Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Year in Review:

I was looking back at 2023, and it was an eventful year. And not in a good way.

It started off ambitious. I was planning to be far more physically active. I had purchased a fancy new mountain bike with fat offroad tires and power assist, and I was having way too much fun trail riding with it. I was solo camping in mid-January in Shannondoah River State Park when I crashed my mountain bike. I shattered my right collar bone, broke two ribs, and dislocated my shoulder. The worst part was I was two miles away from my truck, and there was NO cell service.

Collarbone Repairs
I managed to get my shoulder back into the socket, straightened the handlebars on my bike, and road the bike two miles back to my truck. Those two miles were a nightmare of pain, but I knew I was alone in that park and had to do it, no matter the pain. I drove myself to a hospital as my vision narrowed in shock and inability to breathe. After they stabilized me and filled me with pain meds, I called my wife, Brenda, and she and my sister Amy drove the two hours to pick me up at the hospital. Soon I had a new titanium collar bone installed and six weeks of shallow breathing.

That wasn't the last time Brenda saved me in 2023. Less than six months later, once again while camping, I had a heart attack. I was being bull-headed, but Brenda convinced me that my chest pain might be more than reflux. Boy, was she right. The quick trip to the ER discovered a 90% blockage of my right coronary artery. Emergency surgery followed, and a shiny new stent was installed.
My dog Whiskey

In the second half of the year, I humbly got my shit together. Dancing at the edge of the abyss can do that to you. I got very serious about my health. All my "numbers" have improved. Diet and exercise have improved. I am riding my bike again but sticking to the roads these days. I got a dog named Whiskey that I walk every day, who also lowers my blood pressure. I even bought a camper so I can enjoy solo camping (with my dog) and be more comfy.

All of that adventure seriously cut onto my writing goals for 2023. 
  • I only managed one writer retreat. Not two.
  • I only published two books: Blood Heretics and Peck's Halfway
  • I only produced one new Audiobook
  • I only wrote two new 1st drafts of books to be published in 2024.

It's New Year's Eve today. My goals are ambitious for 2024. I hope to publish four books this year. I believe I can do it, as two of them are already written in 1st draft. The third has a verbose outline and will be the project for my spring Writer Retreat. And the fourth will be drafted in my September Writer Retreat. At least, that is the plan. Stay tuned, and hope for no ER visits this year!

--Wish me luck. Happy New Year!

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