Wednesday, December 30, 2020

WHAT'S ON YOUR LIST?



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Okay, confession. My BIG pandemic project was to alphabetize all my books. I mean, plenty of time. AH, no. Did not do it. Yet. But I am still planning on it. Truly. 

 What I did do? I—finished my book.(Pretty much, you know, it still needs the copy edits but THAT COUNTS, right?) And lots of wonderful book stuff happened, too long to tell. 

Started The Back Room. 

Joined First Chapter Fun as a cohost, and we are on Episode 121! (Tomorrow—our big celebration! Join us on Facebook on Instagram!) 

 
Claire's accomplishment #2
And today we welcome the 
incredible Claire Booth.  She has been thinking about this, too. And has some intriguing questions for us.

 And she’s making a list. 

 

What’s on YOUR List?
        by Claire Booth 

 If you’re like me, your list of 2020 achievements looks a lot different than what you’ve done in previous years. If you only managed one—like staying healthy or keeping your sense of humor—then bravo, you’re a success! I succeeded, too. And failed. Which is okay. 

Because really—a set of goals started at the beginning of the lockdown? They deserved to go down in flames. 

 Things I thought I would do when the world shut down, now things I have not accomplished

1. Read important books of great literary merit. 
2. Learn to crochet. 
3. Eat lots of vegetables grown in my own garden.
4. Still fit into all of my work clothes.
5. Learn how to turn on the new speakers my husband hooked up to the TV. 
6. Organize family photos. 
7. Teach my old dogs any new tricks. 
8. Finish my next novel. 

 But enough of that. A new year is a time of optimism, right? 

So here are things I have accomplished this past year: 

 1. Read wonderful books of great entertainment value. 
2. Sewn a mask with hand-me-down material that came out only slightly uneven (either that, or my ears that are crooked). (see photo above!)
3, Eat some vegetables, mostly store-bought. 
4. Still fit into all of my yoga pants. 
5. Learn how to use the X-Box controller to turn on the TV, after the kids finally started refusing to do it for me. 

This is the real lazy Susan!

6. Repair and refinish a sixty-year-old lazy Susan that matches the table I inherited from my grandparents. 



7. Not give in to my children’s pleas for a new puppy by pointing out we already have two dogs (neither children nor dogs were impressed with my reasoning). 



Claire's two dogs


8. Watch all twenty-three Marvel movies in order (of everything on this list, this might be the most embarrassing. (On the other hand, Chris Hemsworth . . .) 

9. Continue work on my next novel, and realize that a healthy family and supportive friends are a lot more important than typing “The End” before an arbitrary December 31st deadline. 

 So as this annus horribilis comes to an close, and my dogs flaunt the fact they still don’t know how to fetch me the newspaper, I wish you a year of renewed hope, health, and happiness. 

And a good book. Always that. 

 Readers, what are some of your favorite accomplishments, or failures, in 2020? 

 HANK: Oh, yes, great questions! And Claire! You also were brilliant as the emcee and MUCH more of the Anthony Awards! HURRAY—and what a wild success. And we want to hear about that, too. 



 Claire Booth is an inveterate list-maker and former newspaper reporter who spent a decade covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. For more about Claire, her books, and her true crime television appearances, please visit www.clairebooth.com


Hank Worth has always been committed to his job as Branson sheriff, so getting him to take a break is difficult. But to everyone's surprise he agrees to take time off after a grueling case and visit a friend in Columbia, Missouri, leaving Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in charge. She quickly launches reforms that create an uproar, and things deteriorate even further when an elderly man is found brutally murdered in his home. As Sheila struggles for control of the investigation and her insubordinate deputies, Hank is not relaxing as promised. His Aunt Fin is worried her husband is responsible for the disappearance of one of his employees, and Hank agrees to investigate. The search for the missing woman leads to a tangle of deceit that Hank is determined to unravel . . . no matter the impact on his family.

115 comments:

  1. Claire, your lazy Susan is beautiful!
    “Fatal Divisions” sounds quite intriguing; I’m looking forward to reading it.

