On July 19th, it will be time to celebrate the one year anniversary of Finding Grace out in the world. Through no obvious planning on my part—but, rather a happy coincidence,  I find myself up at the lake. Yes, that would be Lake Superior, the inspiration for the novel.

It’s been a very busy few months for me and finally catching a break to catch my breath I’m overjoyed to have a moment of stillness to contemplate what that actually means. The stillness is the important part for me. It was the stillness of the pandemic times that flowed through me, as an author, and allowed the deep emotional story that became Finding Grace to take root.

But, this stillness is not borne of pandemic angst and isolation. Rather, this stillness is a sense of calm, a retreat from the busyness that comes from a home project that takes over one’s life, family visits that deserve total immersion, engagement in good works for organizations that you have committed to, and the long-awaited social connections that needed to be celebrated.

I am reminded that my book launch in July of 2022 was the first event scheduled in the Performance Hall at Open Book in Minneapolis once it re-opened to the public. Fortunately, several events followed, some outdoors, in book stores and libraries, a few zoom  events, a few podcast and radio interviews, some book club visits. Looking back, the timing worked and I was able to launch Finding Grace in style. It was lots of fun, and readers have been gracious.

Today, I look out at a lake that is calm and clear as a mirror. An ore boat in the distance… a few clouds floating by. I am satisfied that I gave the novel a good start. I’m pleased that many readers found the story meaningful. A few reviewers provide a sample of comments:

*I found this topic of an unloved child and its effects to be fascinating. Shows the resiliency of the human spirit.

*Keep a tissue handy….. One of the most heart wrenching books I’ve read this year.

*I loved all the Northern Minnesota locations in Finding Grace. The story of a very narcissistic, borderline and evil Mother..and the daughter caught in the middle.. Well written, fast moving read..

* This book addresses complicated psychosocial issues with compassion and care. The plot is engaging, the characters are well-drawn, and the story evokes strong emotions.

Other, more personal messages from readers validate my hopes for the book. I wanted to highlight the complexity of parenthood, the choices we make to raise a child, the ultimate right of a woman to her own reproductive choices, the wide range of emotional and mental challenges that are so common among us, the sacrifices made by good people, the costly mistakes made by humans everyday and the blessings of found family. 

The drama of Lake Superior, the changeable nature of the wild around it were vital to the setting of the story, which called for an equally dramatic family dynamic. One of my messages in the story was the stigma of mental illness and the difficulty in getting care when needed. I was ecstatic that the long awaited 988 number for a national crisis hotline was made available in 2022 so that rural areas are not cut-off from this important public health measure. I hope it makes access easier to those who need it.

Finally, I’m happy to announce that my third novel, Behind the Lies, is now put to bed and will be published November 14, 2023. Another reason I can celebrate this moment of stillness—next blog post will be about the new book, a mystery…..

I hope you are finding time to catch your breath this summer!