Spending the last several weeks on social media would have you believe 2016 was one giant dumpster fire. Big parts of it were, sure. There’s a lot of justifiable fear and worry churning in many of us as we lumber into 2017. This week’s celebrity deaths are just the capstone. I’m crushed by the loss of Carrie Fisher, who I respected immensely for her honesty, her mental health advocacy, and generally being a badass who gave no fucks what you or the patriarchy thought of her.

However, 2016 wasn’t all bad. Really.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling)

We’re going to get Dumbledore up in here, and look for the good so that we can try to move forward. Here are three things that didn’t suck in 2016:

1. For me it was the year I sold my first book, Borrowed Souls, which I desperately hope you’ll pre-order because I seriously can’t wait for you to read it in 2017. We need to talk about the Soul Charmer and Callie and Derek and soul magic and why’d he punch that guy and mobsters and consequences and magic.

This was one of those dream-maker moments, and I won’t let the crappy shift at the end of 2016 steal it from me.

2. I also went to Italy with my husband. Italy, y’all. They had freshly made gluten-free pasta everywhere and the wine. THE WINE. It was picturesque and had fascinating history and captivating architecture and my Italian is still lacking, but I can request to train tickets like a mofo.

Cheers from Lucca, Italy // Chelsea Mueller, Author

Cheers from a wine tasting in Lucca, Italy

3. There were book conventions like NOLA StoryCon (pics below!) and RT Booklover’s Convention where I was able to gush about all my favorite reads without getting the side-eye. I got to hug my Internet friends IRL, and meet my favorite authors. I’ll be back at both those events in 2017 as an author, and at Coastal Magic in February. Get tickets: Coastal Magic, RT Convention, NOLA StoryCon.

NOLA StoryCon 2016 with awesome blogger Jannelle from VBCNOLA StoryCon 2016 with selfie king and author Kevin HearneNOLA StoryCon 2016 with the best girl to hit NOLA with Krista (also an epic author assistant!)NOLA StoryCon 2016 with cover artist and chicken mama Tricia/Pickyme

Sometimes it helps to focus on the little bits of good, especially as we all hope for potential good in 2017. Hope can be found in even the darkest of places…

Tell me one good thing that happened to you in 2016. Everyone who comments will be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card to start 2017 off with stellar fiction (or, IDK, batteries, it’s your gift card).

Details: To enter the contest, leave your comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. CST Dec. 31, 2016. (Yes, you have until the end of 2016.) If you’re reading this post on Amazon or Goodreads, please click over to Chelsea’s official blog to comment! One winner will be selected randomly to win, and will be contacted at the email address provided with the comment.