    I’m impressed with anyone who actually has a list of things they’d hoped to accomplish or things they’d managed to accomplish in this crazy, weird year we’ve had. [I must confess to not being much of a list-maker, not even for the grocery store.]
    So, what did I manage in 2020? No reorganizing of anything, no magnificent home improvement projects, and, sadly, no visiting any of the grandbabies.
    However, I am healthy. I managed to bake [a lot], read [even more than I baked], and actually got the Christmas shopping done, wrapped, and shipped. For me, that’s pretty amazing . . . .

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    1. Standing ovation!
      Many of my Christmas presents are still on the dining room table, waiting for the right time to send them. You have succeeded!
      And thank you, dear Joan. You are such a treasured friend!
      And yes—healthy. ❤️

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    2. All the Christmas presents done AND shipped?! That's huge! (Especially this year.) And reading, and baking ... I'd say you were a complete success, Joan.

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  2. I'm still employed. Considering how many of my co-workers were laid off, that's something.

    I kept up with my reading, even getting more read than in a normal year. Okay, only 10 books, but it still counts, right?

    Rewatched some movies I'd wanted to rewatch. Dug into my TV on DVD sets as well. Still need more time to fully indulge in both of those. But the books were calling and I had to answer.

    Didn't add anything crazy to my goals like organize anything in the condo. Or declutter. I mean, there are books to read and shows/movies to watch.

    My next goal? Get Christmas decorations taken down earlier than last year. Last year? I finished up on Super Bowl Sunday. Hopefully, that's a goal I can easily achieve while still getting books read. I can watch TV/movies while undecorating, at least in the living room.

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    1. Mark, that all sounds good to me. Prioritizing books is a definite accomplishment! And I'm curious--what movies did you rewatch?

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    2. What is this Super Bowl you are discussing? :-) here in New England we are ignoring that. Xxx

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    3. Claire, I rewatched some very important and classic movies - Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and the sequels, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, that kind of thing.

      Hank, just because your team isn't doing well doesn't mean you can ignore the super bowl. You need to know how the rest of the country feels. ;)

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  3. Claire, I live the lazy Susan, such beautiful wood. And, I’m a list making fan, too. I especially enjoy making lists about books.

    I can’t say I’ve accomplished anything particularly impressive thus far during the pandemic. I was able to rearrange some furniture in our house to make room for some more furniture from my mother-in-law’s house after she passed away this summer. And, actually I think I did more baking during the first of the pandemic, but that was because I was baking treats and cooking food that my MIL enjoyed getting before her health got to the point she couldn’t eat much. My reading and blogging were way off in 2020, but it was still a year filled with amazing books. I have gotten a good deal of paper stuff gone through, and I’d like to continue that starting back in January.

    My biggest failure in 2020 is not getting on a healthier eating diet. That’s another task that I’ll face in 2021. I’m considering using one of the meal services a few days a week. I’ve looked a bit at Martha Stewart’s and a couple more, but if anyone here has tried one and liked it, I’d love to know.

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    1. Kathy, you're a hero. And a winner. Transitioning like that after a death in the family is so enormous, and then with the pandemic on top of it! You're amazing!

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    2. You have accomplished impressive things! You’re still going strong… Hooray!

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    3. Claire and Hank, compliments from you two amazing achievers are quite special. Thank you.

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    4. Kathy, you have been through a lot this year. I think you should give yourself a big hug for all the things you have done!

      On the meal services, my daughter has been using Hello Fresh every week for a couple of years now. I think she's doing the veggie/fish option, but there are a lot to choose from.

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    5. We have used both Green Chef and Home Chef. Green Chef has more leaner options. All the home meal options still require a fair amount of preparation and cooking.

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  4. Hi Claire! Waving - we did bouchercon breakfast together and had a great time - congrats on Fatal Divisions - terrific series. Refinishing and sewing are 2 skills I would love to master

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    1. Hallie! That Bouchercon breakfast was so much fun. I thought we made a great team. I'd love to do it again with you (fingers crossed that we'll get to).

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    2. Oh, I missed it! What was about your con breakfast?

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  5. Claire, welcome to JRW. I do make lists but didn't make one for this year. I did read well over 100 books, reading many new authors and fulfilling my New Year's resolution to read Reds! Last week I finally began a journal to keep track of the books and authors but only from now on.

    I laughed at the Marvel movies in order...yeah, I did that about 2 years ago. It seems longer now.

