Updated: Jun 5
The end of 2018, I sold my home and moved in with my son in Needles, CA. The plan was to help him with his fixer for a year or so while I decided where to live next. His siblings with children both live in areas I can't afford. I had a minor foot surgery scheduled for the end of January 2020. Once that healed, I was going to find my own home again!
Of course it didn't happen that way. Instead of house hunting, I was shopping online and wearing my painter's mask when I had to go to the grocery store. I watched more television in 2020 than I have at any other time in my life, binge-watching series I'd heard of but had never seen and calling it research for screenwriting. Right. A lot of it was simple inertia. But I wasn't a complete slug. I kept working on my novels and editing.
I finished up 2020 by publishing Peg's Story: Detours and Running Away: Maggie's Story. Peg's the mom in my first novel, Running Away, and readers had asked for her story. The character took over at the bus station and shocked me by bringing trafficking and other issues I hadn't anticipated into her story, so it took forever to write. Maggie's Story is a mildly revised version of Running Away - primarily updating quotes from Peg's journal to match the new book.
In March 2021, I published Tough Times, which is Michael Dolan McCarthy's story lightly revised, re-titled, and given a fresh cover. I can't believe I never posted here about these books! I've done a wee bit of promotion and sales are happening, but I really need to do better. I have entered the books in some contests and have submitted several short stories to publications. No great results yet, but a lot of it's still out there. I'm continuing to write and submit. I've also done some editing this year.
One good thing about COVID - Capital Film Arts Alliance in Sacramento went online with their screenwriter and other meetings. I got to rejoin and participate from eight hours away! That got me working on my scripts, too. I prepped and submitted a feature-length script of Tough Times and three shorts to the Austin Writers Conference and Film Festival. They had over 14,000 entries for a handful of awards. No, I didn't win. I did attend the conference in October, which was exhausting and exhilarating all at once.
Other bits about 2021:
I spent about ten weeks on the road - one to the burn area in Northern California and two cross-country trips - going to a reunion, visiting family, looking at real estate, and going to the conference in Austin.
I've spent a lot of time on cars and insurance. On June 9th I made the wrong left turn and a truck killed my Kia Rio. No injuries, but I was due to leave on the first big trip, so I bought my son's 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage. On June 30, I was driving on a dark road in Wisconsin when a really big deer tried to fly over the hood. While he smashed into the windshield, his forward momentum carried him on across the car instead of his landing in my lap, so I wasn’t hurt. However, that was the end of that car, too. Not my normal June.
I finished the trip in my first automatic - a 2010 Ford Escape. Still getting used to it; still searching real estate; still writing and editing while I figure out the design of my future.