It’s common at the beginning of each new year to see posts and articles reflecting upon the previous year. These are usually accompanied by cheerful wishes for success, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year.

These posts generally engage my cynicism because, for most of us, few particular years are all good or all bad. Even 2021, the year my son died, wasn’t uniformly terrible. There were bright spots.

So, reflecting on 2023: overall it was disappointing. Business was down; however, wasn’t the only freelance writer and editor who suffered a sharp downturn in business (and income). So, like my also unfortunate colleagues, I hustled more. Whether they, too, netted the same disappointing results as I did I don’t know. Whether they managed or are beginning to manage to climb out of the slump, I don’t know.

I do know I made some mistakes that cost me dearly. I will try not to repeat those mistakes.

However, 2023 wasn’t all doom and gloom.

I published four books:

  • Russian Revival
  • Double Cut
  • Champion of the Twin Moons
  • Single Stroke.

I was hired to write a fifth book, The Bounty, which was published by 0-0-8 Studios. Thus far, reviews on them trend toward the positive.

I acquired some wonderful clients.

I packed my weekends with events. From April through December, I worked more often than not at craft shows and book fairs, selling books and paintings. Or, to be more accurate, selling books and trying to sell paintings. My best friend accompanied me to most of them. I am grateful for her ongoing support despite our shared disappointment in the lack of sales of paintings. (The books, however, sold better than ever.)

And I made wonderful progress with my horses.

On April 1, 2020, I purchased a young gelding from a kill pen. That year, I sent the horse whom I named Teddy to a trainer after he recovered from his bout with strangles, a particularly virulent and contagious equine disease. 2021 was basically a dumpster fire of a year, but my extremely poor decision making skills that year led me to purchase a pretty Halflinger mare named Replica. In 2022 with the assistance of my best friend, I began taking short, careful rides in the barnyard with them. 2023 was the year I hit the trails with both horses.

I alternated riding them. We started with the easy trails, the mostly flat trails, the wide, well-marked trails. I always rode in company with my best friend and her trusty steed, Henry. Eventually, we graduated to riding with a third person whenever a third rider was available. That didn’t always go well, but it was always a learning experience. We practiced through necessity things like not bolting at every weird sound and dismounting then remounting on the trail. I practiced and practiced loading into and unloading from the trailer.

The horses made a lot of progress this year, and I’m really pleased with them.

Another highlight of 2023 was my younger son coming home after spending the last five years in Alaska. He and his girlfriend drove across the state, down through Canada, and across the Midwest back to Ohio. They moved in with us for a few months while they found employment and a new home. They now live about a quarter mile from us. It’s nice having them so close.

So, what will 2024 bring? Who knows?