Another Opening–and A Giveaway

Do you remember that song, “Another Opening, Another Show”? One stanzas goes, “You cross your fingers and hold your heart. It’s curtain time and away we go…” I can’t cross my fingers (makes typing impossible), but I do hold my heart and my breath as I write to you: Here’s Scout studying the cover of my next novel, sent to him by the publisher. The Book of CarolSue will come out on August 25. Scout is, as usual, dismayed about their terrible decision to omit a noble yellow Lab from the cover. However, he notes that at least this time he’s not been insulted by the prominent display of a chicken there, and his quick skim of some chapters on my computer screen proved there is a yellow Lab in the story this time. (Apparently he didn’t notice that Marvelle the cat lives on, and the dog is not a major character. I dread the moment he discovers that.)

This is the first time I’ve written a story that has the same setting and characters as the one before, although it’s called a stand-alone, meaning you don’t need to have read the first to follow and enjoy the second.

In my 2018 novel, The Testament of Harold’s Wife, after tragedy strikes Louisa’s family, the smart, sassy, irreverent retired schoolteacher has two choices: she can fade away into her grief or concoct a Plan. Louisa is definitely not the fading-away type. The Book of CarolSue begins two years after Testament ends. It brings Louisa’s sister, CarolSue, who’d critiqued Louisa’s Plan long-distance until Louisa quit being strictly honest with her, back to the Indiana farmland she left when she married and moved to Atlanta fifteen years ago. The farm life never was exactly second nature to CarolSue. Not even fourth or fifth nature. It’s like being an immigrant, displaced and alone. Or maybe it’s not similar at all. Maybe that’s a whole world about which both sisters will find they’ve been seriously clueless.

Thanks to my generous publisher, I have three copies of The Testament of Harold’s Wife that I will sign and inscribe to give away to readers who might like to read or gift that now (and who, incidentally, might be willing to post a brief review on Amazon–always such a huge help to a book. If you’ve already done that, thank you from my heart!). To enter a random drawing for one of these copies, just leave a brief comment below about any time you have felt lost, alone or frightened. Or anything else you might want to comment on or question, really. I always post an answer. Winners will be announced on March 9 at noon.

Also, for you readers who prefer to read on a kindle or other electronic platform, Testament will be going on a publisher’s sale sometime this spring. If you’ll follow me on BookBub, you’d get a notice when that happens. (I’ll try to let you know on social media, too.) I review a lot of novels that I like on BookBub, too, in case that interests you.

Thank you so much for sticking with me! I’m so hoping that you’ll love both novels and help spread the word. If you’d consider pre-ordering The Book of CarolSue, it would be an enormous help. Why? it helps gauge early interest in the novel to the sales force and booksellers, which in turn helps the publisher determine how large an initial print run to schedule. It really makes a huge difference!

49 Responses to Another Opening–and A Giveaway

    • Debby, I think this might not be uncommon. People think retirement is going to be all wonderful freedom, but I think often don’t realize either that the relationships have been as important as they have, or the structure and meaning work provides, etc. It’s a major adjustment and people have to find and define themselves all over again. It’s not easy, but there are endless creative possibilities, too. I’m so glad you’re doing well now.

  1. Poor Scout. You are a terrible, terrible person, not giving him top billing! 😉

    Huzzah and tally ho, my dear!

    • Scout has now announced that he is packing his (many) toys and moving across the country to your house where he will clearly be appreciated and obviously get top billing in your next novel. Finally!

      • Gyro and Toulouse will greet him with open paws! Coraline? I’m not sure. She’s never met a dog before. Roxie, however, will have nothing put unsheathed claws, hiss, and venom to spew at him, so, underappreciated as he is in your house, he’d probably better off there. 😉
        (I only just saw your response a moment ago!)

    • Thank you, Lori! (Question: do you have chickens? I notice the reference in your email! In Testament, Louisa talks to hers regularly.)

    • That sounds like such a terrible, lonely and frightening time. It must have drawn on all your courage and resilience. I hope that making it through made you proud and gave you confidence. Thanks for sharing, Margie.

  2. I feel alone much of the time as I live 14 hours, atleast, away from my kids and have been divorced from their father for a very long time. I am at an age where it is hard to find companionship, so I spend most of my time alone. But am very grateful for my grown children who I am close to. Thanks for the chance. I would love to read this story.

