Here's the best things that happened, or that I accomplished, this past year:
- Put together an e-book of twenty-four short speculative fiction stories and poems that I've had published in magazines and anthologies. The book will be titled Four and Twenty Blackbirds, which has to do with one of the stories in the book, as well as the number of tales and rhymes.
- Wrote an amazing number of short poems in February of 2021 for the short poetry challenge that I participate in every year, the Post-It Note Poetry Challenge. I wrote well over 100 haiku, senryu, and tanka in February as well as other types of short poems, and I'm still writing them, though not quite at that pace. 2021 has been my best year for writing poetry so far.
- In November, I put together another e-book containing many of the haiku, senryu, and other short poems that I wrote in February 2021 (and before and after) titled after my online poetry website little paper parasols.
- I began planning three other e-books (not sure if all of these will play out, but hoping some do):
- one of speculative stories and
- one of speculative fiction poetry (both published and unpublished) and
- another of short poems only about Florida nature, tentatively titled "Florida Swamplillies: Haiku & Short Poetry About the Sunshine State" or "Lillies from the Swamp." Something like that. It will include some, but not all of the poems from the other previously mentioned short poetry e-book.
- I've got an idea for a 4th poetry book on dark poetry, but as of now it's just an idea...no poems written for it yet.
- I began planning my novel/novella about Sasquatch. Yes, I'm writing a book about Bigfoot. It's currently in the research/planning process. Parts of it will spill over into another fiction project I'm planning about aliens.
- I've lost a lot of weight this year. Over 30 pounds. Part of it is from hiking in the Florida woods as part of my research for So Lonesome I Could Cry (see above). Another part of it is from a diet pills and diet my nurse has me on. But it's working.
- I managed to sell another story and poem or two, but I also started a blog to write about weird stuff and anime but I haven't been writing in it much due to all the research and planning and creating e-books.
- I started an account on Stash and am managing to invest a little. It's up one day, down the next. That's the market right now, but Stash lets you do it a little at a time. I have a personal and retirement account that I handle, and a smart account that I throw some money into and Stash's people invest for me. I try not to invest in crappy companies that are bad for the environment or are shitty to indigenous peoples or their employees.
- I've been saving money for two years now in my banking accounts and have a bit stacked up. I'm going to invest a little of it in 2022, but I'm also going to keep saving. Ever seen those memes about saving money by taking some out of your pay and doubling it every week? Well, I created a couple of those tailored for people like me who get paid bi-weekly. It's worked, like I've said. With me investing in Stash, I may do a lower amount of bi-weekly deposits in 2022 than I did this year.
- I've been taking real, honest to goodness vacations instead of stay-cations. Hiking and looking for the Big Guy, yes, and I've got two big trips planned with my partner in 2022. Myakka River State Park (squatching for three-four days) and Fanning Springs, the latter more for a weekend swimming getaway for Val and for us both to see the Suwannee River and a little bit of the Nature Coast State Trail. In 2021, we went to Lake Wales, saw some real Florida mountains (more like hills really, but pretty big ones!) and we went to Bok Tower. Someone saw some gnomes there in the fifties, but there doesn't seem to be any there now. (This is a real cryptid historical account of these gnomes in Eerie Florida by Mark Muncy).
- A tiny flash story of mine was given an Honorable Mention award in a popular yearly fiction contest. I've been writing a 300-word story for Queer Sci-Fi's yearly anthology contest since I heard about it in 2018. In 2021 my story "To Have and to Hold and to Hold and to Hold" (a tiny tale that envisions the great great great grand-relative of Cthulhu--xe was strictly a female but got a male mating organ surgically implanted so xe could reproduce--going to a dating convention to find xemself some wives) was given the accolade of Honorable Mention, along with a handful of other great stories. Perhaps someday, I'll win one of the big prizes in the contest. It's always a worthy challenge trying to write a 300 word story that makes sense to readers.
- My poem "Star Trip(tych)." was nominated for a Rhysling Award with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. It was originally published at the end of 2020 in Issue 2 of the magazine Speculative North. The poem was then reprinted in The 2021 Rhysling Award Anthology. Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.
I haven't sold as many stories or poems this year. Mainly because I'm concentrating on planning and publishing longer works. I did sell a couple of small speculative poems in 2021 that will be published in 2022, in Scifaiku magazine, but that will be for me to write about in next year's post. I will probably make a goal of writing and submitting a few short stories and poems in 2022. Or not. I'm gonna play it as she lays, as they say. And 2022 will likely hold a crap ton of research for me. I'll be writing about that in my post on 2022 Reading Goals.