As the Manager of Digital Content for the Internet & Digital Team, Jenny Bullough helps to bring new projects and business ventures to fruition while maintaining production workflows for the current digital businesses. She is a passionate fan of TV, movies, and reading both digitally and print, and indulges in each whenever she can – though raising two girls under 5 takes up most of her spare time!
So, how was your holiday season? Good, I hope. Mine was pretty much the worst Christmas ever. You see, at midnight on Christmas Eve our 11-month-old baby girl became suddenly and violently ill with a nasty viral infection that immediately settled in her lungs and GI tract. By Christmas morning she was in such bad shape I took her to the ER and she was admitted immediately and hooked up to an IV. So, my Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at her bedside in hospital. Definitely not the way I envisioned spending her first Christmas!!
Thankfully, she was discharged after 36 hours and as I write this now, 10 days later, she is almost completely recovered. As you can probably imagine, I am counting my blessings these days, and living with a renewed perspective on what the holidays really mean! Once the initial panic over our baby’s health subsided, I was awash in overwhelming feelings of gratitude for so many things: that we live near a major hospital; that we have family nearby who took care of our 5-year-old girl so we could be at the hospital with the baby; that we are rich in friends who offered support spiritually, emotionally, and practically; that we live in a day and age and place where these kinds of illnesses can be fought and conquered with the best medical care.
I’m also very grateful that just before Christmas, “Santa” delivered to me an early present: a Kindle. Before I left the office for the holidays I loaded it up with Carina manuscript submissions and a few choice PDFs of Harlequin, MIRA, and HQN titles from our company archives. When I left the house to take the baby to the hospital, I grabbed just two things: the diaper bag with all her necessities, and my Kindle. During the long hours at her bedside, when all I could do was sit and hold her tiny hand and pray (I think any parent can understand that sleep was, for me, out of the question during this time), reading kept me sane.
As I have so often in life, I turned to the greatest escape – fiction – to lift me out of the stress and anxiety I was feeling at the time. Through the words of writers published and not-yet-published, I entered other worlds far away from the concerns of the present. By following the journeys of fictional characters, I was prevented from dwelling on unpleasant thoughts and fears, and each time I set down my Kindle I felt refreshed and renewed and more able to deal calmly with the situation I was in. Best of all, the Kindle is so light I could hold it in one hand while I rocked my feverish baby to sleep in my arms.
I can’t tell you how many books and manuscript submissions I burned through, but I can tell you this: if your submission was one that I read, THANK YOU. No matter what happens with your submission, whether it ends up acquired by Carina Press or another publishing house or winds up being reworked into something else, please know that your words, your story, saved this mother’s sanity during a very scary time! A story doesn’t have to be published to touch a reader’s heart, and to make a meaningful difference, even if it’s just to one person in this big world.