Sadly, Musa Publishing has gone out of business. Stay tuned for future Blog Post announcing new ways to purchase both e-book and printed copies of my novels.

Sadly, my publishing company, has closed its virtual doors, giving its authors only eight days notice before doing so.  It has been a nice run with Musa getting my books out, but I am now left to scramble to make my novels available again to my readers.  However, although Musa is gone, I am still writing and am very excited about this next phase of my career–self-publishing my current and new novels and making them available in both e-book and printed versions.  This will take me a little time to set up. I will be posting information on how to get my books just as soon as I get them up and running. Thanks for stopping by.  In the meantime, you can still check out the reviews on the review tab at the top of the page!

And, if you drop me an email through my contact link, I will let you know personally as soon as my novels are up and running again. Thanks for stopping by.

Until, hopefully, the near future,

Respectfully yours,

Susan Rae

Family Holiday Traditions

IMG_6384“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!”

That’s the opening line from which famous novel?

(As the holidays approach, I am wishing you all a very merry Christmas and reposting this from the MusaPublishing Blog. Enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday season!)

If you guessed, Little Woman, you are correct. It’s also the opening line of the play, spoken by the feisty Jo–the role I was thrilled to perform in my school’s eighth-grade presentation of Little Women. Even then, I have to admit, it was probably a bit of typecasting as I was already showing an interest in novel writing.

And yes, it would seem Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without any presents, especially for children. As for Jo and her sisters, they were lamenting the fact that their father was off fighting in a war and the family had no money for presents. At first, they begin to contemplate spending their own hard-earned money on presents for themselves, until they realize that self-sacrifice, giving to others, is actually more satisfying, and that spending Christmas in the company of family and friends is more valuable than any present they could receive.

As we grow older, we too realize that Christmas is much more about giving than receiving, and very much more about being able to spend the holidays in the company of family and friends. But along with all that family gathering, we also have our traditions: some handed down from generation to generation, some new traditions which we start as our families grow and become more spread out. With Christmas almost here, I thought it would be fun to talk about family holiday traditions.

So what is your “Christmas won’t be Christmas without ______!”

In our home, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O, or a huge platter of the family recipe lasagna, or the Swedish glögg which my husband starts on the stove the morning of our gathering. The spices waft through the house as the children arrive with their own kids in tow. I suppose one might think Jell-O, lasagna, and glögg is a strange combination, but it is actually a blend of old family traditions. My husband is of Italian/English descent, thus the lasagna; I am of Swedish descent and my husband adopted the making of the glögg; and as for the Jell-O, when my children were small, my brothers and sisters and all their children would gather at my parents’ home on Christmas Eve and no matter what the dinner’s main course was, we always had our Christmas Jell-O. I guess that couldn’t be more Midwestern American.

Now the children have moved further away and have their own small children so understandably they want to be at their own homes for Christmas Eve and for Santa on Christmas day. That’s something I completely understand, so although our get-together may not always be on Christmas Day, we still gather the day or the weekend after Christmas and it is great fun. We have a quick snack, let the children open their presents, and then the adults spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company while the children play with their gifts and their cousins, and at some point, of course, we have our Christmas dinner.

Another tradition which we have started recently, as our children live further away, is that when the kids are here for Thanksgiving, they help take out our Christmas decorations, we put up the tree, and the grandchildren put the ornaments on the tree. I’ve learned to love that just as much as our Christmas celebration. So you see, the more things change, the more things say the same.

So I ask again, what are some of your family’s traditions? How would you complete the line, “Christmas won’t be Christmas without _______!”

If you’d like the recipe for Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O, a fun go-together with any meal, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for spending this time with me. Again, have a very Merry Christmas and Joyous Holiday Season.

Holiday Traditions–Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O

Holiday Traditions–Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O

As the holidays approach, it’s time to think about our celebrations and family traditions. Many of our traditions center around food. One dish that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without in our family is Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O. No matter what the main entrée, when we get together we always have to have the Jell-O. Although easy, this recipe does take time to prepare as it is a total of 12 layers. Allow at least six hours for the entire prep. (Hint: put dish in the refrigerator at least one hour ahead of time to speed up the set of the first layer.)

