Days before the new Millennium under our sparkly Christmas tree, I opened a carefully wrapped present and was greeted with a little note book with beautiful sunflowers on the cover. It was a gift from a thoughtful friend who knew that I loved to write. Perfect! On the eve of 2000, I wrote down my very first entry, listing New Year Resolutions; and there were 10 of them :)!
Today, I leafed through the pages and quickly scanned what have been written down, ticked and crossed, as I have done, at every year end since 2000, an exercise I have kept, more religiously than some of the physical exercises I have listed in my NYR:) In a 12-year period since this routine began, I am happy to report that I have achieved an average success rate of 90%.
As I was ticking and crossing the NYR of 2011, a few days before I would normally get to that task, I was overwhelmed by a sense of achievement. Not only have I managed to reach the goals I set myself when the year began, I have exceeded and excelled in several aspects. The feeling that came with my delight is deep, heart-felt gratitude. Like my NYR, I shall make a list of thanks now, not in a particular order but all an essential part of my life during a memorable year.
1) I am extremely grateful to authors who have graced my website and shared wonderful snippets of their life, their writing, their insights and stories.
If for any reason you have not read any of their fabulous interviews, go now and you’d be thrilled to learn more about each of them, some of the most gifted human beings I have the privilege to know and learn from.
2) I love my Facebook friends, no doubt some more than others You’ve been such a important part of my virtual life, and I’ll be damned if I don’t feel gratitude towards its creator Mark Zuckerberg. I’m pleased to say that some of you are real life friends and we have actually shared fun moments and quality time together. 437 is a long list, but I’d like to say a Big Thank-You to: Charlotte Chen, Anh Tran, Adil Osman, Kim Burns, Jiayan Mi, Amberr Meadows, Andy Wood, Carol Arnall, Donna Carrick, Lisa Stull, Milin Cai and Millie Redding (Forgive me if I have not ‘named and shamed’ you here). Kevin Bin Yuan deserves a special mention for his kind assistance in building my author platform.
3) Who can forget Twitter, one of the greatest social media inventions?! Again there are far too many tweeps to be included here as my faithful followers stand at 1,860 at this moment, which has been on a daily increase ever since I signed up in March 2011. I sincerely credit Twitter for some of the most life-affirming introductions, however, there are too many for me to list here and you know who you are
4) As a book lover, GoodReads has a special place in my heart. Of all the 281 friends I have on the site, it’s my pleasure to have met Vered Ehsani – she made my acquaintance after she read The Same Moon and wrote a review for it. The next thing I learnt was that she was coming to Birmingham,UK on business, and we ended up having a fabulous meal at our favourite Sichuan restaurant in town. It was also through the GR site where I came across Katy Sozaeva, who read and reviewed my books, and spent weeks editing out my errors and typos. Deb Hanrahan helped me out when I was sweating over the demanding technical issue of formatting for Amazon and Smashwords. GoodReads has been a good place to get fans and friends alike, among them Josephine Litonjua, who prefers to be called Jho, a supportive friend from Isshin Dream Publishing based in the Philippines. I have 27 fans on GoodReads, and I appreciate each one of you.
5) My long-term friend, artist Yongqun Guo deserves a massive Thank-You, for her generosity and support. Not only can we enjoy appreciating her beautiful paintings at home, but also I could share my love of her artistry with the rest of the world by using her original paintings as my book covers.
6) I wish to thank my son Tao, for being independent and making no demands whatsoever on me as a Mother, so I can concentrate on my other roles in life.
7) I am truly grateful to everyone who has bought my books and spends their precious time following the journey of Pearl and other characters I have created. Some of you I’ll never meet in real life, but you have become part of my life as you have got to know me through my writing.
8) Last but not least, I reserve my utmost gratitude to my husband and loyal best friend John. Through life’s ups and downs, he stands by me and supports me in everything I do, without reservation while keeping my feet firmly on the ground, no matter how far and wild my dreams and imagination have taken me. He’s taught me so much and most of all, what is important in our lives and to never lose sight of that.
Thank you, John, for your love, wisdom, devotion and continued support!
Thank you, my friends, for your trust in me and for simply being my friends.
I am looking forward to 2012, and I hope that all of you will remain in my life and enrich it in many different ways. I wish you all a Marvellous Christmas full of magic and wonders, and an amazing New Year, with good health, abundance of happiness and prosperity!