Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Work in Progress

I'm struggling to string words together today. This year has been a difficult one for my family. I won't bore you with every struggle I've gone through but will mention a couple. My mother's stroke and subsequent admittance to the nursing home has taken center stage in my life and continues to do so. Eleven months ago, my husband and I found her on the floor of her bedroom. Her recovery was rapid, except for her short-term memory. She continues to fight against being confined to the nursing home, after eleven long months. We explain why but the next visit involves the same questions and the same answers. Needless to say, it's stressful and draining.

And my husband, Carl, had back surgery last year and has continued to have problems. Then, a couple of months ago, he was severely burned. 

There's more but that should suffice to explain why my writing has stalled, like a rusted-out car, perhaps has completely died and needs to be hauled off to the nearest junkyard.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I can jumpstart my writing in 2017--if somewhere I find a battery with enough juice to get me going. 

I planned to write a non-fiction book, tentatively entitled The Role of a Woman. Here on my blog and in my newsletter I've written a few articles I'd planned to incorporate into the book. That project will be shelved for now. I realize it will take intensive research, and I can't summon up the energy needed at this time.

I had also planned, in 2016, to write book 2 in what I was calling Southern Pines Mysteries. I feel hopeful I can write this book in 2017. Some changes have been made. I've changed the title of the series to A Tree's Response Mystery. The name comes from this quote: “It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. ‘I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,’ she told me. ‘In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.’ Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’ Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. ‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ What did it say to her? She answered, ‘It said to me, I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.’~Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

The first book in the series has been published and the other two have been roughly plotted. The three books form one story. Each book will stand alone but each book is connected to the others.

I've also changed the titles a bit in books 2 and 3 and changed the covers. Here are the new covers:

My Work-in-Progress (WIP), Rootless, continues the story of Ezekiel and Grace. Below is a very rough blurb:

Ezekiel has effectively been banished from the Drake Mansion and is now working for Grace's father. Grace's father forces Ezekiel to live in the servants' house, where he displaces the maid's oldest daughter from her room. However, deflecting the daughter's wrath is the least of his worries. 

Mr. Drake's long-lost sister, her husband, and children show up to claim their inheritance. A murder throws suspicion on the entire family, and Grace and Ezekiel are again called upon to solve the mystery. 

Yeah...blurbs are difficult. I'll keep working on it but perhaps it gives an idea of the story. I classified Frail Branch as a cozy mystery. Perhaps I need to re-think the genre. Cozies of today are different than this series. Most of today's cozies have female protagonists, lots of recipes, usually a cat or some other pet, and are humorous. A fifteen-year-old boy, living in the 1940s, with nary a cat in sight, does not fit today's parameters for a cozy mystery. 

However, I consider it a cozy. The books are clean with minimal violence. I'd like to think they're similar to an Agatha Christie mystery.

For Rootless, I'm planning to keep in Ezekiel's point of view. This book will deal with him almost exclusively. He is estranged from Grace and dealing with loneliness and isolation, attempting to fit into an unfamiliar world. 

This song reminds me of Rootless

Hopefully, I'll be telling you more in the coming weeks! Just praying 2017 is a slightly calmer year, and I'll have the energy to write!


  1. Good luck on your new adventures. Sounds like lots of changes. Good thing you announced your pen name, I always look for Sheila, whose work I know and love. ;) And yes, we will pray that 2017 is a better year.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.