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Looking Back and Moving Forward

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Once again we’ve turned the calendar page to a fresh new year, full of possibilities. Looking ahead to plans for 2022 got me looking back at 2021. Just what did I actually accomplish in the past year? It seems like it went by awfully fast…


The beginning of 2021 was the second half of a crazy school year. Our little school was one of a very few in our area to have any in-person learning, but to do so we had to split our day into two sessions. This meant that, even though I was only teaching a few classes, my days were full and strange. I taught in the mornings while my kids were in school, took them home for lunch and homework help, then returned to school to teach round 2 while they stayed at our home with my husband, who was working from home. We were all grateful to make it to May with no long-term shut downs or major illness issues.

Over the summer, my family planned and executed a 2,300ish mile road trip to visit friends and relatives in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. It was fantastic, but I’ve already blogged about it. If you’d like to read more, here are the links for the drive there, and the drive back.

This school year has looked…well, closer to normal at least. We’re in full-day sessions, and I’ve increased my teaching responsibilities to be officially “half time.” I’m teaching 2nd grade Reading, and Reading, Art, and Music for the 5th-6th grade classroom and the 7th-8th grade classroom. I also, in a moment of madness, picked up a 7th grade Math class. (Ok. Madness is an exaggeration. I really can “do Math” and I’m enjoying my students. It was just a class I had to work hard for as a student—though I kept up solid grades until Senior Year PreCalc, at which point it became survival mode.) It’s a joy to see my students every day and to have more time to dig into learning. I missed that classroom community.

As for next year…well, the Clare household is looking at some pretty major changes. However, as they are still up in the air, details will have to wait until I know just what they are.


2021 also included my first foray into podcasts—something I hadn’t even considered trying.

Author Joy Neal Kidney introduced me to Our American Stories, a podcast that works to share positive stories about history and the lives of individual Americans. They expressed interest in some of my history pieces on World War II, and in July they aired my first “story.” All told, I’ve had five submissions aired on the show:

In August, author Ari Meghlen invited me over to her podcast, The Merry Writer, to chat about writing Historical Fiction. It was lovely to get to chat with Ari via Zoom. Here’s the link if you’d like to give it a listen.

In November, author Jean Lee was kind enough to feature the first chapter of my new novel, Where Shall I Flee?, on her podcast Story Cuppings. Here’s the link.

I have a few submissions on the way to Our American Stories for 2022, so we’ll see if I have more podcasts experiences to share next year!


Along with teaching and talking, I also met some writing goals in 2021.

In November, I launched my second World War II novel, Where Shall I Flee?. I was thrilled to finally release it into the world, and I’m pleased to report that it’s received some lovely reviews (and some lovely direct comments from readers who don’t do online reviews.)

If you’d like to check it out, it is available on Amazon along with my first book, Whom Shall I Fear?. It is published as a paperback, Kindle e-book, and on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve also started looking into releasing it in other formats, but that’s an ongoing process. I’ll keep you posted!

In spring of 2021, I drafted a new novella (that keeps wanting to turn itself into a novel, though I keep telling it NO!) titled Pearl Harbor Ghosts. It’s my first time writing a longer work set on the American Home Front, and it’s been an interesting project. I’d like to have it ready for release in December of 2022. (However, the aforementioned “major changes” might impact that, so I’m afraid that I need to keep that date a bit squishy.)

I also completed a very rough first draft of a novel this November, during the NaNoWriMo challenge. I don’t have a working title yet, but it’s my first attempt at writing in the Pacific Theater of WWII. It’s a start, which is exciting, but I discovered that I need to do loads more research. (Not a big surprise.) I’m planning to start that process in 2022, and I have a couple of books on the Philippines during the time period beckoning me from my shelf. My side goal is to keep THIS set of notes more organized, so that writing involves less hunting through various journals. We’ll see how that goes.

All in all, I was pleased—and a little surprised—to look back at 2021 and see how many things I could list under “accomplishments.” God willing, I am looking forward to a 2022 with more “wins” to celebrate and more opportunities to grow!

What about you? How did your 2021 go? Do you have “wins” you’d like to share? Things you’d like to see improve in 2022?

Wherever the new year takes you, I’m wishing you all the best!

24 thoughts on “Looking Back and Moving Forward”

    1. Thank you Darlene! I was pleasantly surprised to have so many “wins” to add to this. All the best to you as well! I hope your first week of the New year has gone smoothly. (More smoothly than mine has anyway! Whew.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bless you for mentioning the precious connection. I was really struck by your Bremerton story, and am looking forward to more via Our American Stories. My biggie was the publishing of my second Leora story called “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.” Thank you for being an endorser of this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Bremerton story was my favorite one, too. It connects to the novella also- here’s hoping I can get that one up and running.
      You second book was wonderful- just like your first. I enjoyed these introductions to your family so much. It was a little hard reading the new one, knowing what was coming in the WWII book for some of those young men.
      All the best in 2022!


  2. Congrats, Anne! I had a few small publications in 2021 in literary journals and anthologies, the most notable of which was a short story in a fantasy anthology called Into the Glen: Into the Light; the story is titled “The Harbor Master,” and was based on legends of a monster-sized hammerhead shark.

    I had a few guest appearances on other blogs, including yours! I had some good review for my work as well, though the last few months of 2021 were dry in that regard. I hope more reviews will come this year, and I seriously would like to get another novel completed (ideally Mystical Greenwood’s sequel).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations on your 2021 “wins,” Andrew- it sounds like a good year! All the best in 2022, and with getting that sequel written- did you plan Mystical Greenwood as a series from the get-go?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Anne. I did plan for Mystical Greenwood to be the first in a trilogy. Here’s a fun fact about my short story that might fascinate you: in Bimini (where it’s set), the giant hammerhead was called the Harbo(u)r Master, but there have also been sightings of giant hammerheads in Florida as far back as World War II (by soldiers looking for U-Boats), where the shark was nicknamed Old Hitler.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just don’t know how parents are making it work, with the craziness of school schedules. You helped me see at least how one teacher-parent did that.

    If you’re interested: I’d love to spotlight you either on my education blog, Ask a Tech Teacher (, or in my WordDreams column, Teacher-authors ( I’d love to share that early part of this post–how you made the remote-in-person schooling work. If that’s of interest to you, Anne, email me at and we can talk more! Hugs to you for never giving up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been nuts! We’re going online next week again, too. Sigh.
      Thank you so much, Jacqui- that’s so kind of you! I’ll send you an e-mail this weekend. Hugs back 🙂


  4. Sounds like you did really well in 2021, I’m so pleased for you. I’m sure 2022 will be super productive too!

    It was so good to have you on the podcast and chat with you in real time and on camera. I’m sure we will be getting you back on the podcast in the future 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am thrilled for you with all the positive publicity! Podcast, interviews and reviews – I agree with them all. It is going to be rough to piece mine together for your book, but I sure will try!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always love posts like these because it’s so awesome to look back at your year, especially if you did do some things to set it apart from the other years. Congrats on your achievements, and here’s to more in 2022!

    For me, I’d love to take my time less for granted in 2022. So more writing and less procrastinating (vague I know, lol).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much!
      I think being more aware of how time is being used is a great goal. It’s so easy to let it get sucked away. I’m working on that myself 🙂


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