2019: My year in Review

January 19th, 2020

My thoughts on the past year 2019. I'll warn you this is a long post but I hope you'll check it out.

Greetings all and Happy New Year!

Another year come and gone...well it's been gone a little while but I almost didn't do this year in review. I'll probably do another post about the madness that has happened here the past week over our biggest snowstorm in 35 years,  but that's for another time.

If you follow my blog you'll notice I didn't do a review last year. I guess 2018 was sort of an unpleasant year, my Dad passed away in 2017 and while I was mostly fine, I think I was still processing it for a good year afterward. It's now been over 2 years and I'm ready to reflect on my time as before.

So 2019 was an interesting year for me, some things stayed the same while other things are very different. Early in the year (March to be precise) we took my Mom to Florida. It was not the first time my wife and I took her on a trip but being in Florida (and precisely in Barefoot Bay, where we often used to go as a family) stirred up a lot of old memories. I did a post about it and if you don't mind a little melancholy you can read about it here.

Normally I go to Sci-Fi on the Rock every year (and usually have a table there to sell my books) but this year it was my father-in-law's 80th birthday. There were preparations before and it was a longer party (about 5 hours total with setup and put away time) so I just didn't bother. While I love conventions I have become more private and enjoy time at home (often with my wife) much more than I did in my 20s and 30s. Have no fear, I did attend 2 conventions in 2019, we'll get to those later.

This year was also the first time I struggled to complete writing a book. That doesn't mean I'm not proud of it, I think War of the Fangs (come on, what did you think I wouldn't do a plug?) is one of the best vampire books I wrote and a great end to the series. I just found that the joy and excitement I had writing the other 3 (and the short-story collection) was not fully present. The feeling I had writing The Newfoundland Vampire Book IV just confirmed that it was time to put the series away and move onto a new writing adventure.

On a different note when summer (such as it is here, yeesh!) finally showed up I decided to get back into cycling. Something I had done seriously in over 20 years. I was glad to discover I really love riding a bike (pedal, not a motorcycle, though maybe someday I'll get back on one of those too) and I kept it up until the end of the November (though it became less frequent as it got colder outside).

Work is just routine, I'd love to tell you I have an exciting job where I get to travel to far off places and do amazing things, but that would be a lie.  If something really cool/interesting ever happens at work I'll talk about it, such was not the case in 2019.

Someone I waited 30 years to see finally showed up in Newfoundland, Corey Hart! I know it doesn't sound like much but he was a part of my childhood and I thought he and Glass Tiger put on an excellent show. I was also lucky to see some other acts in Florida (see above) and a former President in Halifax (see below).

I went on an excellent trip to Ireland with 6 friends (3 couples) and my wife. Ireland is a nice spot but I'd advise anyone going to not drive there! I didn't myself but just being in the car was a wild time, the roads are small and narrow (like many here in NL) but people drive much faster! Also, I'd say that while I enjoyed it I also found England so much easier to get around (Ireland doesn't have as subway/tube system like London does). Highlights include: doing a Game of Thrones tour, visiting a Game of Thrones exhibition, meeting Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson Games) and literally beating him at his own game. I meet George R.R. Martin and Joe Hill (and yes got both of their signatures) along with Diane Duane (a Star Trek author) and overall had a really good time at World Con 2019.

Yes, of course, I went to Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone (after someone cleaned it first) and did lots of other touristy things. The food was excellent in all of Ireland (and we did go to Belfast, Dublin, and Killarney) and they have a much better selection of ciders than we do. I do go the "The Shire Pub" (not as good as I heard, though still nice) and did even visit a petting farm and an underground cave (with a really cool stalactite). I would say I did everything I wanted to do in Ireland and we most likely won't be back, the world is a big place and I'm trying to go to places I haven't been to before.

In June I had my birthday (43, nothing significant, just getting old) and had trivia for the party at a fishing stage in the Battery. What made it important, however, as I remembered how much I love trivia and I decided I didn't just want to have it once a year anymore. So I started a trivia group and we've played twice since (I buy a prize for first and a booby prize), I'm looking forward to the next game. In case you're wondering I can't win, I just play along for fun.

In September I made into Altanti-Con in Corner Brook (about 6.5 hours from my house) and had an excellent time. Aside from selling my books and other assorted wares (my books did well this year) I also met Chase Masterson, (from Star Trek: DS9 among other things) and got to hang out with my west coast convention friends. Chase is one of the nicest people I ever met, she was really friendly and committed to making the world a better place. It was a pleasure to meet her and hang out with her a little bit. I really love Corner Brook and we plan to live there for a while (if we can find the right house) once we both retire. Atlanti-Con is always a blast and the volunteers and organizers (Jeff Keeping is always great and started this wonderful convention some 9 years ago), I want to thank everyone involved for doing a wonderful job and always making me feel welcome. Of course I also have to mention Fat Apollo, I can't imagine Atlanti-Con without him, he is one of the funniest people I ever met, an excellent storyteller and a great guy.

With the year almost finished I got to see former President Obama in Halifax with my Mom. I always thought he was one of the best US Presidents. I really enjoyed his talk (he is surprisingly funny and relaxed). I had a good time for a couple of days going to a comic book store (and some other local stores) and even managed to win some money at Poker in the casino.

The year finished the way it always does, the usual Xmas visiting/gifts/family (I'm just not much for Christmas anymore as I get older). Our New Year's Eve party was a good time as always (we have in Brigus, a small town here in Newfoundland). This year, in particular, one of my friends made a surprise announcement after he came for a visit with his girlfriend. I promised I won't say though, so you'll just have to take my word that it certainly made for an eventful night (and yes it was a good surprise!).

That's all she wrote! (Or me in this case) 2019 was a good, interesting and fun year. I'm moving onto a new writing project this year (non-fiction) and looking forward to trips to 3 different places at least. Thanks for joining me, I know this was a long one. I hope you are having a pleasant winter and our somewhere with less snow than us!

Game of Thrones exhibit

Blarney Castle

Goat statue for Pug Festival

Comic book shop in Dublin

Back to the Future car, at DublinCon 2019

Me and Steve Jackson

Me and Joe Hill and no I wasn't mad at him, just a weird pic!