Well first of all, Happy New Year!
Yes, it’s that time when we all go crazy and make promises to ourselves that we seldom keep. Or maybe that’s just me. I have a tendency to make resolutions that at the time seem perfectly attainable… get in shape, or prep enough food and supplies for a year (for those of you who might not know that about me, I’m very into what a lot of people call “prepping”, though I simply call it being more self-sufficient), or write however many thousands of words, or publish this or that.
But the old adage tells us where that road of good intentions leads, doesn’t it? No matter how reasonable or well-intentioned my resolutions seem at the time, I always seem to overlook Murphy’s influence on my life. And to be perfectly honest, I tend to get easily distracted and discouraged… often to the point that I fall so far behind in my goals that I get discouraged and simply quit trying.
So this year I’m going to try to take a more practical approach to things. If you read my last few entries on the blog, you know I’ve had some major life changes in the last several months. I left my job of more than fifteen years, left my home of more than fifty years, and moved from Texas to Oklahoma to help my parents out. Since my last posting, we’ve gotten a new home in Claremore, Oklahoma. It’s a small town a bit northeast of Tulsa, and so far, it’s been great. The picture above is taken from the back corner of our fence, and I’m really looking forward to what all we can potentially do with this property.
There are two really big differences in my life here. First, the people are just so freaking friendly. Now, I had some great friends in Houston, don’t mistake my meaning here. But until you get to know someone in a larger metropolitan area, people tend to treat you more suspiciously. And if you watch the news there, you can easily understand why. But here? You seldom see anyone frowning. Waiters and cashiers greet you with a smile and seem genuinely happy to talk to you. I’ve only been in this house a few weeks, and I already know more of my neighbors than I did in the house I left in Houston – and I lived there for fourteen years. Is that their fault, my fault, or simply the learned caution of someone who has lived their entire life in a major metropolitan area? I don’t know. But I know that it’s much different here. And I know I feel more welcome here, anywhere I go.
The other big difference is the weather. In Houston, I seldom ever had to break out anything heavier than a light jacket during the winter, and that was usually only for a few days. Here in Claremore we’ve already had a couple of light snows this year, and the temperature hasn’t climbed much above forty degrees for several days. As I’m writing this, it is almost 2:30 in the afternoon, and the temperature is precisely forty degrees Fahrenheit. And this is warmer than it’s been in several days. It’s supposed to drop to nineteen degrees tonight!
Yeah, this is going to require some serious adjustment. I’ll have to learn to “winterize” the house, the cars… even myself. I had to scramble to find gloves last week. It had been so long since I’d needed them that I wasn’t even sure where they were.
But I’m learning. Adjusting. And the time I’m getting to spend with my wife and parents is great. I’ve gotten closer to them all than I’ve been in quite some time, and that (as the commercial says) is priceless.
So back to the whole resolution theme that I started with. I’ve learned my own version of the adage about the best laid plans and entering the battlefield. Last year most definitely didn’t work out the way I had planned it. But it all seemed to fall together at the end, so I can’t complain. This year though, after taking stock of my life – of where I am chronologically, geologically, and financially – and trying to take into account some of the effects that Murphy can have on my plans, I’ve decided to set some relatively modest goals.
Chucklers – This is the one that Edward Lorn and I began over a year ago. It’s had a rocky road, and I’ve learned that collaboration with another author is both easy, and difficult. Chucklers grew from its inception as an online chat discussion, to an amazingly complex story composed of several interwoven storylines that look like they will likely span at least two, and probably three books. But Ed recently contacted me and told me that he has a huge project in the works, and that he was going to have to leave Chucklers behind. He has graciously given me his blessing in continuing with it on my own.
So resolution #1 is to complete and publish the first Chucklers novel.
Year 12 – I recently began working on the sequel to HPM again. There isn’t a lot of it done, but there are a decent first few chapters. I want to complete and publish this one in 2015.
Crazy Larry – There is a novella that’s been banging around in my head for a while. I’ve had several people ask me how Larry was able to raise an army to attack the town of Rejas in HPM. Now, since HPM is told from the first person perspective of Leeland Dawcett, then anything that Leeland didn’t know, simply couldn’t go into the novel. But believe it or not, I do have an explanation. So I thought I might put Larry’s story behind its own cover. I want to do this in 2015.
Other: There is also an anthology coming up that I’ve been given permission to submit to, and the world in which it takes place sounds absolutely fascinating. So I want to try for that anthology in the next few months, and see if I can get in. And since this one is someone else’s property, that’s about all I can say about it for now.
And that’s it for my writing goals; two novels (one of which is already mostly written), a novella, and a short story. Like I said, modest goals.
As for my more personal goals:
Blog more – This blog has suffered quite a bit over the last couple of years. For a long time, I posted every week. Then it dropped to once a month. In 2014 I started out well enough, three or four posts in the first couple of months, but like I said, Murphy… The last few blog entries were six months apart, and that’s just unforgivable. So this blog will get at least one entry per month, come hell or high water.
House – For the new house, I plan to get a good garden going this spring, and get some fruit trees in the back yard. Every long-term food source is part of that self-sufficiency thing I mentioned earlier, right? And the more food I can produce at home is that much less we have to buy in the store.
Weight – Also, let me hit on an oldie, but a goodie… I plan to lose twenty pounds by May. And more importantly, I will keep it off all year-long.
I think they are all relatively simple goals (except maybe the weight thing, but I only have myself to blame there), and I’m going to work on keeping these resolutions this year. So wish me luck. And please comment here. I recently updated my anti-spam plugin for the blog here, and I’d like to know if it works properly. I’ve had it update in the past and begin blocking EVERYONE who tried to comment. The only way I know it’s not doing that again is for someone to leave me a comment. If you try and you can’t, please send me an email at jlbDOTauthorATgmailDOTcom.
So that’s it for now. Have a great 2015, and stay safe!