Real life tends to throw up obstacles when you least expect them, and mine has certainly done that several times this year.
Both hubby and I have been dealing with medical issues the last few months. We're not really sure if mine are related to the brain lesions or if it's related to neck issues. A car accident in October didn't help matters any, either. We're trying to sort out what's happening in hopes of getting the migraines under control again. They're nasty little bastards, and have a way of wreaking havoc on day-to-day life. I've been in physical therapy since before the accident in October, and cannot wait until the day I'm all done!
A couple of years ago, SS was critically ill with acute pulmonary blastomycosis--a rare fungal infection of the lungs not common in this area. After being initially (mis)diagnosed with lung cancer, his condition worsened quickly, leading to him spending a few weeks in intensive care while they sorted out exactly what was happening. They ended up having to take part of his lung. His kidneys and liver began to fail. We almost lost him. He's my other half, and nearly losing him was one of the most terrifying things I've ever been through. In 2014, he was officially "cleared" of the infection. It was a long, hard road, and we monitor him closely. Recently, he's been having some issues, and has been referred to a cardiologist after an abnormal lung X-Ray. We're hopeful what they're seeing is old damage, but until we know for sure, it's a little frightening. Repeat infections are rare, but they do happen, so that's always sitting in the back of our minds, and in the minds of his healthcare team.
He and I both work for the Sheriff's Dept. in our county. He's one of the IT guys, and I work in dispatch. It's trying work at times, as you can imagine. We recently lost a coworker, which has been hard on everyone. As a dispatcher, you're trained to protect your guys. You can't protect them from grief when they lose a brother, though. And that sucks. Our work family is making it through it one day at a time, however. That's one of the great things about the work we do. No one goes through anything alone. Law enforcement is very much a family.
I've recently had to face the realization that working full time and writing full time might not be possible for much longer, though. I simply don't have enough hours left in the days anymore. Since there's zero chance of me giving up writing, I've been weighing whether I'm ready to step away from the workforce to become a stay-at-home author. It's a tough decision to make because I love what I do, and I love so many of my coworkers. And I've always been one to juggle multiple jobs. But I promised SS I would make a decision by March, so I guess we'll see.
I have finally, FINALLY finished FLAME! Right now, I'm giving it one more pass to tidy up some things before I send it on to the prereaders for their expert opinions and commentary. From there, it will go to the Curiosity Quills team. If they like it, I'm hopeful for a 2016 release date. Fingers crossed! I'm really pleased with how the novel turned out. I've struggled hard with it for three years now, and have thrown away more drafts than I care to admit. I fell in love with this draft while writing it, and I hope you guys like the finished product when you do get it!
I'll also begin editing Stricken in the coming days for an early 2016 release. And then there's the upcoming holidays and all the good times associated with them! I managed to finish shopping--yay! Every year, I say I'm going to start shopping early, and then time gets away from me. Before I know it, it's mid-December and I've barely even started checking things off my to-buy list. Maybe next year will be my year. One can always hope, right?!
The besties were able to visit twice this year, which I loved! We got our first tattoos together in February, and then drank far too much and otherwise had a great time in September. Every woman needs girlfriends to laugh with, cry with, and drink copious amounts of wine with. I'm fortunate to have some of the best! We don't always agree, but they are my soul sisters.
We lost two beloved members of our family this year--our 13 year old terrier Boo (Mama), and our 5 year old gangsta kitty, Ali. Cancer took both of them well before we were ready to let them go. The other minions are still adjusting to life without them around. Boo and Ali very much ran the household, so it's been a challenge for the others to figure out how to function without a cranky little dog and a gangster cat here to boss them (and us!) into submission.It's been hardest on Razi. Boo got pregnant about 8 years ago and gave birth to one puppy--Razi. We just had to keep her. She's never been without her mom before, so she's had a rough time of it.
To help her adjust, we adopted the world's most ridiculous, cutest Chihuahua from a coworker. Baby Girl (BG for short or Tiny) is a hot mess, and we absolutely adore her. She's very much "my" dog, and loses her mind when anyone touches me without permission...including SS. We're still working on teaching her not to bite him when he tries to touch me when I'm sleeping. She gets a little cranky about my beauty sleep! And she is all about sleeping herself. She wants to be on my lap, under a blanket, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don't think she knows she's a dog. It's pretty amusing. Razi doesn't much care for her most of the time, but they sleep together when I'm at work, so I guess she thinks BG is at least tolerable.
My beautiful niece, Abby, was diagnosed with Autism and mild mental retardation not long ago. Abby is a very smart little girl--she just doesn't like to talk to anyone other than her mom, her brothers, and her speech therapist. As a result, her verbal and social skills were very low. Despite scoring high on intelligence portions of the test, those scores pulled her IQ down to mild mental retardation levels. There's some debate over whether she actually has autism or selective mutism, so she may have to go for more testing. In the meantime, we're treating her exactly as we always have. She is an amazing little girl with a big heart and a little bit of that diva attitude most of the women in my family have. No matter what life throws at her, I am certain she will meet it on her feet. :)
At the end of the day... I have to say the year has definitely been worth the chaos. I published four novels, knocked 90 books off my to-read list (and my Goodreads 2015 Challenge), finished FLAME, signed the War Scrolls series, and adopted the world's cutest Chihuahua. I've learned so much this year, and am continually excited by the new ideas and new perspectives others lend me.
I hope your year has been as full as ours, minus the sadder parts, of course! :) And I hope each and every one of you is having an amazing holiday season.