“And now we welcome the new year.
Full of things that have never been.”
~~Rainer Maria Rilke

Hi all,

So since JABB 559 is still in progress, I debated whether to send a newsletter this week.  But I decided to do a brief one so I stay on schedule.  Below is the list of hopes and plans I had for JABB in *2019*.  As you'll see... not many of those panned out.  So I've revised it for this coming year.

May you enjoy the waning days of 2019 and have a blessed new year!

God bless,

Hopes and Plans for JABB in 2019 2020

From 2019: 1.  This year, I'm going to attempt to avoid writing any lengthy, big issue stories in favor of writing more but shorter character focused pieces including...

From 2020:  Haha!  And then "The Messiah" happened...  Here's a helpful bit of advice: when you're trying to NOT write a super long story, maybe don't do a sequel to the longest story you've ever written.  Better luck in 2020?

From 2019: 2.  I'd love to finally get around to writing the story about how Joshua and Kellie made amends following Jesse's death.  It's hinted at in other stories and I think Marty figures in somehow.  But I'd really like to delve into how that went and how Kellie went from who we saw at the end of "As It Is in Heaven" to the largely earthbound caseworker who we see in the Dyeland stories.

From 2020:  Umm...  Maybe this will happen in 2020???  This definitely still interests me a lot.  And I really didn't get to do much of anything with either Marty or Kellie in this year's, sadly few, stories.  So here's hoping!  One thing I can say: I'm relatively sure I won't have another invasion of mice which is what set me behind schedule on so many, many things this past year.  I still have two of those mice.  But two contained mice are much less time-consuming than twelve "free range" mice.

From 2019: 3.  Andrew hated Halloween.  That's well established.  But JenniAnn loves it.  So they've managed to find a way of celebrating in a more cute, colorful, harvest-themed sort of way.  But people can only keep aspects of themselves in check for so long...  When Violeta comes home with a copy of Stephen King's Pet Semetary that a classmate lent her, JenniAnn finds herself remembering the King-reading, horror-movie-watching teenager that she once was.  Andrew has to reconsider some of his viewpoints or risk suppressing what could be a very important aspect of his anam cara's psyche.

From 2020:  I still really want to do this story but don't feel really confident about my ability to read Pet Semetary in time.  So, instead, I think the impetus for the story will be Violeta hearing about the TV series The Haunting of Hill House (which I happened to love).  I have a feeling JenniAnn would have very much wanted to watch it but put it off out of respect for Andrew.  But I think it's something that could actually have a lot of meaning for them both and would be a great education for Violeta. 

From 2019: 4.  So this one has some very heavy topics but I still think it'll be quicker to write than, say, "Broken Hallelujahs."  The Friends discover in ways both heartbreaking and encouraging that things aren't always as they seem.  When one of their own attempts suicide, the group is left confused, shaken, and distraught.  Meanwhile, Andrew's shocked when an old friend resurfaces, seeking aid for his protege who was among the victims of a hate crime against indigenous peoples.  Little do any of them know that the troubled Friend and broken angel are linked.

From 2020: Okay... so I did actually start laying the groundwork for this one.  And if you read today's installment of the Christmas story, it might become a little clearer who the "troubled Friend" is even though, at this time, the trouble hasn't started.  I did introduce Takoda, the angelic protege, in "The Messiah" which felt a little rocky to me but I think it makes more sense and will be more meaningful to have him somewhat established as opposed to springing him as a totally new character.  I think this story has the best chance of actually happening in 2020.
From 2019: 5.  Beyond stories, I'd really like to get the Dyeland Character Birthdates list completely updated.  Right now it's pretty hit or miss and I need to get to a point where that's updated every time a new character is introduced.  Which brings me to...

From 2020: This I actually did fairly well on... now I just need to keep it up.  I have the info for the new characters from "The Messiah" saved.  I just need to get that into the spreadsheet.  But, hey, I did get a spreadsheet started that lists the meanings behind all the characters' names.  I need to upload that to the site, too. 
From 2019: 6.  I need to standardize how I create new characters.  As it is now, I come up with a character and immediately thrust them into a plot and then three stories later I want to, say, reference their age or hair color and have no idea if I've already established either.  So I think I'll start filling out a form like the following and will ask others to do the same if they introduce anyone.

Full name:
Date of birth:
Physical description:
Family situation:

That will, hopefully, cut down on discrepancies and confusion on my part.  As best as possible, I'll go back and fill that in for existing characters, too, in case anyone else wants to take a stab at writing.  Meanwhile, if anyone is reading past stories and comes across physical descriptions of characters, please let me know.  While some are very well established in my head, others are a blur.  I'm very clear on all characters from TBAA, of course!  :-)

From 2020: Definitely still need to do that...  What I really need to do is a whole lot of rereading of prior stories.
From 2019: 7.  Just for fun, I'm also working on a list of characters' names, their meanings, and origins.  I hope to release that soon but if anyone wants to peruse it first, please let me know.  Again, it's probably hit and miss with some folks' left off accidentally.

From 2020: I did that!  http://www.onthisside.net/characternames.pdf
From 2019: 8.  On a non-story note, I really, really hope this is the year I can finish getting the Hallmark snaps off the TBAA Photo Gallery and replaced with ones from the official DVDs.  It really put a damper on things when I discovered my screenshot program doesn't work on this computer.  I'd also really like to redo the snaps from Seasons 2-4 which, for reasons unknown to me now, I made really small.  So... if anyone knows of a good, reasonably priced screenshot program that works on Windows 10, please let me know!

From 2020: I did not do that...  This laptop may be on its way out so, hopefully, when I get a new one, I'll be better able to do screenshots. 
From 2019: 9.  I plan to release a short story next Sunday, January 27th, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  I wrote most of it following my visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. this past autumn.  It mostly involves Joshua and JenniAnn but Andrew is featured.  I'll post a link on the Updates page next Sunday.

From 2020: That did happen and you can read it here:

From 2019: 10.  Finally... I'd just really like to get the Encyclopedia, Timeline, etc. updated with information from "Broken Hallelujahs" on.  I feel really, really behind!

From 2020: And that also happened... but now I need to eventually add the information from "The Messiah" but I'll take a few weeks' break from it first.

And I can't say I really have any new, big plans for 2020.  Just catching up from what I didn't get to in 2019 will probably take me a while!  But you never know what unforeseen thing might spark creativity...

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring yet another year of JABB!

JABB Portal
JABB 561

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)