A new year.

Happy 2015!

Okay, so that exclamation point is very cheery. And it’s hard to be cheery today, on the last day of vacation, when it is January and gray outside and the bulk of winter ahead of us. But what IS making me feel good is that a year ago today, I was sitting in this same seat, looking out this same window at a gray day and wondering if I’d ever have another book to write, if an idea would EVER come to me. And eventually, one did. First it was an idea, then a process, then a project, then a draft, then a revision. And now, it’s an Advanced Reader’s Copy, an ARC. Wow.

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These came just before all the holiday chaos commenced, and I still haven’t gotten over them. It seems like something I wished rather than a real thing that exists. But I know it’s real, because my husband is reading it, and I keep seeing him doing so, and also because our new puppy Roxy had already chewed up the corner of his copy. Which I am taking as a compliment, because what else can you do with that?

(Here’s Roxy, by the way. Our sweet Boston Coco passed in October after a long battle with bladder cancer. We really miss her, but love the new addition. Ups and downs, people. Ups and downs.)

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So 2014 was full of good stuff and not-so-good, like any other year. I know people who were shouting at midnight for it not to let the door hit it on the way out, and I get that, but I’m so grateful for this book that I can’t hate on it much. 2014 was also the year I learned to meditate (and it helped, although I don’t do it as often as I should) as well as the year I got to meet Kristen Bell and go to the Veronica Mars premiere (something I still can’t believe actually happened, all these months later). And 2015? Well, I’m turning 45, so I have a possible midlife crisis to look forward to. My 15 year wedding anniversary is this summer. And I MAY get to the UK for the first time since I was 12, if things go the way I am hoping. So big stuff, good stuff. But of course, there will be be downs, because there always are, and all I can hope is that I am able to remember, in the MIDST of those downturns, that things will eventually swing upward again. That’s the hard part, right? To not be sure that what you are feeling you will feel FOREVER, and there’s nothing you can do it about it. For me, exercise helps. Eating well. Meditation and yoga, when I can do it. And just kindness, to others in their own downswings and to myself. Kindness is key, so I am learning. And you don’t even have to go to a studio or quiet your mind to do it. Bonus!

I’d also like to start another novel at some point, but if I learned ANYTHING in 2013 (speaking of yearly lessons) it’s not to push a book that doesn’t want to be written. So I will wait. Right now, the only writing I am doing is signing my name, as I am doing 16,500 thousand tip-in sheets for the first editions of SAINT ANYTHING. These will be signed copies available to booksellers all around the country. What’s a tip in, sheet? Well, they look like this:

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Basically, my office garbage can is like a Sharpie graveyard. Poor suckers can’t keep up! It’s kind of monotonous work, signing your name for hours at a time, but I AM catching up on my TV. I watched the entire second season of True Tori, which made me codependent beyond belief about Tori Spelling and her health/state of her marriage (I worry, Tori! I worry!) and then the new season of The Comeback, which was so cringeworthy and perfect that I kept rewinding the last moments of the finale to watch again and again. Wow.

Soon enough, though, I’ll be done with those and the real prep for the release of SAINT ANYTHING—which is on May 5th, 2015—begins. We’ve got a lot of fun plans we’re working on, including a tour where I’ll hopefully get to meet some of you in person. I will get to buy new book tour shoes! (Always a fun thing about a year I have a book out.) Most of all, though, I’m just excited for people to start reading this book. It’s a little different for me, a little deeper, and little darker. Lots of moving pieces, a wider canvas. The fact that these ARCs are out there, in actual people’s hands, makes me VERY nervous. But eventually, you ¬†have to stop editing, let go, and send it out to the world. It’s kind of like my kid beginning kindergarten. What’s the book equivalent of wanting to sit in the school parking lot all day? Oh, don’t answer that.

So lots to look ahead to, which is as it should be in January. I feel hopeful and very grateful, across many levels, not just work. And in that hope, there is the one that YOU have the year you want, savoring the highs, bearing the lows, hanging in, being kind. It’s worth a shot, right? After all, you never know what can happen in 365 days. An idea. A draft. A life. Everything.

Have a good day, everyone!