Sunday, December 30, 2018

So long, farewell...

As 2018 winds down, I can't help but wish for a few more weeks to get some more things done before the new year! But that's not how it works. 2019 will arrive, right on schedule, and we've got to keep moving forward!

So many wonderful things happened this year that I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the highlights. The most memorable thing has to be all the hikes I went on in Lassen VNP. Hiking probably doesn't sound like much of a big deal, but to me it was. Up until this year, I'd never done much (okay, any) hiking. Sure, I'd walked a few trails at a couple different wildlife refuges with a camera hanging around my neck, looking for birds, but I'd never actually hiked. As in 'buy a special pair of shoes for the activity and get down and dirty up in the mountains.'

Taking in the beauty of nature at Shadow Lake

Why the sudden interest? Well, after seeing all the trails listed on Lassen's pamphlet during a summer birdwatching visit, we thought it'd be fun to cross them off one by one. And by the end of the year, we completed 11 of them. It gave me a valuable sense of accomplishment and a feeling that I'm capable of doing anything I set my mind to. I know, I know, it sounds so cliche and like a graphic you'd find somewhere on Pinterest, but it's true!

I've never pushed myself in such a physical way before and finishing some of the more advanced hikes took a heck of a lot of willpower, too. That 13 mile hike around the Twin Lakes Loop (mostly uphill) took every ounce of determination I had.

The Unlikely Hiker strikes again!

In total, we saw 19 lakes, 2 waterfalls and hiked over 40 miles. I can't wait to go back to the park in the spring and see all of the wildflowers blooming!

That's me standing in between two lakes! (Ridge Lakes)

Besides discovering just how tough I really am out in nature, I released a new Razors Ice book, along with two bargain book bundles, visited my very first National Seashore, joined Instagram and started watching MMA. I wish I could put some of those incredible fighters on my book covers! (Here's looking at you, Sage Northcutt, Stipe Miocic, and Gian Villante!)

My goals for 2019 aren't anything too crazy. Hey, I am a couch potato at heart after all. But I would like to see (and film) those Lassen wildflowers and go on a few more travel adventures for Vaughn the Road Again. As for writing, well, I can plan all I want, but I never know for sure where it'll end up taking me. My characters have minds of their own, I tell you! I would like to work on finally writing a Christmas book, completing the paranormal saga I started years ago, finishing a few sequels that have been simmering on the back burner, and maybe reviving the Me series. Frisky Ethan and Lana are nowhere near finished with their sexy escapades! As for the hockey side of things, the Razors Ice series is alive and well and I know just which player is getting his own book. 😉

I hope you made some awesome memories of your own this year, and if you didn't get around to it, then there's always next year! Breaking out of your comfort zone is scary, but it sure gives you something incredible to look back on (and write about!).

How often can you say you stood over a waterfall???
(Mill Creek Falls, Lassen VNP)

As we step out of the past year and into the shiny new one, let's leave negativity behind and remember that we're so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for...

Auld Lang Syne,

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