2022: Already a work in progress

EOLYN and her companion novels had a makeover in 2021.
Cover design by A Raven Designs

Anyone else feel like there wasn’t much of a holiday season this year? Everything blasted by so quickly.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a nice holiday. Thanks to vaccines and loosened travel restrictions, I was able to enjoy more time with my family. Also for the first time in two years, I attended a live performance at a real theater. The luxury of simply being present in a theatrical space was almost overwhelming. Despite these joys, or perhaps because of them, the holidays were over too soon. I hardly got my decorations up, and now it’s past time to take them down.

2021 wasn’t what I had hoped for 365+ days ago, when I bade farewell to 2020. At the beginning of the year, I expected a time of renewal and reconstruction. There was some of that to be sure, but 2021 also brought significant losses. Like a lot of people, by December I realized I’d spent most of the year picking through rubble and coming to terms with what actually could be recovered. To make things worse, as I picked through the rubble of 2020, the bombers of 2021 were still flying overhead.

Arctic Fox. By Jonathen Pie, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

My sense from social media chatter is that no one is going into 2022 as naively as we went into 2021. I believe this is a good thing. Naivete has its virtues, but the pandemic is teaching us to expect the unexpected, and prepare accordingly.

For my part, I’m trying not to worry about things I have no control over. For example, where the next Covid variant might come from, or whether my neighbor wears a mask and accepts the science of vaccination. I know this is little comfort to those who want the big problems fixed and fixed now, but sometimes we have to roll with the changes demanded of us; and sometimes change is imposed by complex forces much greater than ourselves.

I can count many blessings from 2021, and I did keep some promises to myself. I finished a manuscript (that I love!) and began querying. (Yes, I know I’ve been slow to follow up on my mini-series about queries. I will get back to that in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.) I traveled – 3 times! – within the country to visit family and friends.

I ramped up marketing efforts for The Silver Web trilogy, including brand new covers for all three books. And to my surprise, I actually saw results from my marketing. Eolyn topped Amazon’s Kindle best sellers list more than once during the year. It was great to see so many new readers discover her magical world.

Most importantly, I made it through two more semesters (and one summer) of Covid relatively sane and in good health. This was not a trivial accomplishment. Campus life has never been more challenging.

By Mathias Appel – Red Panda, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of you may remember that this time last year, I promised to donate my royalties to one of three causes, each cause related to overarching themes in The Silver Web trilogy. I considered several options for my end-of-year donation, the amount of which was based on my total royalties for 2020. My 2020 royalties went, in full, to the World Wildlife Fund. Instinct told me this is what Eolyn would want. Wilderness is the foundation of her magic, and animals are her teachers. WWF has an excellent track record for protecting both. As part of my donation, I made two symbolic adoptions: the arctic fox and the red panda.

Over the next twelve months, I’ll be considering options for my next donation. I’d like to spread the love, so WWF will probably not be on the list again – but who knows? As with all dimensions of life, under the current normal, anything is possible. As always, three themes will drive my donation decisions: conservation, women’s welfare, and peace. I am always open to suggestions, so if you have favorite organizations or projects that speak to these areas, please let me know.

I wish you many blessings in 2022; stability, good health, companionship, and magic. Make some promises to yourself, for yourself – and don’t be afraid to keep them.

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