A Little Shot; A Very Big Deal!

A year ago today the Covid-19 crisis cut short my spring break trip to see my sister in Dallas. I’m so happy to report that I marked the anniversary of that date by getting my first Covid vaccine!

While inklings of disaster were just beginning this time last year, I stuck to my plan and drove from Kansas City to DSC_1045Dallas. Spent a beautiful day at the Dallas Arboretum, where there was plenty of room to spread out and avoid others. But the next day, we attempted to do some shopping, and everything felt weird. So, after only two days, I packed my bags, turned around, and drove nine hours back home.

By then, the Big 12 basketball tournament and the NCAA tournament—the big dance—had been cancelled. For a KU grad and Jayhawk basketball fan, this was huge. News reports were bad, and things were not looking good.

It was a terrible year. The pandemic messed up milestone birthday celebrations for me, my mom, and my daughter. No book signings or author events. Restaurants shutting down. People out of work. Vacations cancelled. Holidays without family. People dying without loved ones at their side. One of my brothers died in 2020. No family was present, and we were unable to have a memorial service.

It’s heartbreaking that so many people were lost. I’m so grateful for the scientists and medical professionals who worked tirelessly to save lives and bring us an effective vaccine.

It’s such a relief to see light at the end of the tunnel. I was a little apprehensive to get the shot today. I’ve been known to pass out during a blood draw. Turned out it was just a little prick. No big deal. But, actually, it’s a very big IMG_9475deal. It’s a shot of hope. I feel as if I’m getting my life back. Five more weeks—and I’m counting down the days.

All of a sudden my blank calendar is filling up! So far, yesterday and today I’ve made several long overdue appointments— hair cut and color (Yikes! It’s been a full year!), teeth cleaning, and a mammogram. Most exciting of all, I booked flights for an author/reader event in Connecticut in July. That just happens to coincide with a bridal shower for my daughter. Her engagement was the one bright spot in this tedious, awful year. We now have so much to look forward to. Let the fun begin!

Happy spring to all. Hopeful that you, too, are seeing light in the days ahead.

Darlene

Oh, for a crystal ball!

crystal ballI’m about ready to finish up a new contemporary romance. It’s always fun to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s also a challenging part of the writing process – figuring out if the story is really “done,” and then moving on to the agony of writing an intriguing cover blurb, choosing an eye-catching title, and creating an appealing cover.
But while that story is being scrutinized by critique partners and beta readers, I’m looking ahead to what’s next. I probably have ten stories in various stages of development – everything from a basic concept to a solid 75,000 words. Some are romance, some are general fiction, some women’s fiction, and one or two are actually non-fiction. The dilemma is, I want to write them all! Unfortunately, time demands that I choose.
Oh, for a crystal ball. Which concept is strongest? Which is most likely to strike a chord with readers or find its way to an influencer? And significantly, which one will come together most organically with words and ideas flowing as I sit at my computer?
My most recent published work is a women’s fiction, and I’m committed to a third book in that series. Charge ahead with that or take a break? The novel that’s attracting the most attention right now is my contemporary romance Something Good that was published last year. Keep the momentum going, and follow up with something similar to appeal to that same audience?
Last night, I sat down and read through several of the manuscripts I’ve started, and have to say, I feel pretty good about all of them. I can see potential in the stories and characters. I can see tension and conflict, and developing relationships. On one hand, that’s exciting because I know I can keep at this. On the other hand, it’s frightening and immobilizing because I can see about ten years’ worth of work waiting to be done!
My solution? Take a break. Go do something else, and hope that inspiration will strike, as usual, when I’m working in the yard or cleaning the house. Hoping that some of those characters will whisper in my ear and nudge me in the right direction! 🙂