I think its safe to say that 2021 beat the tar out of every single person on this planet. Thanks to COVID, I doubt any of us made it through the year with suffering a loss of a family member, a friend, a colleague. Not to mention the damage done to our jobs, our daily routines, and many other aspects of life. I know I am happy to be done with this year in a few days, even though the simple fact that when the clock tolls midnight Friday night to bring in the new year on Saturday it doesn’t mean everything will instantly change.
I know we all thought last year at this time that we were relieved 2020 was over and surely 2021 would be better. Yet, this year has been one loss after another like no other year before has seen. And quite frankly, I liked 2020 a lot better than I did 2021. Which should tell you just how bad 2021 was.
It started off with the loss of a friendship barely a week into the new year, which I probably should have taken as an omen of the year to come. Despite my having clearly stated that I thought the people behind the events of Jan. 6th were idiots, and for the record the people that spent the summer of 2020 burning, looting and rioting (looking at you BLM and Antifa) were just as much idiots too, were doing more harm than good.
There remain legitimate questions over some very questionable actions that took place on Election Night around the country the previous November, and thanks to these idiots those questions may never be answered. For that reason alone all of them should get some jail time for their conduct. My former friend, failed to acknowledge that part of what I’d posted and branded me as a “defender of the insurrection” and apparently, months later, is still making the claim to those few people that still bother to listen to him these days.
Why? Because I admired the moxie of one of the idiots who was photographed carrying off Nancy Pelosi’s lectern. Unlike many Antifa and BLM protestors who violently attacked anyone taking their picture during their criminal misconduct, this dude saw the photographer taking his picture, smiled, waved and went on his way. He had to know he was toast. And yes, I admired the fact that he accepted his fate and didn’t go full street thug on the photographer, who was only doing their job. Our podium-carrying friend plead guilty and will draw about a year in jail and a four-figure fine, which is what he deserves and was what I said back then.
If that is “defending the insurrection” (which, in point of fact, there wasn’t an insurrection, just a gathering of idiots doing idiot things) then so be it, provided of course that we start labeling the riots of 2020 (especially in Portland) the same. But I would note that I put up with this person’s four-year ranting and raving about all things politics without saying a word. Would have been nice to have that courtesy reciprocated. In case you haven’t noticed, it was this incident that led me to stop talking politics. It just isn’t worth it.
February was even worse when our 15-year-old rescue dog, Waldo, suffered a massive seizure that he never recovered from. It has been over 10 months now since that day and we are still feeling that loss and miss him terribly. Sadly, that was just the beginning of what would be a year full of losses.
Good friends, Lou Antonelli and Tamara Wilhite, and many others including acquaintances, spouses of friends and colleagues all passed away as the year went on. At one point, on three straight days, I began my day by opening up a message telling of yet another loss. I took a four-day online break because I could take no more such days.
Of course, the worst day of all came in September when my father passed. That loss has left a hole in our family’s hearts and in our lives that I doubt will ever be repaired.
For the world at large it seems like there has been nothing but darkness and despair, with very few glimpses of light, happiness and hope of better times to come. Still, there were a few brief glimpses of daylight in 2021 to celebrate.
For me personally, I got the first book of the Starquest 4th Age series out, Galen’s Way, and have nearly finished the second book, Galen’s Blade, for its April 2, 2022 release. Exploring Infinity was released, an anthology sequel to Escaping Infinity to set the stage for next year’s release of Expanding Infinity. I’d hoped to get more done this year, including releasing two other books, Seadragon and Firstborn’s Curse, but this year’s events sucked away so much time and energy and I was not able to wrap them up. Perhaps I’ll get them out during 2022.
And just two days after Waldo passed, at a shelter in Durango, Colorado a couple of hundred miles away, a litter of puppies were born. At the time all we knew was that mom was a Schnauzer and the dad was unknown. We eventually discovered that one dad was a Red Heeler and the other dad was a Black Lab – apparently two dads accounting for puppies in the same litter is a thing according to my vet – once the two pups we adopted in April got a little bigger. Tesla, named for the father of the woman whose sponsorship paid for the care and upkeep of the litter until they could be adopted, is the tan Heeler/Schnauzer while Jack, is the Black Lab/Schnauzer.
And just so you don’t think I’m yanking your chain, here’s a picture of mom. Don’t worry, I had to show it to our vet as well to get him to believe that the boys’ mom was a Schnauzer.
Their presence in our lives has been one of the few bright spots of 2021 and I am glad we were able to get them and bring them home. There was a moment about two weeks after we brought them home, when both of them got up on the couch and started sniffing the wooden urn that holds Waldo’s ashes wrapped within his favorite toy. The urn is sealed, but somehow they knew what was inside, because they both reached up and gently placed a paw on top of the urn and then looked over at me. And yes, its mighty dusty in here right now, isn’t it?
We did have a pretty good year at Tuscany Bay Books too. We wrapped up the Planetary Anthology Series in February and we published Caroline Giammanco’s wonderful Into The Night anthology, as well as Mary Elizabeth Jackson’s series of childrens’ books, as well as another children’s book, Lizzie The Librarian, and closed out the year with Bob Brill’s mystery-thriller, The Tattoo Murder.
We also signed up to publish Declan Finn’s White Ops series, the first three books being available for pre-order and will come out one each month starting in January, as well as republishing Evan Balkan’s, Root That Mountain Down, and James Edward Webb’s western, Tom’s Revenge, both coming out on February 1st and available for pre-order too.
My publishing schedule is the April release of Galen’s Blade. Then I am hoping to finish and release four more books. In addition to Seadragon, Firstborn’s Curse, and Expanding Infinity, I want to get the Starquest Pre-Migration series started with, Ranger. I’ll shoot for a Dec. 2022 release on that one and hope 2022 is a much kinder year to all of us so that I can make that happen. And we’re only two weeks away from the release of the 2022 Helicon Awards. It will be the fourth year of the awards and I am not only excited to see who the judges have selected (yes, we have judges make the selections and no, I’m not telling you who they are so stop asking), but I am also excited to see what the future holds for the awards going forward after this year. There are some changes coming and I can’t wait to share them with you soon.
So, out with 2021, and lets hope it takes all the bad vibes, heartache and pain it brought in with it when it goes. For you and yours, and for everyone around the world, I hope 2022 is the year when the world finally found its way back into the sunlight after two miserable years under the dark cloud of a pandemic.