to put it out of my mind and enjoy the trip. Going on the vacation turned out to be the right decision. I had a great time, and I’m really glad I went.
A week after we returned, my mom had her hip surgery on a Monday. I had my surgery the next day on Tuesday—on Under Fyre release day. How prophetic that title turned out to be!
Instead of going straight home from the hospital as had been the plan, my mom was sent to a skilled nursing/rehab facility for physical therapy. She needed more PT than she could get at home, and with me being post-surgical, I was restricted in what I could do.
In June, after a month in rehab and a couple of days short of going home, my mother got severe pneumonia and ended up in ICU at the hospital. The doctors told me she would likely not survive but if she did, she would be ventilator-dependent, in a nursing home, for the rest of her life (whatever was left of it). Between hospital visits, I kept writing (the Dakonian books)–as much as I was able to. Writing kept me sane. It gave me something else to focus on.
Then, little by little, day by day, my mom improved until she beat all the doctors’ expectations. (One of the doctors called her the “miracle lady.”) Home now for six months, she is doing great.
By July, things had started to settle down. I marked my 10th year publishing anniversary with a $200 prize drawing giveaway for readers. I re-released an older book (Goddess’s Curse) after giving it a new ending, new title, and new cover—Warrior’s Curse.
Needing to de-stress a little, in August, I blasted off to adult space camp. (Watch my wild ride). I also published my very first boxed set, the Alien Mate Complete Collection.
In September, October and November, I published the three Dakonian Mail Order Brides (Intergalactic Dating Agency) books: Sixx, Kord and Braxx.
Also in the fall, my husband and I took a quick one week vacation to Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA, and I attended the Romance Author Mastermind conference in Houston, Texas.
In November released my second boxed set, Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides, vol. 1, which contains Darak, Aton, and Caid, last year’s Intergalactic Dating Agency books.
So, here we are, the end of the December. All’s well that ends well. There were a few really hard months, but everything turned out fine in the end. I didn’t freak out when I got the cancer diagnosis (as I always envisioned I would). I’m actually quite proud of myself for the calm way I dealt with the situation. My mom is doing even better now than she was before her “near-death” experience, but I’m realistic. This wasn’t her first health crisis. At her age and physical condition, one of these crises will be end.
Professionally, bookwise, it was a great year! I saw a significant increase in book sales, and I’m on my way to reaching my next milestone. I released five brand new books, two boxed sets, and revamped & released a backlisted book. I wrote more than 250,000 words.
In 2020, I will release five new titles: Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 2) in February, Krash: Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides in March (in a still-secret multi-author anthology), Backfyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 3) in June (title and date tentative), and in the fall three more Intergalactic Dating Agency books. I will also release another boxed set or two.
And, finally, my husband I will be taking a month long transpacific cruise to Japan!