Back in January, when I was looking forward to how I expected this year to go and made goals and plans, I could never have expected all the changes that would happen, either personally or professionally. My husband officially became disabled (he was before, but it’s not “official” until the government agrees…). My oldest daughter and her family were living with us and had planned to move out, but like us, their year didn’t go quite as expected and they’ll be sticking around a little longer. My middle daughter moved out of state in order to move up in her company. Very proud of her, but miss her tons. My youngest took on a position of overnight manager, which means my grandson often has what we call, “double sleepovers,” so she can get some sleep during the daytime. So that empty nest I thought was going to happen about, oh, lets see…four years ago now? Yeah. Hasn’t happened.
My beloved 14-year-old terrier mix Missy had a stroke that left her completely paralyzed on one side and we had to make the hardest decision ever. It’s been months now and I still find myself tearing up sometimes.
We welcomed into our home a sweet angel miniature schnauzer puppy named Gabby (short for Gabriella, but she earns her nickname…I’ve never heard a dog that “talks” so much). She is such a joy and provides many laughs and joyous smiles on otherwise hard days.
Because my husband became disabled, monthly bills are now my responsibility. I have been “making a living” writing for years, but that’s not really saying much. We did okay when both of us were working. Now, it’s a little more difficult. So I started a second business providing editing which has been bringing in our monthly income, since writing is such a feast or famine type of life. Advances and royalties are wonderful, but you can’t count on when, where and how much.
Because of all the stress, my immune system is shot and I am ill more days than I am well. I missed a deadline—REALLY missed a deadline—for the first time in forever. I simply could not finish the book, no matter how hard I worked or how much time I put into it. I’m happy to say it is now safely in the hands of my editor, but there were many late nights when I wondered if that would ever be so.
With the aid of my wonderful agent, I’ve been trying for the past few years to go a couple of different directions with my writing…but after three years of beating my head against a wall, I feel I have a definite NO and NO. If my agent couldn’t sell these projects, no one could. God has made it quite clear those paths are not my paths and that He has something entirely different planned for me.
It’s time for me to PIVOT.
For one, I’m thrilled to announce I’m writing a couple of sweet romances for the newly-formed publishing company Sweet Promise Press. The first is a romantic comedy called Mommy Loves the Doggy Doctor. The matchmaker is a little girl in a wheelchair, who wants her mommy to be happy and thinks a certain vet might be just what the doctor ordered. The second is part of the Celebrity Corgis series. My book is entitled, Serenaded by the Singer, and I’m super excited to have my friends The Texas Tenors to help me research this one.
I am back acting on stage in regional theater, something I figured I’d left far behind me. It’s been a good ten years. But when the opportunity to audition for one of my absolute bucket list shows, Jekyll and Hyde, came up, I couldn’t resist.
I’m also (slowly) moving into Indie publishing. I’m excited to bring you all some new and different contemporary Christian romances this year, starting with the boxed set A Christmas to Remember, which contains my novella The Cowgirl’s Christmas Gift. I feel really blessed to be in this set with other Inspy Romance authors and I hope you’ll grab it before it’s gone at the end of December.
So I suppose next month’s post will be looking ahead to the New Year, but I think it’s also good to look back and thank God for all He has done for us this year—even if it didn’t turn out to be anything like we expected.
What about you? Did your 2018 go as planned?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my family to yours!
Hi Deb!Thanks for sharing how life sent some unexpected changes in your personal and professional life. Congratulations on your role in Jekyll and Hyde and your release in the boxed set A Christmas to Remember. I understand how one misses fur babies. We lost our16 year old Sheltie Penny in August. She was my shadow and the grandchildren loved her. We are amazed that our 23 old month granddaughter still remembers Penny and asks about her. This month I have also been doing double shifts at Oma’s Daycare. Our granddaughter spent 3 nights with us, while your mom was at a principal’s conference and my son had obligations, so I am behind on holiday preparations. Hubby & I also had some additional health issues, which is to be expected at our age. So yes life throws curve balls. Wishing you good health and a Merry Christmas.
Deb Kastner says
Renate, your life sounds SO much like ours. Many blessings to you as you press through the holidays.
Paula Marie says
Hi, Deb! What an eventful year you have had. Personally 2018 did not go like I hoped, and we are praying for a much less stressful 2019. I will keep your family in my prayers as well!
Deb Kastner says
You’re in my prayers, Paula. Happily, we can trust in the Lord’s best, no matter how wonky things go.
Lila Diller says
Wow, that’s some eventful year! My year went pretty close to what I had planned, as I self-published my 3rd novel like I had planned, and I wrote the first draft of my fourth in November for NaNoWriMo, like I had planned. However, the book changed. ? My husband got this brilliant idea for a story, so instead of continuing #4 in my contemporary romance series, I “co-wrote” a Biblical fiction story about Judas Iscariot. Quite a difference. And instead of self-publishing this one, he wants me to pursue traditional publishing, so I have been researching agents and studying how to write query letters, something I’ve never done before.
I also knew my 12-year-old son would grow up this year, but I didn’t expect him to shoot up so fast that he’s already taller than me! ??
Deb Kastner says
Wow! I’m impressed, Lila. I would love it if just ONE year went remotely as I’d planned. Good for you!
Jackie Smith says
Deb, I pray 2019 will be a great year for you! I read about some of your “events” this year and prayed for you.
No, 2018 did not go as we planned. Our year was full of “stuff”, loss of dog, illness/death of relative, our own health issues. Praying 2019 will be better for us.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Oh, we had a schnauzer years ago, and you are right about their “talking”…..they are adorable.
PS Love your books!
Deb Kastner says
Thanks, Jackie. :) That’s always good to hear (that you like my books, LOL!) Schnauzers are just so cute! I’m totally sold on the breed. I’m praying for you that 2019 will rock for you in a good way.
Valerie Comer says
2017 was my pivot year. I’m thankful for regained health in 2018 and a much less stressful year in general. Hugs and prayers for you, Deb!
Susan P says
What a year you have had! I pray you get some peace soon. It is hard to have those upheaval years. The past two years have been utterly chaotic and life changing for us. Some good, some bad. I don’t like change so it is hard on me. I keep praying for “normal” life to return. God is probably looking down on me waiting for me to accept this is my life now and I need to grow in it. I am quite hard headed, but I hope I accept it soon. :)
Deb Kastner says
Sigh. Me, too, Susan. I am not comparing my life to Job’s, but I do think God’s message to Job is possibly what He’s trying to teach me…”Are you God? No? NO? Then stop trying to be Me!!!”
Linda Herold says
2018 was not a good year for me, but I always try to be thankful for what I have. I still have my 84 year old mother, a wonderful son, and 2 cats. (Lucky had to be put to sleep!!!) I am pretty healthy and lucky to now be retired! All the best to you in 2019!!!