    There will be no resolutions for this year. None. There are things in my home that I must do, but no promises. One foot in front of the other. I will try to write more reviews.

    Sheriff Hank Worth sounds like a character I want to meet soon. There is lots of room on my TBR list and your books are going on it right now.

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    1. Judy, a few years ago I started keeping track of books I read on a free paper calendar from the bank. Very simple as I finish a book to put the title in the little box. I also put in a number, 1-5, for how much I liked it. This was something my mother used to do (and I laughed at her because she sometimes read more than one book a day! I told her she read too fast.) At the end of the year she would use the calendar to print out a list of titles. I'm not that organized and I don't include author names because I can easily find all that at Goodreads.

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    2. Hi Judy! I'm thrilled to now be on your TBR list. And I'm with you -- no promises. Anyone who makes it through a day is a success!

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    3. Judi, what a great idea to use a calendar. Tracking the book and the date all at once. Maybe I'll try that for 2021. (But no promises. . .)

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    4. 1 foot in front of the other – exactly exclamation

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    5. Judi, great idea but I decided to write something about the plot and the characters, too. So, notebook!

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    6. This year I started making a note of what I was reading in the notes column of my weekly planner. It's messy, and some weeks are blank, but it's first time I've ever managed to keep any sort of record. I've tried keeping a separate "book journal" multiple times and have always abandoned them.

      Claire, I re-watched all the Harry Potter movies in order:-)

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    7. Deb, you listened to all of the Harry Potter books on Audible, too!

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  6. I'm with Claire - I didn't touch the boxes of family photos. I didn't reorganize drawers or spices. I didn't take an online watercolor or music class or dust off my knitting bag. And while I have refinished furniture in the past and enjoy it, no new projects presented themselves in the summer.

    I did stay healthy, sew a few masks, keep in touch with family and close friends, read a lot, bake a lot, eat loads of homegrown tomatoes and lettuce, have hand surgery, and, since March, write almost four books and have four (other) books released.

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    1. Here's another fail - not mentioning your new book! I look forward to reading it.

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    2. Edith: Anyone who has written four books and released four others CANNOT include 'fail' in her vocabulary!

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    3. LOL, Amanda. Thank you. And...watch me!

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    4. I also adopted a sweet kitten who quickly grew into a large energetic teenage boy with a biting problem - ack.

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    5. EDITH: I agree with Amanda, your writing productivity continues to amaze me. As a reader, I am barely able to keep up with you! I read 5 of your books in 2020 but could not get Taffy Shop #2 since it was a B&N Exclusive this year. It is on the TBR list for March 2021/

      And posting daily photos of Ganesh on FB puts a smile on my face. Sorry about his teenaged biting behaviour!

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    6. I agree with Amanda: anyone who puts out four books in one year can't use the word "fail." That's amazing, Edith. (Also, you sewed masks. That's a craft win. They had to be better than my lopsided green one!)

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    7. Edith, you are astonishing! But you know I think so :-)

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  7. Welcome back to JRW, Claire!

    First of all, I wholeheartedly agree with Hank that you ROCKED IT AS EMCEE AT THE VIRTUAL BOUCHERCON 2020 ANTHONY AWARDS CEREMONY!!

    And you know that I am a big fan of your Sheriff Hank Worth mystery and FATAL DIVERSIONS is on my Kindle app to read this weekend (ARC).

    MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND FAILURES IN 2020
    1. Like Edith, I baked a lot. I am most proud of growing my first sourdough starter and making plenty of sourdough bread, like other pandemic lockdowners in the spring.
    2. I more than doubled the size and variety of herbs and veggies grown in my balcony garden. Farmers markets were closed here in Ottawa until late May and this was my way to eat better while stuck inside.
    3. Continuing to grow my herbs, salad greens and other veggies inside my apartment with the addition of 2 grow lights this year. And a pink oyster mushroom kit that I bought at our FM in December is my new edible growing experiment that is fascinating to watch.
    4. Feeling (almost) back to normal after being sick with COVID-19 for over 4 months. One unexpected benefit of being sick that long is that I LOST WEIGHT AND HAVE KEPT IT OFF (even with al the recent decadent holiday eating).
    5. Keeping connected with the mystery community online. I attended way more virtual events (author interview, book releases, Noir at the Bar, Bouchercon 2020, MMM 2020, Crime Bake 2020, Hank/Hannah's wonderful First Chapter Fun) than I ever could do in person in one year. It was a great way to stay in touch and cheer on my fave authors and "chat" with friends.

