Sometimes when I look back at this time last year I can’t believe what has happened. If you would have told me that I would not be driving the 12 ½ mile commute every day —that in fact I only use my car for errands and necessary outings, I would never have believed you. Commuting in Los Angeles, in a word, sucks, but it was all I knew.

Now I am not sure how I will go back to a commuting routine, when that day comes (if it does). I have gotten used to being able to call a handyman and let him in while I am working. I can make doctor appointments in the middle of the day and scurry off at my lunch hour to deal with the optometrist, or the dentist, or whoever. Life is immensely stressful with the pandemic raging around us, but in these ways it is easier.

Working from home has its downsides, of course. Two people started working for our team in early September and I have not met them face to face. Zoom calls are not a substitute. It’s all the little things I miss. When you’re around people in an office environment you naturally learn things about them that you don’t get over Zoom. It’s much easier to put a false foot forward over video calls than it is when you’re there in person. We rely on other people to tell us what’s happening rather than being able to pick it up for ourselves. I have to remember to reach out to my team to find out how they’re doing if we don’t interact during the normal course of the day. It’s easy to lose track of people.

There are plusses, of course. So many people have adopted animals that it’s heartwarming. I just trained a new employee on one of our internal systems and he had his new eight-month-old terrier that he and his fiancée had just adopted there. As tough as this last year has been that fills my soul to see. I hope when things go back to “normal” that the trend of adopting animals continues.

As for me, I’m hanging in there. I must admit these last few weeks have been tough feeling like this was never going to end. With new strains exploding around us I wonder if there is ever going to be a time when I can just get together with people like my friend Nancy, and sit down at our local breakfast diner for a meal and conversation. I know it will happen. Just not yet. For now I only go out for groceries and household items and occasionally get takeout. My dad and stepmother got the vaccine recently, so there is progress. Unfortunately, my family was finally touched directly by this terrible disease. My late mother’s cousin Connie passed away on January 25th from complications of Covid-19. My heart goes out to my second cousins Chrissy and Gina. In this terrible time all we can as is that we move forward one step at a time – one day at a time.

Here is my writing news. I look forward to 2021 and all the adventures it will bring!

My story The Unquiet Night in Air and Nothingness Press’s amazing The Wild Hunt anthology is out. Link here: http://www.aanpress.com/aanorder.html. Unlike many presses, Air and Nothingness Press believes in paperbacks and not electronic versions, so the only way to get this gorgeous collection is in their limited-edition print version.

I am also going to be in two box sets—one is a shifter box set called Romancing the Shifter, which is scheduled for April, 2021. It is available for presale on Amazon, and the link is here: https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Shifter-Shapeshifter-Paranormal-Anthology-ebook/dp/B08QYYM77P. You will be hearing a great deal more about this anthology in the months to come. Look for swaps and giveaways and other opportunities to promote this box set! I can’t wait for you to read my novella about the fox shifter clans in Maine.

The other anthology is an SF Romance anthology that does not yet have a release date, but it will be released sometime mid-year. I have a whole world I’ve been working on that includes alien contact so I worked off that and I’m thrilled with how my alien romance + danger + a bit of mystery is turning out. I’ve turned in the first chapter and you will read more about this in the months to come as well!

A post-apocalyptic story called Cat and Moose has found a home in Hiraeth Productions anthology Infradead: Tales of Human Extinction. That should be out July 1 of this year.

Fantasia Divinity’s best of 2020 anthology called Illusions of the Past includes one of my SF drabbles originally in their Winds of Despair anthology. It is available now: https://www.amazon.com/Illusions-Past-Fantasia-Divinitys-Anthology-ebook/dp/B08TP7JVB5

I am working on edits for Earth Tremors at long last and hope to have sent the fourth in the Elementals series to my favorite editor by the time you read this. I’m also hard at work revising follow ups to the Universe Chronicles series as well as a second contemporary romance for Wild Rose Press.  I’ve also got a few other shorts and tales up my sleeve and have been working on the third Beyond Elementals tale for when A Feather of Air finishes.

In very exciting news, a moon lander that is going to go to the moon later this year is going to include lots of books! Samuel Peralta, who was the brain trust behind the entire Future Chronicles series, has arranged for several anthologies to be part of that mission. One of the books is Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi, which includes my tale Solar Crossroads. I am beyond thrilled that he did that and soon will be able to say I’m published on two planets. What a thrill! https://www.space.com/astrobotic-ula-centaur-moon-lander-2021.html?fbclid=IwAR1F1kyeY-MZJAPn7hf51AylOTcnFXUiTQcGfAdTgjoRWBvzcONDlVS_2tI

Stay safe, everyone!

Claire

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