Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved

When Your Cup’s Half Full, You Don’t Thirst

Is it me or has time zipped past me again? It seems it was only yesterday that ...

January 2008: Property taxes doubled this year with no cap in site. My mother-in-law moved in with us—it was time. The kids are back in college. The sum of 2007 was spent rewriting the second book in my series, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT. The novel is on my publisher’s desk. I’m more grateful for my crit partners than they’ll ever know.

February 2008: Edits begin. Daughter Jessica breaks up with fiancé. She and her miniature Daschund moved back home. She’s not doing well--glad she’s home. Her younger brother helped with the move. Our two Boston Bull dogs are glad to see the mini weenie again. Boxes and clothes all over the place. I’m grateful we have a large home -- back to the edits.

March 2008: Glitch in edits. Two chapters need major revisions. I call a friend and vent. Jess is still upset—friends in and out of our house. She adopted two more mini Daschunds, Candy and Moo. We call them “the girls.” Sweet as can be. Famous last words, “They’re house-broken, mom.” I’m grateful to own a carpet shampooer.

April 2008: Some of my tulips are in bloom, delighted to have warmer weather. Rewrites on my novel are coming along. Two critical e-mails to my editor disappeared in cyber space. Translation: lost two weeks of edits.

May 2008: Daughter moved out and into my in-law’s empty house. Glad she’s ready to start fresh. The contract I signed and mailed to my publisher never arrived. I’m watching the dates--I’m nervous--she assures me all will be fine. Thank God one of us is calm and collected. I shampoo the carpets again.

June 2008: The nursing home called to say that my 93-year old father who has Alzheimer’s needs to be moved to another facility. It seems he’s learned how to open the outer doors. Interesting. I’m grateful to quickly find another qualified, secure facility. They’ve handled the move and all the paper work. The contract still hasn’t reached my publisher. Finger drumming has left dents on my desk. I decide to plant a vegetable garden.

July 2008: I give up and scan my copy of the contract and e-mail it to my publisher. Three artists seemed interested in doing the cover, none follows through. Glad to know we have other options. I’ve started to make a list of potential reviewers. I’ve started to pace too much and it’s too nice to stay indoors, think I’ll go out and water my flowers.

August 2008: It’s technically fall since daughter and son are back in college. Dogs still at home as is hubby and mother-in-law. Plants are drying in the August sun but my concord grapes will soon be ready to pick.

September 2008: I have a freezer full of harvested vegetables and I processed a bushel for grapes and froze the juice. Began final proofreading of novel. Dang, how did I miss all those typos? Found another artist. The cover is looking great! Received launch date. I’m thrilled but still losing sleep.

October 2008: Crap, found out I miscalculated my son’s financial aid. Too many things on my mind. I’m grateful we’re able to cover the difference. The proofreading on THE DEVIL CAN WAIT is going well. I’m driving my publisher nuts with all the edits, but she’ll love me for this one of these days. The ARCs are in the mail. Yah!

November 2008: The launch date is here. Several great reviews have arrived. I’m relieved. THE DEVIL CAN WAIT book cover is featured as cover of the week on Erin Aislinn site. My event calendar is filling up fast—bookstores and libraries are calling me. Who’da thunk? I just received word that I’ll be doing a virtual book tour next month. I’m humbled by the many generous-hearted friends I’ve met along the way and grateful for my family’s support. It’s Thanksgiving morning and the dishwasher decides to die. Twelve people for dinner today. Words can’t express the joy. I’m grateful for all the capable hands.

December 2008: New dishwasher looks great. The book is doing remarkably well and the cover is now up for the cover of the month vote (voting ends 12/31/08!!). Now that the virtual book tour articles are done, I’m happy to keep up with the readers’ comments and e-mails. It’s cold, but just a light dusting of snow so far. I’m ready to put up the tree. Started my shopping and Christmas card lists—I’ll do them tomorrow. Aside from the head colds, we’re healthy and, yes, still gainfully employed. I’m breathing again. Maybe I’ll make some grape jelly this weekend.

The nursing home called again; dad’s condition hasn’t changed but he’s now in Hospice. I’m grateful that it’s only for the purpose of “planning ahead” but it hasn’t stopped that lump in my throat from forming.

Two days before Christmas, Jessica and Tracy are on break--they've passed their courses with flying colors! Our son told me he has just finished reading SILENCED CRY and was starting to read THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, it must be Christmas! Water pipes broke in the garage from the -28 degree temps and one of the cars has a flat. I refuse to get stressed—we are blessed.

Christmas Eve--it’s dad’s 94th birthday and in spite of everything there's still a spark in his eyes. My husband, son and daughter celebrated it with him. Dad's able to kid around (in his special way) with his grandchildren—I’m truly grateful—damn that lump in the throat is back.

Christmas 2008, a wonderful time with family and friends. The dogs finally figured out the “let’s go out” deal. Our property taxes were cut in half, and gas prices are down to $1.40 a gallon. Today we celebrate!

It’s New Year’s Eve!
Our family will ring in 2009 at home with good food and wine, movies and board games. We had our share of ups and downs in 2008, but that’s okay. Those stumbling blocks are to life what chilies are to salsa—spice!

I’m grateful for strong family ties, laughs shared with my friends, the lessons from trials and errors, a host of new challenges and opportunities, and the many blessings that came our way. I have no regrets and as I say good bye to 2008 I look forward to what the new year will bring.

Happy New Year to all!

May 2009 bring you peace, happiness, prosperity and a host of blessings.

* * * *

Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series published by BeWrite Books (UK).
SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

Check out the author's December 2008 virtual book tour stops at


Kim Smith said...

Man, that lump was in my throat too, pal. Great pic of dad though. Keep going girlfriend. 2009 will be the best year yet! Hugs and Happy New Year!!

Morgan Mandel said...

That was great!
The photos were also a great touch, especially the Dad and the dog ones.

I'm amazed you could encapsulate it all so well.

Maybe you're on Twitter also (G)

Morgan Mandel

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Blessings in the New Year, Marta. Blessings for you and your entire family.

Marta Stephens said...

Thank you all!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Marta, I loved seeing the encapsulation of your year. Great piece. And Happy New Year, my friend!

s.w. vaughn said...

Wow - what a year! Here's hoping 2009 brings many more pleasant things to you. :-)

Marta Stephens said...

Thanks Aaron and SW. These were only the "hightlights" of 2008--so much more happened but to post everyting would only guarantee everyone would "ZZZZ" out on me. LOL I do find it interesting though to look back at what I was involved in, the things that happened and the final outcome of my efforts.