The release of a new novel is exciting at any time, but in the middle of this utter shit-storm of a year, it’s even more meaningful. In my newest contemporary romance, One Woman’s Treasure, available July 2020, Daphne and Nina meet because of a “stolen” family heirloom that becomes the catalyst for friendship at a time these two women need it most. They form a bond over a mutual love for antiquing, but as their friendship grows, so do their feelings for each other.
One of the ideas I explore in the story is how during difficult times, it helps to focus on what we have instead of wasting emotional energy coveting what we lack. Don’t get me wrong—I’d be thrilled to score a tub of Lysol disinfectant wipes during this pandemic, but I’m grateful I had a spray bottle of Lysol bleach lying around from life BQ, before quarantine.
So with the release of One Woman’s Treasure timed perfectly with the most painful experience and loss in my life, I got to thinking about the things I have to treasure since all the memes say an attitude of gratitude can get you through anything.
After celebrating my 50th birthday and saying goodbye to my fun-filled forties, I just assumed my fifties would continue being equally awesome, especially in this new decade that I had mentally hyped up as the next Roaring 20s. Toward the end of 2019, I entertained visions for the new decade of even greater female empowerment, and the return of tasseled flapper dresses and tasty, old-timey cocktails.
Instead I got the version with a devastating plague, government overreach, white supremacy, and continued attempts to deny women and LGBTQ Americans any rights the modern-day, mutated temperance movement could get their sanctimonious hands on. It wasn’t the first time I’d missed the mark so spectacularly.
Halfway through 2020 my parents’ mortality came sharply into focus. In June, my 88-year-old dad was still driving in town, dressing dapper for church, and regaling with his dry sense of humor. However, at 88 a non-life-threatening fall can become life threatening when an elderly person, unaccustomed to the hospital, slips into “hospital-induced delirium.” Yes, it’s a thing, and it can trigger a number of complications that can turn that non-life-threatening fall into a serious health crisis like it did for my father in late June. The trauma of an isolating hospitalization and a nursing home stay in the Covid-19 era resulted in his lightning-quick decline. On July 24th my father’s month-long ordeal came to an end peacefully in his own home.
In a year that seems to be rewriting the concept of “normal” on an almost daily basis, I’ve realize with startling clarity the importance of relying on the good during the worst of times. Naturally, my writing, a gift I inherited from my dad, provides an amazing outlet and source to process or even escape painful circumstances, but my dad’s death was the poignant reminder that brought it all home for me. While it was incredibly difficult to watch the man I adored my whole life decline to the point of helplessness in the span of three weeks, the silver lining is that our last three days together will always be some of the most meaningful moments I will ever experience while on this planet.
Phew. What a year. Even in the midst of this pot of cold, murky hotdog water we call 2020, I’m watching the cracks for the light making its way in. If you’re having a similar year that seems to bubbling over with shitty situations, I hope you will give yourself the gift of a moment of Zen to chill, to regroup, and to seek any little treasure that might help this year feel a little less like it’s swirling out of control.
Now before I go ugly-cry for the third time today, check out my new release, One Woman’s Treasure, available everywhere fine books are sold.