Friday, December 29, 2023

2023 Year in Review

As I look forward to what the new year brings, I'm also taking a look back at the last twelve months to remind myself of everything that has happened, both good and, in this year's case, not so good.

A great deal has been accomplished on the administrative side of the world of Rachelle Vaughn. All 21 of my books and 7 short stories were meticulously re-edited, re-formatted with new writing software, and re-uploaded. Then, to ensure that every book was as bedazzled and sparkleicious as can be, new covers were made for the entire Red Valley Ravens series (after the team got a shiny new name, of course!), the Thorne Creek books, Submersed, and Hockey Gods. And, if that wasn't enough, I separated all of my books by genre and created 3 new pennames to keep everything neat and tidy and less confusing for readers. Oh, and I almost forgot! For the first time, all of my books and short stories are available on Google Play.

Somehow, during all of that non-writing-related work, I managed to finish and publish Saving Hockeyville, the first of a new cozy small-town series where the sport of hockey is celebrated all year long. I'm already knee-deep in the sequel and can't wait to share it with you next year!

Personally, I've kept my self-care regime intact by practicing yoga every morning, keeping up my regular workouts, and have even added an at-home weekly spa night with hubby where we slather our faces with yummy-smelling peel-off masks and soak our feet while watching British gardening shows on TV. Like I've been saying all along, it's the little things that make a big difference in life. I'm also giving myself a big ole pat on the back for maintaining my 95-pound weight loss for an entire year. It was scary at first, but like anything else, it got a little easier with time.

Having that self-care routine in place has been crucial now more than ever after having to say goodbye to my writing partner and 14-year-old fur baby in September. She was such a huge part of my life that her absence has been intensely difficult. After diving into the main characters' grief in Saving Hockeyville, I had no idea I'd be confronted with it head-on in my own life so soon after writing it. Removing "she lives with her sassy calico cat" from my author bio hurt like hell.

We all know that "life is short" and regularly use the saying as justification for a lot of things. But seriously, LIFE IS FREAKIN' SHORT. Don't waste it by worrying about the things that don't matter or the things you can't change. And don't waste another moment hating yourself or wishing you could transform yourself for the better. Do the things, make the changes, start making friends with yourself. You're never going to have everything completely figured out, but at least try to enjoy the journey because we don't know how long it's going to last.

As for my goals for next year...well, I'm hoping to enjoy a little less formatting and a lot more writing. There are many more Hockeyville books to write, as well as the third book in the Thorne Creek series, two more books in the Tattooed by Love series, a Hitman Trilogy I've been kickin' around for nearly a decade, another Ravens book or three, several Christmas romances, and plenty of other books for my new alter ego pennames in other genres--Hockey Gods sequel anyone? I'm going to do myself a favor and stay away from Pinterest for a while because my book idea folder is bursting at the seams! Thinking up new ideas is waaaay easier than getting down to the nitty-gritty and stringing 80,000 words together. Time to put the nose to the grindstone and finally finish what I've started.

On the personal side of things, I'm going to continue settling into my "new normal" after reinventing myself (and my wardrobe!) after the weight loss, maybe dabble in meditation to supplement my yoga practice, and try not to freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the going gets tough but immerse myself in my writing instead. There are too many books I need to write before this crazy carousel ride is over.

Phew! That was somewhat cathartic, I have to say. Now that everything is aired out and ready for action, I think I'm ready to give 2024 a whirl. Whaddya say? More of the good stuff and less of the negativity? Yeah, that sounds pretty good to me too...

Yours through thick and thin,


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