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Friday, December 16, 2011

Truest Blessings

I’m going to be a little selfish and hijack the blog for a day to give thanks to a few important people in my life. Tis the season to be thankful and after the year I’ve had, there are so many people in which to thank.

You see a year ago my husband was laid off at this job and while this hasn’t been the worst thing I’ve ever experienced — it was darn close. We were one paycheck away from being kicked out onto the streets. We struggled just to pay gas in order for me to go to my barely-above-minimum-wage-job and I have three children in which to take care of. The oldest two teen boys live with their dad one week and then come to my house for the next week. I ended up having to stretch those weeks into two because I had to do most of the traveling and couldn’t afford to go see my own kids part of the time. It was horrible, very lonely, I missed those little devils like crazy, and there were times when I got a little down. Yes, the person who always determines that you keep putting one foot in front of the other and never get depressed because life is never that bad got a little down. I admitted it.

And yet, we persevered. Somehow and not without help either. But I have much to be thankful for this year now that the hubby has a brand new job and we’ve moved into a new apartment. I still don’t get to see my kids as often as I’d like, but I’ll get them all summer long this year. So I’m content to see them on the weekends for now. After all, my oldest is nineteen and the second boy is fifteen, they’re almost grown. So I want to take a moment to thank my oldest boys for sacrificing their time with me so that I could get on my feet again. They truly are troopers and you know I know they love me no matter what happens.

I also need to thank my parents for being there with unconditional love and support, pulling me out of more financial woes than I care to admit this year. And Jake, you’ll always be my real hero. Christi, you'll always have a special place in my heart and the Lebo's crew, thanks for six years of good times. Thank you to my former boss, Leah. And she knows how special she is to me.

Ava Stone has been my mentor and friend for almost three years now. This year she was my guiding angel in this crazy industry called publishing. She did the most unexpected thing when I stayed at her house for our writer’s retreat weekend. She knows what she did and I will be forever grateful to her. I only hope one day to return such a favor. I hope she knows how much it means to me and how much I’ve come to care for her. Ava, you truly are a standard onto yourself and you don’t even know it. You’re a blessing, a wonderful mother, a truly compassionate person, and someone I look up to. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for just being you.

Thank you to Princess Jerrica and her knightly husband for a wonderful job offer in a desperate time of my life. No wonder you're both so blessed in life and love, your giving spirit to others is something we should all aspire to. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My crit partners have been invaluable to me this year and they have been there every time I needed to vent my frustrations, whether it’s been about writing or my life. I cannot thank you enough for the time you take out of your day to listen to me rant. And I know I’m not the easiest person to like either but I have to say they do more than tolerate me, and for that I’m grateful. So thanks to Samantha, Heather, Erin, Amy, Mindy, Tammy, and Julie. And to the new folks who just joined this year, all I can say is you’ve joined the greatest crit group there is. You simply won’t find a better, more classy, stand-up group of writers on the net. They truly are one of my truest blessings. Thanks ladies. PS. Thanks to Erin for offering to pay for the seminar when I came up to the writer’s retreat. The offer was genuinely appreciated and I love that you’re such a giving person. Thank you.

Marie Higgins who has been a long time crit partner for going on fifteen years. That's a long time to support someone, lol. I hope it's many, many more.
A special thanks to Heather Boyd and Mindy Moore. Heather designed all of my beautiful covers for me and although, she didn’t ask for anything in return. I felt I should pay a little but even so, it was nowhere near what it was worth. But what gave it so much meaning was that it was done in friendship and although, we’ve bumped heads before, you’ve become someone special to me. I look up to you and I hope you know how much it means to me that you don’t ask for anything in return. I tip my hat to you, Heather from across the waters and wish you a very Merry Christmas. And Mindy Moore my editor who’s birthday gift to me last year was a free edit, may your every wish come true. You’ve struggled for a while as I have and are so deserving of every bit of success you’ve had thus far. Merry Christmas, ladies.

