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It has been a long time coming but at last I have completed the final draft of A Balm in Gilead. My cover designer is working on the project now, and we hope to have the book available in December.
As I have said before, when I had the idea of the characters dealing with an epidemic in Blaineton, I had no idea that my world would have a pandemic. But that is what happened as I started Book 6 of the Saint Maggie series.
Like everyone else, I felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being a struggling novelist, I also am assistant pastor, Christian education director, and director of communications at a United Methodist Church. (All done in 25-30 hours a week!) We spent a good part of the pandemic struggling to learn how to do worship on Zoom, how to rethink faith formation (I now email packets of lessons and activities to families) and how to up our online communication game, as well as other things.
However, as all this was going on in one part of my life, my writing slowly ground to a halt. The intensity of changing everything we did at church, adapting much of how I lived my day-to-day life, and the exhaustion that resulted from the confusion, fear, and sadness engendered by COVID, put me into a writing funk. As a result, my creativity and discipline ground to a halt.
I am glad to say, though, that the creativity and discipline are coming back. Although COVID is still with us, I am up the wazoo in vaccinations and masks and feel much safer now. And I would ask what that fabled “wazoo” is, but it is best not to go there.
And now, despite the pandemic, my new novel is ready to publish, I have an ISBN number for it (that lovely little barcode on the back of a book), and we are creating the cover, as mentioned in the first paragraph. Also, my newest beta reader is a huge fan, but one who also gave me an honest appraisal and a helpful suggestion. He says he needs more stories, and I aim to give them to him – even if he is the only one who reads them. That is because I really do love writing. But having a fan is the cherry on top of the sundae.
Anyway, I would like to thank you all for waiting and I hope that you enjoy the newest installment of Maggie’s saga when it is published.
My next blog will look at how Maggie grows throughout the series. Yes, I am actually doing some pre-planning for my blogs now, which is a good sign!
Janet R. Stafford
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder