Tuesday, June 27

As I sit in my “writer’s cave” — a recliner in our RV– I am bubbling all over myself  about  a thrilling development about to happen. In a few months, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, the first book in my two-book series, will be published. A few months later, the second book, BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS, will follow. At last, an acquaintance of ours in the publishing business wants to publish my books  so I can get them into my readers’ hands where they belong.

The process has already begun. After I submitted full drafts of both stories, my “bio” and a photo, synopses, and book-jacket blurbs, I am now receiving pictures of book covers to consider. By the end of the week, I expect  to receive the first track of edits.

This is really going to happen, I tell myself. Soon, I will transition from writer to author. Like every other worthwhile venture, this debut novel and change of roles has been a long time coming.

Up until January 2009, I wrote and sold poetry, only. But when Cousin BeeGee emailed me about a writing workshop called “The Laughing Gull”, in Port Aransas, she added, “I see your name all over this.”

So, at her invitation, I flew down to reunite with her after thirty-some years and to attend the workshop, held at Port Aransas High School. Purely for the fun of it, I attended non-poetry workshops. One was about writing the memoir. But the one I enjoyed most was presentation on writing a mystery novel.

“What fun!” I thought, rubbing my hands together, as we received hand-outs about writing mystery.  The presenter, David Ciambrone, even announced that special evening meeting titled “Murder 101” would take place in a nearby condo, that night. At that presentation, we would be covering blood-splatter patterns, weapons and poisons for killing the “victims” (in our books, that is), and other deliciously-gory stuff.

At times like these, I feel like a proud parent looking at her children’s photos, I flip back to my earlier drafts to laugh at the blunders I made, back then, and show myself how far I have come.  And like some mothers, I can even remember when and where BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS was conceived: in January of 2009, around noon, in the air somewhere between Corpus Christi and Dallas.

The story, about a newly-married travel writer forced to fly home from a long-awaited  writing assignment in Barcelona to care for her ailing mother in  the wake of her father’s death,  originated from my own experiences as my mother’s caregiver until I gave the story a diabolical what-if.

Since I first started writing this novel, I have banged out revision after revision,  each one an improvement over the one before it. I read mystery-and-suspense novels as voraciously as if I were popping peanut M&Ms. I experimented with point-of-view, prologues and epilogues, hired some characters, and fired others. When I got really frustrated, I re-tooled the plots. Friends who knew what I was up to hounded me with the question: “When is it going to be published?”

I wrote, re-wrote, and wrote again, but each time, I got lost in the labyrinth that BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS had become with more twists and turns, tall peaks, loopety-loops, and dark tunnels  than a Six Flags Over Texas roller-coaster. It also boasted a cast that would have made filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille drool. Each one of my characters, including “walk-ons”, “extras” and their dogs,  I felt was important enough for their own first and last names and convoluted back stories.

With too many characters and storylines for a single book, I  knew there was no other way to finish it unless I turned part of it into a prequel beginning in the 1950s if I didn’t want my novel to double as a doorstop. I had to write a prequel  beginning in the 1950s, showing the mother as a pregnant, unwed teen struggling with a decision no mother would want to make: whether to keep her baby or  place  her for adoption for her own good, as small-town society during that period dictated.

Enter FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, about Sybil at seventeen and Mona Lisa, her own “priceless work of art” born out of wedlock. When this work is ready, it will be available both in print and e-book format and distributed to bookstores.

I can hardly wait for the moment I can announce this book is ready. When it is, it will be available in print and e-book formats and distributed to bookstores and Amazon.

Loyal readers, what genres do you like to read? I love hearing from you and am super excited about giving you the opportunity to read my first book. Stay tuned for my next post, coming to you on your friendly neighborhood smartphone, tablet, or laptop.