I know, I know. You’ve seen me over on the VolcanoLady site. But of course, you have. I spent a decade roaming the Wild Weird West in search of Steampunk joy and I found it. I even went completely off the rails with a Dieselpunk / Noir-punk mystery: A Place of Fog and Murder.
Then came the Pandemic.
Everything changed, didn’t it?
Two and a half years of telling ourselves that we are home, few interruptions, delicious isolation. Um … sure … I’ll just take those long hours and write a dozen books and paint one hundred paintings and …
If you were like me, you daydreamed and fantasized about all sorts of maybes. None of them happened — or they started but never got finished. Oh, how I feel the frustration. But we ought to cut ourselves some slack. That wasn’t just a global pandemic, it was a global psychological gut-punch. Unless we were First Responders, most of us were luck to keep our jobs and to get out of bed most mornings. It was and still is a world-wide, shared case of PTSD. Don’t talk yourself out of thinking of it that way. You don’t have to be a soldier in the battlefield to suffer trauma. If you are here, reading this, you survived, and you likely have some trauma from having your world turned upside down and forcefully changed forever.
That’s how it is for me, too.
Enter a new phase of writing. I joined a group called the Sisters in Crime, and connected in ways I didn’t know I could. I zoom-friended fellow writers all over the country and all over the globe. I learned that “networking” is fun, even when not in person. The introverted me found where she put her extrovert costume and put it back on, but only for limited special occasions.
And I learned that shadows and things that go bump in the night are part of who I am. You see, before the pandemic, I wore an extrovert costume and mask, designed by someone else, EVERY. DAMN. DAY! 24/7. Anything to fit in. I already had some “weirdo” hobbies, so I had to look and act “normal” all the more. During the pandemic, there was no one to act for — no one who cared it my hair was a fashionable cut, the right color, my clothes cool or trendy. No one cared if I could pull off a three-piece suit.
In the silence of the pandemic, I discovered a little voice that was a child living inside of me. She’d been there the whole time. She was the one afraid of the creepy-angry energy under the stairs at the first house my family lived in, in Colorado. She was the one who heard about a shrine on the mountain, cliff dwellings of mysterious people, ancient curses, and magic — and wanted to be part of that. Adulthood and “business proper” beat her down until I forgot she was there. Even when writing my Steampunk stories, I was hounded by the “but what if your co-workers see this?” syndrome.
I stopped being afraid of that light breeze across my neck in a still room. I learned how to ask elements that didn’t feel quite right or friendly to leave, politely of course — rudeness is never an appropriate first response. I started learning about parapsychology, ghost (hunting) discovery, and human potential. And I started writing about it. Stories. Fun, dark, spooky, romantic (sometimes,) scary stories.
On March 20th, my first Paranormal Romantic Thriller will be released to the public. The Skin Thief.
Did the pandemic permanently change me? Yes. For the better? I think so. I still need to socialize more. I’m rather a homebody to this day, but then, maybe that too is just fine.
May your 2023 start off with good humor, ideas, creativity, and the chance of re-associating with that inner child we all hear about but rarely accept. Bookwise, I’m off at a running pace. Bookwise …