Sailing Bravely Into the Unknown


I’ve been pretty quiet for well over a year now – not only with my blog but also with my writing. It’s hard to write humor when you feel like your world is falling apart.

I’ll spare you the details, but with my mother’s diminishing health, Rich’s allergic reactions to medications, and my own blood pressure problems, it’s been pretty rough at times.

It all came to a head last week when Rich had no other choice than to quit his job of thirteen years. It’ll be a few months before the adverse effects of the medications are gone, and then we’ll see how he feels.

I don’t know what the future holds for us. We are in unknown territory. It was terrifying to think of no more job security, but I’m calm about it – for now. With Rich finally making the decision to stay home and get well, my stress level has reduced greatly. That’s good for my blood pressure and my heart.

What’s also good for my blood pressure and my heart is that I’ve lost twenty-seven pounds since Thanksgiving. After a particularly rough day of heart palpitations, I went cold turkey off added salt, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. I’m eating mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts, and protein.

Do I miss pizza, Taco Bell, M&M’s, and junk food in general? You bet I do, but fear is a great motivator, and I’m too afraid to eat that crap. It’s a good thing I like to cook, because there’s a whole lotta cookin’ goin’ on here. I even make my own spice mixes and salad dressings. It would be nice to have a sous chef.


The stress reduction was so immediate after Rich quit his job that I’ve been able to work again – with joy. I’d almost forgotten that he was an audiophile, and he has music blaring from the den for a big part of the day. I actually enjoy this. It’s conducive to his healing and spurs my creativity. I’m happy to say, I finally banged out the ending of the seventh book in the Two Sisters and a Journalist series. I even have the main plot and the beginning of the next book mapped out. Onward and upward! This year can only be better than last year, and I’m expecting great things.

I’ll have the cover to Murder Wears a Veil soon. I’ll post it here with an approximate date of publication. And then I’ll get cracking on those Appleseed cozy mysteries.

In other news …

I think I have my Don’t Starve video game addiction under control. … I think I do. … Maybe I do.

And last but not least, or as Word wants me say, finally yet importantly, my friend Tim Dittmer published his second book this week. Five-Toed Tigress. I enjoyed his first book, The Valley Walker, and I’m looking forward to reading his new work. Take a look and grab a copy for yourself! (Click the cover to go to Amazon.)


49 thoughts on “Sailing Bravely Into the Unknown

  1. You have definitely have had a full plate of life to deal with. Hope my good thoughts for you, and those of your many other fans, encourages your optimistic outlook.

  2. What a whole lot of good news to unravel the bad. I used to tell my first husband that when it looked like the world had turned to sh*t, the best was yet to come. And it did. Congrats on all the great work getting done. It’s easier when your you aren’t stressing about someone you love.

    • You are so right, Marlene! I had a strong feeling one night that it would be ok for him to leave his job and maybe it would be good for us in the long run. So now we are on an adventure to see what the future holds. I can hear Sinatra now … ♬ The Best is Yet to Come ♫

    • Hey, you! I wouldn’t have made it through this last year with anything accomplished on the writing front if it weren’t for you. Thanks for always being there, sharing word counts, and helping to keep me going – even if it was only two words a day. You’re a great listener, too, and I’m proud to call you my friend.

  3. Its good to hear from you. You have more than a full plate, and life is more important than blogging or writing. Love and positive thoughts to you and yours. We will always be on this side waiting to hear from you again!

  4. So sorry to hear about your troubles but happy that things seem to be back on the mend! Glad you are writing and glad to see you back on! Will look forward to those screen writing posts! 🙂

  5. It was wonderful seeing your blog notification on my phone! I miss it! 🙂 Dang, you had a bad year, so sorry to hear that. I hope this year has no bad things for you. 🙂 Good job on finishing the book. I look forward to reading it. Need to catch up. 🙂 Enjoy being with the hubby while he is home. Hope all goes well with him. I can’t believe you gave up M&M’s. 🙂 I have cut back on stuff but still indulge. 🙂 Happy writing to you! 🙂

    • It feels right to start blogging again, so I’m going to go for it. Plus, I miss hanging out with friends here at WordPress.

      I’ve given up EVERYTHING! 😦 If I were on a diet, I’d have cheat days, but I can’t do that with this blasted heart. Almost any amount of sodium starts the palpitations, and even though my doctor isn’t overly concerned about them, the fact that my heart feels likes it’s banging around on a broken hamster wheel freaks me out, so I’m not even tempted to eat things I shouldn’t. I could probably have a little sugar, but that only leads to cravings for other things, so I tell myself it’s a poison, and it’s best to stay away from it. Sigh. And just when they finally built a Taco Bell down the street from us! 🙂

  6. So sorry you’ve gone through all that. Sounds difficult and frustrating. I hope things smooth out for you. Sounds like they might be a bit. And congrats on the lifestyle change and the new book. Those are things to celebrate for sure!

