I had to get some air, to find peace. Some unfortunate and sad circumstances came into my life. Our “Daddy,” whom I have known since my teens, became sick a few months back. Just like that, a doctor walked inside the hospital room and said, “This is the end of your father’s life.” You should make him comfortable. Give him an “ice cream sundae,” if he so wishes. You should say goodbye.

He had aortic stenosis and was going into heart failure. We called the family, so they could say goodbye while he was still conscious; we gave him brownies and apple juice (that’s what he wanted), and we tried our best to make peace with this new reality.

He died on a Thursday, and the funeral was the next Tuesday. Meanwhile, just ten days before my father-in-law’s diagnosis, I was offered the opportunity to write a NF Picture Book on a work-for-hire basis. The deadline was the week of his funeral. One can imagine how stressed and overwhelmed I felt. But I did it. I met the deadline, and finished the book. The editors were happy. They said they enjoyed working with me. I realized something. I could be a professional, even under the worst of circumstances, and I felt a true sense of accomplishment. The book comes out in the fall of this year.

After Daddy died, we decided to sell our house, to move closer to family. It sold in four days. Four days. So we started to pack like crazy, and had the house half-packed when the buyers backed out. Just backed right out. By now, I was done editing my MG manuscript. The one I was going to send to my agent to read. And so I sent that along and we put our house back on the MLS.

Now, I spend my days vacuuming the carpet and wiping my kitchen counter, opening the blinds, and switching every light in the house, hoping that the agents who bring new buyers to view our house will fall in love with it and make an offer. It feels similar to the publishing process. The waiting. The hoping. The trying to make everything perfect so that someone will make that offer. THE offer.

Also, I had the honor of being an application reader for the 2018 WeNeedDiverseBooks Mentorship Program. It was a wonderful distraction from my woes, and I enjoyed the process. I learned so much. What struck me the most was this: The talent out there is amazing. Just amazing. I have an even stronger sense of gratitude for the opportunities that have been afforded to me. I feel so lucky.

I’ve been off the Blog Grid for a while. But I’m ready (I think), to come off that mountain. I’m ready to start writing again (I think). I’m ready to take some new risks (I think).

No, not (I think). I am ready.