It’s Been A While…

Hey Y’all, so it’s been a while. Almost three years to be exact. I suppose this is what happens when life gets in the way. After I released the final two installments of the Harvest Series, quickly followed by the second Crossroads book, I attended the Boston Author event before taking a hiatus. However, I never intended to take such a long hiatus.

In the last few years a lot has changed for me. It probably all started with me blowing out my knee in the line of duty. Total game changer. A whole year off work, two surgeries, and 9 months of rehab before I was finally cleared back to full duty. You would have thought I’d use all the down time to knock out several new books, but the truth is, the desire to write wasn’t there. At least, not at first. I did attend the Boston Author event with For the Love of Books…and I did it in a leg brace while on crutches. As for my writing though, It wasn’t until the tail end of my recovery when I started hammering through the manuscript I had started the year prior. Second Chance. I finished it in those final months––or so I thought I had.

While I was still on light duty, my husband and I began the house buying process and moved. Not fun on crutches I must tell ya. I definitely don’t recommend it. Oh, and before this…the month before my injury, we rescued a sweet 10 year old papillion named Daisy Mae. She came from West Virgina and quickly fell into our pack like she was always meant to be. For those of you who don’t know, we had four fur babies already. Bailey, Madison, Emma and our cat Cassie Bell.

The OG Crew (from left): Madison, Emma, Daisy, & Bailey

So the move goes smoothly, the family is settling in, and I’m finally cleared back to full duty, but there was a lot of catching up to do––firearms re-certification, Defensive tactics, and making sure I was prepared to hit the streets again, which left little to no time to write. I handed Second chance off to a few beta readers and their feedback prompted what turned into the longest edit process of my writing career. While they loved the story, there were things they wanted to know. Characters I hadn’t developed enough in their eyes, and backstories destined to be shared. I slowly began to edit and re-write here and there as time allowed. Never for long periods, but making headway nonetheless.

Fast forward a bit…or a couple years. I get a job offer I couldn’t refuse…cue the career change––sort of. Same industry, different vantage point––private sector. Three weeks later, the pandemic hits. Total shift in my day to day and while I should use the downtime to write, I have no creative flow. None. I try, but I kept staring at the words, making small edits, then re-reading it and hating it. I decided to give myself time to process everything going on around me. We can’t be creative all the time.

Then, as if things weren’t hectic enough, my husband and I decided to sell the house we bought a couple years back and buy another one. We both really wanted some property out in the country. Some peace and quiet. Buying and selling simultaneously are not recommended––especially with full time jobs, 4 pups, and a cat. Oh, and in the midst of a worldwide pandemic…Can we just say stress times two! Somehow we made it through and our dream of owning property was realized. But, the week we moved into our new home, my stepmom (my mom), Iris, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We drop everything…rush back to Ohio to be with her. A week at her bedside and she slips away. All I can tell you is nothing has ever hurt more. I was depressed. A shell of myself for months. The person I turned to when I was sad, happy, indifferent, the person who helped me work through the millions of thoughts in my head until they manifested into workable ideas, was gone. Writing was the furthest thing from my mind.

Somewhere in the darkness though, I found the strength. I stumbled on a text conversation between her and I. I had been telling her about Second Chance and all of the changes I was making. She told me how proud she was and how excited she was to read it. I told her I thought it was my best yet. A few days later, the fire was lit. I began reading and editing once again.

But Second Chance isn’t the original story I started years ago. Sure, the foundation is there. For those who read through the original manuscript, they can see her outlines. Second Chance went from 225 pages to over 600 and no matter how many times I read through something, I couldn’t be objective. So I did what any author would do and I handed it off to trusted friends to give it a look. In the meantime, I start working on the third Crossroads book: The Matthew Carson Story. But this one stumps me. I have so much of the story written, but for the first time, the “Crossroads” aren’t clear to me. I’m sort of at an impasse and acknowledge I may have to rework my original manuscript in order for this book to be what I want it to be. I tried to go in a direction I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. The truth is, what I’ve written is great. I like it. But the Crossroads compilations deal with sensitive topics and honestly, I’m not sure it’s the kind of content I want for my stories. For my readers. But we’ll see. I’ve have an idea on how to fix it, and I think it could work.

Now we come to the present––Summer of 2021. I’m writing again. Working on both Second Chance and Crossroads: The Matthew Carson Story. Then suddenly, more pain…we lost Daisy Mae very suddenly, only three days before the first anniversary of losing Iris. Turns out this pain is more unimaginable than anything I had prepared for. My husband and I are devastated. Even writing about it now, hurts. The tears come without warning. It’s hard. We miss her so much. The worst part of losing her was seeing our other three girls grieve. Oh my gosh, it’s so hard to bare. They lost a member of their pack. They search for her, cry at her food bowl, and look to me for answers. As a family we pull together and do our best, but every day is a struggle. A few weeks later, out of the pain came a gift from Daisy Mae. A rescue we didn’t think our hearts were ready for, but everything––and I mean EVERYTHING aligned so perfectly. It was truly meant to be and Layla Mae (a tribute to our girl) came into our family. She’s a beautiful great Pyrenees mix puppy and she is so full of love. Our days without Daisy are still hard. The actual physical pain in our hearts is quieter now, but still loud enough to hear. As a family, we have a tight-knit bond and we lean into one another. More cuddle time meant less busy chores. We’ve chosen to put all of our energy into them. Partly because it brought everything into focus. Daisy was my first––the first fur baby I’ve lost, and with Bailey, Maddy, Emma, and Cassie all being older it allowed an anxious paranoia, I’d never felt before, set in. All I wanted was to cling on for dear life. Hold them as close as I could and never let go.

But, as we all began to settle into the changes, the rawness of Daisy’s loss, the newness of a puppy in a home full of seniors, we lose our first fur baby. Our kitty, Cassie Bell––exactly one month after Daisy. The heartache feels non-stop. It feels surreal and unfair. Even their vet was devastated. He said he’d never experienced anything like it. All of the pain builds up inside. The fear of losing anyone else is like a weight sitting on my shoulders. I’m doing what I can to work through it, but these are my babies. They are like children to me and it’s hard.

So much love, in such a small space…a memorial tribute to our girls:
Daisy Mae “Do Da Birdie and Cassie Bell “Belly Woo”

As all of this grief is unfolding around me though, feedback for Second Chance starts coming back. It reminds me why I love to write so much. It reminds me why I started writing in the first place. How I’ve always used it as an outlet for my pain. For the things I have overcome. Which brings me here now. I want to keep moving forward. I want nothing more than to finish both Second Chance and Crossroads so I can move on to the other projects I have. I want to begin working on Breaking the Silence, Behind Closed Doors, the fourth Crossroads. And I think I’m finally ready to write Who Rescued Who? In addition to writing, I want to be accountable here on my author page. I want to keep you all in the loop with where I’m at. What the process looks like. And above all else, I want to release more books.

I apologize for the long hiatus. For disappearing without explanation. And I appreciate the continued support. In the coming weeks I will be updating the website and reacquainting myself with all that goes into it, because I’m sure a lot has changed. In the meantime, tell me what you’ve been up to. Which of my books have you read. What did you like. Hell, what didn’t you like? Tell me what you want to see from me as an author. Share with me. I’m here and I’m ready to start fresh once again!



The McCooey Crew (from left): Bailey, Danny, Layla, Emma, Megan, Madison