I have to take a moment and thank Maggie’O for being my very first fan lol. She’s waiting patiently on this next installment and I love her for that. Colleen for being a wonderful friend and fan, for reading every book and cheering me on. Sandi, my favorite pirate wench who is dying to read my pirate story but we just can’t figure out how to load into onto her Kobo. She’s patiently waiting on it to show up on the Kobo site. Thanks for your patience. And to all the rest of my few fans, there aren’t many in number but they sure are sweet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I always believed the best part about writing was creating a great story. I’ve since learned that sharing that story with someone else and receiving an email or a comment that I was able to take them away from life for a second. That truly is one of my truest blessings. It warms my heart to know that by the end of a story I’ve given someone else the warm and fuzzy feelings I’ve gotten so many times after reading a great romance. We have the greatest genre as well as the greatest community — despite some of the uproar going on lately about the industry — I still believe this is the greatest reading community there is.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned this year is the truest blessings don’t come with a price tag. They’re there with you, every day. May we never forget how important it is to tell them “I love you.” 

Happy reading everyone, and may you have a wonderfully, blessed holiday season as I have. Take a moment and say your thanks to the important people in your life. I’d love to know who influenced you this year.

15 comments:

  1. Suzie ~ That will teach me to read one of your blog posts at work. I have tears streaming down my face. I'm sure my co-workers think I've lost my mind. :) You know how much I hate to cry. AND you deserve every bit of luck and good fortune headed your direction.

    Who am I thankful for this holiday season? I have some of the best friends in the world. Women here in North Carolina who have welcomed me into their homes (or offered to) for the holidays. When you are family-less, it truly does touch your heart to be included in others' holiday plans. :) If you've ever been in a similar situation, you know what I mean. Becky, Deb, Sabrina, Claudia, Michelle, Susan - you are all some of the most generous and caring people I know.

    I'm thankful for my family. No matter how different we are from each other - AND boy are we different from each other - we are a loyal bunch, and I can always count on them to stand behind me no matter what. To cheer me on and be my rock.

    I'm thankful to the same wonderful group of ladies you mentioned. And kudos to Jerrica Knight-Catania and Amy de Trempe for creating this amazing group to begin with all those years ago. There are times I don't know what I would have done without them.

    And - of course - I'm thankful for my son. At 14 he doesn't understand me much anymore and I try to remember what life was like when I was his age. Sometimes I succeed more than I do other tines. But I am so thankful for his love, and I'm so very proud to be his mother.

    Now I'll be a blithering mess the rest of the day. ;)

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  2. Ava, well you just got me back because now I'm crying LOL. And family-less? Oh, I disagree. I think you have a wonderfully, large family that may not share your blood but they definitely love you. You are a one of kind and I hope your son knows what a wonderful mother he has.

    I'd send you some tissue but I think I just used it all LOL.

    I'd like to add my thanks to Amy and Jerrica for starting such a wonderful group. You ladies succeeded where many others failed. Thank you.

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  3. Aw, Suzie! What a sweet and wonderful post! And that job offer still stands, by the way!! :)

    I'm so grateful for my husband and my daughter -- they are the reason I get up in the morning. I love them more than anything in the whole world!

    I could go on all day about what I'm grateful for, but I'll just quickly list groups of people instead to save time. LOL!

    In no particular order...

    My family
    My urban family :)
    My local mom friends
    My crit partners
    My fans (especially the ones who take the time to tell the me that they are fans!)
    My cat, Dr. Snuggle

    And Merry Christmas to you, too, Sweetheart!

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  4. Jerrica, I've certainly benefited from your wonderful attitude toward life in general. They broke the mold after they created you for sure. I love your outlook on life and it's like that every day, rather than just certain times of the year. What a blessing you are to the people around you. I'm so glad you to know you. I hope one day I can be as giving as you are to others. And thank you for everything!

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  5. *sniff sniff* What a wonderful post, Suzie :) I so glad that so much good could come from such a difficult time. You are one of the strongest, most amazing women I've ever met, and I'm honored to call you a friend :)

    I've had an amazing year, and I feel beyond blessed for it. Everyday I give thanks for my hero hubby, for my 3 spoiled pooches, for my fantastic crit partners (even when I've been mostly absent), for my editor and agent extraordinaire, and my wonderful family, who are always there no matter how many the miles between us. Merry Christmas!

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  6. What a lovely post! You know, it takes a special person to attract and keep such lovely people in your life! It sounds as if you are both blessed and a blessing!

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  7. Thank you so much, Erin. That really means a lot to me because you are such an inspiration to women in general. You’re so intelligent and such a beautiful person, both inside and out. You make a very good idol for little girls everywhere.

