2017: The Year in Review

I debated about whether to do a post like this. No, I really did. There has been so much unpleasantness in the world that I wasn’t sure I wanted to revisit any of it. I finally concluded that there were three categories into which the post could fall, and so here we are. Ladies and gentlemen, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:

We adopted two kittens who were brought to us by a feral mama we named Savannah. She was pregnant again before Memphis Tom and Figaro were weaned, and presented us with the Million Dollar Quartet kittens. We got all four kittens into rescue at the shelter where I volunteer. As I write this, three of the four have been adopted and the fourth, Elvis, is in medical foster. Mama Savannah continues to evade the trap, but we haven’t given up.

M&M frt Verson 1Bayou Fire was published and, to date, has garnered two awards.

I visited Memphis and Tupelo to do research for the new book, and discovered some things inside myself that I didn’t know were there. I heard great music, ate some excellent food, and had my eyes opened in a way I didn’t expect.

I finished the first draft of It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories, and am in the editing process right now. However, it’s early days; more on that below.

I did three author appearances this year, and met a lot of wonderful readers in the process. I also made the difficult decision to step down from the staff of Clockwork Alchemy after six years. I am already planning my calendar for 2018; watch this space for news.

I read 124 books, ranging in length from 22 (Enchanted Tiki Room #5) to 784 pages (Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley). GoodReads kept track of the statistics for me.

My charitable giving was greatly increased, as I made donations to different organizations each month. I gave to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, Humane Society Silicon Valley, World Vision, Save the Children, the National Civil Rights Museum, Texas Diaper Bank, and Planned Parenthood.  I also helped friends with medical emergencies.

My day job company was sold off, and I still have a position. In fact, it looks as though I’ll be taking on more responsibility and will have additional travel as a result. I had only two business trips this year, and there is one coming up in January. We’ll see how that all pans out.

It Happened in MemphisSpeaking of travel, I’ve already booked my first-ever trip to a rockabilly convention called Viva Las Vegas for 2018 (I’m counting it in my review because the booking happened this year) and am looking forward to seeing live performances by Narvel Felts, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Duane Eddy. There may be another story or two for It Happened in Memphis as a result; we’ll see.

The Bad:

My Hashimoto’s disease was much worse this year, and my joint problems increased. I now use a cane part-time, and have orthotics to help as well. I need to do better with self-care, because I am easily frustrated when I can’t do whatever it is I’m attempting with the same ease I had in the past.

My best gal-pal from high school developed complicated diverticulitis and had to have major surgery. She and I spent some time together traveling early in the year, which was nice.

I visited my folks during the summer for PixieFest, and my dad (who just turned 80) is not doing too well. I had an enjoyable visit, but that was hard to see.

Book sales were down across all channels. I know that this is happening for a lot of authors, but it’s still disappointing. One interesting thing: for the second time since I’ve been keeping metrics, Kindle sales ran neck and neck with ePub sales. Historically, 80 percent of my sales have come from ePub format readers.

The Ugly:

I try to keep politics out of this blog. However, if I really want to be honest about this year, I have to say a couple of things.

You can’t turn on the news without seeing the ugly. My most popular blog article of 2017 was What’s Happening in Charlottesville. The unfortunate displays of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia are ongoing … and are the primary reason my charitable giving has increased so much. I have been entirely conscious of my white privilege in a lot of this, and I believe in using my privilege to help those who have less than I do.

Thing is, we see the same kinds of behavior in the history books, when we read about the Civil Rights Era. My privilege allowed me to think we were doing better as a country, and now I know we are not. And here’s the thing: we must do better. Diversity of thought, ethnicity, faith, etc., are the foundations of our country. We need to remember that in all that we do.

Furthermore, we seem to have returned to the age of the robber barons; I can’t help thinking of Jay Gould, Russell Sage, John D. Rockefeller, and a host of others who were immune to consequences of their actions because of their personal fortunes. The same kinds of abuses are being revealed as happened in those days, and they must be stopped.

How, you might ask? At the ballot box. This nation cannot afford voter apathy, and we must ensure that all eligible voters are both enfranchised and motivated. Attempts at voter suppression must be overcome, just as in the 1960s.

We have been placid and passive for too long. Rise up.

4 thoughts on “2017: The Year in Review

  1. I’d love to see pics of the kittens (they’re probably cats now), and good for you for all that charitable giving. Great causes, all. Your Hashimoto’s… is that a form of hypothyroidism? If so, I empathize. Sorry to hear your dad isn’t doing well. Sending hopes for him making a turnaround. As far as politics is concerned, all I have to say about that (this) is: #thisisnotnormal!! Thanks for the post. May 2018 be filled with love and wonder for you. Happy writing! 🙂

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    1. Hi, Kathy. Hashimoto’s disease is a cause of hypothyroidism; to put it simply, my immune system sees thyroid hormones as “invaders” and creates antibodies against them. So, Hashimoto’s slowly kills the thyroid, and you have to supplement … at ever-increasing levels. Luckily, my liver function remains normal, which means I’m converting T4 to T3 adequately with supplementation.

      Thanks for your kind words, and you’re right: #thisisnotnormal. Best to you!

      Like

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