Queen Juliette I.

A new year, a new way to procrastinate…

I recently found the program Art Breeder, an online platform where you can create a lot more than just portraits.  Of course, I had to play around – and yes, I definitely want to make some of my other characters.  For the record, this is how I picture her majesty, Queen Juliette I.  I wasn’t able to add the scar she picks up in the first book (spoiler alert), or get the hairstyle exactly right, but this is who I pictured when I was writing the trilogy.

Will I create other characters?  All signs point to yes (obviously).

In which I am very bad at a job.

Siri, please play ‘Truth Hurts’ by Lizzo.

TL;DR #firstworldproblems

I had an extremely busy week starting at Dubai Eye, which has been an incredibly grounding experience. While I never (for once) thought that things would be easy, I also believed I might be at least in the category of ‘mediocre’ to start. At 40, I thought my days of epic fail were far behind me. I (naively) thought my skill set was a decent match for this role. I thought I was someone who could pick up things easily (but now I’m learning that’s because I chose those things).

Turns out, not so much.

Reader, I am terrible.

Like, there is no depth to how bad I feel like I’m doing, of what there is to learn, of how many hours I could work and still not get to where I need to be (like, yesterday). While a small part of me recognizes I am only one human person with one day of training for a job I’ve never had before, all I see is someone reacting, and never being proactive. Someone who manages to forget at least 42 things in an hour. Someone who can’t keep up. Someone who is trying their very hardest, but really, the hardest isn’t nearly enough. Someone who knows the next fuck up is literally minutes away.

Although I’m organized (only in my daily life apparently), filling six hours of programming has left me feeling all the feels. Things are especially challenging because I tend to commit to things a) where I know I’ll be successful, b) it’s work I’ve done before, and c) generally avoid situations where I’ll be vulnerable or have the potential to fail (I’m certain Brene Brown has a few things to say about this). To say I love being organized, in control, and good (or even great) at a job makes this whole experience even more difficult. I’ll also admit, I didn’t realize that positive feedback was also something that I actually did need.

I come from a history of A+ report cards and stellar annual reviews from supervisors. I have positive reviews on my books and articles and get compliments on everything from my phone etiquette to my weekly newsletter, and while I’m certainly not perfect at everything I try, for the most part, I’m at least decent. I have a good reputation in a number of categories I’ve earned: reliable, genuine, punctual. The rational side of me says I am still all these things, but the louder voice wants to know how I am so incredibly bad at producing.

So, I tell you all this because I want you to take pride in your job and how you do it well. Of how you make it look easy. Of what you contribute to your team. Of how you manage others. I want you to feel good about having years of experience in a field or being an expert on a topic.

Here’s hoping I can get my shit together a bit more next week.

Actually, my 2020 was pretty great.

*waves* Don’t get mad, please?

Hi, I’m Courtney, and my 2020 wasn’t a complete disaster.  Sure, my 40th birthday was one of the lamest I can possibly remember, but I am optimistic that perhaps my 41st or 42nd will make up for the forgettable steak and lack of friends and family.

And yes, there were a few health issues (not mine) that made this year a little scary, but I think everyone has come out okay.

So, what made this year particularly good?

  • My new niece (Baby H) was born safe and sound!!!
  • We adopted a dog!
    • Poppy really is the highlight of 2020.  We love her so much and our life is just so much better with her in it.
    • From memory, we also fostered Lily (puppy) and Lulu (cat) at the start of the year.
  • I published four books.
  • I wrote two manuscripts.
    • Take Two at Mulholland High.
      • I’ve even managed to start the first draft of this in December!
    • Untitled sequel to Confessions of a Teenage Band Geek.
  • Even though I’ve been slow with season 4, I did complete another season of my podcast, CSR of One.
  • I made new friends.  Yes, even with all the lockdowns and social distancing, it’s nice to come out of this year with new friendships (as well as solidifying old ones).
  • We moved!
    • The Springs are SUCH AN IMPROVEMENT over JVC/our asshole landlord.  Even 10 months in, we still comment on how happy we are living here.
  • I got a new job. Sure, December 21st is a weird day to start, but I will officially be working with Dubai Eye in a freelance producer capacity.
  • I was a lot more ‘balanced’ about going out.  I cut back on some unhealthy habits, and I really hope to continue this approach.
  • Biden/Harris won in the States (really, I don’t know what I would’ve done if Trump won the election).
  • There are a number of projects carrying into 2021 that I’m really excited about.

PopSugar 2021 challenge.

My favorite time of year!  Check out the challenges for 2020, 2019, and 2018, if you’d like. And find the original PopSugar post here.

If you’re looking for some suggestions from my books, might you consider the following?

  • A genre hybrid. I’ve always thought Room 702 has been a cross of a number of genres. Given the number of stories that take place in the room, there’s no specific category the book fits into.
  • A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews. One of my newer books, Take One at Mulholland High is such a great novel, and I’d love to get more reviews on it.
  • A book set in multiple counties. Lookin no further than The Queen of England: Grand Tour.  It’s right there in the title, but Juliette visits a number of countries (both real, and fictional).
  • A book you think your best friend would like. Personally, I think just about anyone would like the light-hearted Twenty Year Reunion, but that’s just me.
  • A book about forgetting. Life After Joe is about both remembering and forgetting, the process of grief and moving on.
  • A magical realism book. The Queen of England: Coronation kicks things off with a healthy dose of magical realism, which is continued throughout the trilogy.

Best of all? All of my books are free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited!  Happy reading.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for the remainder of the list!

Week by Numbers.

This is my first week by numbers since July (oops), so there’s a few numbers to catch up on!

  • 2, YA books published.
  • 1, weekly foodie newsletter I’ve started. (Click here if you’d like to sign up).
  • 48,370, words into Confessions 2 (sequel to the above book).
  • 69,622, words for the complete sequel Take Two at Mulholland High that I finished in August (guys, I wrote A LOT this year).
  • 1, (potential) job in radio that I’m waiting on.
  • 2, new pairs of glasses ordered (the last time I got new glasses was apparently 2015, oops).
  • 3, offered full Thanksgiving dinners.  I accepted one last weekend, and one on Thanksgiving.
  • 1, international trip that Hubs is on (to Saudi for work, and the first travel since we went to Oman in early February).
  • 14, holes in our back yard (an estimate), from Poppy.