Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in Review

What a year. It definitely has been QUITE a year. I said in my post last year that there were several possibilities for big change. I felt it coming, though not all the details, and yet, I still had no idea how big of a change was facing me. My life looks completely different from what it did a year ago. Am I even still the same person? Sometimes I wonder. Anyway, my year.

I started off the year with a bus trip to Washington D.C.! It was pretty cool, despite the cold and the snow and still being a little sick and my mom breaking her ribs. Yeah, that. Bus trips are interesting. I slept through a lot of it. I've been sleeping through things a lot easier this year than I ever have before. It's weird.

My sister and our friend on the bus

Team Loudermilk got a bus and went up for Congressman Loudermilk's swearing in. We got to go sightseeing in D.C., going to the Smithsonians and such, I went up Washington Monument for the first time, went to the Supreme Court building, Congressman Loudermilk's new office, the Library of Congress where we had our swearing in watch party, and went on special monument and Capitol tours given by David Barton. It was super duper cool. We even got to go on the Floor in the House chamber. It was amazing. And I even got to hold Congressman Loudermilk's granddaughter and watch Tim Hawkins on the bus home.

David Barton telling us about the Christian Heritage of our nation represented in the Capitol decor

And see Vincent van Gogh's paintings. Yes, I only cared because of that Doctor Who episode. So I'm not really into his style.
Me and van Gogh's self portrait

When we got home, we started getting serious about moving. We put our house on the market. We looked at TONS of houses. I didn't really like most of them. There were a few I liked, one in particular that my dad really liked, but it was in our old county which for some reason made me not like it. There was one I really liked that someone else put a contract on right after we looked. As much as I wanted that house, though, I knew it wasn't ours. We showed our house a few times. Enough times that my dog assumed she was going to the park if we did extra cleaning on a different day from normal. We got a contract on our house in April. That's when we finally went to the right place. It's a new neighborhood, still only partially built, that seems like it's in the middle of nowhere with a quaint little town, but it's right next to the interstate and 15 minutes from just about every store and restaurant...except a fabric store. Seriously, we need a fabric store. (But it's also five minutes from the library. Five minutes!) There was only one floor plan for the neighborhood I liked. The first one we went in, well, I liked the floor plan, but it wasn't quite right. Then the neighborhood agent decided to take us in a different house with that floor plan that they weren't really showing yet. It was the right one. I knew it. It was our house. And guess where we are now?


I started orchestra. I really enjoy it. It can be hard, and it's quite a commitment...and it's annoying when the other sections don't show up or don't play their parts right...but I still love it. I've learned a lot through orchestra. I didn't really like the 45 minute drive, though, I found I could only listen to Frozen so many times, and Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver! weren't much better. I was tired of my brain dredging up every bad thing possible, it's really annoying that way sometimes, so I got an audio book of Bleak House from the library. Amazing! Only it was so long I had to listen to it while I was sewing too.

Caption from Instagram: "A picture of my day."

I wrote Crannig Castle and rewrote The Crossways. Plus final edits on Creighton Hill. And cover design. And blog tour organization. And moving my blog to Blogger the manual way. Then I moved on to getting the first half of the Cassie story done before NaNo.

We had a snow storm in February. Lots of sledding, and I got to recreate these fantastic snowmen as best as I could.

I slipped in the mud pushing the lawnmower up the hill and fell on the lawnmower full weight bashing my arm on the handle. It didn't hurt for long, but it seems to have banged up a nerve pretty bad, so it still sometimes feels strained. Right before my first orchestra concert, too.

My friend and I did the author festival at my old library. Not much traffic or many sales, but it was good practice. We also went to a free writers' mini-conference which was very interesting, and stopped at Goodwill for a full half an hour afterwards.

I went to see Into the Woods with some friends at the college where I do orchestra. That was a lot of fun.

My sister got a cello. That's pretty cool. Especially when we play things together, like the Captain America theme.

I went through my first Republican Party convention cycle (though I didn't go to state). We left district early--well, before it was over, it was running extremely late--so I could take my sisters and a friend to see Cinderella. It was SOOOOOO good. Yes, fangirling ensued. My youngest sister and I also went to see Age of Ultron. I really enjoyed that one too, especially since my sister paid for the tickets. ;)

I beta read Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. Ardnek and thus became good friends with Amanda Beguerie. So glad to be friends! Also read more Ilyon (and recently got a friend addicted to the series). Ilyon is the best.

My dad unexpectedly got a new job not long before our move. Better pay and closer to home. I'd say that was a good thing.

