2013: My year in review

Happy Holidays and early happy new year everyone!

I’m doing my year in review a little early this year (organizing it differently). I haven’t seen a movie in a little while (Christmas is a busy time for us) and I’ve been catching up on some TV (Sons of Anarchy is still excellent and Lilyhammer is a lot of fun).

Oh before I continue, waiting to watch a show after it ends, TOUGH to avoid spoilers! I just had the ending of SOA ruined for me, hopefully other people who do this don’t have the same experience.

holiday 2013

As I said this time I’m going to do categories rather than month by month. So here goes:

Music:

I love music and I went to a bunch of concerts this year. If you want to read about them in more detail have a look here. I’ll add that Barenaked Ladies were excellent (despite the loss of one of their main singers) and for an outdoor show we had great weather.

Also I saw Ron Hynes (a local singer who recently battled cancer). I know this probably makes me sound like an asshole but he was really crappy. I am glad he’s feeling better and I appreciated how friendly and thankful he was to the audience but his voice is gone. A friend was with me that night, he left during intermission. I’m more faithful/stubborn and I stuck it out until the end. The problem here is that he had throat/mouth cancer and now he can barely sing. I’ll miss seeing him, he did great bar shows and is funny but I can’t see him again, it’s just too sad and depressing. If Ron (or someone he knows) reads this please tell him I love his music, he’s a great songwriter and a Newfoundland icon but he has to stop at least until he’s made a full recovery.

Aside from that we went to a dinner theatre for our work party called “Christmas around the world”. By Spirit of Newfoundland. The show was excellent, great music, excellent performances, funny. They even did a shortened version of my favourite Christmas song “Fairy tale of New York”. I should mention though that the food (especially for me as a vegetarian) has gone downhill from other performances. This doesn’t mean I won’t go back, just probably not for a staff party.

I’ve already purchased tickets for another one of my favourite singers, Billy Joel, for New York in July. I’ve been trying to see him since 2003, so I am really looking forward to that show as well.

Aside from those you can read about the other great shows I saw here.

Conventions:

I was fortunate enough to attend 3 conventions this year. All of them I had a table to sell my books and I got to do a talk at each one. I enjoyed them all a great deal (though Hal-Con had the most issues, which I discussed before). Atlanti-Con gave me the most time to chat with two of the guests (partially due to the fact that I was at the same hotel as they were) and made me feel the most welcome.

Of course the con I’ve been going to the longest (and get greeted by actual fans of my series) is Sci-Fi on the Rock. This con has truly grown into a great Newfoundland tradition and I had a great time this year. Always great guests, great people, well run and always surprises me in different ways. My thoughts on the con for this year.

Book 2 and other writing:

You knew this was coming. The second part of the vampire series “Killer on the Road” came out early September. I’ll admit that sales for it have not been as good (and I haven’t gotten as many reviews) as book 1. I’m not deterred in the slightest though. I paid someone  to update my webpage (have a look here). I had a radio interview, a newspaper one, several internet ones, did 3 blog tours, 4 readings, a book launch, put up over 200 posters, did Flea markets, Farmer’s markets, conventions, a Goodreads contest and everything else I could think of to promote it both in person and online. I am hard at work on book 3 (already nearly finished chapter 7). In fact I’ll announce that the title (if Pat approves) of book 3 will be “The Newfoundland Vampire book III: The gathering dark”. I have a short story coming out in the new year (sc-fi for a change) and I intend to hopefully make at least book 1 into a play/stage production of some kind as well in the new year.

Of course I’ll also maintain this blog and I do other non-publishing stuff running a D&D campaign with some friends.

Travel:

I love to travel and I’m lucky to get to do a fair bit of it. This year I go to two of my favourite places, Gros Morne, Newfoundland and Grant, Florida (where my parent’s house is). If you’ve never been to Newfoundland (or Gros Morne) you really owe to yourself to come. Just not in the winter! Yes I have climbed Gros Morne mountain, just not this year. I did a couple of great trails, got to stay with some great new people, ate yummy food, finished off book 2, went to an outdoor book reading, a play, played lots of board games and drank a little too much beer.

As for Florida, well I know like anywhere it has it’s flaws but I so love to get out of here in the winter and my parent’s place is in a nice quiet spot (well on the back). I was there for almost a month and here’s the highlights.

Over the summer (and fall) I also went to Eastport, Swift Current, Corner Brook, Grand-Falls Windsor, Brigus and Halifax. This post will get way to long if I go into what I did at each place, I just think traveling (to safe places of course) is a wonderful experience for everyone. It educates you about the world and gets to do things that you may never have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

My health:

I’ve put on some weight over the fall/Christmas (like a lot of people I’m sure) and I have a few back/feet/wrist issues. I need to get back into exercising on a regular basis and cut down on the junk food. This is dull so I’ll just say getting older does suck but so far I’m still doing good.

Work/personal life/charity:

What’s to say? I don’t like my job but it pays well and I get a lot of time off and lots of benefits, so I really can’t complain. Our busy time of the year is over (though I’ll still be in a whole weekend in January for inventory).

I believe that those who are more fortunate should help those who are not (and give to what you believe in). I put my money where my mouth is and gave over $2000 to charities this year (a lot of that to an environmental group called the David Suzuki Foundation). I hope my contributions make a difference and I feel good doing it, so I think that’s the most important things.

I’ve reconnected with some old friends a lot this year and made a few new ones, which is always good. Other than that I’m happily married and I think lead a fairly active social life (which does slow down a bit in the winter). I don’t get to role-play (the geeky way people!) nearly as  much as I used to but that’s what happens when a lot of your friends have children.

Speaking of I do spend more time with my niece than I used to. This is a direct result of her being a little older and we don’t need to worry about diapers anymore (not that I ever changed one). We’re not having kids so it’s a great compromise for me (5-6 six hours in a week is PLENTY of time for me with a 3 year old).

I don’t have a large family but we are fairly closely knit. Over the last week (Christmas time of course) I’ve seen them more than I usually would. It’s fine but like most people I’m glad Christmas only comes once a year.

Reading/movies/TV:

I review every book I read and every movie I see. I’m not going to pick my year’s best for either as this post is getting lengthy. I just wanted to say that I am reading more comics now than I have in many years (mainly due to the fact of how excellent Walking Dead is and how much cheaper/easier/convenient digital comics are).

I also am trying to cut down on the TV I watch, while there is lots of good shows out there I am SO far behind on my reading. I’ve already given up both Seth McFarlane cartoons and had a bunch of shows end. I’ll miss shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter and Eastbound and Down (read: the first one more than the other two combined!). If you’re never seen Breaking Bad, I envy you. I’ve watched a lot of TV and it was for me one of the best shows ever. The ending (unlike a lot of shows) was perfect and the acting/writing was always spectacular.

2014:

Of course I’ll ring in the new year with a New Year’s Eve party (with fireworks) and I’m looking forward to another great year for me. If you made this far I hope 2013 was good to you and that 2014 will be even better. Look for book 3 (among other projects) to be out hopefully late summer/early fall and I’ll keep an eye out for you. Until then I am, as always…

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