2016: A Year to Treasure

I’ve never written an end of the year post. But this year was a bit different for me so I thought I’d give it a try.

As some of you might remember, I signed with Rebecca Angus, my literary agent, in August of 2015. By spring of 2016, we had been through the first round of submissions on my middle grade, THE CRIMSON FIVE: Spin the Golden Light Bulb, with a bit of interest from editors. It was a gut wrenching time though and to say my hopes were sky high during that period would be an understatement. The waiting was torment and I fluctuated everyday between being sure that I’d get an offer, and then positive my dreams would be crushed to the ground the next time I opened my email.

This ping pong of emotions went on for some time… back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Some days, I really felt like a basket case, pinning my hopes and dreams on the opinion of these editors. But instead of letting that emotion take over, I made a conscious decision to hope for the best and sit myself down at my computer. I had a new story to write and that wasn’t going to happen by refreshing my email! I worked myself ragged planning and drafting, and somehow during 2016, the sequel to THE CRIMSON FIVE slowly grew into a story of its own. I breathed life into THE CRIMSON FIVE characters once again, and as I did, I found myself less and less concerned with what was going on with my sub round, became more confident in my writing, and positive that one day an editor would love both THE CRIMSON FIVE books, not just one.

In fall of 2016, Rebecca sent the manuscript out to another round of editors, even though several editors from the previous round were still considering it. By then, I had learned that all good things take time, and when publishing is involved, good things take a really long time! So, I just kept drafting and revising because that’s what I’m good at and more importantly, that’s what I could control.

However, if they say that good things take time, really great things happen in the blink of an eye. And that’s exactly how the offer on THE CRIMSON FIVE: Spin the Golden Light Bulb and the sequel felt to me. Like a blink. A full on eye-twitching blink! One moment I didn’t have an offer, and the next moment I did.

I promised a post about how the Amberjack Publishing offer came on a random fall day in 2016, but I’m not quite ready to write that one yet. I guess I’m still floating ( and blinking) from the fact that as 2016 closes this week, I actually have my first book deal…a two book deal!

It’s funny though how sometimes it takes a dream come true to put all things into perspective.

This year, for me, was so much more that my book deal. It was the small family moments that happened each day, the ones that made my year. So in no particular order of importance, here are some of my memorable moments from 2016…

We celebrated my daughter’s 18th birthday. Yikes!

My son and daughter competed for the first time ever on the same sports team…indoor track! To see my children compete as teammates, siblings, and friends—cheering and pushing each other to do more than they thought they could, meant more to me than I can say.

My husband (the marathon runner/ triathlete) suffered a broken nose and a concussion from a wayward golf ball at work—he’s a golf sales rep. Weeks later he suffered broken ribs too while coaching our son’s hockey practice…proving that none of us are invincible—even my superman husband. It was heartbreaking to watch though and I prayed for his speedy recovery so he would feel like himself again.

My son competed in DECA (a business competition) at the state level, showing me that all his Odyssey of the Mind hard work was totally worth it. Those spontaneous problems are like gold.

My daughter set a high school track and field record in pole vault ( by 12 inches!) at sectionals and was recruited to vault in college. Being witness to her hard work and dedication after many, many setbacks through the years in both gymnastics and pole vault was true a inspiration to me.

My son ran at the track and field sectionals for the 3,000m steeplechase…and started driving!

My daughter met the boy of her dreams and their whirlwind romance throughout this year has been something out of a fairytale. Yes, he’s a sweet boy and yes, he opens the door for her—every single time!

She graduated from high school, and I’m officially old.

We had a BIG dessert themed party for the occasion, complete with a messy chocolate fountain and EIGHT Pinterest worthy posters filled with her life in pictures. I remember about five minutes of the whole whirlwind evening, but I do remember every single family member and friend who was there and how much they have impacted her childhood in amazing ways.

I took my son on his first college visits, just him and I. The two of us. So fun!

I had a birthday over the summer…the last one before that BIG birthday. Yuck.

Our family took a quick vacation to Boston for my son’s sixteenth birthday and while we were there reconnected with tons of extended family for my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary aboard a yacht in Boston Harbour. Sure it was only for one night, but still. A yacht!

I tried paddle boarding for the first time in Cape Cod. Now I want  to live on the water—and buy a paddle board.

My daughter and I shopped along Newberry Street in Boston and discovered our new favorite shop…Jack Wills. So cute and so British! Do stop in if you’re in Boston sometime.

We dropped our daughter off at college. I didn’t think I had that many tears in me. But I do. Even when you know your child is following their dreams and is at the perfect college for them, it’s still difficult when you realize they aren’t going to be home everyday anymore. Drop off day is just plain hard. But we’ve all adjusted, and she stops home a lot. So yay!

My son ran cross country in the fall and had recruiters and coaches from his two top colleges watch him race. Watching his face as he realized they were there to watch him was priceless. Watching him get fit for an ankle boot and crutches weeks later was not so great—especially for him. But he’s all healed now, so there’s that. 🙂

My husband recovered from his injuries too and slowly but surely is getting back into race shape. That makes him happy so it makes me happy too.

We celebrated his milestone BIG birthday this year with a few small parties-one that even included a shocking surprise visit from my sister-in law and niece from Florida. That was so fun. So now he’s officially old, and I am not! My milestone birthday isn’t until next summer. But seriously,  instead of us being like whoa is me or bummed out now, we realize that our adventure is definitely just beginning.

I signed a contract with the amazing team at Amberjack Publishing for my middle grade book—and it’s sequel…and it will be published on January 2, 2018!

We celebrated my son’s 17th birthday. My baby is 17. OMG!

I took another quick trip to Boston with my husband for his work Christmas party. It made me realize that I miss spending time with just him. Him and I. The two of us. Just us. I’m so grateful we still love each other and LIKE each other after all this time.

We celebrated the holidays with both our parents, and extended families, and KNOW how lucky we are to have all of them in our lives.

We surprised our kids with a 2017 summer trip to Disney. And if you know our kids you know that they are still smiling about it and will be until this summer. It’s great to have something so amazing to look forward to. It’s been a long time since we took an elaborate family trip like that and we decided that life moves so quickly we need to take advantage of the time we have together now.

I hope all of you reading this post don’t walk away thinking my life is all roses and sparkles though because it’s not. There were tears and fights and frustrations sprinkled in with these memorable moments too. But like anyone else, I worked through them. Every day is a choice and every day I choose to look for the wonder. Because it’s there.

So what’s my takeaway from 2016? Well, if you blink…something wonderful just might happen.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2017 be all you wish it will be, and maybe even filled with a few amazing surprises. Thank you for being a wonderful part of my 2016. You’ve all helped to make it so very memorable in the best way, and I look forward to hearing about all of your memorable 2017 moments soon!

 Jackie

 

6 thoughts on “2016: A Year to Treasure

  1. Bob Boothby says:

    Dear Jackie;
    If you are old what does that make me?……finding out I can’t spell prehistoric. So proud of you and your family; with apologies to Crimson Five, your greatest accomplishment.
    Looking forward to the sequel, and January 2nd, 2018.
    dad

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