End-of-Year Musings

Well, 2022 was a year.

I had such high creative hopes for 2022, but as with just about everything in life since the plague descended upon us, the grand…whatever had other plans. I didn’t write nearly as much as I’d hoped, I read even less, and real life butted in far too much for my liking.

It wasn’t all bad–I did, after all, finish writing Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6) and I kicked NaNoWriMo’s ass–but here’s hoping the struggles of 2022 lead to a big bounce-back in 2023.

Chill, September
September was entirely too much. The month literally started with me being diagnosed with diabetes (not surprising, given I spent almost the entire summer dealing with symptoms almost exclusively associated with diabetes); my A1C at the time was 14.3 (for those of you not versed in diabetes, that’s how-are-you-not-in-the-hospital high) and the first couple weeks saw me dealing with blood sugar numbers routinely in the 300s and 400s.

Again, how was I not in the hospital?

Later that month, I lost my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was 88 years old and though I loved him, he was incredibly complex and not always a great source of comfort. Still, given what he was enduring in his final weeks, his passing was a blessing of sorts, and I do appreciate that I’ve been able to see my grandmother twice since then (three times, if we count Christmas). Not having seen her since before COVID hit, I take every visit with her I can get.

Also, for me to be in my 40s and still have grandparents in my life…in that regard, I’m quite lucky.

On a Brighter Note…
September also brought to me the best of surprises: a girlfriend. I know, I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, too.

I’ll spare details–mostly because if I laid it all out, I’m not sure you all would believe me (some of the circumstances of our pairing are really messed up and really out there and sometimes, I even wonder what the hell happened). Suffice it to say, though, that sometimes, the axiom “truth is stranger than fiction” is occasionally spot-on, and my sudden love life certainly fits that bill.

Side Effects
We’ve been conditioned to believe side effects are bad (I mean, just pay attention to one of the umpteen thousand medication commercials on television), but I’ve found a couple positive ones in the three months I’ve been living as a Type 2 diabetic. Obviously, there are the diet and lifestyle changes inherent to treating diabetes.

Fewer sodas and being more conscious of the amount (and types) of carbs I consume. An exercise routine that is now very real and in no way theoretical. A weekly medical injection routine, having been prescribed Ozempic (side note: if you’re not diabetic, stop taking this drug! You using it to fit into a bathing suit is making it harder for diabetics–who actually need the stuff–to have access to it).

So naturally, I’m more conscious about my health. What I eat. How I sleep. My Samsung Health app gets as much of a workout as I do. I work out at least twice a week (thank you, gym membership through work); I walk for 20-30 minutes at least four times a week. It’s a big reason why my A1C dropped from 14.3 to 5.9 in three months and why my endocrinologist told me last week I don’t need to see him anymore, and seeing the results is making these changes easier to stick to.

But my workout routine has also…taught me patience?

I’m not a patient person. I likely never will be (for context, I was born two months premature, so my lack of patience apparently goes way back). But my workout routine is helping me with that; often, the goals I set for my workouts are for duration; I want to ride the exercise bike for 20 minutes…I need to knock out 30 minutes on the treadmill…let me pump iron on the overhead bar for five minutes.

And in setting those benchmarks, I’m slowly but surely teaching myself, inadvertently so, the beauty in worrying not so much about the passage of the time or how far I am from that goal, but…just doing the thing. I’m too busy finding the rhythm of the treadmill, or trying to get through a bike session without my legs burning, or seeing how many reps I can get at a certain weight before my arms tap out.

Then, before I know it, my goals are there. I reach my benchmarks.

For someone who’s working out less for aesthetic purposes (I will never be swole, and that’s okay) and more for my own health, that’s a pleasant side effect I did not see coming.

Coming Soon
Good news, everyone!

There will be (at least) two new releases in 2023. The early part of the year (say…February-slash-March) will see Bitter End finally hit virtual bookshelves, and come the back half of the year, I will hoist Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries (NOTE: cover above not final) into the world. I’m really excited about the latter project–I’ve enjoyed writing it like I haven’t enjoyed a project since Notna, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Like, I might solicit beta readers and everything.

Considering my last novel came out a month into the COVID pandemic, having two books coming out in the coming year is really something to be excited about.

Smashwords’ End-of-Year Sale is still going–and will extend through New Years Day. My entire library is 50% off during that time (NOTE: on Smashwords only), and Bounty (the first book in the Jill Andersen series) is free. Check me out here and beef up your library (or a loved one’s, if you’re gifting them an e-reader for the holiday).

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About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

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