Hi friends! Welcome to the last day of 2018. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that most of my posts aren’t about my personal life, but today, I felt like indulging myself with a look back.

This has probably been the longest year of my life, simply because of all I’ve done and all of the changes I’ve gone through. I know I’m not the only one who had a tumultuous time.

Mr. Donovan and I mourned the very unexpected death of his father — a wonderful, loving, energetic man who was at the center of his family and his community.

We said goodbye to longtime friends and sold the house we’d lived in for sixteen years to make the move from Kansas City to Los Angeles.

As in 2017, I worked long hours at my day job. Our publishing company began acquiring original fiction, expanded to print editions, and expanded to wider distribution.

 

 

It’s been a difficult year, but also an amazing year, and I have so many things to be grateful for. Here are 18 of them!

1. We found a great apartment in Studio City: one that allowed our three little rescue dogs, just a mile from my office!

 

Best Things About 2018. Photo of Bryn Donovan in empty apartment.

 

2. For the first time in our lives, we spent a lot of time at the beach. I never thought of myself as a beach person…I don’t even know how to swim! But for a Midwesterner like me, it really is something to be able to decide to head to the shore on a whim. Our old Honda is permanently packed with beach chairs, towels, and an umbrella.

 

Best Things About 2018. Photo of Bryn Donovan on the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier, California.

 

3. I wrote Sunrise Cabin, a clean, sweet Hallmark romance about two people who both have personal reasons for wanting to buy the same little mountain cabin that’s gone up for sale. I wrote it mostly between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

For a few reasons, I was terrified to release it…but people liked it pretty well!

 

Sunrise Cabin Stacey Donovan Hallmark Publishing #clean romance novel #sweet autumn fall romance #Christian inspirational #new #bestselling #best #2018

 

4. Oh, and I got to be on TV to talk about the book! Although honestly, the hosts did most of the talking about it, which I appreciated.

 

Best Things About 2018, Bryn Donovan. Photo of author with hosts of Hallmark Home and Family show.

 

5. I got to know my new co-workers better. My closest colleague, who does more of the business side of the publishing company, is wonderful to work with, and so is my boss. I also had a fantastic intern. I’m going to miss her! Except not really, because I’ve appointed myself her writing mentor. Outside of the office, I worked with talented writers, editors, and designers.

6. We visited Mr. Donovan’s mother, many of his siblings, and our nieces and nephews on two separate visits: one in Laguna Beach, and one on Coronado Island. It was wonderful to see them all! (There are so many of them and we have so many pictures that I didn’t know which ones to choose.)

7. Some of our best friends in the world — fantasy author J.R. Boles and her husband — came out to California for a visit. And of course, we had to go to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios.

 

The Best Things About 2018. Photo of authors J.R. Boles and Bryn Donovan, with their husbands, at a restaurant in Marina del Rey, California.

 

Best Things About 2018. Photo of authors J.R. Boles and Bryn Donovan at Harry Potter's Wizarding World, Universal Studios, California.

 

8. My brother and his wife also came out to visit! They are two of our very favorite people in the whole world.

 

Photo of the author's brother and sister-in-law on the beach, ocean waves in background.

 

9. Speaking of favorite people…Mr. Donovan’s brother, our sister-in-law, and their daughter came out to visit us, too! This picture is of my niece telling me all about the paranormal romance she’s writing (which sounds suspiciously like my book The Phoenix Codex in a lot of ways…)

 

Best Things about 2018. Photo of Bryn Donovan listening as her 10-year-old niece talks.

 

10. We visited Kansas City in the fall and saw many of our friends there. Our timing was perfect: the boyfriend of one of my best friends popped the question, and we took part in the surprise engagement party! My friends in Kansas City mean so much to me, and I’ll never let them go.

11. We visited with other friends, too! Some of them came in from out of town. Some of them were dear online friends I met in person for the first time. Okay, I can officially say that visiting with people is one of my favorite things in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

12. We saw amazing artwork at the Getty, the LACMA,  and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

 

 

The Best Things About 2018

 

The Best Things About 2018

 

13. We explored great bookstores (including one with a very friendly cat who jumped in my lap), and I read a lot of good books.

 

 

The Best Things About 2018

 

The Best Things About 2018

 

14. We got together with Mr. Donovan’s aunts, uncle, and cousins, who live in the Los Angeles area.

15. Mr. Donovan and I spent a little time in Joshua Tree National Park. I’d always wanted to see it!

 

Best Things About 2018. Bryn Donovan, wearing cowboy boots, in Joshua Tree National Park

 

16. This moment at the RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in Orlando meant a lot to me. Our still-new publishing company had a small, almost-empty room at the hotel for “office hours,” meaning anyone could stop by at that time and chat with us and ask questions. I didn’t know if anyone would show up or not, but we figured it was a good idea. I got to the room a half hour early and chatted with one of my editors.

Around the time the office hours started, I got up to open the doors so if anyone dropped by, they would know it was fine to come in. There was a line of about one hundred writers, wanting to hear about us. I didn’t know what else to do, so I invited them all into the chair-less room, kicked off my high heels, and stood on a chair to give an impromptu presentation about our publishing company.

 

Best Things About 2018 Bryn Donovan

 

17. We met new writers in the area, partly by starting a Studio City Writers meetup.

18. We had a happy, fun Thanksgiving with my sister, her family, and my parents.

Oh, shoot. I ran out of room. I also wanted to say I connected with more wonderful people through this blog! I love reading your writing on WIP Wednesdays and hearing what you have to say in comments, and I really appreciate your just being there.

 

 

In 2019, we want to do a lot more exploring. South California will be our playground on weekends…and I’m going to be on a cruise to the Bahamas (for work!) and in Paris. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see pictures!

What were the highlights of your 2018? Sometimes, when you look back on the good things, you realize it was a better year than you thought! But if 2018 was a terrible year for you, let’s celebrate the fact that it’s over. If there’s something you’re really looking forward to or hoping will happen in 2019, let us know about that in the comments, too! Thanks so much for reading, and Happy New Year!