My dog getting attacked wasn't, though. During the due diligence period on our house, which ended on my birthday, our dog got attacked on her walk by a loose dog. That was a scary night. And a miserable recovery time. She even had to have a drain tube put in her wound. She was so pitiful. And since our old house was a split foyer, she had to stay downstairs, away from the main level. But just like with her back injury, we adjusted things so she wasn't alone all the time.

Poor Sophie

Moving happened the weekend immediately preceding the release of Creighton Hill. Friday we closed on our new house and started moving. Saturday we did the main moving, the furniture and such. Sunday we did the last little bits and said goodbye forever to the house I grew up in. Monday I released my book without WiFi. I admit, I freaked out a lot about the timing of the whole thing. But it all worked out.

Things didn't let up that week, though. My dad fell while running and hurt his arm pretty bad. Bad enough that he passed out the next morning...which I wasn't told about until later because I was working the Classical Conversations Play Camp again and my mom didn't want me any more stressed out than I already was. It wasn't broken, though. Just nerve damage. And Play Camp was fantastic. I seriously love working with preschoolers. And kindergartners/first graders. It's a great age

I joined the worship team at church. I love it. It's amazing to be able to use my musical abilities for God, and I enjoy the fellowship of the other worship team members as we prepare together for church early Sunday morning...even when technical difficulties drive us crazy. I seriously miss it on the rare occasion when I can't be there.

I completed my first Camp NaNo project with the Cassie story. I've since realized the middle is kind of empty and needs work...and also that the main guy and not the main girl is the true protagonist, making it technically the Luke story...but my sister helped me come up with some ideas, so once I get my writing motivation and inspiration back, I'll buckle down and get it fixed.

There was our basement project. That was insane. So much work, so much frustration, and a good dose of grumpy, but we did it! I talked about it in my summer recap post, so you can go there to see pictures and find out more details.

I wrote a Sleeping Beauty retelling called Twisted Dreams. I love that story to pieces. It's like fairy tale meets Doctor Who meets Merlin meets Michael Vey with a dash of Star Wars in the spaceships. I poured all my creative juices into it, plus a lot of emotion. I was really invested in the story. Like, I just about cried when a not so great character died because I was writing from the point of view of someone close to him. It's submitted to the Five Magic Spindles contest, so we'll see where that goes. Hey, want to see my Photoshop fail mock cover I did to procrastinate? No? Well, I'll show you anyway because it was fun to Photoshop something that didn't need to look professional for once.

All images come from Pinterest

We had political friends over to watch the first presidential debate, which was a lot of fun. Especially when our friend spent the night for the first of three and counting times. We've introduced her to awesome movies and shows (The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, Merlin, Star Wars) and made two not so awesome but still very fun short films ourselves. Now, if only we could start shooting from a script...

My sister and I had a booth at a festival in our old town where we sold doll and children's clothes, books, stuffed animals, and little Sculpey figurines. It was a good experience. Kind of stressful, but it was still good.

My sister and I at our booth

We went camping with some families from church. It was fun to hang out with them, but I would definitely pass on the whole thunderstorm/sleeping in a tent thing. Maybe one of these days we'll get a camper.

I did something special for Espionage with some friends. But I'm going to have to finalize a few details before I'm ready to announce it online. *River Song voice* Spoilers.

I released The Crossways! But you all probably remember that. I talked about it enough...

I listened to the amazing The Scarlet Pimpernel while making a Cinderella dress for a friend's dance. That dress was HARD, but I love it, and it was fun swing dancing. I really enjoy dancing. A lot.

My sisters and me ready for the dance

I participated in a So You Want to be a Writer? event at my old library. It was kind of stressful, but it went pretty okay. You can watch it on YouTube if you want. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, which was a lot of fun...listening to the amusing six-year-old tell us all sorts of random things, playing soccer and other games, watching White Christmas for the umpteenth time...I do believe it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings, up with the one where we played Capture the Flag in the cemetery in the dark.

I did my first Black Friday shopping at Hancock Fabrics. They really had some awesome deals. Couldn't pass it up, especially since we kind of needed to replace some outgrown and/or almost worn out clothes and pajamas. And we needed to get a Chick-Fil-A calendar too, because now we know people who work there, we find out about these things before it's too late.

Our Black Friday shopping

I also participated in an online sale with some other authors. But you probably remember that too: Indie Christian Books.

My dad went to a conference for work and my mom went with him, leaving me in charge for a few days. I was a bit freaked out, since, you know, if something bad were to happen, I don't have any big brothers to protect me, but it all went just fine. A couple friends even came over to "party" with hot chocolate and ice cream and Phantom of the Opera, 25th Anniversary Performance (with full parental permission, of course).

We had a girls' tea at our house. I was sort of...apprehensive...about it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Especially spending time with the little ones. And that evening, we got to go see Ted Cruz! It was FREEZING (to a Georgia girl, at least), but it was SOOO worth it.

