Goodbye 2020 – Hello 2021

Goodbye, 2020. You were no fun at all.

There was so much to cope with this year! Speaking just for myself, there was: Covid 19, Hurricane scares, California wildfires where my girls live, an insane political atmosphere, loss of income, not to mention weight gain, bad hair, boredom, and the fact that a family of noisy armadillos has moved in under my house.

But it hasn’t been all bad. A few surprising and positive results have popped up: 

  1.  I’ve made adjustments in my writing habits. I had to because I don’t feel safe going into my favorite coffee house to write as per usual due to the threat of Covid 19. And forget about writing at home where there are too many distractions by people, pugs, and waiting chores. It was a struggle at first, but I learned to write in my car. Now I park under a big, shady tree in a choice of nearby beautiful parks and roll down the windows. Instead of coffee house white-noise, I write to the gurgle of the river and the scamper of acrobatic squirrels. It’s nice! You should try it!
  2. I’m exploring different ways to market and sell my books. I’m accustomed to book signings, fairs, markets, book clubs, etc. Now I’m doing pant-less Zoom meetings. However, that’s not working well enough. Let’s face it, it’s a much easier sell when someone is standing at a table in front of you, holding your book at a book event, rather than talking to a wall of people on a zoom call. So I’m trying things that I’ve never done in the past — Amazon ads and online book tours— to name a couple. I’m hoping for a win there.
  3. Instead of just counting on a wing, a prayer, and hard work, this year has allowed me the time to design an actual business plan for the future when Covid finally leaves us alone. My new plan is not ideal for the short run, but I think it will pan out in the long one because I’m writing a series. It’s called The Gumbeaux Sistahs novels. The second book in the series, Gumbeaux Love, was just released and is moving along, but not yet at the rate of the first book. But I figure if I plan a book-bundle special around the holidays, it will do some catching up.  I’m also putting together a tentative but well-planned, in-person book tour for next year. It’s so nice to be organized!
  4. Because the characters in my Gumbeaux Sistahs novels are all based on real-life friends, the pandemic is providing them and me with so much crazy material that Book 3 is practically going to write itself! 

So Hello, 2021! Bring on the vaccines, rebooted economy, end of presidential campaigns, hair appointments, parties, restaurants, lunch with girlfriends, book tours, art shows, and perhaps a new definition of freedom. The idea excites me. There’s a ray of hope for all of us. The trick is to be open to change and to believe that there will be good things offered in NEW situations coming our way next year. 

And hopefully, the freakin’ armadillos will move out by then.

Jax Frey is a New Orlean’s based artist, and the author of The Gumbeaux Sistahs novels. Check out the trailer for her novel here!

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By Jacqui Castle

Jacqui Castle is an author and freelance writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC. Her dystopian science-fiction novel, The Seclusion, was named the winner of the North Carolina Author Project, a finalist for the national Indie Author Project award, and a Foreword Indies award winner in Science Fiction. The sequel to The Seclusion is currently in production. When not writing, she can be found consuming too much caffeine.