2016 Backward and Forward

Looking back, 2016 was an okay year as far as years go. It's hard to quantify an entire three-hundred-sixty-six days. It's a leap year so we got a bonus twenty-four hours! It's slightly overwhelming and I almost don't know where to begin, which sums up where I am right now, overwhelmed. My plate is full, but with deliciousness, so that's the upside. I'll hit the highlights roughly month-by-month to spare myself the stress of ALL the things. (Note to my 2017 self, chill out! Try to do a little bit less! Relax more!)

At the beginning of each new year I pick a word, a trait, or focus to bring light to. This year was peace. It could also have been authenticity, presence, simplification, elevation… Did I achieve any of them? In degrees my friends, in degrees.

February was prep for the release of Pearl a book written from a very vulnerable part of my heart. February was nerves and excitement in equal measure.

Then there was the funk. No, not a foul odor coming from somewhere in my car (though that happened too, each and every time I turned on the heat), but the post-launch let down. To be perfectly honest, Pearl's reception was, meh. I tried to keep my chin up like a buttercup.

Plateau, plateau, plateau and confusion. The next months were murkyyyyy.

Then the summer came bringing the sun and surfing almost every day (I surf year round, but going without a wetsuit is the bey-ast! I felt more peace.and presence. I felt lifted, elevated, more focused…

Then I got terrible news and a relationship that I thought had long since gone the way of the strange smell in my car resurrected itself, bringing lots of emotions and more confusion and anger and blahhhhh.

I also gave the Follow your Bliss series a makeover. The covers are beautiful if I do say so… Why did I do this? Maybe because I wanted one too? Because I wasn't sure who I was in my career? Mayhaps.

When school started for my little bigs, I was in a complete state of disarray. It was enough to get through the day while dealing with all the emotional fallout from the summer.

But the mid-fall unexpectedly brought renewal and deepening of friendships and a shift in the light that helped me see things from a new perspective. I dare say it was like surfing without a wetsuit. At last, I felt FREE!

Oh, in there I also released my first non-fiction book titled, Book Promotion 365: how to reach readers andshare your work with the world. It's free right now, but only for a limited time. Writers, go grab your copy now!

I had a birthday and realized, wow, time is an interesting fellow. There are wrinkles and sagging and perspective and growth in so many wonderful ways. 

Still feeling slightly out of balance and wanting to empower myself to practice more self-care, I became a doTERRA essential oils wellness advocate and my, my the improvements those little bottles of liquid magic brought! Like, wow

I also have an Essential Oils Enthusiast Instagram for this endeavor if you'd like to check it out.

We celebrated Chewie's first birthday and a year being part of our pack. He's a bitey bear, but we love him.

I lost my grandmother around this time and found her on my yoga mat. Did you know I'm a yoga student and teacher? I'd gotten so far from my practice that I felt completely out of alignment (the mental kind) and have committed to getting back to it.  

Then there was Thanksgiving and dang it if I didn't realize the multitude, the absolute wild abundance, of all the blessings I have. Grateful, grateful, grateful. 

Then the holidays. Holi-daze? I love the sparkly, twinkly time of year, I do. But I also love to sleep so I'm going to hibernate for the next week or so.

Thank you 2016 for pushing me to get uncomfortable and prompting me to let go enough to grow into my sweet ferocity. 

Life is a marathon not a sprint. I've by no means lost the race, but have realized along the way that I'm gaining a more closely united tribe—there's no rush to get to that finish line. It'll be waiting for me when I'm ready to arrive. 

What's the word of the  year? Check back in a few days to find out. But I will say this, looking forward at the New Year, I'm going to be more present and a better listener, to the people around me and to myself.  

And what do I have in store for readers? Oh, baby! BOOKS! LOTS OF BOOKS. BOOKS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE BOOKS. Guys, I'm going ALL in. There are books coming your way. You have no idea. The goal is 10 in 2017! TEN! So charge up your Kindle, find your favorite bookmarks, and get ready to read!

If you want to stay up to date on all the ALL CAPS excitement, (there will also be confetti! Wink, wink) please sign up for my monthly newsie.

See you in 2017!


A Holiday Hello

I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a Merry Christmas! 

I'll be back next week with a look at this past year and what's on the horizon for next year. Hint, big things!

Here's a writerly snapshot for now:

The release of Pearl, my second YA with Skyscape Publishing. 

The Follow your Bliss series got a makeover! 

About five years in the making, I finished Frigid, possibly my most favorite thing I've ever written.

Thank you for all your support this year. Reviews, likes, comments, emails, ALL of it is like a year-long gift wrapped in sparkly paper under the tree.

Let's stay connected on Instagram (my jam), Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and of course sign up for my monthly newsletter!


Sugar's Christmas Wish List

Sugar's Christmas Wish List: a mixture of goodies and goodwill for everyone in the world (in no particular order as told by the character Sugar from the young adult novel, SUGAR.)

1. A massage for service worker's, preferably after their shift: food servers, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, police officers, they do tremendously stressful jobs and could certainly benefit from tension relief. It would also create a high demand for masseurs! 

2. A splendid sunrise for everyone who fell asleep crying. 

3. A proper birthday cake with the appropriate number of candles. For people turning 100, it'll be a big cake, but that just means more to share. 

4. Peace on this planet. Peace in our hearts. Peace in our minds. 

5. Pink nail polish for fingers or toes. 

6. A notebook like this BE BRAVE one or this KISS MY CURVES one *Check out my Zazzle store for more goodies like this. I like to jot down design ideas, but it's also great place to preserve experiences, write out frustrations or hurts, or make lists of hopes and dreams. 

7. Speaking of preserving experiences, a retro instant camera like these are mega fun to have had when hanging out with friends or road tripping. 

8. Self love, respect, and body care for girls and boys, and men and women, young and old, little and big. 

9. A house, a room, or a spot in a church to take shelter. If I'm being specific I really enjoy a cushiony bed, with a pillow top mattress, and pillows like these! Sheets and pillowcases that are super soft like this one and a big warm blanket because everyone deserves to be warm and cuddled. 

10. A pretty, pretty dress or something like a dress. Like this Golden Girl one. Or this Frida inspired skirt. Or this one. I don't believe there is a one-size fits all, but I do believe girls and women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful and should feel fancy and lovely when they dress up.

11. Reusable water bottles with fresh water for every human being on the planet. I like this glass one in raspberry! And this metal one is pretty utilitarian. 

12. Hugs. For everyone. Everyday. 

*Please note, I was not compensated to promote any of the items listed here. They are listed solely for the purpose of this post. Post originally appeared 

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Genre: Contemporary Fiction // Age Group: Young Adult


I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.

Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl she sees in the mirror or sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

Get your copy of Sugar: Amazon // Barnes & Noble

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Through friendship, Sugar discovers she amounts to more than a worthless daughter, an annoying sister, and the target of the senior class prank.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8UCH2

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