Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of Times; The Worst of Times

I apologize in advance for being late posting. The time that I usually write a post for “Dishin’ It Out” was spent with a medical emergency with a geriatric collie. He’s doing fine this morning. I, on the other hand, have a few more grey hairs on my head.

I was going to do a year-in-review kind of post and I’m sticking to that.

2016 was the year taken directly from Charles Dickens, because it was definitely the best of times and the worst of times. So many of the actors, singers, and authors I admired while growing up and even into my adult years passed away this year. I won’t even attempt to list all of them—just mention the few that deeply affected me: Alan Rickman, Glen Frey, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, David Bowie, Harper Lee. Somewhere, in another place, that universe is shining much brighter because of their presence. Ours just feels a little darker.

2016 saw political tidal waves that NO ONE in academia or the media saw coming—Brexit and then here with the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. (This IS NOT a political commentary, merely an observation.) I can’t speak to Brexit other than what I have read, but there seemed to be a common denominator in both the vote by Britain to leave the EU and the election of Mr. Trump. In both cases, the population had grown tired of the status quo, tired of a bloated government that appeared tone-deaf, and a population tired of being told they don’t know what’s best for their own lives. Governing by fiat seldom—if ever—works in nations who believe in the democratic process and have chosen a constitutional republic for their governance. (Again, this is merely an observation, not commentary.)

2016 saw a rise in violence, both here in the United States and around the world. Violence may garner the attention of the “powers that be” but history has repeatedly proven that the majority of the time, violence does nothing to help the cause being violently advocated. All violence does is cause the other side to dig their heels in more and push back harder. Terrorism seemed to be on the rise—whether it was or wasn’t isn’t what’s under question here. It felt as if it was. And, instead of bombs, trucks driven into crowds of people now seem to be the weapon of choice for the terrorists. Let me make a suggestion to the terrorists—take a page from Gandhi and Dr. King. Peaceful, passive resistance can and does move mountains.

The best of 2016 is highlighted by a seventeen minute rain delay in Cleveland, Ohio on a chilly November night. At 11:54 PM (local time), Kris Bryant throw a bullet to Anthony Rizzo at first base and for the first time in ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT FREAKIN’ YEARS the Chicago Cubs won it all. My beloved Cubbies became World Series Champions. Loveable losers no more. And, yes, I was a Cubs fan long before it was cool to be a Cubs fan.

I signed a contract to publish my fourth book with The Wild Rose Press—in my opinion THE best small publisher in the industry. When I first signed with TWRP, I was sent a welcome package that said at TWRP the authors are family. Over and over, Rhonda Penders, Lisa Dawn, and the other “higher-ups” have proven those are more than words to them. I also want to take this little corner of cyberspace to give a shout-out to my editor at TWRP, Anne Duguid. Anne rocks. Period. She takes my so-so writing and chips away at it, hones it, pushes me to be better, and turns that writing into something I am immensely proud of. And, honestly, she’s the reason both of the books she’s edited for me have been nominated for the RONE by Ind’Tale Magazine.

Another highlight of 2016 is that RONE nominee for Seize the Flame. I printed out that review and it hangs right next to the review that garnered the RONE nominee for Smolder on a Slow Burn.

2016 was a mixture of the very bad and the very good. I suppose, it was just like any other year. But, I’m looking to 2017. Onward and upward. Or, aiming to the second star on the right and on through the night.

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