Monday, December 2, 2013


Victory for First Draft of Novel #2

My Blog has been a mass of cricket chirps for a reason:  November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a challenge for any fledgling novelist looking to be published.

My second novel actually was constructed under the direction of a Writer’s Digest University Course, one entitled “12 Weeks to a First Draft” supervised by Mark Spencer, a professor of English and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

It was a great class for me to take because it kept me on track and pushed me toward completion of the all-important first draft.  Today, as I celebrated with a tall glass of ginger ale, I read a friend’s comment: “I haven’t even read your first novel!” 

She’s not the only one – my first novel isn’t published yet.  I wrote this one because I love writing, not because my agent demanded it or my publishing house required it for a two-book deal.  I’m still an unpublished author, but hopefully not for long.

I am attaching my "back cover synopsis" of my novel, one I call “My Constellation Urion.” 


“I didn’t go out seeking the truth about my family, the facts started falling around me like ashes from Mount St. Helens, causing me to grow up and making me wish for childhood at the same time.  Sometimes I wish I could just go backward- back to  those good old days when my world was an illusion of happiness; a collection of comfortable lies.”

My Constellation Urion is a story told by Charlotte Brannon, the youngest daughter of a charismatic County Sherriff with a strong reputation for being tough on crime. 

Charlotte realizes as she approaches her twenty-fifth birthday, that her family isn’t as solid as she once believed they were.  Her fun-loving but secretive brother drains her parents’ savings account and flees the country with almost no explanation.  Only three months after, Charlotte’s beloved cookie-making Grandmother is arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder and burying human remains at her house.   In the spotlight of scandal, Sheriff Brannon loses a re-election campaign and returns home full-time, partly to take care of his wife, who has fallen into a deep depression. 

Charlotte’s sister and best friend, Katie, has moved across country to pursue her dreams of being a vegan chef.   Unable to process her family’s decline alone, Charlotte seeks Katie’s support and advice only to find her angry and unwilling to “get caught up in the family madness.”  In desperation, Charlotte makes friends with the junior DA who is prosecuting Grandma Brannon, hoping to find out more about the county’s highest profile mass-murder case. 

Set against the backdrop of the fertile farmlands of the San Joaquin Valley of California, My Constellation Urion is a tender story of disillusionment in a happy family and a quest for understanding that fluctuates between being painful and inspiring.  In her quest for truth in every area, Charlotte discovers powerful truths about herself, her ability to love and her capacity to heal.

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