    FAILURES OF 2020
    1. With 2 lockdowns and being sick with COVID-19, I fell woefully short of my annual walking goal. In 2020, my goal had been 2.6 MILLION STEPS. My Sweatcoin app has informed me that I only walked @860,000 steps. But on a positive note, it also let me know that December 2020 was my best walking month, with over 270,000 steps completed.
    2. Not meeting my Goodreads reading challenge for the first time in 4 years. MY 2020 goal was 180 books which seemed easily doable since I read @175 books each year from 2017-2019. But one unexpected symptom of long-hauler COVID was extreme fatigue and headaches which really zapped my reading mojo. I was able to start reading close to normal from August and have read 117 books (to date).

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    1. CLAIRE: Although we have bare pavement (i.e. NO SNOW) on the ground in Ottawa, which is SO ABNORMAL, we are supposed to get a light snowfall today (2-4 cm/1-1.5 in) and a much larger snowstorm on Friday/Saturday, so I hope to post some snowy winter scenes on my FB feed for my SoCal and southern US friends who crave to see the white stuff!

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    2. Grace: I had not realized that you were down with COVID for all those months. I'm so sorry you experienced that, and I'm SO glad you made it through.

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    3. Amamda, thank you. It is just scary how randomly people are affected. You could be asymptomatic with COVID, or knocked down for the count for a long period, or die. I assume any antibodies I accumulated are long gone (althougb doctors cannot tell me since there is no antibody test), so I am being uber cautious until V-day sometime in 2021.

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    4. Grace! Thank you for your comments about the awards ceremony. It was a lot of fun. Also more nerve-wracking during rehearsal than I thought it would be. I've done quite a few crime TV shows, but nothing live. Lots of public speaking, but not while having to make sure I'm facing the correct camera. Once I figured that out, I felt a lot better. We were all so thrilled that people watched and were able to come together for a Bouchercon even though they were stuck at home!

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    5. Grace, absolutely! You are the definition of rockstar. And Claire I’d love to hear more about that – – it was absolute perfection! We had great fun in the green room before our category, and I was so astonished to hear you call my name!

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    6. And Grace, I'm so happy to know that you are back up to such a high step count! You've always been amazing with that, and now even more so after battling COVID. I think that makes you the most accomplished of us all.

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    7. CLAIRE: Thank you. Yes, my December step count is an encouraging sign I am getting back to normal. But we just entered 1 month lockdown starting on Dec 26, so that may thwart my reading my future daily step counts. We are allowed to do solo exercise but the long group walks of 2-3 hours is what helped bump my monthly number up.

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    8. typo: reaching (not reading) my future daily step counts.

      P.S. I really hate it that Blogger does not allow me to use the Grammerly app installed on my browser to check for typos!

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  8. welcome Claire, I loved your list of what didn't happen this year--so reassuring! I house-trained a puppy, that may be about it:). And said puppy had certainly not been on my to do list last new year!

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    1. Yay for pandemic puppy Lottie! But we are T-Bone fans, too, and send him love!!

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    2. You have had quite the year – – and I agree, T-bone is more than hilarious.

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    3. I'm sure that your floors consider the house-training to be a huge accomplishment! And I'd love to see some numbers on how many people ended up with "pandemic puppies" this year? Has anybody seen anything like that?

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    4. Lottie has been a lovely addition to your family, although I am not sure T-Bone agrees?

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    5. Following Lottie on FB has been lots of fun, Roberta. She’s so adorable.

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  9. Hi Claire,

    Congratulation on your book release.

    As for list, I do make them but when I need them I can't find them.

    Like Grace, I attended a lot of virtual events with authors, some of which I would not have the opportunity to do in person.

    It has been a dismal December 2020 for me and my family, wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    I wish for a healthy year.

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    1. I agree about the virtual events - so many opportunities. You had an awful month, Dru. Life can only get better for you.

