Your New Year’s Day Pep Talk For 2023

New Year's Day pep talk imageI’d like to talk to you about critics and detractors, and to do that I need to discuss my work for a few paragraphs. Please allow me the luxury of self-involvement for these few moments, as I promise this is going somewhere.

From a story perspective, Druid’s Gamble is probably one of the better books I’ve written. Despite being a long-ish urban fantasy novel, the plot moves along at a brisk pace and there’s plenty of action to keep the reader entertained.

Although the story contains a large cast of characters, I did what I could with character development by fleshing out new characters without bogging down the story. This is more difficult than you might think, but somehow it worked.

Finally, I included some plot twists that hopefully serve to keep the reader guessing at how Colin will deal with certain problems that arise. The hints are there, but they are easy to miss, which is how it should be. The reader should have enough information to figure it out, but not enough to make the twist obvious. I believe I accomplished that with this novel.

Thus, in Druid’s Gamble we have story length, story depth, character development, and brisk pacing. Yet, someone still gave this novel a 1-star rating. Go figure.

Low ratings don’t bother me like they once did. Sure, I could obsess over that single one-star review, mulling over why they chose to give the book such a low rating.

However, that would be an incredible waste of time and energy. I came to realize long ago that no matter what you do or how well you do it, you will always have critics and detractors. And the higher you fly, the greater the number of people who try to shoot you down.

This is simply how some people are—unhappy people can’t stand to see someone else shine. The late motivational speaker Jim Rohn used to say that it was a waste of time trying to figure such people out. Rather than getting emotionally stuck on wondering why others weren’t on board with your own personal goals, he advised instead to simply observe your detractors and say, “Isn’t that interesting?”

In other words, focusing on it won’t change it. Besides, it’s more fun to celebrate your own strengths and victories than it is to examine other peoples’ shortcomings and criticisms.

The same goes for facing challenges and setbacks. To say this year was rough for me is a gross understatement. I have to remind myself every day that dwelling on it and asking “why?” is a waste of time.

Everyone faces struggles. Asking “why?” doesn’t change anything. In the end, it’s not what happens, it’s how you deal with it that counts. That might be a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true.

My advice to you is, don’t let the odd detractor or critic get you down, and don’t focus on undesirable circumstances. I’m not saying you shouldn’t mourn losses or feel down when someone pulls the rug out from under you, but I am advising that you don’t get stuck there. Instead, experience that heartache, and then refocus on your own plan, your own goals.

You are so much more than the opinions of others, than their criticisms, their talk. If you treat others well and you are doing the best you can with what you have, who can levy criticisms against that? Stop obsessing over what other people think, and instead spend that energy on celebrating your strengths and victories.

Finally, I am here to tell you that I believe in you. Always remember that you are amazing, and 2023 will be exactly what you make of it. Simply keep being a good human, keep caring for the people who really matter, and keep a flame lit for your own personal dreams and goals.

Happy New Year, everyone!

~M.D. Massey


  1. Steve Cooper on January 13, 2023 at 5:54 am

    MD Massey – I have bought every book you have written on Audible since I listened to Junkyard Druid back in 2019. Colin McCool accompanied me on many a long lonely drive through the mountains as I made my 2-hour commute to work. You are an incredible writer – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
    When studying for my MBA, one of my instructors made us accumulate positive comments from our closest friends and family to refer to during our darkest times to cheer us up. Maybe you could do this too! Until then, eagerly awaiting your next book. Cheers!

    • M.D. Massey on January 13, 2023 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Steve! Your kind words are much appreciated.

      • Chris Robbins on January 24, 2023 at 2:52 pm

        I somehow found you recently, should’ve a while ago. I have read The Trickster Cycle, and I am now on Book 7 of The Junkyard Druid series. There is only 1 left in this series, then what? I see there are other series, which I really look forward to reading. I’ll zoom through them, any particular order in which I should be reading these?
        The books are written very well, plots move along at a good pace, characters are all interesting and alive. I highly recommend your books and look forward to more! And, editing us also good-i am an inveterate proof-reader and haven’t found many errors yet.
        Keep up the great work. You’ve brought me hours of pleasure in your Druid universe.

        • M.D. Massey on January 26, 2023 at 4:40 pm

          Thanks, Chris! You’ll be happy to know that there are 12 books in the main series and 16 books total, as the series continues with four more novels in The Trickster Cycle. Even more Colin McCool novels are coming, as I’m taking him on a side trip to an alternate dimension, and I’m continuing his main timeline story in his next tetralogy of primary storyline novels. Stay tuned, and in the meantime you can peruse the list of all the Druidverse® novels at this link:

          • Linda on March 17, 2023 at 12:47 pm

            As someone who’s been reading the Junkyard Druid series about as long as you’ve been writing them, I agree! Trick is such an interesting character and it’s been fun to watch you grow as a writer. The Trickster Cycle really is a step up, not to put down the JD series at all, it’s just the next level up of writing. You keep writing ’em, I’ll keep reading ’em.

          • M.D. Massey on March 19, 2023 at 10:46 pm

            Will do!

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