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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It's 2021!


While I know that just because it strikes midnight on a new year that things don't magically go back to normal, there is something I love about the feeling of starting over during the new year. So while I do a short recap on what I did in 2020, I'll share my goals for 2021.


Writing


My current WIP: It's not done. BUT I'm almost to the halfway point. I am so excited about how far I've come with it, and where it's going. Really hoping - no - I'm going to finish it this year.


Poetry: I participated in #13days13shorts for the first time ever an wrote 13 spooky poems. I am not a poet, and I'm not going to submit them for publication anywhere, but writing poetry really stretches a creative muscle I don't use a lot. You can check them out here.


I also started my Goosebumps Haiku project. This is purely for fun, but I love being creative in unexpected ways. Plus, I love reliving the joy I experienced reading Goosebumps as a kid, but in a different way. You can check them out here.


Flash Fiction: I continued my October tradition of writing a weekly flash fiction piece. You can read the ones I wrote in 2020, and all of the older ones here.


Publication: I didn't publish any fiction in 2020 (not for lack of trying, but writing and publishing are two very different things). But, I did publish something in my professional field so if library stuff interests you, you can see it here. (It's on page 28)


Goals for 2021: Keep submitting stories. I think it may be time for me to get some beta readers, since nobody seems to want my work, so having some extra eyes on them to see what I can change to make them better will help. I also want to finish my WIP. As for poetry and flash fiction - I'm going to keep writing goosebumps haiku, keep my october flash fiction tradition, and participate in #13days13shorts again.


Books & Reading


I read 35 books in 2020. Friend me on Goodreads to keep up with what I'm reading, but I wanted to give some highlights here.


One of My Faves:



What a sad and strange story - but I liked it! Merricat’s character sometimes reminded me of how Alice speaks in Alice in Wonderland - in sort of whimsical riddles. But unlike Alice she had an unusual darkness to her - which I liked. It was hard to figure out how old she was because sometimes I thought she was a young woman (20s) and other times I thought she was like...9. Some of that could also be due to the ambiguous time period.


I enjoyed this story though. Beautiful and dark. And doesn’t give you the satisfaction of answering the one question you’ll have...”Why did she do it?”


Great Nonfiction Read:




Okay first off this was wild to read during the trump presidency - during a crazy election week - and to finish knowing that trump didn’t get elected to a second term.


Anyway. This book was fascinating enlightening, inspiring and wasn’t too dense considering it’s technically a text book.


I didn’t know what to expect given I don’t read a lot of political nonfiction (but am reading more horror nonfiction) but I’m glad I took a chance on this book.


Ultimately this book just solidified my belief, or my knowledge that horror can and often does mirror what is happening in the world around us. Horror is such a deep genre and one that people should pay more attention to.


Most Surprising:


I am so sad that I hadn’t heard about or read Kelly Link sooner! However, now I have a new author that I am going to read in 2021.


I loved her writing. I enjoyed all the stories in this book and then I got to ‘The Specialists Hat’ and wow, was I blown away!


Her stories are whimsical, and spooky, and weird (in a good way). Her writing is the epitome of speculative fiction - crossing lines between fantasy, horror, and sci-fi.


Will definitely read more of her work.


Most Disappointing:



I’m sad to rate this book so low. As a horror lover and especially someone who leans toward occult horror I was so excited to finally read this book. It’s like a right of passage.


But I was so disappointed. The story didn’t really start until 300 pages in and was over in less than 100 pages. I really wanted to dig deeper into the lives and minds of the priests and especially how Regan was feeling but instead we just got the story from the POV of Chris...who was not an interesting character to me.


The writing was...fine. The prologue but was the most poetic part. The rest was dull dialogue and crude “jokes”.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ stick to the movie or the tv show.


I'm also sort of hesitant to continue saying my WIP is a mix between "The Babysitters Club" and "The Exorcist" because it isn't anything like the Exorcist, except that there is an exorcism. I'll have to find another comparison I think.


Honorable Mention:



If you are a fan of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” then you’ll enjoy the stories in this book too. Plus it gives a cultural perspective that I personally haven't read a lot of (and am trying to do better about).


I especially enjoyed the lists, letters, and facts dispersed between all the stories.


Goals for 2021: Keep reading. I want to read more nonfiction, more short stories, and more books by black authors. And while I write reviews of everything I read on Goodreads, I'd like to share highlights more regularly throughout the year on this blog.


Movies


I didn't keep great track of movies I watched in 2020 (that's a goal I have for 2021), but here some some movies that have stuck out to me:



I know..I know. This movie has been around FOREVER but I just got around to watching it last year. I loved it. It is hillbilly horror at it's finest.



Again. I know. And admittedly I can't remember if I watched this movie in 2019 or 2020...but that's all the more reason to put it on this list. I still think about this movie. *shivers*



You can laugh all you want to. Pooka! is a great campy Christmas horror. It's funny, it's campy, it's a little gory, and it's super weird. If you were a fan of the Christmas horror, Krampus, you'll love this movie.


Goals for 2021: Watch more horror. I have one of those scratch off posters that is specifically for horror movies, so I plan on working my way through that, and writing some informal reviews here. I also want to take a stab at screenwriting. Not to submit or anything, but for practice - just to stretch a different creative muscle. I'll probably take one of my flash fiction pieces and try to turn it into a short screenplay.


Podcasts


Most of the podcasts I listen to are comedy podcasts, and mostly true crime comedy podcasts, but here are some comedy "horror" podcasts that kept me laughing during 2020.



I am still deep in the archives with this one, but twin brothers Daniel and Matthew Scott Montgomery break down each goosebumps book and the corresponding tv show episode (if it has one). It's hilarious.



SNL writer Anna Drezen and comedian Andrew Farmer take a deep dive into the terrifying world of American folklore, ghost stories, hauntings, and urban legends through the lens of the classic children's series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.


I am caught up with this podcast, and sometimes that makes me sad because I have to wait for the next episode to come out.


Goals for 2021: I don't really have any podcast goals. I already listen to TOO MANY podcasts. But that isn't to say that I won't continue to try to find both a writing podcast, or an academic horror podcast that I like...I am on a seemingly never ending quest to fill those podcast gaps for myself.


Okay everyone! That's all for now. Let me know what your goals are for 2021! Aside from the ones I listed, I will also be working out more and filling out a daily gratitude journal, and just overall getting closer to my faith. I'd love to know what you're working towards this year.


Don't forget to follow me on the socials.


Until next time,

B.Strong &;


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