    Wow, Deb, I am a little flustered as you are one of my favorite authors! LOL. Thank you and I can't agree enough, these women are very extraordinary and I am very blessed in my life. It’s been a roller coaster ride but one that has been worth every single second. Thank you for stopping in and commenting. You really did truly make my day lol. It was a wonderful surprise!

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  8. *~The Pirate Wench~*December 16, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Thanks Suzie! Not many authors take the time to keep in touch with their fans or take special interest in what they do.Keep up the great work and hopefuly I will get a chance to read your book..and the next one..and any others to follow!You have a special gift not only as an writer but as a friend who cares. Best wishes & have a great holiday with all your friends & family! :)

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  9. Awww, somebody pass me the tissues! We should all be so lucky to have so much to be thankful for as you, Suzie. And in this, the season of giving, you've just given us the best gift of all.

    Thanks for your friendship and Have a Very Blessed Christmas!

    Hugz,
    Maggie O'

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  10. Oh dear! What am I going to do with you? That was so very unnecessary and unexpected but just goes to show that my paltry efforts were for a wonderful woman. It was a privilige to do your covers for you and a huge amount of fun, too. But you give back so much support yourself that I think we could safely say we are even. You are the re-tweet queen for me. Thank you.

    I am most grateful for the people who have supported me this year, and those that have continue to support me even when they are so busy too. It’s been a tough year, still is a tough year unfortunately. I am thankful for my hubby's unflinching support and encouragement. I made the right choice all those years ago. For friends who stick around, especially when they don’t see me every day, or even every year. For Michelle, who wants me for sex (it’s not what you think LOL). For Tammy, the first person to threaten to come over to Aus and kick my arse if I didn’t snap out of my pity party. She made me cry -- I hate to do that. And for the crit group, the most giving group of women I know, I wouldn’t be an author without you. I am blessed.

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  11. Hey Suzie, I love you books, believe me it was no burden reading them all, lol.

    I'm so glad things worked out for you. Next year will be the best!

    Colleen/Callie

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  12. Ha I think I set myself up for a day of crying today! LOL my own fault. But I'm in a curious mood today and I knew I had a few things I needed to say. Thanks to Sandi, Maggie, and Colleen for stopping in. I am so fortunate to have met each of you. It's been a pleasure.

    Heather, you're a brilliant woman and an excellent cheerleader. I love how you kick my butt into gear LOL. No one else does that for me like you do. It's great. I hope this year will give me more time to devote to my crit partners than last year did. That's my new years resolution!

    Thanks for stopping in everyone! I am very much looking forward to making this year a better year with some wonderful friends! Merry Christmas!

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  13. Suzie,

    What a lovely post. As many before me have said, you deserve all the love and happiness directed your way. You freely give it to others all the time. I can't think of a more loyal champion for her friends.

    I'm blessed with having some of the most supportive people on earth in my life. Here's my list:
    Family - Husband, children, parents, in-laws
    Childhood friends - Nancy, Dana, Mary, Stacy, Nikki
    My bff from work, Lori
    My mentor and wonderful friend, Jodie
    My other wonderful friend, Heather
    My incredible crit partners
    My fellow Lady Scribes
    All of my co-workers who've been cheering on my writing career for two years, all the while telling me they don't want me to quit my job. :)
    My doctor, who sent me a personal note with my lab results saying how excited she was about my book.
    My agent
    All the lovely readers who've taken time out of their busy lives to write to me...

    This could go on and on like Santa's "Nice" list. I'm so grateful for the amazing support, and I'm grateful to Suzie for reminding me of how rich I truly am in my life.

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  14. Suzie,

    This was a beautiful post. You are a wonderful, beautiful person and you deserve all the happiness and luck in the world. I tried to comment yesterday but anything that came to mind was so inadequate to your blog and the following posts. But, I didn't want to not comment so here I am.

    Okay, who as influenced me?
    My daughters - by following their dreams
    My husband - with his amazing attitude with everything he faced this year
    My family and so many wonderful friends

    I am also grateful for our crit group and so happy Jerrica and I met in a previous group where we took what we learned there and formed our own. I never dreamed it would become what it is today or expected to find friendships that are so very important to me. I fell truly blessed.

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  15. Suzie,

    That was a very nice post. I'm so glad things are starting to turn around for you. And I'm very glad I'm one of your critique partners.

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