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    2. We are always so happy to see you at our events, Dru. You really class up the place. and we are all sending you endless hugs. xxx

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    3. Seeing you in the side chat bar at places like Bouchercon always makes my day, Dru Ann (just like seeing you in person always makes my day, too). I wish I could do more than send a virtual hug after your horrible month. Please know that we all love you and are thinking of you.

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    4. Dru, yes December 2020 has been a rough one for you and your family. Virtual hugs and let's hope for a more positive 2021.

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    5. Dru, you continue to be in thoughts and prayers. I’m so sorry December brought you such sadness.

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    6. Dru, sending you love and virtual hugs.

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  10. Claire that lazy susan is truly beautiful. I am so envious! Glad to hear there is a new sheriff worth book and Sheila is one of my favorite characters so I can't wait to read it.

    Being retired I am used to having to do and then running out of time at the end of the day. Sadly, I still haven't picked up a sweater I started knitting last year and I only have the sleeves to do. But I have gotten rid of a bunch of stuff that was cluttering up my attic. And I have donated many books so now there is room on the shelves for new books! I had cataract surgery on both eyes so maybe that is an accomplishment; at least I can see better.

    Best of all, I have read a lot of good books. Thank you all!

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    1. Judi! Hooray! You have a wonderful sleeveless sweater! I say go for that look. xx

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    2. Judi, seeing better is a huge accomplishment. And directly relates to reading, so yay! And in Fatal Divisions, I give Sheila quite a mess to get herself out of. Please let me know what you think after you read it!

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  11. Congratulations on your new release!

    This year, for the first time, we finished all the fall yard chores before Thanksgiving and rearranged the garage to accomodate two cars. I took daily Cincinnati Ballet classes all spring from the privacy of my bedroom. I swam meditative laps all summer. I learned to plan food shopping 2-3 weeks in advance and order supplies on-line. We know the names of every dog and pandemic puppy in a two mile radius. We trained our puppy, Louie, with varying degrees of success. I had three short story anthology publications, two of them from my reject pile.

    Onwards to 2021!

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    1. Ballet classes? How brilliant! Love to hear about that… So wonderful! do they play the music, too?

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    2. What wonderful activities! The ballet classes sound amazing, and you're amazing for following through on them.

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    3. yes, every afternoon at one I would put on a T shirt and gym shorts and prop my phone on the dresser for ballet, barre, pilates, and conditioning classes. The talented members of the Cincinnati Ballet company would teach from their living rooms, using the same music they used for their regular classes. So much fun!

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  12. Claire, so true--I'd think of all I could get done, only to find very little of those virtuous projects making it to the finish line. Like the garage--decluttered one corner. Even that much felt like a win. Failed at keeping off the weight I'd lost, regained from baking. But I can still fit into my jeans, so not going up a size is a win. Read some, doing better now--and will be adding Sheriff Hank to my list. Failed big time at keeping worry at bay, but took lots of naps--the more worry, the more cats joined me for a nap.

    Waiting for our turn in the vaccination line--here's wishing you all a healthy, safe 2021!

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    1. Yes, it is just a question of perseverance, isn’t it? And taking care of ourselves and each other. And exactly, cannot wait for the vaccine!

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    2. Flora, it sounds like you accomplished plenty. Decluttering any corner at all is a win!

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  13. I have no words to describe this year. I accomplished almost nothing in 2020, despite the list of things I hoped to do in lockdown. In no particular order: I did not make a dent in the decluttering. I got rid of books I knew I would never reread, and acquired more. For most of the year it’s been difficult to concentrate on reading anything new. I’ve done a lot of rereading of favorite books. The new books are for when I can read again. I started buying paper towels in bulk on Amazon. I bought numerous household and cleaning supplies on Amazon. The vacuum cleaner I ordered should be here in a few days. I have done very little cleaning, despite all the cleaning products. (I think I’m addicted to buying cleaning products.) I lost weight without trying to. I started watching Netflix and Prime TV, after years of not watching television.

    My favorite thing about 2020 is making sure I’m free to watch First Chapter Fun on Tuesdays and Thursdays. First Chapter Fun is responsible for most of my book purchases. (Thanks, Hank!)

