Sunday, August 9, 2020

AND continuing in survival mode....


Well, here we are still trying to stay safe and healthy.  My salvation so far has been my walking, which I do every day religiously, my gardening, which I can only do on cooler less humid days, and my writing, which I can thankfully do every day!

So the result so far?  My walking is giving me energy, strength, thinking time and helping me to lose a few inches.  So that's a positive.  

As for the gardening, we're in the middle of a drought here so the other day when I tried to attach my hose to water the back flower gardens, the faucet didn't work.  It worked a few days ago, but today?  Not so much.  Now if you're thinking this is not a big problem, you'd be  wrong.  The plumber came and said "it's most likely the valve's sticking."  Okay, I think, can you unstick it.  Where is the valve?  Ah... now that's the problem.  Inside my downstairs family room wall where there is no access.  And at this point, I'm not about to have the wall come down, but I'm also not happy about this since I have large flower gardens that are drooping and drying up from lack of water.  Well, I can only watch these poor plants suffer for so long, so like the sorcerer's apprentice I begin to carry jugs of water from the upstairs sink.  You're laughing I know,  but I'm praying for a few drops of rain, asking if the non-existent clouds can be seeded?  They used to talk about that.  In the meantime, I continue my trek with the water attempting to save what I can.

Lastly, my writing.  Now that has turned out to be my salvation.  I think I said the last time that in the early stages of this pandemic, it was hard for me to concentrate on anything, but slowly, as I developed my pandemic rhythm, my words started to flow... unlike my back faucet.  Two days ago, I finished the draft of my next novel, about 73,000 words!  So that's a great accomplishment, but now the real work begins.  I'm finding that my female character, Elle, needs a little more development, more backstory as they call it.  I feel the male character, Gabriel, might be more robust, but still needs some backstory as well.  The setting?  I think that's okay.  Most important are the two houses involved and the old cemetery.  Although, they did take a side trip which ended up being pretty entertaining.  And the goal, I think it is well understood by them and me.  As with all  or most of my manuscripts, this one began with a newspaper article about a strange occurrence, a body from the 1800's being uncovered in a very strange way.  This event becomes front and center now that Elle is preparing to sell the house.  So... if you wait until around October, it should be out.  When I finish my revision, it goes to my publisher where they edit more if needed and then it's proofed and published.  Once that novel is out, I'll go back to work on my next Oyster Point mystery which is maybe a third complete already.  Everyone loved those two character, Jack and Jamie, so much, as did I, that they have to continue their attempts at solving "cold cases".  So, on the writing front, I'm feeling good.

hope you are stay well, safe and sane during this time.  Chronicle your feelings in a journal.  Some day in the future, people might want to read our stories!

Till, Judi

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

AND still in survival mode....

© photo by Judi Getch Brodman

Will life ever return to normal I ask myself every day.  I now understand how much we have taken for granted - the hugs from family and friends, visits with grandparents and the older generation, meeting friends for coffee and a chat, eating out, the kid's sports, even work... I miss all that and more.   

My professional life has sometimes taken me on very solitary journeys - I built software and computer systems and then went on to manage a very large department, but even then, I couldn't socialize with my workers.  And being a writer?  Talk about a solitary profession.  Saving grace is that I have my characters to talk with :-) 

I read an editorial today in a writing magazine which expressed beautifully how the editor felt...  that her emotional swings were "seismic" over things like no toilet paper in the store or photos of people flaunting being out and about disregarding medical advice.   I know how she feels... going out for groceries is a big deal now - I take my mask and gloves, my list and enter the closed foreign environment.  I clean the carriage handle and begin my adventure following the arrows, making sure to stop or turn if someone passes, hating the feel of the mask over my face and mouth fogging up my glasses, knowing I have to do this now.  I make my shopping venture quick, precise, and once every two weeks if I can.  I've taken to rationing how much news I watch, the stories of loved ones dying without the touch of a family member's hand; a new baby entering the world without Dad there to hold him/her moments after they begin their journey through life; Dad not being able to hug his wife and tell her how beautifully she did during the birth and how much he loves her; grandparents and soldiers being taken from us just because they are living in a place that their family thought was safe for them - the agony on the faces and in the voices of those family members; the protests that we all hope will bring real change not just die away... I agree that all of these stories are important and need to be told, but some days, I'm overwhelmed by the shear volume of them all.   And then, family and friends are going through their own tough days on top of all this and all I can do is support them long distance.

But in spite of all that I have said, I take solace in walks, in gardening, and of course in my writing and painting.  It gives me joy to think that maybe when someone reads one of my books, it will take them away for a few hours from the pressures and sorrows of today's world. My paintings seem to reflect the solitude that we all feel...

© painting by Judi Getch Brodman "Freedom"

But we know that these days will pass; eventually we'll laugh and love again... it's only a matter of time, but until then, stay safe, stay well, and keep writing.  


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Still in Survival Mode...

