|Kassidy as a puppy|
Kass joined our family three and a half years ago and has been my constant companion for much of that time, always nearby while I am writing. This year, I wrote 20 full-length novels, an accomplishment I am proud of and planned to mention in this post anyway, but it seems odd that she's not here to celebrate it now. She was there when I finished, Friday evening, when I sent my last manuscript of 2018 to my editor. It just happened to be The Chronicles of Cassidy, Book 5. I closed my laptop, looked down at her where she lay by my feet, and said, "We did it, Kass. We wrote 20 books this year." She crawled up onto my lap and put her paw on my chest, like she was trying to give me a high-five or something. It was like she knew we'd done something special.
I say "we" because ever since I've become a full-time writer, she's either been on my legs or on the couch next to me as I write most of the day. She'd always let me know when it was time for both of us to take a break, every couple of hours. She was always right--and insistent that, no, it couldn't wait until I finished that sentence or paragraph. It was break time--now!
|I wrote a lot of books with her hovering over me like this.|
I'm sure some people will want to know what happened, so I will say that we were out of town. Some neighbors were watching her, and she got away from them and was hit by a car. It was quick, and I hope painless, for her. It was devastating for all of us, and now, about three days later, it is still hard to believe she's gone. Our neighbors buried her for us in the back of our property, and we plan to build a little garden there. My youngest daughter, who loved to read to Kass when she was alive, has gone out there each day and read to her, so we'll make sure there is a bench, some flowers, and a marker.
Some might say she was just a dog--and to some extent, that's true. She wasn't a person as regular human, upright, word-speaking people are concerned. But to us, she was just about as peoply as a pet can be. She was funny and bright, fast as lightning, and could climb a ladder a lot quicker than I can. She would tell us when there was a person at the door, a squirrel in a tree, sometimes a falling leave in the yard. She wanted to be a part of everything we did, and in most ways she was--especially if it involved people food.
Kassidy will certainly be missed, and when I start writing again in a week or two, it will be hard to carry on without her, but I know I will find a way.
The next book on my list to write is Annihilation: The Clandestine Saga Book 7. Since Cassidy Findley is a big part of the story, it will be challenging. I'm glad I just finished the fifth book in the series named for my feline friend as that would've been harder to write without her.
|Kassidy and Cassidy Findley have a lot of character traits in common.|
Writing must go on, however, so I am looking ahead to the rest of this year. As I mentioned, in 2018, I wrote 20 full-length novels, well over 2 million words. I published 20 novels as well, which was my other writing goal, though some of those books were written in 2017 (there was a lot of overlap, though.) For 2019, I hope to scale my writing back a little and am only planning to publish 13 new novels. But I am working on audiobooks for Titanic, Melody's Christmas, and the Clandestine Saga. It would be great if I could release an audiobook every month this year, but we shall see.
As far as writing is concerned, 2018 was a stellar year for me. I grew my following, wrote a lot of books, got some great reviews, and connected with a lot of readers. I feel like people are starting to recognize my name. I've gotten a lot more emails from readers this year and even had someone recognize my name when I said I was a writer. Those are all great things. In 2019, I'd love for there to be more of the same. If you've signed up for my newsletter or follow me on social media, then I'm so glad that we've connected, and I hope we can get to know each other better this year. If you've left a review on one of my books, you can be sure that I've read it. If you've told your friends about my writing, or suggested or gifted one of my books, you've helped my circle to grow, and you're an amazing part of my success. I value every single person who has supported my writing career over the last four years, and I hope you'll stick with me into the future.
This post definitely isn't what I'd envisioned a few weeks ago. I am glad I've had this opportunity to share with you my wonderful friend Kassidy. And when you read about the fierce female character of the same name in my books, I hope you'll remember her namesake and pat your special friends on the head an extra time or two because you just never know when they might be gone.
My wish for you for this new year is that you will be loved and appreciated, that your goals will be met, and that you and your friends and family will be safe and well. I hope you find lots of great books to read in your favorite genres and plenty of time to read them. If you're an aspiring writer, may 2019 be the year when you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and see what you can create, or if you're already a writer, let this be the year your words resonate with thousands of readers. Whatever you do this year, I wish you success and happiness. Thanks again for sticking with me, and have a blessed 2019.