The Calendar Lives!

Egad! Below is my first attempt at “adding a visual”, as encouraged by research. AND…

My writing calendar/business calendar tells me to draft a post, revise a few pages from a previously published novel, continue with the drafting of two historical novels, and read over a few emails.

This feels great. I missed it.

The calendar is full and I’m busy! I’ve passed through the mire and muck of depression. Or I hope so. I have completed next-to-nothing for nearly a month. Not healthy for a previously published writer who enjoys the stuff.

Stuff? Creating, researching, drafting, planning, and yes, even editing, and editing, and revising, and revising, and more editing. Although, I will admit I am not fond of searching for an agent. It’s similar to begging or being a wallflower.

“Do you like my work?”

“Is my writing good enough?”

“Do you like me?”

Insecure? Yes. Aren’t most creative sorts? Anyway, hopefully soon, I will post a description of my current WIP’s, both of them. If you read this blog last time, you’ll realize that the WIP of the last three years has been asked to wait, take a breather. It hurts. Yet, I’ve been told, pain is part of this writer’s life.


Progress is Vague

In my opinion I created a completed 62,000 word historical novel, but way in the back of my mind something niggled. It felt off. I hired a great book reviewer. I love her. She told me the truth. Odd these days.

Lillian’s Choice had too many settings; a UK manor house, a UK workhouse, London, an ocean voyage, train rides into the US south, a small swamp town, Raleigh, NC and Nashville, Tennessee. Lillian’s Choice had too many characters, besides Lillian, there were twenty more. AND.. too many plots; murder, theft, extortion,  hate crimes, the vote for women, and the ever present political illegal hot-air.

Too many too manys.

After my recovery from an author’s emotional upheaval, I came to the painful conclusion that Lillian needed a rest, if not a burial or a ceremonial cremation. Not to concern yourselves; I shall save a copy. There’s “too many” hours and bits of energy in her pages.

I have decided to begin again. I will most likely return to my historical swampy adventures.  The characters found in Gray Lace, Silver Cotton, and Golden Leaf will reappear and save the day from evil. I will not allow all to do so. There are “TOO MANY”.

With a Shakespearean Insult Kit at my side and  “Corn Teen” time available, I should be able to mangle an idle-headed nut-hook of a novel. Thank you William.


Yes, we should count our blessings.

OK: 1. We can afford to stay home.  2. We do not need to wear a mask because we do not go anywhere.  3. Currently, we can afford Mr. Amazon, although, at $10.00 for 8oz of sugar, not much longer.  4. Miss UPS feeds us. She is wonderful, bringing the powdered eggs and milk.   Oh, and the canned herring.  5. Our home is big enough for us to run screaming into another room for escape.  6. I can count to six.  7. My creation station appears industrious; ergo I can reach my thesaurus and research vocabulary to defend my craziness.

Oh! News from my writing world … I have hired an editor. This is both exciting and fearful. I am exhibiting my wares, making them open to criticism, in fact I am paying someone to do just that. I did send Lillian’s Choice to my valuable Critters, 5 readers who let me know what they think. I’m studying their learned comments and making the appropriate changes. Wow! I missed a lot of commas. My critters don’t charge me, but they do like me, which means they’ll be nice to me. So, I hired someone to be mean, because kindness doesn’t sell books.





June Bugs

Growing up in southeastern Massachusetts the words June Bug brought terrifying visions of large hard-shelled dark creepies. Having an older brother didn’t help. He would aim for the back of my neck.

Growing old in southeastern North Carolina the words June Bug (at least this year) mean isolation, quarantine, “corn teen” and prayers for a vaccine. It means Amazon deliveries and weekly post office visits. It means powdered eggs, cheese, milk, and butter. Yuck.

Yes, count your blessings, swampy lady!

No, I will not list those here. There are quite a few. One arrived today. I am an author, searching for an agent. A friendly famous historical mystery author, Deanna Raybourn, wrote to offer encouragement. I became quite excited. Perhaps I will find an agent!

