The year 2015 has been a tumultuous one, but it has been good to me on a personal level. Among the highlights of the year were:
- Publishing and marketing my debut novel “Oktober Heat”
- For the first time I was judge in a writing contest (no, I won’t reveal which one)
- Another first: I presented a workshop about public speaking at a writer’s conference
- Anniversary: I observed the 20th anniversary of my arrival in the United States
- For the second time in my life I was interviewed on television (the first time was in 2005 on KDKA-TV, but taped in our backyard). This time I was invited by Moon Township’s Access Television to speak about my book, life in Cold War Germany, and writing.
- Harry Potter: Last winter I gave a speech in my Toastmasters club about J.K. Rowling and her persistence as an author. For show and tell, I checked out the first Harry Potter book from the library. Not wanting to let such an opportunity go to waste, I began reading it and was soon hooked. My husband and I ended up reading all books back to back, followed by the movies.
- Outdoors: We endured the most brutal winter since we moved to the U.S. and did not have many opportunities to venture outdoors. We made up for it when the snow melted and the spring rains ended. They were followed by a dry summer and a delightful fall foliage season. Whenever my schedule allowed, we walked the trails at the Botanic Garden and our local parks. Of course, we also spent many hours in our backyard, where we observe more and more native species every year. I was also able to add some beautiful images to my growing photography portfolio.
- Public Speaking: I gave more presentations than ever and hope to continue that trend next year. My topics range from backyard wildlife habitats to nature photography, self-publishing a book, and life in Cold War Germany.