Well, 2020 is finally drawing to a close. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer year (you bastard). As Thanksgiving hovers near, with Christmas just over the horizon, and 2021 not far behind, it’s time for a yearly reflection devoted to all things writing.

First up, here’s what I have eligible for awards this year. A couple of very different stories for you to consider (and I certainly hope you will).

His Stainless Steel Heart, Escape Pod, March 5, 2020 – my first chance to get a story with audio and I couldn’t have been more pleased at the results. Wars are hell, but for our cyber-enhanced ex-soldier, peace is no great joy either. My first attempt at cyberpunk aesthetics and one of my few action-oriented stories.

The Truth of a Lie, Apparition Literary Magazine, July 23, 2020 – six years in the making since I wrote the first paragraph, a story that was interrupted by the election of a certain man to high office. It went through many re-writes and rejections before I stuck the landing. Of all the stories I’ve written, this one is by far the one I’m most fond of at this point in my career.

EDIT: The story from the anthology is not available for most awards since it wasn’t available to the public until January (Kickstarter considered “early access”). It’ll be eligible next year.

In addition to the two published works of fiction, I’m eligible in the following additional categories for the Hugos:

The Astounding Award for best new author. I first became eligible in November of 2019. Not sure if that makes this my second year eligible or if this is still my first, but in any case, take a look at all that I’ve written so far and keep me in your thoughts as you’re pondering your choices.

Best Fan Writer. There are millions of fan writers out there, but take a look at what I’ve been blogging. My work ranges widely, from reviews of books and movies and short story magazines, to discussions on equality and criminal justice. Even a rare poem or two. But I intend to keep focusing more and more on the SFF reviews that I’ve been doing, and will expand that effort to additional mid-market magazines over time.

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As for 2020 itself, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that its been anything more than a dumpster fire for the world. Any year that starts with the entire continent of Australia on fire and ends with an American President denying his massive election loss and undermining the very system of democracy that put him in office can be nothing less than that. In between, we had a worldwide pandemic (still raging in our country), an economic crash, massive waves of unemployment, calls for criminal justice reform that became protests that led to additional police and white supremacist violence, the discovery of “murder hornets“, children with lost parents, violent protests in other countries, massive wildfires on the west coast, endless endless fucking ENDLESS election coverage, and I could go on but there are too many things for me to even remember them all.

I did get a fair bit of writing done this year, though. Perhaps a dozen short stories finished, some good, some bad. I’ll revise the good ones, and consider what to do with the bad ones. I completed a second draft of my WWI fantasy/steampunk novel and went through a critique with my Viable Paradise friends. I’ve started a new novel, although NaNoWriMo this year was probably not the best time to be starting one given the election. It’s been a year of up and down efforts on writing, but all in all I can’t complain too much about how it went.

Give Thanks this week. Thanks that you are alive, for better or worse. Sometimes, that’s all we can do is be thankful for life. Be thankful that your loved ones are safe and whole, even if you can’t be with them. Be thankful for three vaccines now that hopefully, in the next few months, will begin to alleviate the crisis of the pandemic.

And if you can’t be thankful… just breath. We’re thinking of you. Keep drawing air in and letting it out, and soon enough we’ll be with you and will hug you and you’ll know that while it’s never going to be alright, we’re in this together and stand with you.

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