Some Thoughts on the way to a New Year

Like many people, my 2022 was less than stellar. Fortunately, it wasn’t major, life-altering events, although my son’s two reasonably serious accidents were enough to add a few grey hairs to my head. (Didn’t have the same effect on my DH, who is practically bald anyway, but he certainly experienced plenty of stress.)

We certainly experienced our fair share of financial issues, although unlike many we were fortunate to get through them relatively debt-free. The renovations to our grand old dame of a house, ‘Wilyerup’ have certainly needed to be put on the backburner however.

As I said, we were among the lucky ones. Rather than life altering disasters on an epic scale, we were hit with regular and constant issues which drain the bank balance and had a detrimental effect on my mental health. We lost a treasured pet, the car shat itself to the tune of an almost $4000 bill, as mentioned Son #3 had a serious workplace accident, followed up six months later with a serious home-based accident, which saw him miss work for nearly the entirety of 2022. Son # 2 had some issues of his own, including a brush with the Black Dog, and some ups and downs with his workplace due to other health issues.

With one thing and another (and I’m not going to get into them all here) every month of 2022 held some new disaster, some new mess to sort out, some new issue which needed addressing. It meant that there wasn’t a time during our year when we weren’t under some sort of strain, some mental or physical issue which needed addressing.

To put it bluntly, it sucked.

But it didn’t suck anywhere near as much as many other people’s experiences in the past twelve months and for that, I’m grateful.

So now we face a new year, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a wee bit anxious about what it might entail, but one of the things I’m going to try to leave behind me is guilt, and worry about other people’s opinions of me. I’ve carried that shit along for far too long, and it weighs me down in so many ways that I need to find a way to offload it.

Relationships with my family are fractured, and I suspect now that they always will be. I can’t fix the relationships, not alone, and without help from those who feel I’ve somehow wronged them, there’s no way to heal the rifts. I made choices in my life regarding my mother which were the right decisions for me. They were very clearly the wrong decisions in the eyes of some of my family members, but I’m trying to accept that this is okay. This is their truth. Not mine.

I can’t fix what they see as wrong. I can’t be what they want me to be. I am who I am, and while that’s not always something I’m proud of, I’m learning to accept the truth of who I am, and I’m (almost) okay with that. I don’t need negativity in my life, I don’t need to carry the weight of other people’s opinions of me.

I am enough.

And in 2023, I hope to reaffirm this truth and spend less time fretting over those that would cut me from their lives without discussion or the opportunity to give and take. Those that would refuse to talk about things, but use passive aggressive wording to confirm they blame me for past events.

I won’t try and fight against the flow of the water any longer. I’m going to face each new challenge with hope in my heart and reminding myself that others have had it worse.

And with any luck, I’ll find some time in there for my passion, and write a few new books along the way.

Book Review – Soulbound by Bethany Adams

Synopsis:

A deathbed promise

Arlyn’s quest is simple: Find her father and let him know her mother is dead. After all, Arlyn had promised her mother she’d go. The problem? Her father’s people are myths and legends, and he doesn’t even live on Earth. But despite a long journey through the mysterious mists of the Veil, finding him turns out to be the easy part.

A dream long-buried

After five hundred years, Kai has given up on finding his soulbonded. So when he stumbles across Arlyn after returning from his latest mission and recognizes her as his mate, Kai starts their bond in haste. But he never could have imagined that his bonded is his best friend’s newfound daughter. Whoops.

A hidden conspiracy sparked to life

Though the sight of Kai makes Arlyn’s heart pound, she isn’t sure she can forgive him for starting their bond without her permission. But her love life is the least of her problems. Her father is an elf lord, and his sudden acknowledgment of a half-human heir reignites the same conspiracy that took him away from her mother in the first place. Now Arlyn and her family must face iron wielding assassins, bigotry, and her newly awakened magical abilities if they hope to come through in one piece.

Arlyn thought she would return to Earth after meeting her father. Now she must fight to save the family she never knew she wanted.

D.S. Williams Review:

This was a well written, well thought out book, the characters were extremely likeable and the author has brought a world to life in an imaginative way.

The good – the nice characters were well written, and there was enough color in the telling to allow the reader to see their foibles, and what made them who they were.

The bad – in my opinion, the ‘bad guy’ was a little too contrived, and the back story as to why he was bad and what had caused his behaviour seemed a little forced and perhaps made him somewhat hollow. The reasoning for why his son had not done anything to stop him, despite knowing what he was planning, rang a little hollow for me and I found myself thinking that it wasn’t making sense.

