• Jewel E. Leonard

The Pandemic is Hell

Hello friends far and wide:

I hope this update finds you in good health and spirits.


This blog post might seem a bit scattered and includes a few call-backs to previous posts. Among them, the title refers to my March 25th update and also references some comments I made in my last update:


“[…] attending class virtually because of this godforsaken pandemic that cost me my job back in May […]”


I wish I could say the two months since my last update were filled with glad tidings of comfort and joy but the pandemic has since claimed more than just the best job I ever held. Toward the end of November, I fell ill. Much to my surprise (and I truly was stunned), my covid-19 test (the third I’d had done since the beginning of October) came back positive.


On Thanksgiving morning.


Luckily, we’d already decided against doing a Thanksgiving meal this year for it was that morning I lost my sense of taste (before I got the call about my test results, so I was totally baffled about why my husband made me such weak coffee … spoiler alert: it wasn’t the coffee with the problem here).


I don’t think I’ll ever forget the chill that rushed down my spine when I listened to the message left on my phone and it wasn’t automated. Or maybe that chill was part of the illness; I don’t know.


I could go on about what this experience has been like but I’ve already subjected my poor Facebook friends list to much of it. In short: it was the worst illness I’ve ever experienced and three weeks later, though I have finally found the energy to work on this blog post in bed on my laptop, I’m still suffering. I have not been hospitalized but came close numerous times to asking for my family to call an ambulance.


My 6-year-old daughter, Kaela, actually was hospitalized at the beginning of this past week and the only thing abnormal in her array of lab work and imaging was—you guessed it—a positive covid-19 test. As an aside: you don’t want to go to a hospital right now unless you have no other choice. I’ll leave it at that.


Hubby got about as sick as I did.


My son, Wyatt, who turns 12 in a week regardless of our lack of income for the last few weeks and lack of ability to shop for his gifts, was asymptomatic.


There is really no way of knowing just how much or little or in what ways this illness will attack you. Moving on from pandemic misery:


I had actually finally found a stride while working on book 5 of The Witches' Rede but that was ripped from me the week before I fell ill (I won’t go into what happened but suffice it to say, it was an upsetting turn of events). At least, with Scott’s help, I got through a daunting, difficult series of scenes before everything in my life went to hell.

So the last three weeks have been spent, by and large, wondering if I’ll ever be normal again and when I’d have strength enough to return to my special fictional world. I’m trying. I don’t feel like I can just jump back in where I left off so I printed out what I’ve done so far and I’m re-reading/editing. I maybe have to get a little creative with how I’m doing it. (I’m still having difficulty breathing and lying on my stomach helps.)


A writer writes. Right? 😊


Without further ado (and because I’m running out of stamina for this really abruptly here), I promised a Q & A (with my son’s assistance) series on this blog, so here we go:


Wyatt’s Question: “How drastic are the changes you make to the plot lines?”

TL;DR: It varies.


And now for the TL:


Oh, sweet boy. I’d have to have established ideas for plots to make changes to them. You assume I have plans! LOL


By and large, I am what is called a “pantser.” That is, I “fly by the seat of my pants” when it comes to plotting my books. Real life doesn’t have an outline or plan (and if it does, I have many bones to pick with my writer!) and while there are a great many things in my books that depart from reality, I still like to mimic it as closely and as often as I can.


I like to believe it’s that approach to writing a series filled with magic and the paranormal that helps to keep it grounded.


I’d be lying if I said I have no ideas or plans when I approach my novels. Some of them are very familiar to me well before I start them. Others … those books are making me a little nervous because—aside one or two significant events—I know nothing about them.


By the time I began Alight, I had planned out most of it (and the rest was a re-write of a previous story) and relatively little about the story line changed.


Possession, too, was thoroughly plotted but after foolishly participating in NaNoWriMo with it, much had to be thrown out. The rewrite stage of that book resulted in some pretty significant alterations to its plot.


Prophecy was definitely a seat-of-my-pants book which had such miserable moments in finding the plot as I worked that it subsequently led me to an attempt at actually plotting future work …


Coven was that first attempt and in some places, it worked well. In other places, I discovered truth behind the old adage: Once a pantser, always a pantser. (It so is a real adage!) Overall, I think I kept fairly closely to the original plot.


Rout, the 5th in The Witches’ Rede series, is a WIP (work in progress). This book is one of few about which I’ve known the general plot and I’m sticking very closely to it. There was a sizeable hole in the story (OK but what do I fill all these pages with while the main plot is … stewing?) that came around and I’m still tinkering with perfecting it. I’d say I’m about two thirds of the way through.


As for future books? There’s a lot of wiggle room for changes to time, setting, events, which characters are involved. And as difficult as that can be at times, that’s also the way I like it.


On that note, I’m ravenously hungry again even though I ate less than an hour ago (I told you, covid-19 is weird!) so like a long-awaited gift, I’ll wrap this up.


Stay healthy, dear friends, and in the event I can’t eek out another update prior to 2021: happy holidays and may 2021 be in very few ways like this year has been.


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