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo! Thank you! It is always such a treat to see you at first chapter fun, and I am so pleased to hear you say that. And just think of it, when you get ready to clean, you will be all set. Xxxx

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    2. DebRo, how close are you to California? I could use some of those cleaning products. Every time I buy something, it disappears. I end up finding it empty somewhere else in the house!

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  14. I didn't make any lists for completing during the pandemic but, looking back, I'm pleased with a few accomplishments:

    1. I pivoted to working from home in our small bungalow, and my partner and I have settled into a good groove with me in a corner of the living room -- and we've not murdered each other (yet?).
    2. My pal Deborah and I took our 'writing for transformation' workshop online with Zoom and had a successful session and are now looking to January to deliver Part II, online with Zoom. I'm pretty chuffed about that!
    3. I completed a series of collages I titled "COVID-19: end date unknown" and submitted it to an online archive of COVID-related materials. It's not like being published, but it does make me feel part of the global community going through this corona virus experience
    4. Despite the pandemic and my mum's health scare in May, I posted a piece of writing to my blog every day in May; it was a life-giving commitment for me in the midst of a lot of fear and uncertainty. (Mum came through the unexpected surgery fine.)

    It wasn't on a list and it happened before the pandemic hit, but for me a HUGE highlight of 2020 was writing a guest post for this very JRW blog on Feb. 15th. I cannot tell you, Lucy/Roberta, what a thrill it was when you asked me -- and what a huge boost it gave to my writing confidence. Thank you, Reds. And thank you JRW readers for your reading of that post. This is such a wonderful community.

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    1. AMANDA: Transitioning to working in your bungalow with your partner is a big deal, no kidding.

      Can you share the link to view the COVID-19 archive? Can anyone submit material to it? I think that is a brilliant idea. The City of Ottawa is asking citizens to share COVID-related materials for its archives, but that is local.

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    2. Grace - it is brilliant! And here's the link https://covid-19archive.org/s/archive/page/Share . It's open for everyone.

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    3. Thanks, Amanda! I definitely will put something together to submit to the archive.

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    4. Grace, do tell what you'll submit...

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    5. Oh, the archive! I had not heard about that, thank you so much for pointing us all to it. It sounds so intriguing – –
      And wow, you accomplished a lot!

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    6. This archive is fantastic, Amanda. Thank you for sharing the link! And bravo on your accomplishments--figuring out how to work from home is a huge one!

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  15. Congratulations on Fatal Divisions! I am looking forward to meeting Sheriff Worth!

    My fails? I never did plant the new garden or split the peonies - oh, wait - I also failed to clean out the old garden entirely. Well, there's a rumor that spring is coming and that will give me time to create a plan for the garden :). I also never did get that afghan crocheted. I have done one and a half squares. I figure that counts since I'm re-teaching myself to crochet.

    My successes? Stayed healthy (knock on wood). Moved from Florida to Maine in July (yea!) and by tomorrow will have completed the final edits on the first of the Southernmost Secrets mysteries.

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    1. Kait! That is so wonderful! Hooray! I hope you’re happy in your new digs… And cannot wait to read the new book .

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    2. Kait, congratulations on the completed edits! Isn't that just the best feeling? And you traversed the entire Eastern Seaboard. There aren't many people who can say that this year!

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    3. Kait, moving and finishing a book? Those are huge!

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  16. Congratulations on the new book, Claire! Sounds great!

    I, too, love the lazy susan. That is gorgeous.

    I had no major accomplishments in 2020. I did manage to walk more than in most years, averaging 14,000 steps a day. My reading was a bit off pace, mostly because I couldn't focus in the early months of the pandemic. I will finish book #73 today, which isn't bad but down from recent years. I did notice yesterday, though, that more than a third of my titles were something other than mysteries, which I count as an accomplishment. (Much as I love my mysteries, for a few years now I've been trying to expand my taste.) Back at the beginning of the pandemic I went something like 90 days without ever making the same dinner twice, but frankly I feel like that's a sign of tenuous mental health more than an actual accomplishment. The only organizing I accomplished was that when I switched from summer to fall clothes this year I did actually organize my closet, so it is far easier to find whatever I'm looking for now. On the other hand, I have survived, remained healthy and employed and appear to still have good relationships with my husband and son after all our forced togetherness. I will count those as my major accomplishments for 2020.

