If you’ve stuck with me this far, I thank you, and I wish you a heartfelt Happy New Year.
One of the biggest challenges of being a writer comes in balancing all of my other responsibilities along with those to my readers and to my characters. Unfortunately, in 2015 everyone had to take a back seat to my family’s myriad health crises. The year started with my husband scheduled for shoulder surgery. My eldest son was already banged up with four broken bones from three separate incidents, all within the month of December!! In March, when the last of his slings, casts, and splints came off and we turned our eyes to baseball season, my son followed up a bout of the flu with acute appendicitis that resulted in emergency surgery just a few scant hours after I took him to the hospital.
Once my son was released from the hospital, my doctor recommended a long weekend at the beach to prevent exhaustion. On the way there, I developed severe back pain that landed me in the Emergency Room. That same weekend in March, my eighty-two year-old father revealed he had esophageal cancer and would require surgery and chemotherapy. My daughter also called that weekend from her home in Mississippi to let me know she needed surgery the following week.
Several weeks, countless tests, and three specialists later, my back problems were diagnosed as the result of a spinal cord issue. After much discussion of both surgical and non-surgical options, I opted for physical therapy because I’ve had enough of surgery, thanks. I’m just stubborn enough to make physical therapy work for me.
In May, I did manage to put out a limited release, free short story, THE OSTRA CHILD.
Amid all of this, I was working with my kids’ schools to develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for my two autistic children, and keeping up with baseball, gymnastics, viola, playdates, doctor’s appointments, and my own twice-weekly physical therapy.
My youngest in her flower girl dress.
But not all of the stressors were negative. My two youngest children were baptized, which is a very big deal to me, and each of my three adult daughters became engaged and married in 2015. We spent a lot of time on the road, despite my back issues making it difficult to sit, lie down, or stand for very long. I sewed flower girl dresses and Mother-of-the Bride dresses, and helped with decorating and making candy for the reception.
At the end of September, just as I’d finally managed to get back on my feet, off the pain meds, and out of the recliner, I tripped in the dark and fell over a tree stump at the last of the three weddings. I added the new injuries of a damaged nerve in my elbow, and knee and hip problems. So, it was back into the recliner with pain meds for me for two more months. Somewhere in there, I still managed to sew a Little Red Riding Hood cape for my youngest, and taught her how to make hair bows.
Despite my best efforts, not a lot of writing was accomplished. I am happy to say that my second bout of physical therapy has taken me from recliner to treadmill. I am now not only able to sit at the computer once more and write for hours on end, I am also training for a 5k in April that my fitness coach daughter has promised to run with me. My husband’s shoulder is as strong as ever. My son is healthy and getting ready for baseball. My father’s cancer is in remission and he, just a few moments ago, drove his motor home out of my yard, headed back to his home in Florida.
With my family and me finally healthy, and the Holidays behind me, I have the working file of BARRON’S LAST STAND open in another window on my computer. Bo and Blade are poised to spring into action and wrap up the final installment of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES. My most wonderful editor, Laurel Kriegler had me send her the manuscript thus far and has been offering her brilliant insight and encouragement. (I think she wanted to make sure I was actually writing it and not just telling people I had.) She and I are coordinating our schedules and working out a timeframe that all depends on my being able to put in actual writing time at the computer. With that in mind, I hope you’ll understand if my blog is a bit neglected and my presence on social media is scarce.
Bo has a lot to accomplish and she and I are both determined to see this through. I can’t tell you much about the book except to say that BARRON’S LAST STAND has more point of view characters, and several characters show up from the BWC extended universe of stories. As for the main characters, after five years apart, Bo and Blade are not the same people they were at the conclusion of HERO’S END. As for the Facebook rumors that have begun circulating about Blade’s death at the end of the book…I can neither confirm nor deny those allegations. You’ll just have to wait and see.