The Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens of 2018

Was 2018 a crazy roller coaster ride for you? Smooth sailing? Milestone events?

My writer pals and I are remembering the happy moments as well as lessons we learned from challenges this past year in our blog hop: My Ups, Downs, and In-Between on the 2018 Writing Road.

Check out our personal reveals, then visit the other #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of the post for more shared recollections and lessons learned along the way. We hope you’ll be inspired to dive into your own special memories of 2018!

What lesson did I learn from 2018? What did I celebrate? What exciting announcements do I have to share for next year? I guess you will have to read on to find out!

Each year is not without challenges. Some days throughout this past year I was ready to pull my hair out and just wished for 2019 to be here already. Then, something would happen and make me appreciate what I just went through. Life is full of milestones. You have the big ones that everyone shares: driving, graduation, marriage, children, the list can go on. One thing that everyone can agree with is to reach the “big milestones,” you have to enter and appreciate the smaller ones. Without those small milestones, you will never reach the bigger ones you are dreaming after. That is one of the biggest things I am walking away with, welcoming and enjoying change and the small milestones that lead up to the bigger ones.

At the end of 2017, I made a choice, one that was scary for me as a writer. I chose to walk away from the publishing house I had always known. I decided it was in the best interest in my books to look elsewhere. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the smartest move I could make, but I was still scared out of my wits. I was 110%  alone! Everything I did was on me. Fail or succeed was on me. That was a lot to take in. I always had a house that backed me. If something failed on their end, it was their fault, not mine. Taking that leap to walk away was a lot of pressure. Pressure is not always bad. Without pressure, we wouldn’t have diamonds.

Starting 2018 and knowing that moving forward as a writer was all on me kicked things into overdrive. I had clear goals in mind, and I knew that to attain these goals I was going to have to work harder than I ever had. Along the way, I had many ups and downs. I experienced rejection. While that can be a bitter thing, it also can keep you humble. I chose to look at that as a small milestone. Had I not walked away from my former publishing house I would not have taken that step to branch outside of comfort zone with submitting for awards and various other things. Kicking things into overdrive ended up leading to burnout. I had to take a step away from all things social media and focus on my family. I learned the vital lesson of balance and humbly recognizing one’s limits.

Success! I was able to produce a new Little Katie book! One that I did from start to finish, on my own! That is a milestone. Something I had never done before, and one that I celebrated joyfully. Little Katie is an

Informational fiction picture book series geared toward schools. Being able to continue producing this series on my own to use for schools has been a dream come true! It has also been super great to move at my pace with production. Another milestone in my writing endeavors was winning two more awards for my first book in the Little Katie series, Little Katie Goes to the Moon. This book has now won three literary awards on its merit. I am still baffled and humbled by this. I never expected Little Katie to receive such praise.



One of the biggest celebrations this year was nothing related to writing. This past August/September marked two very special anniversaries. In August, my adopted grandparents had a jubilee that not many have the opportunity to experience. This is what beauty looks like, true love at its finest! These two fantastic examples of a power couple celebrated 60 years together! 60 years! With all of the problems that can, and often do affect married couples, its refreshing to see two rock-solid examples of enduring love. 

Following their anniversary my husband and I had our own in September. We hit the big one zero! David is my best friend, support system and confidant. Without his encouragement, I would not do half of the things I do. Celebrating ten years of marriage was so special, even more so was to share it as a family of three. Speaking of three, this little fella in the middle of the picture is almost three!  

In October of this year, I made another scary decision. With the encouragement from my husband David, I decided to quit my job as a professional photographer, allowing myself to focus solely on the author side of things. I went to school for photography. I genuinely love and enjoy it, but the joy does not compare to what I experience working with the schools. I was always split, one foot in two places, never fully able to commit to one. November 1st, 2018, marked the first day of my new journey as a full-time author. I cannot even formulate the words to describe how taking that step as made me feel. The best I can say is a mix of elation and fear. Again, pressure isn’t always a bad thing. Having entirely devoted myself to being an author I am now contracted with two new school districts and a third in the works.  If I had continued with one foot in both jobs I would likely have become stagnant. My dream has always been to work with as many schools as possible, and that dream is now a reality.

All of what I have shared with you has been a mix of big and small milestones. The most important lesson I learned in 2018? Don’t be afraid of change. The choice I made at the end of 2017 to walk away from my former publishing house caused a ripple effect. How far those ripples will extend is still to be determined. I am eager to enter into 2019 and see what ripples come next.  I will be yet again stepping out of my comfort zone to see if I can find new representation for the Little Katie series. Regardless if I do or not, I have already found joy and success in life beyond measure.

How was your year? What was your biggest accomplishment/event? Do you have a valuable lesson you learned in 2018? Please share in the comment section below!

For more Up, Down, and In-Between 2018 moments, visit the #Gr8blogs below:

Cat Michaels

Rosie Russell

Julie Gorges

Rebecca Lyndsey

Check back for additional blogs to be added. Thanks for stopping by! If you’re a blogger and want to join us on this hop, just add the family-friendly link to your blog in the comment section, and we’ll be happy to show you some blog love.

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7 thoughts on “The Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens of 2018

  • Julie Gorges

    Loved your blog. The best things happen when we leave our comfort zone and face down our fears, and you are a wonderful example of that. SO happy for all your accomplishments in 2018! You are living out your dreams while staying balanced in other areas of your life. Truly, the true secret to happiness and success. Congratulations and I wish all the best for 2019.

  • Rosie Russell

    Carmela, so proud of you for doing what’s best for you and your family. Stepping out on your own and making all this happen hasn’t been easy, I’m sure. If you ever have questions on what or how to do something, let me know. I love our supportive group of helpers.
    Congratulations to your adoptive grandparents for 60 years! Congrats to you and David for 10 years! Woo hoo!
    I think it’s great you are focusing on the schools with your books. What a treasure having you for author visits.
    Stepping down from your photography job at this time sounds like a solid decision. Remember, you can always incorporate those skills for your books and marketing.
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a great 2019 Carmela and family.

  • Cat Michaels

    Go, YOU, and your sweet hub for launching a new career path that matches your passion. Carmela! It had to be scary to make that change, and I’m not sure I could do it.

    Congrats on your writerly awards and new Little Katie tale. Even bigger hurrahs for your precious 3-yo and grands’ *60!* years together. Makes my heart happy -:D.


    Ahh loved this post! I could relate to so much with what you have been through. Huge high fives for making such massive steps towards change, it isn’t easy but you will be so glad you did it. Huge congrats on the awards too, you really do deserve to reap the riches of all the hard work you have put in.

  • Rebecca Lyndsey

    Congrats to you for being brave and doing what was best for you! Self publishing is hard! LOL I had to make the decision when my publishing company closed its doors and I’m glad I did.
    I am hoping to one day be able to leave teaching and focus on the schools as an author/illustrator instead!
    Proud of all you have accomplished! Hope you have a wonderful 2019!

  • Sandra Bennett

    Wow, Carmy, what a year! You have accomplished so much. I am proud of you for taking the leap of faith and reaching out of your comfort zone to face your fears head on. It’s amazing what we can do when we face our fears. In my pb ‘Frazzled Freya’ a little frill neck lizard learns that exact important life lesson. Have you ever read the book ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. (and it’s all small stuff)? I can’t remember who wrote it, but it is also a valuable lesson for times like these when we are struggling with life changes. Decisions we make all work out for the better in the end. Congrats on an awesome year, the new ‘Little Katie ‘ book, the awards and the anniversaries. Best wishes for continued success in 2019.