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    1. 90 different dinners?? I am in awe!

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    2. I think it was actually 70, Hank. Every couple weeks we'd do a leftover roundup (which in my mind was not the same thing as making the same dinner), and near the end carryout started being available, so I got a night off a few times that way. So it was 70 different dinners spread over three months. By then it stopped being fun.

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    3. Susan, 14,000 steps/day is definitely above average, so bravo! I used to walk 22,000 steps/day a few years ago but after recovering from a broken ankle and plantar fasciitis in 2017/18, I had to lower my daily goals to about 12,000-15,000 steps to prevent future injuries. If you're happy, that's what counts.

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    4. Susan, my reading also fell off in the early days of the lockdown. I just couldn't manage it, which is the first time in my life that's happened. It's been nice to know that it happened to other people, too!

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    5. Leftovers DEFINITELY count. And love how you gave it a title--leftover roundup. I will adopt that for us! And 70 is STILL impressive!

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  17. Love the Lazy Susan. It's a gem.

    Lists. I make a list (or 2) every day. Somewhat manageable. Of course, some things migrate from list to list.

    Oh wait... I finished the 169 blocks for my Dear Jane Quilt. That's a BIG to-do done.

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    1. Wow! That is so much work! I hope you will get us a photo of the finished quilt. xx

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    2. Yes, please! I'd love to see a photo. Quilts are always an accomplishment--a special multi-generational one!

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    3. Dear Jane would quickly turn into "that damn Jane!" at my house. Finishing the 169 blocks is a huge accomplishment. Go, you, Susan!

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  18. Running really late today, so I'm commenting without first reading every other comment.

    The Lazy Susan is a gem, and you did a wonderful job on it. Another new author!! Yay, me.

    I'm still working on organizing family photos, a job I've put off for at least six years now. The drives I bought to upload them onto for each daughter are now obsolete.

    However, this year I did manage to read about 300 books (slow start, but when I wasn't feeling well that was all I could do), plant so many perennials, shrubs and trees that our garage is chockful of old pots, and we did eat lots of produce from our own garden. And our neighbor and I organized the first Little Free Library in our neighborhood, which is doing really well.

    As soon as I finish typing this we're hanging shelves in the garage so we can organize things well enough that we can both park in it. That will take care of 2020 goals, I think.

    For 2021, I want to double the size of the garden again, eliminating a huge chunk of lawn. And I have a small mountain of beautiful fabrics that I've been wanting to turn into quilts for years. It's past time. After talking to my Portland daughter about her little flock of chickens we are hoping to have our own little flock soon.

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    1. You have SO MUCH going on! Wow. Chickens???? YOu'll have to write a blog for us about that. In your spare time. (:-))

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    2. Karen, all of those sound wonderful. I'm with you on the obsolete photo technology. It makes you want to put it off even longer, doesn't it? And chickens! My family wanted some for a while. I pointed at the Great Dane and said, "He would think he was playing, and they'd never survive." So ... we decided no chickens for us.

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  19. I wrote two books, I released two books (not the same ones). I read 61 books (currently reading Rhys's THE TUSCAN CHILD at bedtime, we'll see if I get that one done before 2020 is officially kaput). I got my kid graduated from high school and off to college. I stayed employed and healthy.

    Whether or not I kept my sanity through it all is in doubt, but then one can't have everything. :)

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    1. Sanity is highly overrated in years like this, Liz.

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    2. You got a kid through graduation and off to college in the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Bravo!

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    3. And being sane these days may drive you crazy...

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  20. This past year I read more ever before. I tried to improve my review writing. Better, but. . . still needs work. I did manage to choose an electrician and had all the can lights downstairs changed out to LEDs with a better "can." Considering how I procrastinate, that is an accomplishment. I would like to have the upstairs done too but with my son and granddaughter in residence those bedrooms are too disastrous to let the outside world in. I was also going to get our flowerbeds in shape. Our climate is terrific for weeds. Well, some of the beds got mulched, and those dang persistent weeds grow right through it. Still have bags laying around, waiting for the mulch fairy to do something amazing with them.
    Claire, your book blurb stirred my brain. Sure enough, I read The Branson Beauty when it came out. I do like Sheriff Hank so I need to get caught up.

