For someone who spent the holidays here in Minnesota rather than risking going to my family’s in Nebraska, I have no excuse for being late with my first post of 2021. Looking back at 2020 has been interesting because despite the global pandemic, two of my major goals were accomplished: Publishing and garnering positive reviews for my book, Salvation Station; and placing a short story, Finding Hope In No Man’s Land, in the 2020 Writer’s Digest Contest as a Honorable Mention. This year, I decided to make a list of goals and aspirations as the pandemic may still have an affect on what’s possible in the coming year.

  1. Publishing my novel, Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace, in late March 2021. My wonderful publicist, Chris Olsen, has founded her own publishing company along with a partner. I am honored to be the first book in the new venture. This domestic thriller was originally self-published over a decade ago to good reviews. With the right publicity, I believe this work could also be a success.
  2. Completing two works-in-progress. One is a mystery which is half done, the second is a novel I began during National Novel Writing Month in November 2020. If I could get one finished that would be a great personal achievement, getting two done would be even better.
  3. Continuing to write and submit short stories/memoirs to contests and literary journals.
  4. Maintaining my blog by continuing to host author interviews, tips and resources for writers, and more posts my passions: literacy, racial equality and women’s issues.
  5. Staying healthy.
  6. Visiting my family in Nebraska in the spring and hopefully again for the holidays. FaceTime and other technology is a godsend, but there really is nothing like seeing friends and loved ones in person.
  7. Hosting a book launch for Shades of Darkness that people can attend in person!

Here are my aspirations:

  1.  Attending Bouchercon 2021 in New Orleans from August 25 – 29, 2021. Last year’s event in Sacramento was cancelled due to the pandemic and held virtually. I’ve never visited New Orleans and although it will certainly be hot, fingers are crossed that this year’s live event is held. I’m also looking forward to attending with my good friend, Kathy. We reconnected after 20 years at Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas and had a blast.
  2. Experiencing more restaurants. Minnesota has been fairly strict on keeping dining in closed in the spring and over the holidays. They’re set to reopen in mid-January.
  3. Traveling – at least a little bit! Nebraska and New Orleans would be a big improvement over 2020.
  4. Volunteering with my favorite organizations in person!
  5. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. I won’t be eligible until at least August 2021, but after last year it provides hope for conquering this vicious disease.

There will undoubtedly be more goals and aspirations as the year progresses. Wishing you a healthy, happy and safe 2021!

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