Author Amy McGuire’s Review of 2014

Hello again loyal readers, family and friends,

Before I go into my roller coaster year, I’d like to thank you all for taking the journey with me. I couldn’t have gotten as far as I have (three books published and another on the way) without your continued support and enjoyment of my writing. Thank you all for any and all ways you have helped me get my name out there too. It means the world to me. A writer is nothing without her friends, fans and supporters. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you will continue to watch my blog for future book announcements, read my stories, enjoy them and share them with your friends and family.

So, this year began with a review much like this one, and excitement as I looked forward to what is finally happening – a cruise in The Bahamas with my husband of 10 and a half years! I had just booked it at that point and made my initial deposit. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be going on that cruise is eleven days! Can you tell I’m excited? January 2015 will be a few firsts for me. Number one is that I won’t have a book that I’m heavily editing. It’s just not ready for that point yet and I’m taking my time with this one because I want it to be fantastic. The second is that I have never been on a cruise ship. I have had family and friends who have been cruising and I have watched from the docks in Port Canaveral as these beautiful ships sail out of port every other year, but I have never been on one myself. And the third first is that I have never been to The Bahamas. I’m very excited about that one. It’s a four night, three day cruise, with every full day being a stop at a different island; Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. As it’s our anniversary, my in-laws will be watching our daughter back in Florida while we cruise.

What a way to start the year! But this is supposed to be a review of last year, so let’s rewind. I don’t remember a whole lot about January except being grateful to have survived ‘The Ice Storm of 2013’ that took out a large part of Southern Ontario. It wasn’t the warmest winter and many days we would have liked to go sledding were too bitterly cold, but we got through it. Never have we been so grateful for heat! It’s kind of sad to see the trees that were never cleared and how badly they were damaged by the freezing rain last year. A whole year later and the damage can still be seen.

In February my daughter decided she wants to start taking skating lessons. This Christmas her two amazing aunts bought her lessons that we have to look forward to over the March Break. In March of this year I ran a contest because my Facebook fanpage gained 300 Likes. It was a pretty exciting time for a first time writer like myself, and to celebrate I randomly chose 3 fans and gave them each a copy of all three books (the third being a pre-release) in my Hope Valley Saga. That was a lot of fun.

April was an exciting month, because that was when I finally released Dreams Come True, the third in my Hope Valley Saga and the completion of the Anjaline/Gabriel trilogy. I loved finally being able to tell readers who had been waiting a year that their wait was over. I fell more in love with my characters and it was hard to say goodbye (for now at least) but it was time to look into a new character and reveal his story. So began the writing of Collateral Damage, Damian’s story. Shortly afterward a wonderful cover designer stepped in and rescued my book cover, which I revealed in June here. Gabrielle Prendergast is pretty amazing and talented. I can’t wait to work with her on the cover of my next book after this one. In June I also was thrilled to host two authors as guest bloggers and to help them market their books on my blog. That was pretty neat. You can see those here and here.

July was the beginning of the roller coaster low for me. I wrote a piece that was painful, but as a writer, I felt it needed to be written. It was an excerpt from a book that I hope to write the ending to someday, called Sierra’s Song. In July we also celebrated Father’s Day late by all going to a Blue Jay’s game with my parents, parents in-law, sisters in-law and their husbands and kids, husband and daughter. The Jays won and a pair of pigeons added to the game. You can read all about it here.  The next highlight was a trip to the zoo with my daughter. We are so blessed to have The Toronto Zoo easily accessible by bus and have a yearly pass. It has been such an enjoyment for my daughter and I, mostly over the summer. Every time we go, there seems to be something new to discover. You can read all about that here.

July was also the month my daughter started swimming lessons for the first time and discovered a real love for the water. She was thriving almost from the first moment she discovered she can put her head under water and she won’t drown. Here’s the full article if you’re interested.