Sorry, I haven’t made it yet, so I don’t have a picture, but the recipe should be easy to follow! I’ll post a pic when I get one. :-)

As we prepare for the holidays, I’m wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Susan Rae

Grandma’s Christmas Jell-O

Use a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish Read more…

Inspiration: Finding It In Your Own Backyard

Keeping on the theme of inspiration for NaNoWriMo, just like Dorothy states in the The Wizard of Oz, very often, “There’s no place like home.” If you’re trying to come up with an idea or a setting for your novel, sometimes you need to look no further than your own backyard, or neighborhood, or town. The most intriguing and captivating stories can be ones crafted from places and things the writer already knows. Why are these stories so captivating to readers? Because the writer is able to imbue them with details they have personal knowledge of and those details are what makes the stories pop. Yes, the old adage, “Write what you know,” is trite, but so very true.

What’s in my backyard? I live in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, out in the cornfields. Within a couple of miles of my home is what is billed as “The World’s Largest Corn Maze” (check out When I started trolling for ideas for heartbeats, Book #1 in the DeLuca Family Series, I thought it might be fun to make my female protagonist someone who grew up on a nearby farm, then went off to the university to become a doctor, and later joined a prestigious practice in Chicago. I knew I wanted to write suspense, so I thought: What if my all grown up, sophisticated protagonist has claustrophobia issues stemming from a time when she got lost in the cornfield when she was playing hide and seek when she was young? How interesting would it be if, just as she is becoming a rising star in her profession, her one-time college roommate is murdered in her Chicago apartment, and at some point in the novel, my protagonist must return home and face her fears of being lost in the corn in order to save herself and her young daughter? I also thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the two settings of the seemingly idyllic farm country and Chicago’s busy streets, both of which I have first-hand knowledge of. And there you have it; that corn maze was the spark that ignited my imagination and allowed the storyline to take off.

In a similar vein, fellow romantic suspense author Tracie Ingersoll Loy, ( decided to set her Hartz Island Series (Slip Into the Night, Deep Into the Night) in the islands of the Pacific Northwest, not only because of the beauty of the area, but because she had personal knowledge of the islands. As Loy explains, “I felt comfortable using the islands as a setting because that was my backyard. My aunt and uncle ran an oyster farm there and I spent summers exploring the islands with my cousins from the time I was a small child, through my teenage years, and into adulthood.” Because of her experiences, Loy felt she could bring an authenticity to the stories that someone else might not be able to do. As her characters go about solving the mysteries of the fictitious Hartz island, Loy gives us details of what it’s like to take cover behind a madrono tree while watching kayakers come ashore in the middle of the night, or traveling on the car ferry, the only way on and off the island, or the camaraderie of the island’s inhabitants as they sip their morning coffee at the local café and discuss the body parts that are washing up on the otherwise tranquil beaches.

For cozy mystery writer Caryl Dierksen, (Teaching Mysteries 101), the choice for the setting for her first novel was also easy. An English teacher for over thirty years, she knew the ins and outs of the high school setting, the different personalities of the teachers and administrators which made every day at the school a new adventure, and a few little secrets of her building which she thought might be fun to use as a template for the setting of her book as she wrapped the mystery around it. And that’s the key: the high school she worked at was just a template, the personalities starting points, from which the ideas began sparking and her imagination took off, allowing her to create a truly fictitious novel but steeped in believable detail.

So, as you think of starting a novel, look around you, at what you see every day and what perhaps you take for granted, but look at it with a new creative eye. Your own perceptions and knowledge of your surroundings will allow you to bring it to life in a unique way that will bring authenticity to your story. That authenticity will carry your readers right along with you as you unfold the story for them, whether it be a mystery/suspense novel, romance, fantasy, or whatever, because, for inspiration for your story ideas or settings, very often, “There’s no place like home.”

Now click your heels together three times and start writing!

Until next time,

Susan Rae  

Finding Inspiration In The Company of a Roomful of Aspiring Authors for NaNoWriMo

And a few novel writing tips!Writers Toolkit Presentation, Susan Rae Intro10_1_2014 webste

Last week I had the opportunity to help present a program titled, “Building your Writer’s Tool Box,” with fellow authors Elizabeth Harmon and Caryl Dierksen. The idea was to give inspiration to writers along with some tips on how to write a complete novel in a month as they gear up along with thousands of other writers who will attempt to write a complete novel in November: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.)