Although we are still in a "shelter-in-place", I feel so much safer here in my home - maybe a false sense, but reality to me.  I can roam around without thinking that I have to wash my hands constantly, although I do clean surfaces and doorknobs, etc quite a bit.  But I can work outside in my garden which still needs a lot of wedding.  And in spite of all this sickness and death that COVID-19 has brought upon us, spring has still arrived.  To tell you the truth, I think this is one of the prettiest springs I've seen here or maybe it seems that way because I appreciate it so much more this year.

I've been writing - or trying to since I've returned.  I had wanted my latest manuscript to be finished and into the publisher by the end of this month, but not to be.  At first, the words and the story came slowly, but this last week, I hit my stride.  The characters are truly unveiling the mystery in this book.  Even I was surprised.   So I'm hoping for June.

In the meantime, I was asked to read my children's book, Fiona the Lighthouse Firefly, on video so that it can be shared with children at home.   I'm thrilled and did a trial video on my iPhone, but most of the clips are too long to send to the tech team.  So, back to the drawing board - I might try recording it on my Surface Pro and see if I can zip the files.  The path is never easy, is it.  But I'm thrilled to do it.  I love that story and love more the reason behind it.  You can find it on Amazon :

In addition, I'm building a new website for my Gallery.  The old one used virb, but they seemed to have gone underground so I'm trying WIX.  Again, a task taking much time away from my writing.  Not easy, but I'm getting a good look to the site.

Other than that, I have nothing to do.  I'm glad that I'm busy now because it keeps me from hearing the news playing constantly in my head.  It's also nice to be transported to a story that has wonderful characters building, a romance brewing, and a mystery evolving that even I find intriguing.  

Stay safe, busy and well.  And keep writing.  I'll be back with more about my next two novels :-)   Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Survival Mode March 2020...

Well, our world sure has changed quickly, hasn't it?  No school, distance learning, colleges closed, restaurants closed, stores closed... on and on. 

Believe it or not I had to travel this weekend and chose to drive, not fly... a long trip.   The first thing we noticed was that traffic was light -- until we reached the dreaded Georgia/South Carolina border where we lost a lane.  Traffic continued heavy - stop and go for miles.  I have no idea why a highway that transports so many people from the North to the South and back again is a two lane highway!  Well, a topic for another blog.

As we crawled along, I noticed that the majority of cars and mobile homes were from Canada - Quebec and Ontario.  They must have listened to the Prime Minister's speech days earlier urging Canadians to come home.  

There are many times when I'm on the road that i'm irritated at the trailer trucks clogging up the lanes.  But listen to me now, NEVER again.  These gals and guys are the backbone of our country keeping our economy rolling.  As I drove along, I felt like buying each and every one of them a coffee and a meal if there were any restaurants open.  Thank you road warriors!!

When we stopped for gas, we noticed all the restaurants that we trusted to have clean restrooms were "drive-up" only which meant everyone traveling had to stop at rest areas or the gas station markets.  Even pumping gas, we wore gloves and disposed of them before reentering the car and then sanitized our hands.  

I had packed lots of snacks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and hard boiled eggs so we were never hungry and never stopped, except for my Dunkin' coffee -- even the virus couldn't keep me from my coffee. :-)  

Then we had to stop for the night.  We picked a decent hotel and when checking in, I asked for a room that hadn't been booked for a few days knowing the virus supposedly didn't live on anything past 72 hours.  She didn't really have that information so gave us a top floor room all the way at the end of the corridor.  

Once in the room, out came my Clorox spray bottle and I cleaned every surface that we would touch.  A friend had advised this and I'm so glad she did.  Maybe it was a false sense of hope that I had destroyed the virus that had lived in that room but I felt better and that's all that counted I guess.  She also suggested that  I take my own sheet to throw over the bed, which I did, but then added my own pillow cases as well.  We slept on top of the bed with towels over us.  I know, it sounds absurd now that I write about it, but it felt necessary at the time.  Is it over the top panic?  Most likely but who's going to be the one to take that chance... not me.

We needed to eat and Outback took takeout orders over the phone and delivered. We had a great picnic. 

The next day at breakfast, I conducted an unscientific study about why more men come down with the virus than women.  Before I selected tongs, I picked up a napkin and then used them.  The same was true when I used the coffee pump and creamer, but I watched the men just handle everything, no napkin, bare handed.  When we sat down, my husband said, "You just saw why the study was right.  Men touch everything without a thought." 

We powered on for the rest of the day stopping to switch drivers, to use the restrooms and to pick up a Dunkin'.  The rest areas became less populated as we moved up the east coast.  Truckers had special areas reserved for them at the back.  

When we returned home, I immediately threw everything into the washing machine, left our jackets in the garage where they still sit, and showered.  

As I said in the beginning, our world sure has changed quickly.  I'm glad to be home writing again.  There are many stories in that trip back as well as the days leading up to it, but I had to tell this one.  I'm sure that each of you have stories that should be written about these times.  When we emerge from these days and we will, we can look back and make a judgment as to whether we were smart, took unnecessary risks, or overdid everything.

