Today's my birthday. I'm really busy; it's Monday, a work day, plus I have a dentist's appointment, so I don't expect to have a chance to breathe. However, I still tend to wax philosophical on the day I turn a year older. Today, I'm thinking about all the gifts that have been bestowed upon me over the past year.
At the top of the list is decent health. Both my husband and I have avoided any serious ailments, despite our advancing ages. The worst we've experienced is a nagging cold or two. And this year actually finds me feeling at least five years younger, due to the hip surgery I had in May. After years of gritting my teeth and limping along like some crone, I can now walk without pain, even dance! I definitely know the meaning of the term "a new lease on life"!
Another gift - we're managing to keep our heads above water financially. We're still both employed and even got a modest raise this year. Of course, prices are going up all the time. Sometimes I feel like Alice, running as fast as I can just to stay in one place. However, when I look around me at all the people who have lost their jobs and are truly struggling, I have to be grateful.
My writing accomplishments over the last year have been modest but worthwhile. I'm particularly proud of my vampire ménage Fire in the Blood and my BDSM tale The Understudy. Sometimes I get a bit depressed, looking at the output of my more prolific colleagues, but then I have to remind myself that this is not a competition. If I just keep writing, keep publishing, at my own pace, I have reason to be proud.
My extended family is all well, with the exception of my nephew who's undergoing chemotherapy for recently discovered testicular cancer. Even there, we've been lucky. The prognosis is very good, although the poor guy is going to have to endure the loss of his hair and other symptoms before he's cured.
Yes, I've been given many gifts this year. And I want to share some of the bounty with you, my readers!
As my first birthday gift to you, I have added a new free read to my website, an intense M/M erotic tale called Mad Dogs. Actually, this was the first M/M story I ever wrote. It has been published in several anthologies. Although it's not really romance, I hope that you like it.
Second, I'm giving away a copy of my latest release Almost Home to one person who leaves a comment for me today, either here or at Marian Perrera's blog Flights of Fantasy, where I'm guesting today. Comment on both posts and double your chances of winning!
Finally, my monthly contest is still going on. I'm celebrating my birthday by giving you whatever you ask for. That's right, tell me which of my books you'd like to read, and your wish just might come true. Just send me an email to contest [at] lisabetsarai.com with the subject "Birthday Contest". In your email, tell me which of my books you'd pick if you won, and why. On February 15th, I'll randomly select one lucky winner who will receive the book cited in his or her email.
I hope you enjoy your gifts as much as I enjoy giving them!