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    1. I salute you on your home improvements, Pat. I seem to have either money, but no time, or time, but no money on that front. Maybe it's just a lack of willpower. I know what needs to be done. I just never get around to doing it.

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    2. Hi, Pat! I now have an image of the mulch fairy in my head and I love it! I need one of them, too. My weeds are under control at the moment, but come March things get truly overrun. And I'd love to know what you think if you're able to catch up on the rest of the Hank Worth series!

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    3. Every time I read Claire's wonderful books, I laugh about Hank...

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  21. As a native Missourian, who grew up outside Springfield, I felt it was my patriotic duty to read "The Branson Beauty," which I really enjoyed. Now I have to catch up on the rest of the series. So that takes care of the "Read entertaining books" part of my list.

    I'm a list-maker, too, but I have completely flubbed most of the things I thought I'd do during the pandemic. Like, I thought I'd finish my mystery-novel-in-progress. Instead I dug out an old women's fiction novel and polished it up for publication. Only one more round of edits to go on that.

    I didn't get the quilt finished or the storeroom cleared out, but I have worked some awesome jigsaw puzzles, had some mighty naps, didn't adopt ANY new animals, and have managed to feed myself more or less balanced meals. Oh, and I haven't been sick since I began to stay home. My asthma cleared up, my allergies are much reduced, and I tested negative for Covid just before Christmas (a work-related test). I'm earning less, but spending less as well, so it's all sort of evening out.

    Now, I just need to make that list for 2021, and get it into my fresh new planner . . .

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    1. Thank you for reading "The Branson Beauty," Gigi! You grew up outside of Springfield? That's as local as it gets! In "Fatal Divisions," Hank goes up to my old stomping grounds of Columbia for part of the book. It was fun to "visit" a different part of the state!

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    2. LOVE those new planners! Hope they get more of a workout than the pitiful 2020 ones..

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    3. I spent my adolescence in Willard, Claire, and all through college my friends worked Silver Dollar City. Really, really local! My dad completed his masters degree at MU in Columbia.

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  22. Claire, I just bought the first 2 books of your series for my Kindle. I hope to read them in January. Happy New Year, Claire.

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  23. Hi Claire! Congrats on the lazy Susan--it is gorgeous! And I'm happy to know that I'm not the only person who didn't finish writing their novel in 2020!! That, of course, was the really BIG thing on my list for 2020. I didn't really have any other major projects on my to-do list. After I had knee surgery in February, I was determined to get back to walking our two German shepherds every day, and I've pretty much done that except for the occasional flare up. The attic didn't get cleaned out, the books didn't get pared down, but a lot of cooking was done. And we stayed healthy, which is the biggest win of all.

    I've just downloaded The Branson Beauty and am looking forward to reading your series. My family had a second home in Hot Springs, ARK for many years, so I suspect Branson will feel nicely familiar!

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  24. Hot Springs is just down the road, relatively speaking, right? And I say that making it through surgery is accomplishment enough for this year. Although I'm sure your shepherds were glad to help with your walking goal!

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  25. What a fabulous post. I just sorted all of mail polish instead of writing the book that is due in two days. LOL! The madness is taking over. Seriously, I heartily approve of your #8 because Hemsworth and anything that gets you through these bizarre times gets a thumbs up from me! Looking forward to adding your series to my TBR! YAY!

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    1. Jenn, you've given me a year-end goal. I'm off to sort my nail polish. And we'll have to keep tabs for each on Hemsworth's next movies . . .

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  26. Photo albums? What photo albums? Oh, those. Moving right along. I finished editing one book, now with my agent, finished writing a second book and it was so awful that I threw it out, wrote another and am in final edits. And you PUBLISHED a Branson book. Can't wait to read it. You know I love your series. My one puzzling "accomplishment" is that despite the fact that although I didn't try to diet, ate whatever I pleased, I weight EXACTLY the same as I did at the start of Covid in February. What a weird year!

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    1. I'd say you accomplished a lot, Terry! You have two books going, and I know you've got others percolating! And your diet sounds like a winner to me!

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    2. That food thing is SO interesting. Happened to me, too, and I cannot understand it. ANy ideas?

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