Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 State of My Life Address

Yes, I realize I'm not the President.  Yet.  No, I really wouldn't ever want that job!  Have you see how quickly our President's age during their terms in office?  No, thank you.

It's been a productive year, and I'm really looking forward to an even better year in 2014.

I far surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenges and have been introduced to some new and interesting authors and series along the way.  Read a few clinkers, though, too.  I've been prepping for the new year's challenges and have come up with a list of books that will be both familiar and new and still have room for books I don't know of yet.

Library donations have gone well, and I hope to donate many more books this coming year.  I'm learning to let go of things that I don't need to hang on to, not only books but in other areas of my life, as well.

I did submit several stories to contests and publishers.  None of them were picked up, but I'm heading in the right direction, and that was more than I did the year before.  I'm hopeful that this new year will find my writing career advancing successfully.  Our little Writing Circle has been an absolute blessing.  We started as writing buddies and have become close and dear friends.  We're now coming up with writing challenges to keep each other writing, enthused and productive.  Short stories seem to be easier for me to deal with at this time, as they not only challenge me to come up with many different plots in different genres, but they'll also help me to get things out in the market faster, improve my writing skills and confidence, keep me from being burned out on writing novel-length fiction, and also help me figure out which genres I'm most attracted to writing in.  During both NaNo Camps, I'll probably continue with the shorter pieces and save November for a lengthier prose.

Moving forward toward moving onward with my life is coming along slowly, but steadily.  Just a little while ago, it was something that I envisioned doing somewhere in the great future, but now I'm aiming toward moving within the next two years (sooner, rather than later).  It's just a matter of getting the financing AND going through all my stored boxes to donate books I no longer need and lightening my load.  

I come from a family of pack rats, something we never realized while I was growing up, because we had to move every two years for the military, and we were constantly jettisoning extraneous belongings along the way.  Now, we're in a scary situation, where our belongings are taking over our living space, and the next major move is going to be an extremely stressful and lengthy process.  Hopefully, I can get my things out before then!

My dreamwork has been coming along wonderfully, and I have a few wonderful people who help me in that endeavor.  I'm finding that the older I get, the more happy I am with myself, and the less I worry about what other people think, though I am human, and some of that will probably always be with me.  Your values change, your focus changes, the more pono you become with yourself.  For all ya'll haoles out there, being pono means being right with yourself :)

My genealogy adventure continues.  I keep finding more and more cousins of varying degrees through my research and through the DNA tests that I've taken.  It's fascinating how many people you really are connected to, even in just a couple of generations.  

I've lost 40 pounds this year, which I'm very happy about.  Still have a long way to go, but it's slowly coming off in a healthy way, and all of my blood tests have shown great improvement.  That's a total of 90 pounds that I've lost over the past three years, so YAY ME!  The progress, itself, is a great motivator.

Did get out and about a bit more this year and am looking forward to doing more of that in 2014.

And I FINALLY got to meet a dear friend in person!  We had a lovely chat fueled by ice cream.  We met several years ago in an online game and have become fast friends.  I lean on her a lot, we share our lives, woes and triumphs with each other, and I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

About five more hours until the year turns.  Here's to a happy and safe New Year!

Books Read December 2013

Allen, Sarah Addison
  • Waking Kate 
Fiction.  A prequel to her next book, Lost Lake.  A woman begins to wonder at what point did she give her life up for her husband, and if she’ll regret it years from now.  An elderly man tells her a story that might help her answer that question.

Ball, Donna
  • Christmas on Ladybug Farm 
Fiction.  The extended family at Ladybug Farm prepares for Christmas, a holiday they’ve always reveled in, however this year they’re facing Christmas in the high 80’s, hardly winter weather in Virginia.  As they consider canceling Christmas for this year, they reflect back on Christmases past and find a new reason to celebrate.

Befeler, Mike
  • Retirement Homes Are Murder
Fiction.  Paul Jacobson wakes up to find himself in an unfamiliar setting.  Unfortunately, it happens to him everyday.  With chronic short-term memory loss, each day brings new experiences and new friends.  But on this second day of living at the Kani Nani Retirement Home, he comes across something even more surprising, a dead body stuffed in the trash chute.

Blackwell, Juliet et al.
  • Love on Main Street: A Snow Creek Christmas 
Fiction.  Seven short romance stories each written by a different author and that all take place in the small town of Snow Creek.

Blake, Heather
  • A Witch Before Dying 
Fiction.  Second in the paranormal cozy mystery series set in a small village in Salem, Massachusetts, where many of the villagers are Crafters of varying sorts, and murders abide. 

