Wrapping up 2015, unwrapping 2016 / by Ryan Hill

 

Whew. Thank goodness 2015 is pretty much over. It hasn't been the worst year I've ever had, but it wasn't far off. For some reason, my life plays out a lot like the Star Trek series. The even years are so, so much better than the odd ones. All years have both good and bad stuff, but those odd-numbered years tend to have more of the bad stuff. And 2015 was no exception.

I had to put my dog to sleep. I haven't really mentioned it online, but losing Maggie was the defining moment of 2015 for me. It became clear in late June something wasn't right with her, and shortly after I learned she had a tumor in her lung. The vet gave her three-to-five months (more like three), and my sweet baby made it a little over five. I won't get into the details of those last couple of weeks, only to say I made the decision to put her to sleep after learning she now had two tumors in her lungs and another in her liver that was raising the back half of her body higher than the front, making it nearly impossible for her to lie down.

It even looks like an In Memorium pic. Sorry.

It even looks like an In Memorium pic. Sorry.

I don't regret the decision, but that doesn't mean I don't miss the heck of my little girl. She was only 10, and Miniature Schnauzers can live to be 15-17. No, the only thing I regret is the time I won't get to spend with her.

To every cloud there is a silver lining.

And the silver lining in this came in the form of one Miss Hunter S. Gonzodog.

I'd always hoped to have a puppy for a couple of years, giving Maggie a chance to teach her a couple of tricks, but sadly things didn't work out that way. Such is life. Hunter is a super sweet pup, and I look forward to seeing which traits of Maggie's she takes on and which are completely her own.

I also didn't have a book released in 2015. Womp womp.

That stinks. A combination of things led to this: laziness, the day job, my horrific back (two ruptured discs and an irritated Sciatica), anxiety, etc. They all pretty much play into each other, creating this awful, giant beast of worthlessness, but I digress.  Let's move on to 2016.


I will have a book out in 2016, and another one or two in 2017.

I'm going the self-publishing route for 2016's release, The Conch Shell of Doom. I'm aiming for a mid-May release, just in time for UtopYA 2016.  I'm super proud of the book, which presented lots of new challenges that helped me grow as a writer. CSoD is also the craziest book I've written to date. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

The other two novels in the works are an untitled YA mystery set during Christmastime, and a sequel to The Book of Bart. The book is tentatively called The Unspoken Rule (or Bart of Darkness, depending on my mood), and it's going to be a lot of fun. Bart and Sam are in for one helluva run. Get it? Because Bart is a demon from Hell? 

Once the sequel is further along, the original will be forever known as The Book of Bart - Verse 1. The sequel? You guessed it. Verse 2. And so on and so forth, until the series ends. Which may be never. If I had more time, I'd write a novella or two each year, detailing Bart's escapades throughout history B.S. - Before Sam. Get it??? B.S.??? These jokes just write themselves... which explains why they're so awful. 

But I do have a humor award, so that makes it okay? If not, the Jensen Ackles gif should. At least for some of you.

My work as a film critic at Screen Invasion will continue in the new year, but I am on the lookout for a new outlet to write for. I love SI. LOVE THEM. SI has also proved to be a fantastic springboard for a lot of writers, and after two years with them, I feel like I'm ready to take the next step, regardless of if it's full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.

PS - It's okay. They know/support this. It's another reason why they rock.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Truer words have never been spoken.

I also hope to get my back fixed, or at least get it to a place where it doesn't drain the life out of me each day. Back pain like I have isn't like normal pain. There aren't really nerves involved (except for the Sciatic nerves, which one of my discs rubs up against and irritates), nor are muscles. It's more an empty, hollow pain, like someone reached into my lower back and yanked out the base of what held me together. Without it, the rest of the structure is overburdened and tires. It's awful. 

Let this be a lesson to you kids. Don't lift too much weights. Especially on back exercises, like a Lat Row. Don't do it.

Next year should be a good one in the world of Ryan, and I sincerely hope all of you have a great 2016!

Hugs and kisses,

Ryan