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Now What?

At midnight on December 31st amidst the pops and bangs of fireworks too faraway for me to see, I opened the front and back door of the house to let the old year out and to usher in the new one. I felt kinda like Charlie Brown when Lucy Van Pelt pulls the football away before he can kick it. She does it every single time, yet he never learns. He keeps trying to boot that ball. That's how the arrival of 2023 struck me.

I want this year to be a promising new beginning, but based on the last few new beginnings, I have my doubts. However, since I have no choice, I shall give 2023 my best shot.

Don't get me wrong -- 2022 wasn't terrible. Some good things happened, not the least of which was teaming up with a writer in California to illustrate her upcoming book. It was a paying proposition, which is always nice, but what really made it special was that we had no written contract. Our agreement was based on trust. We chose to believe we would both keep our word and do what we promised -- and we did. That went a long way towards restoring my faith in people.

I also had a new book come out in 2022 -- The Sorcerer's Revenge. This is the final novel in The Seer Trilogy. All three titles were released during the pandemic by Crwth Press, who joined the publishing industry in 2018. Every new business struggles to get off the ground, but COVID amplified that battle tenfold, and as a result -- though I'm very proud of the trilogy -- these books haven't received the exposure they should have. It's almost as if they were never even published. When you put four years of work into something and you know it to be good, it is heartbreaking to see it fade into oblivion before it's had a chance to shine.

And that brings me to my next 2022 disappointment -- the book I'm currently working on, Bran. I love it. And I'm nearly finished writing it. I'd been hoping Crwth Press would publish it. However, I recently learned that the press isn't taking any new submissions for 2023, so now I need to find a home for it elsewhere. Since it is an historical fantasy for middle grade/young adult readers, that could be a bit of a challenge. If The Seer Trilogy had faired better, it might be a different story (no pun intended), but ...

It is what it is. No point crying over spilled milk, as they say. So where do I go from here? Now what?

Well, I'm of the mindset that it is a choice whether or not to be happy. Personally, I don't care for that dull ache inside, like an anvil tied to my heart, my head, and my stomach. And when I think about the frustration and disappointment associated with my current writing situation, that's how I feel. So I choose to push that to the side of my mind and focus on uplifting things instead.

This drawing of a violinist I began on New Year's Eve and finished on New Year's Day. I chose to draw him because I could feel him feeling his music, and it touched me. That has to be a good thing. So in 2023, I shall endeavour to make my art a vehicle for poignant moments. If I can convey emotion through my drawings and paintings, I shall be happy.

And regardless of the failure of my last writing project, I shall keep working on that creative front as well. I believe in the novel I'm working on. Bran is a good story. I've been at this writing gig for 25+ years and have 30 books to show for it. Most of them have done very well. I've had success. I know I can write, and hopefully I have enough of a positive reputation that I shall be able to find a publisher who wants to take this new book on.

There are lots of roads to explore in 2023. A writer friend has asked me to illustrate a chapter book, so that's a project that might happen. I'll be judging a writing competition sponsored by the Writers Federation of New Brunswick. I shall try out new recipes on my husband and dance in the kitchen while I make them. I shall Facetime with my kids and grandkids. I shall break down some of the brick walls in my family tree, and I might even get back to writing the novel based on my great-grandmother's life. And I shall laugh -- a lot. Oh ... and I will continue to cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Who knows -- 2023 just might be the year they win the Stanley Cup.

There's always something to look forward to. Come on, Charlie Brown -- let's do this!

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