January: It snowed, and my whole family got Covid. I read a couple of books while I was starting to get better but that’s about it. We didn’t do much. Certainly no editing or writing work.
Adam and I had decided at Thanksgiving to move from Connecticut to the Washington DC area in the summer, so we started searches for jobs and school districts and houses.
February: I helped Richard Ostler get his website correlated better with the Listen, Learn & Love books, and started a new project with McArthur Krishna – indexing and doing a line edit for A Couple’s Guide to a Divine Marriage.
March: I conducted multiple interviews for the LDS Women Project to try to frontload my publishing schedule through the summer, because I suspected I would not be focused on writing or editing while in the middle of moving.
I participated in the first half of a nonfiction writing workshop presented by the LDS Publishing and Media Association. It was twice a week, all online. It was great for my schedule, great that I didn’t have to be IN Utah for it, and I really liked my writing group. I worked on a book idea I have about celebrating Lent.
April: Part two of the workshop, and ultimately, I didn’t get very far with my Lent book. It wasn’t what I wanted to focus on. I kept the draft writing and I plan to pick it back up at some point. But it’s not the right time yet.
I started weekly phone calls with McArthur and Ashli Carnicelli, the three of us a co-credit team on a book about Heavenly Mother. We made a lot of major decisions about the book in April and May – the how and why behind the whole thing affected the target audience, the title, and the structure. And that’s before we get to the actual words on the page. The title we settled on is Cherish: the Joy of the Doctrine of Heavenly Mother.
On a personal note, Adam and I started working on the closing part of our potential move – prepping our house to sell, sorting through everything we owned, and packing.
May: I met McArthur in person! And Liz Ostler! And Bethany Brady Spalding! The LDS Women Project presented an in-person fireside for McArthur and Bethany to talk about Heavenly Mother in New York City. My house was only 90 miles away, so of course I was going. It was Aster’s 16th birthday, so the two of us headed to NYC for the day. The fireside was small but a great conversation. And it was so great to meet all of these women in person who I’ve been working with for the past couple of years within the LDSWP.
I hosted/chauffeured McArthur for two more events. We had a brunch at my house the next day with some women in the Hartford area, including Jennie Loomis who is another Heavenly Mother writer. And we went to Boston for another fireside discussion hosted by Zach Davis, executive director of Faith Matters. It was a busy 48 hours!
Adam received two job offers this month, so that part of the move was finally taken care of. For Memorial Day weekend, our family went to DC for the DC Temple open house, and to drive around and scope out neighborhoods. We didn’t find where we DID want to live, but we definitely found where we did NOT want to live.
June: Writing and editing work did not happen this month. I was painting our entire house. Including the ceilings. We had it ready to go on the market on June 28 as planned, but the new job paperwork was lost in transit somewhere.
July: So we were in a holding pattern and our family had to take a break. Vacation 1 was to Western New York: Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen, some other state parks with waterfalls, and the Women’s Rights national memorial in Seneca Falls.
Vacation 2 two weeks later was the Palmer family reunion in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where we stopped playing board games only long enough to hike through the Luray Caverns.
I squeezed in an interview for the LDSWP between all of the drama, and occasionally checked in with the Cherish manuscript.
August: The move was excruciating. Adam had said that he felt we needed to be ready to turn on a dime – things were going to happen fast. We didn’t think it would be more than two months of waiting and then the entire move would happen in less than two weeks. But that’s precisely what happened. That is a whole other story.
September: In our new house in Virginia, I have an actual office! I’m not sitting in the corner of the living room!
Back to work on Cherish to get it finalized for the publisher submission. It is such a fantastic book and I’m so excited for it to be released to the world in April 2023. That was the priority for about eight weeks.
Marci McPhee, my Listen, Learn & Love co-editor, was in the DC area to visit one of her sons, and we got together for a lunch date. It is wonderful to be able to work with people online and get to know them through the magic of technology, but even better when you meet them in person. She’s much taller than I thought – she towers over me. I didn’t think I was THAT short.
October: Cherish went to the publisher on the 15th. I worked to get the LDSWP interviews geared back up because they’d been quiet since July.
November: I did a full manuscript review for a memoir of a transgender woman, who is planning to self-publish it. I continue to be astounded, in a bad way, at the emotional abuse people in my religion inflict upon LGBTQ people – it is the exact opposite of faith and love.
December: It’s like brackets! We got sick from Covid about 10 days into the year, and sick from Covid about 10 days to the end of the year. It was not how I had planned to spend Christmas, but here we are.
Listen, Learn & Love book 3 is now in the works, and I got the first chapter to work on the week after Christmas. Richard has already been working on it for awhile, and now it’s my turn with Marci.
Plans for 2023: 1 – I want to FINALLY hit the target of publishing every month for the LDS Women Project.
2 – the Cherish launch is going to be AMAZING. McArthur, Ashli and I will all be meeting in Utah for a couple of events in May. It will be the first time all three of us meet!
3 – I have a couple of other ideas for books that I’m tossing around in the back of my mind. We’ll see when they come to the forefront.