my new novel is here…

Slowly and gradually, I’ve been working on a new novel – and now New Life in New Melody is finally available on Amazon, in kindle as well as paperback format.

The story isn’t completely new. As a matter of fact, my earlier novel, In New Harmony, is contained within the pages of this one.

In New Harmony is told from the point of view of 13-year-old Nora Thornton. With New Life in New Melody, the chapters from Nora’s POV are alternated with chapters from the POV of her mother, Marilee.

The story and the characters wouldn’t let me go, even though I told myself I should start on something completely new – and one reason it took me so long to release the new novel is that I would stop myself repeatedly along the way, telling myself to skip trying to complete this project and move on to something different.

But Marilee’s part of the story kept nudging me to tell it, and so I did.

Last year, I put a chapter from the new novel here – the working title was a bit different from what it ultimately became, and I ended up changing the town’s name to New Melody, but that chapter is mostly the same as it is in the finished novel. You can take a look at that chapter if you’d like to take a peek into the not-quite-middle part of the book.

And if you’d like to read the entire novel, I hope you’ll check it out here.

 

 

 

and now it’s March…

Time still feels strange to me, passing fast and slow all at once. I’ll think about posting something here, and then…more time passes.

Anxiety is still a problem for me, in a big way. It’s been a bit over 18 months since my taper off xanax ended and I still have times of flare-ups of various symptoms, and my central nervous system is still super-sensitive. I continue to try to take things day by day, even moment by moment, and get through as best as I can. As to be expected (since this is the way life is) some days are better than others.

Here are some of what’s currently helping me through what continues to be a difficult time…

Painting.

Even though I can’t really explain the why behind it, holding a brush and moving paint (on a page or a canvas) helps me calm. I don’t worry about how it looks. I’m not doing anything fancy. I even call what I do “paint play” because I’m just playing, simply moving the paint wherever.

It’s okay if I don’t know the why of it working – what matters is that I know painting helps me, and I’ve been spending time doing it. It’s grounding, and relaxing, and calming. It’s one of my joy connections – and whenever we can connect with joy, it helps.

Writing and research.

I’m putting these two together because, for now, they’re overlapping for me a bit.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working again on genealogy research.

I’ve also been doing research for my current fiction project.

But. I’ve been having trouble getting back to a regular, consistent, routine with writing. To try to shift this for myself, I decided to try having a writing schedule even though, historically, writing schedules haven’t worked out too well for me. I’m willing to try it again, though, so…I’m giving it a go.

What I know is that my life is better, in general, when I’m writing consistently (especially, when I’m writing fiction). Even when life is difficult, it’s better when I’m writing.

That’s a big reason I’m giving the writing schedule a try again. I really-really-really want to get back to writing consistently again.

Walking.

Because of various physical things, I’m not always able to take nice long walks. But taking walks is something else that really helps me. It helps the anxiety, it lifts my mood, it just makes me feel better.

My husband and I have been walking in the neighborhood, as well as taking walks some days near his workplace on his lunch hour.

Getting out in the fresh air is something else that really helps me.

Reading. And watching shows.

Reading fiction takes me to another place, putting me in the lives of imaginary characters far away from whatever is happening in my own world.

Spending time reading on the front porch has become a grounding routine of the past months, and it helps calm me. I also generally read for a while in the evenings.

Watching shows does a similar thing for me, putting me into another place and time. I have a variety of what I call “comfort shows” and I’ll often watch complete series multiple times.

Prayer and Bible study.

Time with Jesus just helps me in so many ways. It brings comfort and clarity.

It helps me remember that I’m not alone.

It helps me deal with life.

Connection with loved ones.

Hanging out with my husband… taking walks with him, watching “our shows” together, sharing meals, cooking our usual breakfast-for-supper on Sunday evenings… I’m so grateful for him, and for our time together.

And there are the phone calls and texts and messages and voxes with friends and family.

And also…

Our girl.

And this sweet kitty continues to bring joy and love to our household. We love her to bits.

These are some of the things helping me through.

Simple things, but oh so helpful and valuable.

Find what helps you get through, what helps you cope and deal… and what helps you connect with joy.

I’d love to hear what helps you (if you’d like to share your thoughts) – just get in touch with me anytime.

life lately in photos…

As I continue to make my way through this difficult time – and deal with super-high anxiety – I’m continuing to sort of cobble together various things that help me (what those things are can change, so it’s an ongoing process). And I continue to do my best to focus on what I call joy connections, proactively and deliberately looking for moments of joy.

Of course, the hubs and this girl are a huge part of my joy.

In my attempts to fill my time with things that distract me from the anxiety and worrisome thoughts/imaginations, I’ve picked up my genealogy research again. Genealogy is something I’ve been involved with off and on since my teens, going in cycles with it and taking (often long) breaks between dives back into exploring the family tree.

I’m writing some, working on my fiction, but things with that are moving along slowly at the moment.

However – I’m reading more fiction again, finally! For several months of this year, I wasn’t able to focus and concentrate enough to read novels. I’m back to reading again, though, and it’s a wonderful way to distract myself from all that’s going on, and escape for a while.

An injury to my toe in late summer meant walking even less than the small amount of walking I was doing. Weeks went by and eventually I was sent for x-rays which showed arthritis but no breaks or fractures. Finally, I was able to venture out on short walks with my husband, and it’s felt so good to be out ‘n about in that way again, even in brief bits of time.

And, as has been the case for the past several years, painting calms me. I still do some paintplay with acrylics on canvas, but my main daily painting lately has been with watercolors – page after page after page of blibs and blobs with watercolors. Just the holding and the moving of the brush, and the paints and the water playing on the page together.

These are some – not all – of the things helping me get through the days right now.