I guess you could say all these events were the high part on the roller coaster. Then came another low which meant saying goodbye to a dear, furry friend who I had come to love over the 14 years she had been mine. My female cat which had been with me through college, graduation, marriage and six years of child rearing, finally seemed to be done with this life. She went peacefully in the end but it was so hard to see her slide downhill so fast. I guess that was a mercy; that she didn’t suffer for long. I wrote a eulogy that you are welcome to read here. It’s been about five months since I said goodbye, but I still can’t go back and read the eulogy without breaking down. Some animals are put in our lives to be constant companions and bring out the best in us. Molly was such a cat.

I had a pretty good August, which you can read about in my Summer of 2014 Review.  Not long after writing that blog post the roller coaster took a huge dip again, this time bringing me into my Journey Through Pain, both physically and emotionally. And not just me. This dip in the roller coaster hit my whole family really hard. Saying goodbye to an almost six year ministry, leaving behind people we had loved deeply and having to seek a new church, all lead to a path of depression, heartache and asking ‘Why, God? Why?’ over and over again. But before you go thinking that was the end, it turns out God had another plan in the works when we started a new ministry at another church, not as full time but in a church where we have been welcomed with open arms. My husband started his work as a youth pastor there the beginning of this month. Sometimes I wonder if this is a time of healing before God puts us through another trial that we’ll need to be strengthened for. Or, maybe this is just His amazing care as He could see how devastated we were and hurt and how much we just needed to crawl into His lap and cry. I have done that many times and through this period it has been almost impossible to write. I can’t focus on much besides my part time job, taking care of my daughter and trying to be there for my husband. Here’s hoping these two weeks of vacation I will be able to focus again on my writing. Poor Damian has been left hanging long enough, as have my readers.

In November I made the decision to dismantle my website and switch over to wordpress for my blog/website. It wasn’t easy, since it was nice to have a unique web presence, but financially, it just seemed the wisest idea. For now at least.

December has been a crazy month and at the same time it’s been enjoyable. Over the Christmas season we have seen a lot of family – a real change from last year where we missed seeing a lot of family on Christmas day due to the ice storm. It’s been wonderful doing holiday baking and putting up the Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies and drinking eggnog, all while spending quality time with my husband and daughter. My daughter’s first Christmas concert, a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our new church, Christmas parties with my husband’s work and then mine, watching the children’s Christmas program at our new church, Christmas meals and visiting with all our family – all these have made December full of wonderful memories.

It’s hard to believe that by the time most people read this post, 2014 will be done. What will I remember most about 2014? Saying goodbye to a dear, furry friend? My grandmother celebrating her 90th birthday not very long after we thought she might be leaving this earth, celebrating my 35th birthday and taking the good-natured ribbing that ‘you’re on your way to 4o now’? My daughter’s times in swimming lessons and summer camp for the first time? Publishing my third novel? Time with family and friends? The few (and far between) snow ‘storms’ we had? The green Christmas and a little girl excited on Christmas morning? The devastation of physical pain related to a work injury, combined with the pain and disillusionment of ‘giving up on’ a ministry we had really felt called to? A fantastic family vacation week at the cottage or the girls weekend spent with my mom and sister, the week before my birthday?

I guess I’ll remember all that, but having most of it in blog form helps for the future. And what a future we have to look forward to! 2015 is starting off with a day of packing, cleaning and preparing for a family vacation in Florida and The Bahamas. But most of all, it begins with family, friends and a lot to look forward to. I don’t know what 2015 will bring. Not really. But I hope to be back here next December 31st, recounting it with you all.

Thank you for sharing my year and reading my 2014 review.  Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year.

Amy McGuire

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About Author Amy McGuire

Author of The Heart's Discovery, a YA Romance novel set mostly in British Columbia with a brief foray into Quito, Ecuador. Also the mother of a bubbly second grade redhead who adores turquoise, and wife to a very patient man. She lives in Toronto, the inspiration for so many of her place names and characters.
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