Cates, Bailey
  • Charms and Chocolate Chips 
Fiction.  Katie Lightfoot is busy baking treats to sell in her bakery and weaving her spells into each pastry.  In the very little spare time she has, she’s been volunteering at Georgia Wild, a non-profit organization trying to protect the environment.  When she shows up at the office one evening, to her horror, she finds that the head of Georgia Wild has been murdered.

Copperman, E.J.
  • Chance of a Ghost 
Fiction.  Fourth in the Haunted Guesthouse series.  Alison Kerby juggles the running of a guesthouse with her fledgling business as a private investigator, as well as being a mom to a precocious young girl and housemate to two ghosts who assist her in solving cases.

Dekker, Ted
  • Eyes Wide Open 
Fiction.  All four episodes in a psychological journey through madness, as two young people find themselves questioning their very sanity.

  • Identity 
Fiction.  First episode in a 4-episode story of a young woman and young man caught in madness.

DeLeon, Jana
  • Trouble in Mudbug 
Fiction.  First in a paranormal cozy mystery series taking place in Mudbug, Louisiana, a small bayou town.  Maryse spends her days out in the swamp studying plants and her evenings at her small cabin with her cat.  Her dull life is about to take a turn on the wild side, when her newly-dead mother-in-law bursts out of her casket at the funeral.

Evanovich, Janet
  • Pros and Cons 
Fiction.  Novella introducing FBI agent, Kate O’Hare in a new series. 

  • Takedown Twenty
Fiction.  Stephanie, Lula and the gang are up to it again, as they try to apprehend various criminals in The Burg.  Stephanie’s car insurance must be raising their rates in each book, as she just can’t seem to hang onto them very well.  Lula is besotted with a random giraffe that only she and Stephanie can see running around downtown Trenton, and Grandma Mazur finds herself in deep trouble in this episode.

Galenorn, Yasmine
- Autumn Whispers 
Fiction.  14th in the Otherworld series, told from Delilah’s point of view.  Everything from a missing person to a war in the Otherworld to a daemon bent on taking over corporate America, the girls and their extended family are kept busy trying to keep their heads above water.  In the midst of all the tragedy and darkness, the birth of three new babes bring hope into the world.

  • Ice Shards
Fiction.  Novella starring Iris Kuusi, the Talon-Haltija and Priestess of Undutar.  She must return to the Northlands temple to find the truth of what happen 600-years ago and hopefully have the High Priestess remove a curse preventing Iris from ever bearing children.

  • The Shadow of Mist 
Fiction.  Selkie Siobhan Morgan is loving her life with a wonderful man at her side, and a new baby in her tummy.  Suddenly, a voice from the past shatters her peace, and she must fight to sever the ties that keep her bound to a man who won’t take “no” for an answer.

Grafton, Sue
  • W is for Wasted
Fiction.  Kinsey finds new relatives after one of them, a homeless man, dies on the beach.  With them help of an old acquaintance, she is able to unravel the threads of his story and reveal the circumstances of his death.

Graham, Heather
  • Ghost Night
Fiction.  Second in this paranormal mystery series set in Key West.  Sean O’Hara is captivated by a new woman in his life who witnessed the aftermath of a brutal murder two years before he met her.  Psychological or real ghosts have led her to him in her search for closure, help she needs before another murder can take place.  

Herr, Michael
  • The Kauai Obake Bar 
Fiction.  Parody of Hawaiian ghost stories involving ghosts, Madame Pele, the Night Marchers, a menehune, a ho’omano and others.

Johnson, Craig
  • The Cold Dish 
Fiction.  First in the Walt Longmire series set in Wyoming that was made into a TV series.  Sheriff Longmire receives a call that a young man has been killed.  There are quite a number of possible suspects that Longmire must consider, including his own best friend, bar owner Henry Standing Bear.  And too, he must consider whether or not this crime is related to a viscous sexual assault that took place several years ago.

Rowling, J.K.
  • The Casual Vacancy
Fiction.  Boring story of a community’s reactions to their “mayor” dying suddenly.

Smith, Deborah
  • Mossy Creek 
Fiction.  The small town of Mossy Creek, Georgia is the home to some of the strangest group of residents.  Eccentric is a mild term for them, from a shotgun toting female mayor to a flying chihuahua, getting to know them is heart-warming fun.

Toronto, Suzy
  • The Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women Book Two 
Non-fiction.  Suzy introduces us to more of the wonderfully wacky women in her life, as she tells their inspiring stories and slips in a few recipes.