It’s human nature to pause this time of year and reflect on how the past year treated you and look forward to what the New Year will bring you. For me and my family, 2017 was an amazing year, but also a year full of changes which for me (us) is stressful.

The Recap

In 2017 our oldest graduated high school and started her first year of college. Like most stages of parenting that we’ve journeyed through with our oldest, we had no idea what we were in for! College applications, scholarship applications, acceptance letters, student loans and other financial stuff turned out to be not only very exciting but sometimes stressful and for me stress means far less creative juice flowing. Overall that journey turned out amazing. We’re thrilled that our daughter is about an hour from home for her college years, she’s done amazing in her classes, joined a sorority, made some amazing friends and learned the realities of living with a roommate. As usual, we know much better what to expect when our youngest starts high school next year.

Another huge change for us is that my husband’s job of seventeen years ended in July. Talk about some unexpected changes. We’ve successfully navigated job interviews, choosing a job (from multiple offers, thank you God) and started the new position. Now our last series of changes is learning the ins and outs of a new benefits package, a whole new schedule which is mostly a good thing. And the best part of all is my husband now LOVES his new job, his coworkers and his boss. I mean, there really is no better end result than that.

From a writing perspective I was thrilled to be invited back to Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World in May–for those keeping track that was not only the same month but the same day as my daughter’s graduation!–and I’ve been so blessed with the reactions and reviews that Dangerously Distracted has received. I’m so glad you all love the Dangerously series. (Keep reading for more news on this front). I also started writing the first book in what will be a six book series featuring the six brothers from Dangerously Sweet. Remember Amelia’s six brothers all working and running their family lodge in rural Alaska? These guys are fun, exciting, and best of all HOT!

Also no the writing vein, I served my first year as chapter president for my local RWA chapter. This is a job I never thought that I would have, but it turns out that I’ve loved it. I don’t want to brag, but this was kind of (not kind of, TOTALLY) a huge personal challenge and change for me. I went from being afraid to walk into the meetings by myself and terrified of having to actually speak in front of the group to being responsible for running the meetings and the holiday party. I’m more than a little bit proud of myself. This was all part of my goal for 2017 to work on myself, my self-esteem and my confidence. It’s a baby step, but it’s a step and I’m proud to have made it.

Looking Forward

2018 has yet to reveal what she holds in store for my family but I definitely have more than a few goals, and dreams I want to accomplish before this time next year. I’ll be returning to Barefoot Bay in April with the third novella in my Dangerously series. This story will feature a character we first met in Dangerously Distracted, Brett Williams is the second-in-command of the elite bodyguard business that Michael Duncan runs. I can’t wait for you to learn more about this guy, he’s going to be fun to write and fun for the fans of Barefoot Bay to read!

Another goal I have in 2018 is to start writing here more frequently! I love blogging, in fact, blogging is what first reconnected me to my love of writing when I started and ran a successful parenting blog. When I decided to focus on my first love of writing romance I stopped putting effort into that blog, because there’s only so much time in a day, so I’m excited to start writing some short blog posts here about a myriad of topics that appeal to me and I hope they appeal to you, too.

I’ll be finishing the first story set in Alaska and hope to be able to bring it to you by the end of 2018, but I have some pretty big dreams for that series and I won’t settle for less. The Barton Brothers are a great group of guys, each with their own skills and personality and the heroines I have in mind for each of them is definitely going to turn the Barton Lodge crew upside down and shake them down to their cores before they find their happily ever after in the picturesque setting of Alaska.

Last but not least from the goals and aspirations category is to make my Reader Team group on Facebook a more fun and interesting place to hang out. If you’re not already a member but you love to read, you should definitely join us.

I’ll also serve my second year as president of my RWA chapter, Missouri Romance Writers of America. We’re going to make 2018 the best year yet!

Happy New Year!