The Return of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang and Other Big Surprises!
I have lots of exciting news to share, but first I really need to apologize to my readers, for keeping you waiting all this time. I have a good reason, several really, why I couldn’t get myself back to blogging, but to be honest, they’re just wimpy excuses. Because when you can, and do, crank out a book in just under three months following major surgery, as I did with Nancy Styler’s book, Guilt by Matrimony, what are a few bumps in the road, in comparison?
Those bumps include being unhappy with my agent’s representation, and, in particular, the portrayal of this latest (my fifth) book on the new TV show “Crime Watch Daily.” That led to a bout with the winter doldrums, which came in October—when it was still warm and sunny, and nary a dark cloud in sight. It was pretty depressing.
Until I sucked it up and did what I do best: I began networking. I reached out to everyone I thought could help me and began interviewing them. People at the major TV networks, author friends, people in the publicity world, and so on. I also Googled the problem, and feel so much more empowered now. Especially since there’s a book here somewhere, probably fiction, maybe self-help, for other unwitting authors—even bestselling ones like me—down the road. Time will tell.
Around this same time, I also became ill. In part from being stressed and depressed, but also from the fragrance and chemical sensitivity I fight every day. Then, as if an earache wasn’t enough, my dentist had to place a crown on my lower left molar. My mouth was open for four hours for that visit alone. By the end of the week, I had more pain. Not less. Over the course of the next two weeks, I developed a nonstop headache and pain radiated from my left ear all the way to my throat, which only ended after two more visits to the dentist, a root canal, and a prescription for meds to help relax my lower jaw. I couldn’t talk much, so many phone calls went unanswered. Eating was also a problem, so I sipped soup.
With all of that, you might think it’s been two terrible months. But guess what? It wasn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact!
Because that’s how I choose to view it. I could look at all the negatives, but if I did, where would that get me? Instead, I choose to focus on the positive—because that’s what works! That’s why I’m where I am today, instead of someplace worse.
For instance, while feeling too glum to write much of anything, I reached out to a dear family friend who lost a loved one in death. Turns out that my visit to her home renewed a friendship that had long since withered—but which was as healing to me as it was to her. If not more so, because by giving, I received exactly what I needed, at just the right moment. And that friendship has the potential to bring even more beauty and healing to both our lives and to those around us, as time goes on.
I also looked for light and peace in the small places, finding it in the face of Haiden, a little preschooler I have fallen in love with. She is such a joy to be around: polite and well-behaved and smarter “than your average bear.” Haiden is, quite simply, adorable. She is just what I needed to take my mind off the stressors in my work life.
I caught up with some other long-time friends from the law enforcement world, and came away with the certain knowledge that sometimes issues are not as clearly defined as we might believe. Also, there are two sides to every story, but unless we know the backstory, understanding the current topic at hand will be difficult. So, from that visit came another potentially huge project for 2016. It’s timely and perfect for today’s police-phobic and Black Lives Matter society. I think it will garner a lot of attention when I roll it out next year.
Last weekend, while studying topics like blogging and time management and leadership, Diane Tarantini and I came up with a brilliant brainstorm. It may be the biggest idea either one of us has ever had. (In case you’re a new reader and you don’t know Diane, she’s a wonderful writer and blogger whose very presence inspires everyone she meets. We’ve been collaborating for some time now, honing each other’s writing and marketing skills.)
The idea for this new and top-secret project—which is so hard for me to keep under wraps, my fingers long to tap out the letters right now—was born during our Saturday session. By 3 p.m. Sunday, we called it a wrap. The beauty of this secret? It. Was. So. Much. Fun! There was nonstop laughter (and coffee, since Diane is the java queen!) as we created this amazing new media. We hope you love it as much as we do, when we roll it out right after Christmas.
Now, I’ve saved the best for last: I finally searched through all of my old yellowed clippings and my gazillion computer files. I was surprised to realize that I began working on a compilation of my Vintage Berry Wine newspaper columns in 1995. That was four years after I left the Preston County Journal, and should tell you how long ago my children began begging me to compile their childhood stories into a book. Now, those stories will be available in book form before 2015 ends.
I hope you’ll share this news with your loved ones—and keep coming back for more of the insights I learn and share with you here. I promise next time I won’t leave you hanging for so long.
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My latest book, Guilt by Matrimony, about the murder of Aspen socialite, Nancy Pfister, was released November 17. My memoir, Sister of Silence, is about surviving domestic violence and how journalism helped free me; Cheatin’ Ain’t Easy, now in ebook format, is about the life of Preston County native, Eloise Morgan Milne; The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (a New York Times bestseller, with coauthor Geoff Fuller) and Pretty Little Killers (also with Fuller), released July 8, 2014, and featured in the August 18 issue of People Magazine.
For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.
Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!