Change can be good.

You may have noticed a lot of my recent posts have dealt with change. That’s because I’ve encountered a fair share of it in my life over the past while and I’m learning some lessons (re-learning, in some cases). I’m not an expert on the topic. I’m not a life coach or a therapist. I’m just a woman and an author, grappling with events that are often beyond my control.

Some time ago, one of my publishers made the painful decision to close up shop. I took the information in stride, although I was disappointed and saddened by the news. I held out hope this too might change but it doesn’t appear that way. I realize in this business, publishers come and go, but this one was considered established and was well-respected. Everyone who worked for them was thrown for a loop.

What can I do about this news? Nothing, when you get right down to it. My other two publishers seem to be going strong, but do I know for sure? That might change as well.

The world at my day job is also in a state of flux. Positions might be reviewed. New technologies and automation are coming into play. I know many of my co-workers have concerns.

Add to all that my recent medical issues (not life-threatening but annoying) and it begins to feel like a lot to endure at once.

What do I do with all this transition? With much of it, I cannot alter the course. It is already set. So what’s left?

I must change.

I’ve chosen to see this period as one of personal growth and risk-taking. I know I need to try things that might frighten me but there’s no going back now. Looking back never helped anyone.

As far as my day job goes, I look forward to exciting new opportunities for training and development. Yes, my role there might be altered but I will do everything in my power to embrace it and make it as fulfilling as I can.

With my physical issues, I have decided to try yoga. People have told me I should for years. I probably should have listened then. It’s time to push myself and (literally) stretch.

What about my writing and my publishers? Well, I just completed a new manuscript and the start of a new series. I have ventured outside my comfort zone in this sense as well. I have made the decision to pitch it to larger publishers, much larger than any with whom I’ve ever worked. Cross your fingers!

Not every change feels right. Not every metamorphosis results in a butterfly. But I can handle these changes. I can learn from them. And by the time I’m done, I may just have a bright new pair of wings to flap.

Use it before you lose it.

I had the most interesting session with my physiotherapist this morning. I’ve always fancied myself limber. I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination and never have been but I’ve had moments of earnest exercise in my life. Moments, mind you.

However, this morning my physiotherapist stretched out one of my legs today, taking it in a direction I never thought it could travel, and I almost saw God. It burned. If I possessed a little less propriety, I probably would have turned the air above my exam table blue.

Once I got over the imagined indignity of being spread wider than a broken wishbone at Thanksgiving, I began to wonder if perhaps it was a stretch I needed. After all, although I do try to take the stairs and watch what I eat, I’m probably not as fit as I should be. In some ways I’m lucky because my day job keeps me on my feet and moving, but I know I can do more to improve my level of fitness.

I tend to neglect exercise because I tell myself I should be writing instead. I think most writers probably use this excuse (please tell me so) and then we end up with what used to be called “Secretary’s Spread.” I prefer to think of it as Lazy Writer Ass. Today it occurred to me exercise and writing really should go hand in hand.

After all, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Isn’t this what we’ve been told?

Certainly I have found if I take a long break from writing, it can be difficult to find inspiration to pick up the pen again. I work better when I work consistently. It turns out my body operates the same way. If I neglect the old girl, she feels older and exhausted. I don’t want to be exhausted. I want to be vibrant and healthy and I want my writing to sound the same way.

Today, as my physiotherapist twisted me into a pretzel, I made a vow to move. Perhaps it’s not such a sin to take half an hour away from my writing and dedicate some time to improving my quality of life. My brain will likely function better too. Double win, right?

I issue a challenge to all my fellow writers out there, and also to those who’ve been searching for a reason to get up and go. Feeling less than fit? Move with me! It doesn’t matter how, as long as we do it.

If we use it, we won’t lose it. So let’s use it together.

One year later. A family lives with grief.

Grief. It seems like a strange topic to be discussing at a romance blog, doesn’t it? Sadly, it is part of life and romance novels are a representation of life.

Tomorrow, it’ll be one year since my mother-in-law Gail passed away. For a couple of months, my family members have been in a state of quiet dread, not knowing how the anniversary would feel. I have been on tenterhooks, waiting for signs of sadness in others.

Several friends told me the first year is hardest and that reaching milestones without that family member can be hard. I’ve learned this is true. Although everyone in my family has been stoic, I could see the milestones were tough to swallow. Everyone seems ready to assume the burden of the others. My eldest came to us the other day, so concerned about how my father-in-law was doing. Meanwhile, he was having a bad day himself.

In some ways, Gail resides with us still. We joke about her a lot in an attempt to keep her memory alive for our sons. Gail loved her wine (“Red, please!”). We sometimes talk about how she never has to worry about what time it is in Heaven. It’s always happy hour.

I know tomorrow will be difficult but I have no idea yet exactly what form the grief will take. Perhaps some quiet introspection or a prayer or two. Perhaps we’ll see some tears and punching of pillows. No matter what, Gail is not forgotten and there will definitely be a glass of red wine in my immediate future.

We miss you, Gail.