    • That does sound hard, Lois. I really hope that some new possibilities will open up for you this spring so that you won’t feel so alone. I’m glad you have such good grown kids. Thanks for connecting here.

  3. Is this where you enter the giveaway for your book? The most traumatic time in my life was 24 years ago when I lost my 25 year old daughter to a rare cancer called angio-sarcoma which is cancer of the blood vessels. It was a terrible time in my life but thankfully doing better thanks to my 2 other daughters and grandsons!

    • Kathleen, my heart goes out to you. My husband and I just lost our son this past September. (You can see his picture on the blog post right before this one.) I understand the trauma and the devastation. I’m really glad you’re doing better–I know that having family is a huge help, and like yours, mine has been there all the way.
      And yes, you’re entered for the giveaway! Thanks for wanting to read Testament.

      • I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I know what you are going through. The sadness still appears from time to time but I only hope that each day and year eases your terrible pain as it did for me.

  4. Looking forward to reading both books! I felt lost when my Mom passed away. In her last few years, I spent time with her every day and took care of all her affairs. When she was gone, I missed her so much and felt like I had no purpose or direction. The passing of time has helped with that, but I still miss her terribly.

    • Carla, I understand this, too. My mother died in 2003, very suddenly, unexpectedly, and I still miss her. Since you were taking care of yours (as my sister and I were taking care of our parents though not on a daily basis as you were) it must have left you really bereft. I think a lot of women experience this. In Testament, Louisa talks about losing her mother and if you read that novel, I think you’ll recognize some of the same feelings–for that, I just drew on my own. Thank you for sharing.

  5. The last time I felt frightened was when my kiddo had to be transported to the er with very scary symptoms. she’s fine now, thankfully. heat exhaustion is not something to be messed around with!

    • That is so terrifying. Just once when my son was two, he had a fever of 105 that we couldn’t get down and rushed him to the ER. He was admitted and spent, I think, 4 days there. (It was a misdiagnosed throat infection.) I remember his screaming as nurses plunged him into an ice bath. I so get how scared you must have been–I didn’t think my heart would ever stop pounding. Really glad your daughter is okay.

  6. Boy, there have been 2 times in the last few years I have felt completely loss. First, Christmas 2017, when we lost my mom-in-law to Alzheimer’s. After helping care for her quite a long while, we felt lost without that aspect. The second time was when we lost our 16-year-old feline. Her 1-year anniversary is soon, April to be exact, and the loss is as real today as it was then. Sigh. I am still lost. Thank you.

    • Caregiving often takes over the life of the caregivers–and then, when it ends, the whole way they’ve organized their lives disappears and they have that to deal with as well as their grief. I think that’s so difficult. Many people who haven’t done it just focus on life being easier–which is is, because caregiving carries so much responsibility and takes so much time. But we end up missing it in such strange ways, don’t we? And I can really understand how much you miss your cat. Our pets bring us so much companionship and comfort–and love.

  7. When I have a dream about being chased by someone , for any reason, since that never seems to be answered in the dream. Being chased , especially when I am sound asleep is very frightening to me.

    • Isn’t it strange how dreams can affect us so strongly? Especially recurring dreams. That does sound frightening, Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I felt so alone in NYC one Thanksgiving when I was out walking and the streets were empty of both people and cars.

    • That’s so interesting–the way our external situation and evoke so much emotion and such a strong memory of feeling absolutely alone. Thank you for bringing this perspective.

  9. I felt scared when I went on a cruise with my mother. I was scared because it was the first time i have ever been away from my husband and I have terrible anxiety.

    • I think when someone suffers with anxiety that it takes courage to do things that someone else might find easy or fun. I hope getting through the experience made you proud of yourself and gave you a little more confidence that you could cope.

  10. I felt really lost when my father passed away 2 days before Christmas last year. You know your parents won’t live forever but when it happens you just don’t know what to do. It is still really hard to deal with. My dad gave me a lot of advice whether I wanted it or not, one of the best things about him!

    • Tena, that must have been so sad. I think losing a beloved parent–even when we know it’s coming–is one of the hardest things to deal with. I know Christmas will always be tinged with this memory for you and I understand that.

    • Debra, I think it’s sometimes harder to be the one watching than to go through it ourselves, strange as that my sound. I’m so sorry you and your husband are coping with this. I know you must be trying to be there for him and I can imagine how lonely that is for you.

