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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

The Great Scheme of Things

I just updated my website, and when I got to the Blog page I realized I hadn’t entered anything since I got back from Northern Ireland. Procrastination is like that, isn’t it? I keep putting off writing anything because there seems too much to write about, but then by putting it off it just gets to be a more challenging task!

So, in a nutshell… (ha! Whenever have I been able to write that concisely?) As soon as I got back to Oregon I concentrated in getting A Song of Bullets up to ‘snuff’ so I could pitch it at the Willamette Writers Conference. I even ignored unpacking properly to get it done. There were a thousand other things I needed to do as well. I’d intended to sort out all my bits and pieces around the house… clothes and jewelry I don’t wear, and items I don’t use… and hold a garage sale. But that hasn’t happened. (Yet.) I also had a couple of book signings, one of which was in downtown Portland at the 6th NW Book Festival, where my newest anthology, Tales from Erin, was launched.

Then I had surgery scheduled for the Monday immediately after the conference. That’s a story in itself. Without going into details, it's what I call ‘lady-stuff’. On Sunday at the conference, I fasted all day in preparation for Monday morning. I expect I was a bit flakey and dopey by the time I left the Lloyd Center Doubletree in the afternoon, but it couldn’t be helped. I got everything ready for the hospital and showed up in the morning only to be told my surgery had been canceled. I was suitably shocked, and the clerk at admittance called my surgeon’s office for more information. It turns out the surgeon closed down his practice the Thursday before, (this was after the admitting nurse phoned me on Wednesday to confirm and update details). However, no one told me about it! There was nothing I could do and no point in being angry, so I thanked the people at the hospital and went home. I’m afraid to say in reaction I succumbed to one of my weaknesses and bought a chocolate éclair in Safeway, and gobbled the entire thing once I got home. (Pastry made with wheat; neither a healthy nor wise thing for me!) But oh, so delicious while it went down. I since spoke to the surgeon’s office to get my records sent on to a new surgeon, but they are very close-lipped as to why the practice was closed down. One will just have to wait and hope it comes to light sometime in the future.

So, the long and short of it is my immediate plans have been severely disrupted. I expected a maximum of six weeks to recover, and then head back to Northern Ireland. Now I have to go through all the proper channels again with the new surgeon, who estimates the surgery should be after the end of September. Ergh! I’ve had a divil of a time getting my mindset back into work mode, and have fallen behind. I had hoped to wrap up the Blood of Orange book by now and then reworked the screenplay version. I have a sequel in mind, and thought I’d make a start on that back in Northern Ireland. Ah well; it’s only a few weeks. Not long in the Great Scheme of Things, right? Maybe this way I'll have time to put the garage sale together, after all.

As far as the Conference goes I feel it went very well, indeed. This was the first time we were in our new venue in the Doubletree. I was aware of some minor glitches here and there, but the feedback I’m getting is overwhelmingly positive. We’ll have a better idea of overview when we get together at the end of the month for the Board meeting. I pitched the book to two agents, both of whom requested the first couple of chapters. There are other options out there concerning the book, none of which I can talk about, yet. I had such a great time meeting up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for an entire year since the last conference.

There were many high points during the weekend, but the most memorable for me was our keynote speaker at the banquet, Diana Gabaldon. I so love her Outlander series, and when I met her a few years ago at Conestoga in Oklahoma, it was before I was published, and I was so starstruck I could barely get an intelligent word out! I was still a bit in awe of her this time, too, but at least managed to have a sensible conversation! She is such a lovely person, and so generous. When (as Awards Director) I handed her her check for speaking, she donated it right back to us. Our president, Jenny Schrader, announced that we'd put it into our Books for Kids program. What a brilliant weekend. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being part of this organization. To be involved in something so close to my heart is a privilege, indeed.

With Diana Gabaldon

Tales from Erin cover, original art by award-winning artist Jeff Sturgeon (He claims this is supposed to be me in front of my favorite place, Dunluce Castle!)

With Master of Ceremonies, Dave Sweeney, Awards Banquet

With Leigh Goodison at the NW Book Festival


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