Another blessing worth mentioning is my oldest great niece. Yes, I’m old enough to have one. She turned 26 last Friday and she lives in my beloved UK. Hopefully, she will have a future that allows her to succeed in any field, although, I am rather fond of her current occupation. She’s a baker. A really good baker. She doesn’t burn things. Then there’s my ducks. My beloved readers know I live in a swamp and we co-exist with many species. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and all their little Mallards cross the road and make my heart skip a beat if there’s a truck coming. In the south, that’s all we drive. Trucks. White ones. Our trucks have automatic alligator  alerts, too.

Those Yankee June Bugs would destroy these trucks. They’re quite hard-shelled.



Editing a WIP (Lillian’s Choice) is difficult as is without a mouse in my creation station. I would name him Fred, but Fred was a pheasant I once knew.  So, Antonio it is.

Antonio has great power over my characters, my plot, and their settings. Oh, and my mood. He appears at random times to distribute his evil. Here’s an example: If I wrote, “Dick and Jane went to the store.”, which I would not, Antonio would display his talents on my screen as, “store to we J ick the ore t and”. Of course, with that example, I deserve to be attacked.

Another: if I wrote, “Forgetting he had lent his knife to his wife, my hero reached for his weapon, which he expected to be in his boot.”  Antonio would edited as, “reached for his wife as hero expected to be…”.

Poor Lillian would have no choice, but to become violent.

An exuberant mouse on any computer is as dangerous as a politician I know about. With ADHD ( I call lazy focus) and weak typing skills, Antonio is frustrating and time consuming. How can I be helpful to poor Antonio before I am arrested by Dell Corporation or possibly the SPCA?

Please, computer wise readers, how does this author control an Antonio?

Oh, quick update on WIP, Lillian’s Choice, my 5 excellent beta-readers have the manuscript, I will begin out-loud readings soon, (oh, poor Hubs) and then Edit #3, as well as the dreaded Agent Search….




I put on my old worn-out wide-brimmed straw hat. As an author I cringe at that sentence. Translation: I put on a hat. There, now I feel better.

I found my gardening gloves; not latex “corn-teen” gloves, just old dirty worn-out stuff, and offered myself as free labor to our chief gardener, The Hubs.

Since Covid-19 stopped my market days, (yes, we’re that islolated), planting seeds is now a matter of wanting fresh vegetables. Yes, I know May is a bit late to plant, maybe. I do know the seeds go in the ground and cover them with “black cow”. Don’t ask. Those seeds need water and Carolina sunshine and in my case – prayers.

I know all that.

Which is pretty good for a spoiled Yankee city/country girl. I have memories of Mom’s plentiful gardens, her weeding, harvesting, and canning. Yes, I nearly blistered my hands on the steamer-canner.  As a really young kid, I played with those round rubber rings, but I have only had brief and unsuccessful encounter with gardening.

I might have to try dieting.

Today, I put seeds in the “black cow” soil: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, garden green peas, green bell peppers, and some sort of sprout from Brussels. Can’t wait! This spoiled girl needs to edit my current WIP, Lillian’s Choice, or I’ll  be an historical fiction … much like my gardening.


Mask vs Bank

After nearly sixty days of isolation, we traveled out of the house, without a mask. To the post office. We slid a letter carefully into the mouth of the outside large metal drive-up  box without touching it and then…we left town! Without a mask.

We drove ten miles to the county seat, an actual city, well, sort of. In my books I refer to it as Plainville. This trip was exciting. It was an eye opener.

Perspectives change with attitude.

Every bit of scenery seemed new. We drove past the county hospital and their Covid-19 tents, recieving souls who question their health. No masks in sight.

I won’t leave home again without a mask.

We circled the old county court house because we like to and often count the number of times we circumnavigate it. Also, because one has to. Remember that infamous chicken who wanted to get to the other side?

Once near the bank, we wished we had our masks. We drove to the back where they keep their drive-through. This one had a sliding drawer and real people were seen inside the main building. I told you it was exciting. A new-to-me person came to the window and said through her speaker, “How are you folks doing today.” She was pretty and young and reminded me of myself when was too was a bank teller; not necessarily pretty. Yes, a long time ago. That’s another blog-post.

She spoke like she knew us! It was kind of her to ask. She didn’t have a mask either.

