New Year

Good Intentions for the New Year

Yup, I’m one of those people. The new year comes and it’s my chance to start over, at least for that part of my life that needs a bit of revving.

To backtrack a bit, I can say my New Year’s Eve celebrations have run the gamut from quiet to raucous. Quiet means the two of us staying at home, perhaps not even being awake for when the clock strikes midnight. Then there have been parties with the usual amount of misbehaving or awkwardness. Sometimes we attended a festive series of concerts for First Night, which seems to be a bit of a misnomer, although events like that are on hold this year.

I recall the first one Hank and I spent together. We were on a train from Boston to Philly, where I was going to meet his parents. The train was rocking with those who were already imbibing and on their way to Times Square in NYC for that famous ball to drop. Too bad the train broke down somewhere in Connecticut and the cops had to come aboard to quell the drunks.

Last night we were at our son’s, Floodwater Brewing, which is a short walk from our home in the Shelburne Falls village. Good music and company. Great beer. I had the Young Hankenstein. Cyborg Joan wasn’t on the menu. Yes, Zack named two beers after his parents.

But my attention each year is on the first day of the new year and what I can change about myself.

I’d say it typically comes down to habits. There are, of course, the one about making healthy choices. Just a few adjustments needed there, I believe.

But a huge change ahead — leaving journalism for good — should bring interesting opportunities. I officially end my job as the editor-in-chief overseeing three daily newspapers on Jan. 7 and will stay on three to four weeks to help with the transition.

After that my time is mine.

Last year, I was able to complete Working the Beat, Book No. 5 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. (The proof arrived yesterday, thanks to the considerate postal deliverer who left it on our porch out of the rain. There it is above.) Considering the hours I put in as editor-in-chief, it was a bit of a miracle, getting up at 5 a.m., to complete this novel.

My goal for 2022 is to complete two. I’ve already started No. 6.

I also have three adult novels that unfortunately don’t fit my publisher’s genres. I will try to find a home for those.

I will do better at self-promotion, figuring out what works and what is a complete waste of time or money.

Yes, we will go on a road trip, hopefully fitting in Taos, NM, where we lived for 11 years.

I will get to spend more time with our family, including my mother.

And I look forward to reading something other than news and feature stories that a reporter wrote for a newspaper … like the books sitting in my Kindle and on my shelves.

Last year on my commute, I listened to language learning audio books: French, Spanish and Portuguese. I will continue working my way through Portuguese, which was the language of my grandparents. Japanese is next.

Jan. 1 is a great time to reflect. I say bring on 2022.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Yes, that’s the proof to Working the Beat. You can pre-order yours on Amazon at Thank you if you do.