by | Oct 8, 2020 | Chris Goff, The Writer's Life | 10 comments

 by Chris Goff

It’s 2020, and who among us hasn’t seen changes. 

The Rogues are changing. 

We say goodbye to two of our earliest members: Jamie Freveletti and Robin Burcell. They both plan to focus on their writing in the coming year, and―while we’ll miss them both―we wish them well.

And we are welcoming two new members: Jenny Milchman and Carla Neggers. Jenny is the winner of the Mary Higgins Clark and Silver Falchion awards, earned starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist, and was nominated for PEN/Faulkner, Macavity and Anthony awards. Carla is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 novels. She is a former VP of International Thriller Writers, a past-president of Novelists, Inc., and has received multiple awards for her writing. 

The Rogues couldn’t be happier!

The Leaves are changing

It’s fall in my backyard. This picture was taken a year or so ago, looking North from Mt. Evans. Somewhere, in one of those valleys, is our Evergreen house. 

This year, the valley is filled with smoke. This past week or so, Colorado’s Front Range has clocked the worst air quality in the world, at least twice. The smoke has come in on the Jet Stream, dragged in from the Cameron Peak fire burning far to the north, currently 128,149 acres and 42% contained; the Mullen Fire burning farther to the north in Wyoming and Colorado, currently 151,711 acres and 14% contained; and the Washington, Oregon and California fires which have burned more than 5.8 million acres, taken lives, burned out communities and are still raging out of control. 

In light of that, what’s a little wheezing?

COVID has changed the world

It’s crazy! No more handshakes. No more kisses. No more hugs. No more blowing out candles on a birthday cake! 

Working from home. Constant hand sanitizing. Home haircuts. Mask-rash. 

And the longer we remain “safer at home,” the more it becomes part of the changing fabric of our lives. I’m not sure we won’t be living with a number of these changes for some years to come.

My youngest daughter, a school teacher, listened to me complain, then asked me, “Mom, if you could take a shot that gave you a 70% chance of protection against getting the virus, would you take it?” I said, “Of course.” She said, “That’s the protection you get if we ALL wear our masks.”

The latest stats show 35.9 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide, with 1.004,051 deaths.

So, who cares what the fashion police think?

Positive changes

It’s sometimes hard to see the good in the bad. 2020 has been a tumultuous year. But some positives have risen from the ashes. 

1. Embracing change. While it’s clear we still have work to do in our quest for racial equality and our fight against social injustice, our time at home has given many of us an opportunity to read, explore and reflect on our past and future roles in this changing narrative. The important thing is, people are hearing, and there is a dialogue going on.

2. Scientific Advancement. Our scientific and medical communities rock! When faced with faced with a health crisis, they jumped right on the vaccine, and it’s looming on the horizon. Amazing! Of course, I’m reminded of the great Swine Flu Shot debacle of 1975. That said, I’ll role up my sleeve when the time comes.

3. People coming together. Not only is this happening on a local level, with people lending a hand, our own government managed to pass the CARES act to help the American people. We’ve seen firsthand how people with major differences can come together when faced with a common enemy. Now, if it were only sustainable. 

4. Personal growth. Spending more time with family and friends. Exploring the Great Outdoors―taking walks, picnicking, meeting friends in the park. Celebrating the positive environmental changes due to the lockdown of COVID-19. Heck, carbon emissions are down. Delhi, India had blue skies. You could see fish in the Venice canals. 

5. I’ve come to appreciate my husband’s most annoying tendency. 

Does that require explanation? 

My husband is a hoarder.

Not a “call for intervention” type, but a hoarder none the less. His is a mild case, and he knows it. My kids know it. If he uses one jar of pickle relish, he buys three to replace it. If he uses one can of tuna fish, he buys four. You get the picture. During a recent move, the kids found expired soup cans marked 1971 in the back of the pantry. It’s a family joke.

We had our Astrological charts done once and the woman told him that it was understandable. “After all,” she said, “He had starved five times in his past lives.”

Knowing didn’t change the habit, which has come in very handy since we’ve been ordered to stay at home. Guess who had a stockpile of toilet paper, apple juice and diet Coke!

How about you, Reader? What is the most positive thing that has come out of 2020 for you?

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Gayle Lynds

    Oh, yes, change! So sorry to see Robin & Jamie stepping back, but also very excited that Carla & Jenny are joining. As for all of the changes you've addressed in today's new normal … thank goodness that adaptation is built into homo sapiens! 🙂 You've listed marvelous examples of it!

  2. Rogue Women Writers

    I too wish Jamie and Robin all the best as they continue their super busy writing careers – and warmly welcome Jenny and Carla to our Rogue group. As for 2020 — it's been quite a learning experience to protect the family, stay safe although "hunkering down" has given me the time to write three more novel between the end of March and mid-September…and write the first half of the next one (writing keeps me sane) Thanks, Chris, for a great blog – and good luck drinking all that apple juice!…..Karna Small Bodman

  3. Valerie

    I too am sorry to see Jamie and Robin go and wish them the very best. And I add my warm and happy welcome to Jenny and Carla! There's no question that 2020 has been a difficult year, and for many a tragic one. I suppose for me the most positive thing has been slowing down and getting out into nature again. That has been a source of comfort and beauty – and a reminder that "for everything there is a season…".

  4. Jenny Milchman

    I love this post for its mixed-bag acceptance, even optimism. My, it's been a strange, hard year–and much harder for many than I, I know. The best thing to come from Covid for me has been a certain slowing down of time. It was speeding by and now it's become featureless and harder to measure. My husband and I are getting more time with our kids, and we treasure every minute–even if they may long for some away! Here's to health and safety and some more birthday candles in good times to come for all.

  5. Lisa Black

    I love this post!! I truly have not stopped to think about lessons learned from this year–I've been too busy sticking my fingers in my ears and pretending I'm 'focusing on goals' instead.
    But two things:
    My husband is sort of a hoarder, but not because he is concerned about replacing used items–that's my job. He is an impulse shopper who does not understand the meaning of those three little words: "Clean this out." Not a room, a desk drawer, a closet. Cleaning at all is not his job either. So instead of a case of apple juice I have a refrigerator that's 70% condiments, without a duplicate among them.
    I've been amazingly lucky this year. Even with my husband laid off for five plus months, I cannot complain at all. But something good? Honestly the only good thing I can say about COVID is it got me out of going to a convention I didn't want to go to anyway. And that's it.

  6. Chris Goff

    I did forget to insert the link to ZJ Czupor's Mystery Minute, recorded by Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Here's the link. It discusses murder techniques and how they're impacted by social distancing. Quite amusing!

  7. Chris Goff

    Three novels!! I have barely written a word.

  8. Chris Goff

    Reconnecting with the Great Outdoors is a great thing.

  9. Chris Goff

    It's great your spending more time with your kids. We are too, and we're expecting a new grandbaby in November. Hoping we'll be able to nuzzle his hair.

  10. Chris Goff

    LOL. I imagine your husband and mine would get along. Wes is a condiment connoisseur.