Stay safe and be well,

Monday, February 24, 2020

Up for "Reader's Choice Award!

2020 Reader’s Choice Awards contest -

I'm very excited because my mystery book, "She's Not You", was just nominated for the 2020 Readers Choice Awards contest by TCK Publishing! Please vote for it under the "Mystery" category, Page 10, at

This is the same book that came in as a quarter finalist in the Screencraft Cinamatic Book Contest determined by a panel selected to read and judge the books.

This new contest is determined by the number of votes the book gets.-- not exactly the same but it would be nice if you all went out there and voted like crazy.  If you haven't read "She's Not You" - you should.  The reviews have been awesome.

That's my latest news.  Will be back soon.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A February Note....

When I saw this photo, I thought, "What a great opening sentence for a novel."  Immediately, where does your mind go... right, who has that other 1 % ?   Mystery... intrigue, secrets right off the bat.

This is one of the reasons that I write mysteries - I plant those first seeds of intrigue and water them as I go.    Sometimes I encourage a secret weed or two of to grow until they begin to get wild and interfere with the growth of my mystery.  Then they have to be pulled out and composted... :-)  But they have still added to the story in many ways - wrong turn, wrong person, another dangerous person. 

The draft of my new "Oyster Point Mystery" has my signature opening... the commitment of the dastardly deed in graphic detail.  You, the reader, are there, see it, feel it and more importantly see who did it.  Why do I do that?  Good question... maybe because I want the reader to know more than the characters;  maybe because then the reader can see the right or wrong track that the characters are taking; and maybe because the reader still doesn't know how to catch the deed doer.  That's my job as a writer to figure out.  For some reason, this has become my style - most call it unorthodox, but it works for me and has become my signature opening.  

That style doesn't work for everyone, so each of you has to find your own signature or voice - maybe your story starts with "It was a dark and stormy night...."  I was advised a few times by other writers and professors not to have the dastardly deed open the story and I tried moving it.  When I did it, I felt that I had lost the powerful opening that I love.  So back it went.

My time-travel and romance novels usually don't open this way.  But, that said, the other draft manuscript that I'm working on does have a mysterious opening.  Now that I think of it, it's both a mystery and a time-travel.  Is there such a genre?  :-)  

So my advice to all is to write your style, find your voice, mix genres if it works for you and have fun.  Give your reader something that they love and and can't put down.  Make them want more!!

Happy Valentine's Day if that's your thing... just enjoy the day with whoever or whatever is the love of your life.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dawning of a new year... what will it hold?

Happy 2020 everyone! It's always a time of both sadness and happiness for me when ringing in a new year.  Sadness when I leave behind a year which may have been the best of my life or the worst.  I remember years ago when my Dad died, I didn't want the year to change.  I know, it sounds strange.  You would think that I would have been glad to leave all that sadness behind me, but I wasn't... I didn't want to have to say "He died a year ago" or "He died last year."  It seemed to place his death, my loss, far behind me and I wasn't yet ready to do that.   

But this year I'm looking forward to writing more.  I have two manuscripts that I'm working on and love both of them.  One will be another Oyster Point mystery with Jack and Jamie becoming tangled in more cold cases and surprisingly, with old loves.   We can only imagine how Jamie feels when Lizz reappears - divorced.  And Jack, how jealous will he become when Mike resurfaces from Jamie's past?  Think back on all the loves of your life and just imagine how you would feel if one of them popped up unexpectedly.  It's interesting to see how people deal with that... myself, the past is the past.  As I've said so often, there are no second chances... If you lose one, another will hopefully come along and another and finally, you'll find that very special one or not.  That's just how life is as the song says, filled with "traces of love."

No one walks through this life unhurt, at least no one that I've met.  And so when the Times Square ball drops and we start with a clean slate, we toast the new year hoping for the best... lots of love, happiness and good health with family, friends, and loves of our life.  But we never forget the ones we leave behind last year or the year before or tens of years before.  They are always lodged in a little place in out hearts.  And when they choose to pop up in our consciousness for some reason, they are greeted with tears or smiles... but they are always, always remembered.  

And so it is with my characters.  When their past crosses their path unexpectedly, what will they do?  Give in to trying to recreate what they once had or have the strength to admit that the past should sometimes stay in the past.  How lucky am I as a writer that I can test out both premises... fall back or move on.   

My second manuscript is another time travel; "The Looking Glass Labyrinth" being the first that I wrote.  I'm introducing two new interesting characters with their own life's baggage.  So far I like both of them... Elle, a semi-forensic scientist, who's trying to clean out a family home and sell it after her parent's divorced, and Gabriel, an architect  hired to restore a nearby Victorian, who is looking to buy a house in the historic town.  They are an interesting mix.  Elle's long kept secret might take her to 1845 to unravel the mystery of a missing woman who had lived in her house.  

Wish me luck with both of them.  I'm hoping to have one ready for submission to my publisher by April.  We shall see.

Again, happy new year and follow your dreams.  I am!