It’s been quite a long time since I pondered and posted in my blog, but is a habit I hope to acquire, nurture and sustain throughout upcoming days.

I now focus on my writing more, even as it is my full-time job, my extracurricular creative endeavors are the ones I hope to expand. For several months, I have devoted countless hours to my goal of writing a novel, a project started many years ago, maybe a decade, but ignited recently as I set a final goal of May 31 to have the first draft completed.

Over the years, I have rewritten the first dozen chapters over and over, and after cutting some chapters for a potential prequel, getting a clear focus of the plot and characters, and devoting the time and effort, I finally finished it on Saturday, May 13.

I’m quite proud of my accomplishment and am spending some time researching agents, book proposals, etc., allowing some distance between me and the story, to allow for a clearer mind to revise.

The 45,000-ish-word book revolves around a journalist, Zettie Maggard, who gets a phone call one day that her younger sister has drowned in a coal-sedimentation pond. The call was the first contact she had with her family since leaving home years before. Once she travels back to the coal-rich mining-corrupt county of her birth in southeastern Kentucky, in the midst of the Appalachian Mountains, she must face the past she ran away from and fight for her own life, as murders and suicide and betrayals envelop her.

Next is a prequel, and sequel, and hopefully, a series of Zettie books. The prequel will revolve around the relationships between a group of friends who grew up in the same holler, and their grassroots efforts to save the environment and stop mountaintop removal in SE Kentucky in the 1970s.

So that’s my life for now, as well as plans to embark on an adventure with my husband and sons, Tyler, 16, and Zachary, 11, next week, beginning Memorial Day Weekend, as we fly across the country to Los Angeles, California.

Upcoming blogs will address preparing, planning and going on the trip and all of our exciting adventures and observations.