    • Thanks, Carrie. Things are definitely looking up. With a nice severance from the company and his 401k, financial ruin is no longer on the horizon. That was a huge stress factor when he could barely work for over four months. We can both relax now while he mends and I jump back into writing.

      As for the lifestyle change. Bah humbug. I’ll complain about it forever, but the truth is, the food I’m cooking tastes great, and the guys say it’s like eating in a 5-star restaurant every night. They say I’ve made more good meals in the last three months than I’ve made in the last 30 years. Men! But I do like the baggy jean effect that I’m rockin’ now. 🙂

  7. Yay, you’re back. Glad some things are improving and your joy is back. And you’re finishing a book. I went thru similar to your husband – I quit 3 years ago from stress and high blood pressure and before that food sensitivities that I didn’t know about – I thought I was dying – weak, tired, couldn’t walk more than 20 feet without pain and heart fatigue. After learning about the food, it took a while to change the diet, but within months, my life came back. That’s when I started the writing. But after some time, stress came back (living in california and maybe my personality..), – so we took a year off, sold everything and took an RV around the 48 states. Most fun (with some different stress) we’ve had as a family. So I haven’t written in that time at all, or even promoted or really thought about it. But glad to see you’re back. Maybe it’s time I took a look at getting back to writing, too.
    Hope everyone’s health is restored soon

    • Wow, Kevin, your symptoms sound just like what Rich has been going through. Now that they’re gradually taking him off the meds, he is getting better, but it’s been horrible watching him suffer. I’ve driven him to work only for someone to have to bring him back home, because he couldn’t function. I’m so glad to hear you have your life back, and what a great idea – traveling in an RV with the family. I bet that was wonderful and should surely have provided a lot of fodder for some future writing. 😉 Thanks for the well wishes, and it’s nice to see you again!

      • interesting to hear Rich has similar symptoms. Most doctors wont diagnose or agree with this food stuff, but there are chiropractors who do a bit of holistic. Later, I also did 1 month of no carbs and no dairy. Took a few weeks to find substitute snacks and meals that were healthy, but after a strict month, I lost 20 pounds and felt very amazing again. People who are more studied than I say essentially we develop auto-immune issues. Turns out my thyroid was also bad, and my vitamin D. My Dr didn’t care about that, but Vit D council suggested my #s to be lot higher. I did that and it really helped.

        Yes, we did and saw lots of writing worthy stuff. Kayaked among alligators, went deep into the bayou, chased out of the atlantic by sharks, surrounded by giant iguanas in the Keys, held actual treasure from the Atocha in my hands, visited the CIA code museum and of course all the historical and landmark sites and Twains house and confederate whitehouse and Washingtons, and jeffersons (back of a nickel). Inside the statue of Liberty and independence hall on July 4.

        So I highly suggest it. 😀

        • That’s where I’m at – no grain or dairy. I feel so much better doing this. I’ve talked to Rich about changing up his diet. I think it would help him after the meds messed with his brain so much.

          Crikey! You had an adventure! Sounds like you could easily write an action/adventure book. 🙂

          • that reminded me – no need to respond, but I started to get real foggy – I’d be in meetings, but couldn’t process, and sometimes people would come to me later and ask if I took care of something from the meeting and I’d be ‘uh, I don’t even remember that…” that changed eventually when my health came back. But it was scary. and I’m in my 40s.

            • It is scary. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rich has some food allergies, too. When this is over, maybe we’ll look into that. He has a terrible time holding any thoughts at all. It’s been nearly impossible to carry on a conversation with him. You’re a young pup 😉 – Rich is an old man at 56, but he’s definitely too young to retire. I think he’ll go back to work eventually.

    • Thanks, Emilio. I suppose one of the good things that has come out of my own health issues is that I’m forced to take care of myself now. I’ve made attempts with some success in the past, but now there’s no turning back. I think I’ll like my new, improved, healthier self. 🙂

      Looking forward to catching up with you to see what stunning photography you’re sharing now!

    • Thank you, Juliann. I’ve missed being here and running around to see friends. Now that Rich will be home for several months, I told him he has to help me find fun and/or mischief to share on my blog. I’m hoping he’ll be well by summer so we can still ride the motorcycle. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Sad to hear about the health problems but glad to hear they are under control. 2016 seemed to be a bad year for many of us. Let’s hope this year is much better. I might even finish a novel! 🙂

  9. Oh my goodness, it does sound as though you’ve had a torrid rime of it. Hope everything settles down now and you can have a smoother ride, Maddie. I love your book cover and the title. Congrats on the weight loss. xx

    • Thank you for your kind words. I can safely say the worst is over. For the first time in months, there is a measure of peace in our house, and Rich seems to be feeling better with each passing day. I’m 121 days in on the new way of eating, and although the weight loss is slow, I’m in it for the long haul now that my heart has decided to settle down, too. 🙂

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