  11. I would love a copy of this book to read and review. There was a time I felt lost, alone and frightened, but it’s really not a good story to post here. Are you looking as forward to spring as I am? Come on spring! Please no more snow!

  12. Having to start over with a 4 year old & a newborn when my ex-husband suffered from drug addiction. It worked out for the best in the end but it was a rough journey. Thanks for the chance.

    • I am so glad for you that it worked out for the best in the end, Nancy. Drug addiction inflicts so much pain on the family of the addict–and you must have been desperte with a 4 year old and a newborn. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I have felt lost so many times in my life, but the worst ones have to be when my first husband walked out on me for someone else. I was left with a seven year old daughter to take care of. Or when she grew up and passed away in her sleep- you haven’t felt lost really until you go through something like that. I now I’m never truly alone, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

    • Leigh, losing a child is an unimaginable grief. I understand that having recently experienced it myself and my heart goes out to you. You must have been already had a load of hurt to carry over your husband’s leaving, which is hard to recover from. I hope you find hope and comfort where you can and that there are dear people to alleviate the sense of being alone. I know that sometimes nothing is enough, though.

      • I just wanted you to know how much I am enjoying this book (sorry, when I won it I was knee deep in two others I had to finish first). It has made me snort and laugh so many times. Thank you so much for the giveaway. It’s truly been wonderful.

        • You just made my day, Leigh! I’m so so happy you’re loving the novel. Thank you for letting me know.

  14. I was totally lost when my Mom died. Thanks to two wonderful sisters, I was able to get beyond this. We all live in different parts of the country but once a year we get together for a long sisters weekend. (I LOVED The Testament of Harold’s wife and give it a 5 star rating on goodreads. I’d love to win a copy of The Book of CarolSue.)

    • Susan, first, thank you for your enthusiasm about the Testament of Harold’s Wife! I’m so glad you loved it! I don’t have the Advanced Readers Copies of The Book of CarolSue yet but will be running a number of giveaways for those. Secondly, I so understand about the bereft feeling of losing your mother. I still miss mine, and she died very suddenly in 2003, so it’s been quite a while. I, too, rely on my sister and get together with her (she’s also far away) several times a year.

  15. I am feeling alone now, I have a coworker who has to look for a new job and I have a daughter who moved to Belguim for a Job for 3 years. Plus to top everything off, my husband got cancer on his face and we are hopeful that everything is okay, we went yesterday and the doctor said he got it all. I know it is in God’s hands.
    But I know life will get better and everyone around here are here for me.

    • Peggy, I know that sometimes even when you have a good support system, with caring people around, you can still feel scared and alone. I imagine you miss your daughter a lot and wish your coworker wasn’t leaving. I hope your husband will be fine (I’m glad the doctor said he got it all, too! It’s still unnerving to go through.)

  16. When my ex husband left me for my best friend whom he was having an affair with. At the same time my mom was dying and far away in Germany. It was a very hard time and I had thoughts of ending my life. I am grateful I made it through. Thank you for the chance!

    • Christina, that must have been absolutely overwhelming and devastating–to feel such betrayal and loss at the same time. I can imagine how much courage it took to decide to go on and rebuild your own life. I hope you’re doing well now–you sure deserve to be. Thank you for sharing.

  17. When I came home from a trip and found son who wrote a note and took many pills! He is fine but yhis was the worse day of my life and it was my 59th birthday!

    • I imagine you must have felt like the world–everything–was ending when you found him and that note. And I wonder if now you think of it on your birthday since? Such a painful, upsetting memory. It’s a real trauma, and living through something like that changes you, doesn’t it? I’m so glad for you that your son is all right now, and that he came through it. Thank you for sharing this.

  18. I so enjoyed your BOOK THE TESTAMENT OF HAROLD’S WIFE. I have been patiently waiting for the sequel. Now it’s almost here. Come onet the party begin. It looks like that yellow lab knows something. I would say let’s get on with it. Guess what I’m saying is I can’t wait much longer. Yellow lab be patient your time is coming.
    Thanks for your perceviren. Keep writing, you’llnever know the joy you bring to your readers, especially retired teachers like me.
    God speed you in your writing.
    Barb my dear poodle Sassy.
    PS Sassy can’t wait to meet the special yellow lab.

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