I have to say, though, that I was the one inspired by the forty or so aspiring novelists gathered for the presentation. There is something so soul soothing about being in a room full of people who get what you do and why you do it. Seeing all those eager faces, pens poised ready to take notes, excited to get started, I could almost feel my brain and heart give a huge sigh, just before all those creative synapses started firing again as if I’d had a triple mocha latte. These people understand what it means when characters are talking in your head, wake you up in the middle of the night as you try to reconcile an argument they’ve had, insist on turning your story in one direction when you had planned on them doing something completely different. They also understand the need to write, the urge to create, despite any obstacles that might be tossed your way. Read more…

So you’ve always wanted to write a novel…here’s your chance!

One of the things I hear often when talking to readers is how they have an idea for a novel, but just haven’t gotten around to writing it. The reasons they give are many—time constraints, not being quite sure how to start, or perhaps they’ve written a chapter or two—or more, but don’t know how to proceed from there.

Well, if you’re one of those aspiring authors, here’s your chance to gain some important tools of the trade and hopefully inspire you to get on with it!   On Wednesday, October 1st, mystery writer, Caryl Dierksen, free-lance journalist and author, Elizabeth Harmon, and yours truly will be presenting Building Your Writer’s Tool-Kit at the Crystal Lake Public Library. We will cover topics like developing character ideas, plots, timelines, outlines (or none), and doing enough research to get you started but not so much that it bogs you down. We’ll also discuss how to clear the distractions from your life so you can do the thing you really want to do.

The presentation is set just in time to get you geared up for November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when you can join thousands of other aspiring novelists in creating a 50,000 word first draft of the novel that’s kicking around inside you, dying to come out.

We start at 7 p.m.. The program is free and you don’t have to live in the Crystal Lake area to attend. Click CLPL–Building Your Writer’s Tool Kit to take you directly to the Library’s sign up page for the workshop, or go to and select the Calendar tab.

You’ve thought about it. Make this the year you do it. See you there!

A Word About Setting and Its Influence on the Story — And a Chance to win a FREE e-copy of TRUE blue!

TRUE blue is the third installment of my mystery/suspense series based on a Chicago cop family, the DeLucas. So why, you might ask, is there a picture of a mountain lake and a waterfall on the cover?

Good question. Yes, two thirds of the story in TRUE blue does take place in the streets of Chicago. Chicago is a fascinating city compiled of seventy-seven different neighborhoods that house the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich and every socioeconomic class in between. Diversity is Chicago’s middle name. The streets are bustling with commerce, culture, and unfortunately in many instances, crime. Given all that, what better place to set a mystery/suspense novel? From the often serene beauty of Lake Michigan and the famous Chicago skyline to the tired apartment complexes of the inner city, Chicago is ripe for stories of personal triumph and despair.

And, for a pair of married detectives, it is filled with cases that need to be solved. But life can be hectic in this bustling city when you are attempting to keep up with your current case load while trying to solve a twenty-four year old murder, deal with the return of a childhood sweetheart, keep a marriage together, and raise a very active three-year old all at the same time. Oh, and then there’s the extended family and all their issues to contend with.  (Read on and leave a comment to automatically be entered to win a free e-book copy of TRUE blue! Drawing for the winner will be on August 3.) Read more…

TRUE blue Virtual Tour Reviews, Wrap Up and Giveaway!

UPDATE:  And the winner is–Cheryl clb!  Enjoy your Amazon Gift Card!

And a big thank you to everyone who joined me on the tour.


Only TWO DAYS left in the TRUE blue Virtual Tour.  See the reviews and enter to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate! I’m very excited that the Amazon review rating is 5 Stars!

TRUE Blue Tour Banner

Click HERE for tour!

To read the first FOUR chapters of TRUE blue, Click HERE!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Susan Rae


June 4 – Sarah Says Read Romance – Review
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… - Review
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Review
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review



The TRUE Blue Virtual Tour Continues

Steamy Suspense with a husband and wife as the hero and heroine? That’s the topic at PureJonel. Please join me for the discussion and to enter the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Follow the tour for reviews and more insights into the writing of TRUE blue.

June 11 –  Pure Jonel – Guest Post
June 16 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
June 18 – Book Suburbia- Excerpt
June 23 – What Is That Book About – Guest Post
June 24 – Let’s Get Booked – Excerpt
June 25 – Books A To Z - Interview
June 30 – Mythical Books – Guest Post
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… – Review
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Excerpt
July 8 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review
July 10 – Books Direct – Excerpt
July 11 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

The TRUE blue Virtual Tour is Underway!

Follow along for insights into the writing, interviews, reviews and an opportunity to win a $20.00 Gift Card from Amazon! It starts today with the kickoff and a Meet and Greet.  Enjoy!

