The last two years have blurred into one, with dual tracks of survival and rescue. I find it difficult to recall exactly when events happened in the twenty-four month period from beginning in January 2020, as I arrived home from a medical mission to Puerto Rico to assist with earthquake relief.
The airport workers were buzzing about the SARS COVID 19 virus outbreak and how they were all at risk. It did catch my attention, recalling how the Ebola outbreak began in the United States from persons arriving from stricken countries-and how it was properly handled. I wasn’t worried.
My personal concerns about an upcoming job change, as well as getting my latest Contemporary Western novel written during were foremost in my mind. So much so, the rash of adolescent patients during February 2020 with severe respiratory illness, not due to seasonal influenza that took forever to resolve, I attributed to “a really nasty virus.”
All the staff had some version of it in February, one serious enough to miss three weeks of work. I only missed a few days for a bad cough and severe, unexplained back pain. I kept writing furiously on my novel–a pursuit that continued through the first months of the pandemic. My critique group kept me going through 2020 offering the structure of deadlines in the midst of absolute chaos.
The first book in the series was completed by 2021, but the second COVID wave, along with the advent of vaccines that required all credentialed health care workers to jump off the dock to save the ship led to more 12 hour shifts that morphed into 14-15 hours. I lost count of how many vaccines I’ve administered: Around 1000, sometime last summer.
Edits on the Western contemporary novel went forward in a haphazard fashion. Distance from the material helped, but the third COVID wave swamped me once again, and I was only about one third through the edits, and less than halfway through the first draft of the second book in that series. I have not written so little fiction since I began in 2005.
An unexpected beacon of light came as another novel, which I’d completed in 2015, was contracted. And sales of the Unfinished Business series were as good in 2021 as they were the years that each were released, with The Widow’s Walk doing the best. My newsletter list burgeoned to almost 700 last week, up from about 300 at this time last year. While I was otherwise occupied, readers were looking to escape into fiction, and I am grateful for their support
I took those that as signs that all is not lost, and that a temporary hiatus from writing doesn’t mean I’ve given up. So, I have a new novel coming out in April 2022. And the upside of the “COVID years” has created a superb plot line in the second book of the contemporary Western.
Here’s to a better 2022 for all of us, writers and reader’s alike!