We visited family in Indiana for Christmas. It was a pretty good trip, and I got to spend plenty of time with my super cute, super hilarious six-year-old cousin!

Now home, we got to see the amazing Star Wars: The Force Awakens (my sixth movie of the year, since I also saw The Battle of Five Armies last New Year's day in addition to  War Room and Mockingjay Part 2).

Wow, I didn't even quite realize how incredibly insanely busy this year has been until I wrote this down, and that's not even counting every detail that slipped my mind, all the books I read, and the un-online-shareable things. It has been a year.

I'm not really sure what's going to happen next year. Last year I felt the change coming. This year, I pretty much feel a blank. I have book releases planned, and I'll continue with all my normal, every day stuff, but as for anything significant, I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Should be interesting!

How was your 2015? Anything you're looking forward to in 2016?


  1. I'm putting off processing this year until next week. December has been too busy.

    I um ... remember publishing two books, though! And I look forward to, hopefully, publishing two books next year.

    1. You did publish two books. Kingdom WAS 2015. It seems so long ago. Which two are you planning on publishing this year?

    2. If the bridge holds steady and the creek don't rise ... (i.e. if I finish writing them) I plan to publish LDTD and Poison Kiss. I would like to put out a Bookania Collection, but I don't know that that's going to happen.

    3. So I guess that means you didn't finish Poison Kiss in time for the contest? Oh, well. Still sounds very interesting.

    4. No, I didn't. It still lacks about 5,000 words. I need to finish it.

    5. Oh well. You do need to finish. I want to read it.

  2. We need to do more ice cream and movie nights :) that was SO FUN!!!

  3. Capture the flag in a cemetery at night? That sounds incredible!
    My 2015 was fun. My 7th sibling was born, I finally let someone outside of my family read my novel, I won 2nd place in a video contest, baked 50 loaves of bread in about 3 days, got my driver's permit, had a retro sweet 16 party and read 50 books including a few swlf published ones I really enjoyed :) I can't wait until Crannig Castle is released!
    As for 2016, I hope to stay caught up in schoolwork and maybe actually publish my book...hopefully :)

    1. It was pretty amazing. Part of the cemetery is an old Confederate cemetery. I have some good memories from that Thanksgiving.
      Sounds like your 2015 was pretty cool. Lots of milestones. :) I hope Crannig Castle will live up to your expectations!
      Good luck with your book!

  4. This year was pretty crazy!! (This is in no specific order)

    I participated in my first blog tour (and a few more)
    I did my first beta-reading (and a second)
    I completed my first Camp and regular NaNo
    I got into script writing (which is my dream job)
    We adopted three kids
    I got to see my favorite author (book signing and seminar!)
    I got to meet a bunch of lovely people!!

    And I could go on, but I shan't. Man, that's a lot!! I should make a list on my blog as well!

    P.S., where in IN do you go?

    1. Sounds like you had a crazy awesome year! Script writing is cool. It's something I'm interested in, though I've yet to complete a script. And it's terrific you adopted three kids! I'd love to get into adoption and/or foster care someday.

      We go to Indianapolis. My mom's family lives on one side, and my dad's mom lives on the other. Do you live or have family in IN?

    2. Cool!! And a decent bit of my mom's side lives in Berne. My dad said that it's two+ hours. It's close to the IN/OH border.

    3. Neat! I have three aunts that live in Ohio, too.

  5. Ahhh, those snowman made me laugh. xD One of my friends last year made a Baymax snowman, and I want to try that this year as soon as we get more snow and it's the right kind of snow.

    You have done so much this year. o.o And publishing a book would be the most epic. I'm so happy for you!

    1. Glad you like them. They were a lot of fun. :) A Baymax snowman would be cool. I still need to see Big Hero 6...

      I did do an awful lot. It's crazy. Book releases don't get any less exciting (or stressful) the more you do, but I'm looking forward to releasing books 5 and 6. Crazy to think by this time next year I'll have published 6 books.

    2. That's even crazier. But you HAVE been doing this longer, so I guess it makes sense. :)

  6. Wow, you have had an insane year! Thanks for updating all of us. :)

    I don't have time to write a long comment, but I just wanted to say that I am so glad to be friends as well, and I am blessed to know you.

    Your dresses are beautiful. Wish I could sew like that.

    And the snowmen are so awesome!

    1. You're welcome.

      I'm blessed to know you too. I'm so glad Rizkaland brought us together. God can use anything. :)

      Thanks! It took practice.

      I'm glad you think so! They were a lot of fun to make.

  7. Hey I'm mentioned in this!! :)))

    1. You are! Of course you are, you were part of my year, weren't you? :)


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