“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward…That’s how winning is done!”–Rocky Balboa
Each year I create a list of goals for every area in my life. Throughout the year I work on these goals, track my progress and my challenges. Then, to keep myself honest, I commit to posting a list of some of my top accomplishments and challenges and some of my smaller ones as well.
This was a challenging year. My sister died and her death pretty much shut me down for half the year. The sensation was not unlike getting knocked for a loop in a boxing match and then running on instinct for the rest of the round, doing everything you can to keep your wobbly legs underneath you. Then, with the weather better, we held the memorial and relived it all over again. And never mind the holidays. My sister was born on Thanksgiving and that didn’t make the end of the year any easier
Then, an all around great guy and master martial artist, John Frigon died after a long illness. He seemed so healthy and full of life the last time I saw him, but the illness took him hard and quick.
I had some health issues as well this year. But I made it through with the help of family and friends and trying to keep my mind on my work. I learned a lot this year and think I was able to accomplish quite a bit considering the circumstances.
Writing Career (The Pen)
Wolves of Vengeance: I wrote character arc outlines and rewrote each character arc, adding scenes and deleting scenes where necessary. Patty went through and proofread the manuscript. I would have liked to have WOV completed by year-end, but I’m happy with the progress.
Year of the Demon: I began a reimagining of this novel, a martial arts thriller that I began in 2006 but eventually abandoned. I finally understood what I needed to do to make the story work. I completed the first draft of this novel.
I submitted 10 short stories to magazine and anthology markets.
I wrote 5 short stories this year.
I sold 3 short stories this year. That’s a personal best!
The Extinct Anthology earned out its advance, and I began receiving royalty checks. A big thank you to everyone who either bought a copy or helped us move up in Amazon’s rankings by grabbing a free copy. Extinct cracked the top 100 free books in contemporary fiction. We’re also sporting a new cover.
The Epitaphs Anthology became a Bram Stoker Award finalist.
My short story “The Mesomorphic Woman” was accepted into the Daughter’s of Icarus anthology to be published by Pink Narcissus Press in 2013. I signed the contract and cashed the check. Now, I’m just waiting for a publication date.
My short story “The Hours of Sleep” was accepted into You Can’t Kill Me, I’m Already Dead: A Vampire Anthology published by Zombie Works Publications. I signed the contract. This anthology is available now as a trade paperback. I’ve been told that an ebook is in the works.
My short story “Phantom Chasers” was accepted into the From Beyond the Grave Anthology to be published by Grinning Skull Press. I’m looking forward to publication sometime in 2013.
Paid HWA dues.
I attended a New England Horror Writers (NEHW) meeting held at Ritual in Worcester. Fun was had by all!
An author asked me to blurb her book and I was happy to oblige.
Paying it Forward:
I had a couple of young writers reach out to me looking for advice. I’m still in the beginning of my career, but I tried to give them some advice and point them in the right direction.
Martial Arts (The Sword)
Took the opportunity to train in Jung Ki Kwan Hapkido with Master Phil and Master John.
Took the opportunity to train at Britt’s Tae Kwon Do.
Trained with martial arts friends.
Expanded my library of martial arts books and videos.
Added Bas Rutten’s MMA style interval training to my repertoire.
Celebrated 25 years of training in the martial arts.
Earned my next black belt ranking in Tang Soo Do from Master Rhee.
I was internationally recognized as an advanced Japanese Jujutsu black belt
Promoted my first black belt student.
Promoted another private student to brown belt.
Tragedy: Sadly Jung Ki Master John Frigon passed away after a long illness. He will be missed.
My sister Danielle Shoshanna Martino died in January. She will be forever remembered and missed.
I helped my parents clean out my sister’s apartment along with my Brother and sister-in-law.
Went through a mourning period.
Said kaddish and lit a candle in memory of my sister for 7 days.
Gave charity in memory of my sister.
Increased visits and phone calls to my Mom & Dad during the first half of the year.
Attended my Sister’s memorial in NH and visited with my Dad’s side of the family.
Celebrated Patty’s birthday.
Celebrated my birthday.
Visited and went out to eat with Mom, Dad and Godmother for Mother’s Day.
Attended my nephew’s H.S. Graduation Party.
Attended Father’s Day BBQ at In-laws.
Celebrated my Mother’s birthday at Foxwoods.
Summer BBQ at In-laws.
Visited my nephew Michael’s new apartment and helped move in some furniture.
Thanksgiving with my Family at Foxwoods.
Christmas with in-laws..
Challenges and setbacks:
Between martial arts and other exercise training I reinjured my shoulder, injured my hand, wrist and forearm, strained my back and neck, and twisted my knee. I also lacerated my thumb, and had to get a tetanus shot. I had a cist on the back of my neck that caused some pain but ultimately didn’t have to be removed (my brother had the same thing so it must run in the family). To top it all off I had a small cavity that needed to be filled and I came down with the flu.
My eye doctor put me on a glaucoma preventive eye drop. Glaucoma runs in my family and this should keep me from getting the disease.
Lost 5 pounds of fat, reduced 3 inches on my waist, and gained muscle.
Bought a pair of prescription sun glasses.
Yearly physical went perfectly except that I needed to lose some weight.
Began using Bas Rutten MMA CD’s for interval training.
Began a P90X program to get myself back in peak condition and heal injuries.
Completed all regular maintenance.
Paid off Patty’s car in the beginning of the year and received title.
Paid off my car at the end of the year and received title.
Challenge: My car was hit at Foxwoods. It took me half the day to deal with the accident and then many hours to get it repaired. In the end my car was fixed and my insurance covered everything.
Had a new AC system installed.
Charity and Community Service.
United Way Lantern Society Member.
Gave to assorted Charities.
Voted in all elections.
Donated cans to RI food bank through Boy Scouts of America.
Joined The Gun Owner’s Action League (GOAL).
Exercised my Second Amendment rights.
Began using Opus Domini for daily and weekly planning in conjunction with Anthony Robbins RPM.
Mohegan Sun, CT: Big Bubbas’s BBQ, Connecticut Sun Basketball Game.
East Hartford, CT.
NYC Trip: Traveled by bus. China Town, Little Italy, Times Square.
Boston: stayed at the Hilton river view room and worked on novel, Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Prudential Tower, Harvard Bridge.
IMAX: Avengers, Promethus, The Dark Knight Rising.
Cinema De Lux Director’s Hall: The Expendables 2.
Rented Solomon Kane On Demand before it came to the theater.
Memorial Day Parade and Fireworks.
Attended Patty’s 25th Anniversary for her company. As usual I made a spectacle of myself with my trademark dancing.
Went to see my friend Jim play drums in his band The Jazz Hawks.
I began praying again at night and saying affirmations in the morning.
Performed kaddish for the dead and lit candles for my sister.
I had a spiritual awakening and returned to my spiritual roots.
Had a series of experiences along with stories of others that proved to me beyond shadow of a doubt that some part of us survives death.
That’s about all I can remember for 2012. It’s been a challenging and productive year. I have some major goals I’d like to complete in 2013. Here’s hoping that next year will be better in every way imaginable.