What Kind of Year has it Been?

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This wasn’t the year I was expecting nor am I in a place I ever imagined for myself at 58 but if I have proven anything over time it’s that I can roll with the punches and keep moving.EducationIn the first part of the year, I watched my hopes for staying at Owings Mills High School crumble beneath me as my contract was not renewed. It was tough to hear as I had grown very fond of my fellow faculty and of many of my students.  At least I found out early enough that I could jump into the hiring pool in the surrounding counties. Alas, that proved a dead end and as I applied to colleges, universities, parochial and private schools, I had precious few interviews. There was one half-hearted offer but the schedule and salary made it impossible to accept.Instead, I signed on with a local Catholic private school as a sub so I could keep my toe in a school, get out of the house, make a little cash and increase my network. It’s been, overall, a pleasant experience this fall.Thankfully, I did land an adjunct post for the spring with Anne Arundel Community College and will spend early January looking over the required texts, the syllabus, and learning Canvas so I can enter the classroom on the 19th as prepared as possible.I also had my taste of SAT tutoring during an intense two week period, which was interesting but hasn’t led to anything further.And as the year ends, so does my second Master’s degree and I really look forward to receiving the diploma from Fairleigh Dickinson University in the early part of 2017.WritingThis was certainly a mixed bag as far as getting things into print. An essay I wrote years ago finally saw print in Outside In Boldly Goes, celebrating Star Trek’s 50th. The Sherlock Holmes novel, co-written with Steven Savile, finally got into print this fall to almost universally positive reviews so the time and effort we spent revising seems to have paid off.I had one short story see print in Crazy 8 Press’ Altered States anthology, which was a fun effort. Out this week on Nook and Kindle is Pangaea: Rise of Dominjaron continues the alternate universe where the supercontinent never broke apart. My story is part of a triptych with Lawrence Schoen and Michael Burstein.Over at TwoMorrows’ Back Issue! I got to reminisce about Comics Scene, cat with old pals about the Phantom Stranger miniseries, and explore the brief history of Lady Quark. Additionally, I wrote my twice-monthly column at Westfield Comics and scads of book and DVD reviews for ComicMix.I have also submitted several works which should see print in 2017 including a short story for TV Gods, an introduction to The Brave and the Bold Bronze Age Omnibus, a ghost-written introduction, an essay for The Next Generation edition of Outside In, an article on Marvel’s WeirdWorld series, and a custom comic book for a new toy. I also wrote a short licensed children’s book but the project was killed after I was paid.I practiced my editing skills by tackling David Roach’s Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art, due out in April from Dynamite.I also did my first freelance manuscript editing for a science fiction novel which proved to be an enjoyable experience.Additionally, I did some consulting for DC Comics, which has been fun.Finally, I completed the first draft of my entry in the Veil Knights series and as you read this, I’ll be deep in polishing the second daft.PersonalI have been far from idle. We ticked off the top of Deb’s bucket list by taking an Alaskan cruise which was an utter delight and allowed me my first glimpse of a glacier. Closer to home, I was appointed to fill a vacancy on my Home Owners Association Board and if I like it, will run for a full term in May, returning to public service, albeit on a far smaller scale than before.So, while the year periodically wanted to knock me down, I have persevered and accomplished a fair amount. Not too shabby and in many ways, building a foundation for a stronger, better 2017.

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