Last day of a tough year, made tougher by yesterday’s news that my longtime, close friend Peter David had a stroke. But, the end of the year brings about a chance for reflection, an opportunity to be reminded of the highs and lows.The highest high is that in May I was awarded my Master’s Degree in Education and the year ended with the state certifying me on the 21st, the last step before employment. I never thought I’d need a Master’s in anything, then again, I didn’t expect to need a second career so change is one of those annoying certainties.Coupled with those highs were the lows that were the first round of student teaching and the frustration that were my two online courses this summer. Thankfully, the fall student teaching was far more satisfying and useful.In my other profession, I managed to complete packaging the second graphic novel for the Discovery Channel and Zenescope’s Silver Dragon Books imprint. It turned out well despite the constant revisions that caused us to run late. My long-delayed The Art of Howard Chaykin book finally saw print as did the well-received Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History. In the digital world, Crazy 8 Press released my contribution to the Latchkeys universe, The Ugly Little Bloke. The series has such promise but a digital series for YA readers just hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Then there’s ReDeus: Divine Tales, which debuted in August, got some nice notices and sales, encouraging me, Aaron Rosenberg and Paul Kupperberg to ready two more volumes for 2013. Some people think well enough of my creative work as witnessed by Hallmark inviting me out to lecture on worldbuilding in October.Of course there were rejected proposals, canceled projects, and other negative aspects of freelance writing, but they were outweighed by the accomplishments, convincing me to continue writing while I find teaching work.The big thing in 2012 has been After Earth. After spending 2011 working in the universe bible with Peter and Mike Friedman, we finally got to tell some stories set in this new world. I got to brainstorm in the spring and write in the summer and fall which felt great. A reminder that the first of those efforts, Ghost Stories: Peace, goes on sale tomorrow. Overbrook has been a blast to work with and they were kind enough to ferry me out to San Diego to promote the movie which was a delight.At home, things have also been mostly good. We finally replaced all the original first floor windows, long overdue, and freshened the kitchen, which has long been on Deb’s bucket list. Lots of other little repairs were made along with fresh first floor paint, colors carefully selected thanks to our designer friend Krystle. We celebrated our joint Masters degrees by vacationing in New Orleans back in May, which we adored. And we journeyed to Fairfax, Virginia for a memorable Thanksgiving weekend.Deb continues to enjoy her job, especially the travel aspect while Kate thrives in Maryland.All in all, this was a better year than 2011 and 2013 is shaping up to be a year of growth and change. May it be a successful, healthy one for you and yours.