By the way…isolation is not could for my reasoning abilities.




Texting is , or should be, similar to thinking before you speak. No intended references to an infamous texter. Maybe.

The key is proofreading, editing, revising, reviewing…sound familiar, writers?

I enjoy texting better than talking, calling, or face-timing. When I see myself on a screen, I am often too busy self-analyzing rather than thinking what I’m saying. “This Mess” has played havoc with availability to hair coloring and wrinkle creams. Forget the make up!

Mr. Word and Mr. Press have cheered me during “This Mess”, however.  They renewed my yearly contract. Nice of them. Mr. Master and Mr. Card assisted. Why are they all men? I have no idea, other than I’m so old school. They could be sloths or llamas.

Now, according to Word Press’s love letter , I now have an Happiness Engineer. His name is Herman. Really. I think I am thrilled by this news. Maybe Herman will increase my book sales as soon as I finish my current WIP.  By finish, I mean (see above) editing, proofreading, revising, reviewing, and praying over.

A bit more about “This Mess”. This is day #53 in my Swamp of Seclusion. Mother Nature continues to assume I’m sane by displaying her beauty: sunsets, wildlife, wind-whipped lake waters, occasional otters and my favorite, Douglas the Alligator. Mr. (or Miss) Amazon and Miss Ups-Woman and Mrs. Fed and Mrs. Ex keep me fed. Sometimes I tip them because basically they are keeping me alive.

I would text them, but Herman, my Happiness Engineer, has yet to connect.






In my swamp, once a year, in April, (blame global warming) our Mayflies descend. Keeping us inside. Yet another reason. This is day #36 for the hubs and myself. Today’s canned tuna was delicious, thank you. We don’t get out to shop. Mr. Amazon spoils us. He’s great with canned goods and dry milk.

Another reason to worry about my sanity is the new craze to virtually visit as a crowd…zooming…which supposedly caries yet another virus.  So, covid-19, you are not the only star of the show.

What else do I miss besides my sanity? Here’s my list: daily mail. We go to the post office once a week. Writing old-fashioned cards in cursive. Discussing books and gossip and a tad of politics with my book club. Eggs. Going out to lunch. This list is so extensive That Mr. Word and Mr. Press might put a restraining order on my account.

Writing! I am getting more done. The Mayflies are watching me through the windows of my creation station. They’ll hang there until a strong rain or my garden hose changes their dead minds. My WIP is now in edit mode. This might take a while. I hate being watched while I edit my creations. Also, I have drafted a synopsis for this newest historical adventure. Perhaps I’ll post that before our country is “released”.

When I was an elementary school teacher with the Sanhedrin and Malcontents, the administration would give the children “Early Release Days”, in order to allow the teachers to learn something…chuckle. I would often sing to the kids the only country song I know, “Please Release Me, Let Me Go”.


Day #21 of Iso.


Yes, we started later than a few folks; earlier than most. My father often said (a great deal), “It is better to be two hours early than one minute late.”

The journey to good health is not always smooth. So, here are a few suggestions: Yes, take a deep breath and stockpile the liquor. No, I mean liquid…water, silly. And, you’ve heard this one: count your blessings!

First, if you’re a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider…Thank you!

Second, if you’re a provider of food…Thank you!

Third, if you’re a parent, taking on the challenge of home-schooling…Thank you!

Those of us NOT one or two of those: you are blessed.

My isolation from my WIP (drafts #1 and 2) is nearly over. This is my experiment, my theory. If I leave my finished work alone for awhile, I should be able to find more mistakes, smooth out the “plot-bumps”, put a shinier-shine on the polish when I do write my way out of WIP isolation. In other words, drafts #3 and 4 should be more productive, more attractive, before I start my agent search.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been revising Gary Lace (Book #4) during my author-isolation. Next week, I’ll print out the first chapter of LILLIAN’S CHOICE.

There it is. The title! Of Book #7.  Lillian’s choices begin in an early 20th century English workhouse and end in a 1920 Nashville, Tennessee hotel while she waits for The Women’s Vote. Her decisions are determined by fear, courage, and compassion. Most of it hers.

Let me know what you think. Would you read it?