In a meditation that I posted about this time last year – just as we came down to Christmas and the last frantic dash to the end of the year – I laid out the things that I wanted to do, or ought to do during 2013. Time to take stock and look at which ones I did manage … and those that I shall have to try harder to do in 2014.
#1 – I was resolved to change my main bank account from Bank of America to a Texas institution. Check. Actually accomplished this the first week of the new year, and it went quite painlessly, changing the automatic deposit from DFAS and the automatic payment to the mortgage company. Check.
#2 – Finish and publish The Quivera Trail in time for launching in November, 2013. Done and check. Also begin on the next book, or at least the research. I had thought it would be tentatively entitled The Golden Road, starring young Fredi Steinmetz and the usual cast of characters historical and created … half-check. Started research, but was detoured into writing another picaresque adventure, Lone Star Sons, which will be a short and adventurous bagatelle and a re-working of the Lone Ranger, as a historical adventure in 1840s Texas – which I am posting, chapter by chapter at the book blog and website, here. Lone Star Sons will be my November 2015 book … but I will be well along in writing The Golden Road by then.
#3 – Redouble my efforts to have a back-yard truck garden, and eat a lot more of our own home-grown veggies. Half-check. Did build two raised beds and did get something out of them, but tomatoes were a flat failure this year. The heat, I think. In 2014 I am resolved to build another couple of raised beds – and try again with the tomatoes.
#4 – Resolved to keep better track of the readers and fans of my books, to do more focused marketing, to post more regularly on the various blogs, to carry on adding materiel to the various Facebook pages. Half a check. Marvelously, the books did sell very well, until about October, and with a pleasing uptick for The Quivera Trail in November. I revamped my book blog and merged it with my book website, revamped and updated The Daily Brief, and figured out why we couldn’t post pictures. I did add Facebook pages for the books, and I did figure out how to post automatically from the book blog to them. Check.
#5 – Pick up more of the management and recruitment of business at Watercress Press. I was trundling along OK with that, as we had several POD clients, a fulfilled contract for a Watercress Press book, and a contract out for another, which is pretty much sidelined over the holidays. I’ve gotten the Watercress website updated as well, but still not entirely happy with it. I have gotten a little better with Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat. But the intensive study of book design and layout is still a work in progress. So is getting in front of more local authors. Three-quarters of a check.
#6 – Stockpiling staple foods. We’re pretty good with keeping and rotating staple foods in large amounts, and canning pickles and preserved fruits this last year, but still working on those stocks of dog and cat food, common antibiotics and medical supplies. Half a check.
#7 — Pay off the last few institutions and people where I still owe money. Work harder at selling the California real estate. Both those missions accomplished. The land sold, the major institution paid off – and as a bonus, the HVAC system in the house revamped. Check and a half, as the emergency generator is still out there, somewhere.
#8 – I did take a vow to – as much as is possible – to avoid supporting authors, musicians, public intellectuals, television programs, movies, institutions and businesses who have insulted my own values, standards and ethical/political beliefs. Ditching cable TV pretty much accomplished all of that … although it also cut off some shows that we liked to watch. But never mind – most are available on Amazon Prime, or on Hulu or on DVD … so, full check.
I’d say that considered as a total, I got about three-quarters of what I wanted to accomplish done. Now for 2014…
In the spirit of sustained mockery of prominent political figures, I offer the attached pictorial comment. Feel free to borrow, repurpose and repost.