Overall, a good read, and one that ultimately I would recommend. Will I read the rest of the series? I think I’m hooked enough to want to give the second book a try, but I’ll probably judge each book on merit for the above reasons. For me, there has to be sense in the antagonist’s actions, and I’m not quite certain that sense is there at the end of book one for me.

Sitting on the flipside

Well, that all went pear-shaped quite quickly. All the way back in March (March!!) I was casually thinking that I might be doing okay, that I could tootle along in my usual fashion and keep on writing.

That proved to be extremely optimistic. Along with the rest of the world, I watched the year descend into madness, with borders closed, hospitals overwhelmed, and rumor and innuendo only adding to the drama that was 2020. And it still continues, as we face heading into 2021 with the same COVID-19 issues we’ve had in 2020.

Foolishly, I was under the misapprehension that by the end of the year we’d have reached the ‘end’ of this saga, that we’d be facing the new year with optimism and the world gradually healing from this insidious virus which seems to keep popping up no matter what the world does to combat it.

Not so.

Back in March, I was feeling marginally optimistic, but that optimism got swallowed in a tsunami wave of anxiety and a wave of manic episodes which have pretty much sidelined me for most of the year. I’ve kept functioning (just), but those words which were still flowing in March pretty much died out about four minutes after I hit ‘publish’

But just recently… just in the past few weeks… the creative juices have started to flow a little, despite a bout of depression brought on by messing up my medication regime while we’ve rushed to finish renovations in our little old house (which we bought in July, shortly after the strict travelling bans were eased).

So I’m looking towards 2021 with a modicum of hope, and although it’s always a battle, a teensy bit of optimism. And I’d like to wish you all a bit of that same hope and optimism, and add a sincere wish that you can make the best of a Christmas and New Year which will no doubt look vastly different for all of us who inhabit this planet than it has in previous years.

The Last Breath by Leigh Lennon

THE LAST BREATH

The Breathless series, Book 1

by Leigh Lennon

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction Romance

Loss is not foreign to Julia Barnett. To the outside world she is the epitome of the perfect mom. That is, until the doors of her impeccable life are closed and reality hits her square in the face. Once the leading lady in her own epic love story, she can only look back at what used to be. With an absent husband, an intrusive father, a troubled child, and an ex-fiancé that is still tied to her life, it’s no wonder Julia is grasping for air in her chaotic world.

The bruises that Julia lives with are invisible to those closest to her. She lost so much early in life, more than most could survive. Now, she grapples with resentment towards her husband because of all the empty promises he’s made. In the midst of this turmoil, test results reveal an illness she is not sure she will survive.

For Julia, it is not her life that may be cut short that consumes her, but how her family will endure without her there. As everyone rallies around Julia while she fights like hell to live, she learns that family, along with love, comes in many shapes and sizes. It is her family that gives her the strength to fight the biggest battle of her life; one she doesn’t want to lose.

Continue reading

Sunsets at Seaside by Addison Cole

 

SUNSETS AT SEASIDE

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Book 4
by Addison Cole
Genre: Sweet with Heat Standalone Romance
Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers features a group of fun, flirty, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re sassy, flawed, and so easy to relate to, you’ll be begging to enter their circle of friends!
Sunsets at Seaside by Addison Cole is the sweet edition of New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster’s steamy romance novel Seaside Sunsets. The stories and characters remain the same, and convey all of the passion you expect between two people in love, without any explicit scenes or harsh language.


In SUNSETS at SEASIDE…
Jessica Ayers has lived a sheltered life with little more than cello lessons and practices taking up her day. Now a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she escapes the prim and proper symphony to vacation in the Seaside community in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to determine if she is living life to the fullest or missing it altogether.
For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother—and falling in love is not in his plans.
From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sweet, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the brown-haired beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie’s life—and his heart—upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away.

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The Fall of Hyde Manor

I love this sort of historical decay, and it always inspires me to wonder about these places in their heyday.

Obscure Vermont

Maybe my love of exploration transitioned into an obsession here, at Hyde Manor. The brooding wooden dinosaur of a building holds a lot of memories for me, and planted the seeds of me starting this blog years ago. To be honest, I may never have perused photography or exploring as seriously if it weren’t for my time here.

The manor was opened in 1865 by James Hyde, and after its completion, it was considered to be one of the most esteemed getaways in New England.

And now it all lies in ruins, sitting in the Sudbury woods with the hum of the highway swallowing whatever sad songs the hotel sings. I first saw the building as a wide eyed 12 year old, passing it en route to a destination long forgotten, but Hyde Manor forever burned itself into memory. I knew that day that I wanted to come back and…

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