As we sit here on the threshold of a new year, pundits, writers, and pastors all across the world are preparing remarks on what this past year has meant. Since I have pretensions in all three categories, I guess I will have to weigh in also.
2014 was good to me personally and to my family. My lovely daughters Rachel and Rebecca are now well into their second year of college, and making decent grades despite their dyslexia. Both of them have regular boyfriends who are kind to them, respectful to my wife and me, and neither of whom has a criminal record, visible tattoos, or nose piercings. Most importantly, both my girls are active and dynamic in their faith, exhibiting a spiritual maturity beyond their years. And both share my love of scary movies, so after 30 years of watching them alone, I now have partners for scary movie night!
My lovely wife Patty continues her career in music education, getting excellent performances out of her students and enjoying the respect and favor of her administrators. She did a killer mini-term in grad school this summer and is getting very close to finishing her master's degree. We managed to sneak in a several trips together this year - in February we drove up to Springdale, Arkansas for an Indian Artifact show and had to run the gauntlet of a nasty blizzard on the way home; then in August we drove down to Waco, TX for three days of movies, museums, and fine dining; then finally last week we spent three days down in Galveston, walking on the beach, shopping, and enjoying the Gulf.
I began this year as a wannabe writer who had two manuscripts completed and was about to start a third, but had enjoyed no success in finding a publisher or an agent - unless you count the many vanity presses who were quite eager to take my money (and large amounts thereof!) in exchange for printing my books for me. All that changed in February when I contacted Electio Publishing and they read the manuscript for THE TESTIMONIUM. They offered me a contract, and after that deal was finalized, I sent them the manuscript for THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE and they liked that one too!
Thus encouraged, I completed another novel this year, MATTHEW'S AUTOGRAPH, and began work on a fourth one entitled LOVER OF GOD. Election offered me a contract for AUTOGRAPH almost right away, and I am optimistic that they will like my current work as well. I have been truly blessed to work with Jesse and Chris at Electio - they are an excellent team!
I also completed my 18th year of teaching at Greenville Christian School. One of the most remarkable classes it has ever been my privilege to teach graduated in May - many of their names pop up in THE TESTIMONIUM as characters - but this year's senior class, though less flashy, has a very dear place in my heart as well. The fact is that I come to love all these students as I teach them in grades 7-12. Watching them grow up in my classroom is an incredible privilege, and one I hope to never take for granted. (Shout out to all my GCS students and alums here!)
In other things, I am a year older, not much wiser, and about the same weight I was last year. I celebrated my 30th anniversary (see post below) and my 51st birthday. I was disappointed by Elder Scrolls Online but still get a great deal of enjoyment out of SKYRIM and OBLIVION. The HOBBIT trilogy came to a satisfactory conclusion, and my Cowboys are going to the playoffs, and looking good doing it! I was also pleased with the outcome of the mid-term elections and am optimistic about my party's recapturing the White House in 2016.
Looking forward to visiting with all of you, here, on my FB page, and at my book signings, in 2015!