So This is Life, Now

I just got off the phone with a lovely board member of one of the organizations that wanted an author panel, and they are so looking forward to our trio of authors speaking, she said, but it will be half-in-person, and half-virtual.

This is life, now.

I am glad there is no longer full-on virtual. That’s something, at least! It’s been a challenging year, and looks to be a challenging 2021 as well, but there are pockets of hope springing up here and there. My azaleas are blooming, I planted three camellias and a hydrangea this spring and they are thriving (good sign – they haven’t died), and folks are starting to breathe again. Well, as much breathing as you can do through a mask. These are coming off with regularity, though, I’ve noticed.

In spite of all this, my book, The Deadening, was released late February, and so far, I’ve had wonderful, five-star reviews and so much support I am blown away. People are loving my book! Isn’t it funny that authors tend to think they can’t write a darn thing anyone will want to read, and when they do, they are surprised. It’s true. We’re all like that.

To my delight, my local Barnes&Noble decided to carry the book, so all those folks who would really rather buy their books at a bookstore now have that option. Hilton Head Island’s full-time residents mourned when the B&N closed for COVID, and rejoiced when it opened, me included.

The forever stamp on our citizens of this twilight zone existence we’ve endured for almost 15 months will be a legacy of half-virtual mixed with half-in-person. Can’t you just see it? Mom ‘n Pops have closed all over the country, and many employers realized that ZOOM and other meeting apps make showing up to the workplace obsolete. Professional casual is now ‘professional above the waist only’ thanks to technology. (Just don’t get out of your seat).

It has become routine to see my husband in a dress shirt above the waist, and sweat pants below as he’s rushing to another virtual meeting. I wonder how this has affected our shopping? Amazon has seen the biggest boom ever, but copycats are springing up, and they have significant competition now. Already I’m a more zealous virtual shopper, but I get desperate for some human interaction and in a fit of virtual-shopping rebellion, I dash out the door for groceries, but I’m resentful that I have to throw on more presentable clothing and put on makeup. This virtual thing has made me less willing to get all dolled up. For anything.

Half-virtual, half-in-person. This is life, now.

As human beings, we are made to enjoy and fluorish in relationships. No matter what anybody tries to tell me, I’m better when I’m relating to people…in person. I don’t want to learn to do life with a half-virtual mindset. But that’s just me. In the meantime, I’m enjoying awesome reviews like this one in spite of the bizarre alien atmosphere that has become our society:

“Woohoo!!!! This book blew me away! You know when you read a book and it is soo good that every book you read for the next few months just can’t compareโ€ฆ yeah – this was that book for me!

OK I have to admit, I have a thing for books about memory loss. I have no idea why?? Maybe in a previous lifetime I had amnesia? This one was done so well. The parts when she started to remember things, it just felt so real.

Excellent character development! I loved Olivia. I thought her character was spot on and very believable. The beginning of this book!! Oh my gosh, I was totally riveted! I could not tear myself away, even with tears flowing down my face! I don’t want to give away the story butโ€ฆ when she goes home to be with her mom and daughters even though she can’t remember who they are! ๐Ÿ˜ข Heartbreaking! I also loved her mom and the daughters. I thought they were great through the whole thing.

Perfect ending that will blow your mind!

Waitโ€ฆ The first in a series??!! Sign me up for more! Can’t wait to read more by this “new to me” author!

โ€œThe Deadeningโ€ all snuggled up beside other local Lowcountry authors. ๐ŸŒด๐Ÿ˜Ž

Other interesting things have happened in the absence of in-person launch events…Iโ€™ve been forced to discover new technology. This is my absolute favorite:

Click here for a surprise!

See? This is called a Link Tree for obvious reasons, and disposes of the sad task of posting separate links for every, single site I am attached to. These kinds of discoveries are one of the primary purposes of adult children – to educate Mom and Dad about astute and useful advances in technology.

๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ

In spite of the virtual, my book seems to be fluorishing, and my sequel as well. I’m 35,000 words in, just sent it off to my wonderful, patient editor for her comments, and life is good. I have a #PartnersinCrimeVBT blog tour in progress – shout out to Cheryl Mash – three more major events scheduled to acquaint readers with “The Deadening,” and another 45,000-50,000 words to get down. Plus, I have the great unmasking to look forward to.

Re-learning how to meet in person and dress like I am civilized is going to be a challenge – but I’m equal to the task.

Onward. Through the fog!

Got Inspiration?

So, today, the Level Best Authors promotion group I’m a part of had their first joint post on a host blog. The question we all answered was ‘where do you get your inspiration and idea for the story?’ The short answer is, all over the place!

99.9% of the time, my inspiration comes from someone who has related an experience so engaging and intriguing that it has to have a place somewhere in my book. Or in the case of my latest book, a conversation with a stranger led to the entire story! Read about it here. We are so often afraid of approaching others, or taking deep dives in conversation with people we don’t know very well, aren’t we? Perhaps even more so now that the masking has occurred. I’m hoping hugs and deep-seated conversations will resume once we return to an unmasked society, but in the meantime it’s a bit harder to ferret out inspiration as an author, because gatherings have become distanced. Both physically and emotionally.

People are so interesting, and have so many stories. And in the current climate in America, I would assume there’s a lot of loneliness and longing for connection. Even though it feels alien and awkward, I appreciate the technology that allows us to stay in touch or have events and meetings in spite of the distancing required in person. I now have roughly three ZOOM events or calls a week, and more on the horizon. I’m pretty comfortable with the technology now, but I’m wondering if this is a precursor of what our society as a whole is embracing in the future? It is a scary prospect to me.

Give me a good, lively conversation with someone new and I’ll leave with four or five ideas for characters or stories or scenes. But sadly, our deep conversations are muted at present, and we must slog through this ‘new normal’ with resolve and hope. Americans are not ones to live their lives behind masks, and I trust that, like most viruses, this one will recede and we can tiptoe back to those interesting conversations and friendly smiles. In person.

To read our joint posts about idea inspiration for authors on ‘The Wickeds’ blog, click here.

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Pre-order my latest book, The Deadening, here. Available on Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop, B&N.com

Olivia Callahanโ€™s quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why. After a chilling struggle to survive, she awakens from a coma unable to remember what happened to her or anything at all, except she has been told she is an entirely different person. Or is she?
         Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked. Had she really been that person? And if so, does she want her old life back?