TRUE blue Virtual Book Tour

May 30th through July 11th

TRUE Blue Tour Banner

Follow along for reviews and insights into the writing of TRUE blue and enter to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate!

May 30 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Kick Off
June 1 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
June 2 – Simplistic Reviews – Excerpt
June 3 – My Devotional Thoughts – Excerpt
June 4 – Sarah Says Read Romance – Review
June 8 – The Book Diva’s Read – Excerpt
June 9 – The Avid Book Collector - Excerpt
June 10 – A Life Through Books – Interview
June 11 –  Pure Jonel – Guest Post
June 16 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
June 18 – Book Suburbia- Excerpt
June 23 – What Is That Book About – Guest Post
June 24 – Let’s Get Booked – Excerpt
June 25 – Books A To Z – Interview
June 30 – Mythical Books – Guest Post
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… - Review
July 3 – Sweet and Spicy Books - Excerpt
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Review
July 8 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review
July 10 – Books Direct – Excerpt
July 11 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up
For a sampling of TRUE blue, Click HERE.

TRUE blue (DeLuca Family 3) is Now Available at All Major eRetailers!

Or, I could just as easily title this post: “Following the writing schedule and meeting the deadline!”

Available May 16th from,, and all major eBook Retailers

Available May 16th from,, and all major eBook Retailers

I am thrilled to announce that TRUE blue released on schedule on Friday, May 16th.  This one was a tough one to pull off.  When I started writing the book last September, I didn’t realize how involved it was going to get, or the obstacles that would be put in my path along the way.  However, when my publisher gave me the release date of May 16th, I knew I had to finish the book on time so I could meet the date.  You see, that is my father’s birthdate, and although he passed away almost ten years ago now, I felt that the date was a sign that yes, I did needed to finish this book and get it out there. But a May 16th release date meant a February 15th completed clean draft date so I could get it to my editor and we could work through the edits and get it to my publisher by their March 16th deadline.

A lot happened between September and February 15th: the major family holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s; a debilitating illness; and the death of a very dear family member.  Through it all, though, I knew I had to keep working, meeting the weekly page schedule that I set for myself in the beginning of the writing. It wasn’t always easy. There were times when the last thing I wanted to do was sit my butt down in the chair and write.  However, when one has a goal the only way to reach it is to keep plugging along.  And, as of February 5th, I had another reason to complete the book–I had a very dear sister-in-law who was taken too early that I wanted to dedicate it to.

So yes, the book is here, and as the author, I am even more thrilled that it is all and even more than I imagined it would be.  TRUE blue continues the story of the DeLuca Family and deals with love and abiding friendship while tackling a twenty-four year old murder mystery.  There’s also a little steam in it to spice it up. And if you haven’t read DeLuca Family 1 and 2 (heartbeats and ICE blue), don’t be dismayed. You can enjoy TRUE blue as a stand alone novel, too!

So for now, Happy Reading while I celebrate. Although, I must say, the next book is already percolating in my head.  Ah, the life of a writer :-).

TRUE blue (DeLuca Family)

Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.

Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life.  He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town.  Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.

There is very little gray in Joey’s line of work as a Lt. Detective–it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father’s murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.

Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?


Barnes and Noble Nook



Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Booksigning: A lot of fun and a winner in the drawing of a free eBook of TRUE blue

Susan Rae at Spring Fling 2014 Book Signing

Susan Rae at Spring Fling 2014 Book Signing




The book signing event at Chicago North RWA’s 2014 Spring Fling was a lot of fun.  I was able to meet some new authors and fans. Chicago North always puts on a great conference for both multi-published authors and those just starting their writing career. And, there is a winner in my drawing for a free eBook of TRUE blue: DeLuca Family 3.  Cathleen Hays, you will be one of the first to get a copy when it is released on May 16th.  Thank you to all of you who stopped by and to my fellow authors who I had a chance to visit with, and to all of the coordinators and volunteers at the conference. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay as long as I would have liked, but by all accounts, it was another great conference!

TRUE blue Cover Reveal/Contest!

Available May 16th from,, and all major eBook Retailers

Available May 16th from,, and all major eBook Retailers

UPDATE:  We have a winner in TRUE blue‘s Name that Picture on the Cover Contest!  Congratulations, Cindy Erexson. You correctly identified the scene as Glacier National Park and have won a free download of TRUE blue.

Only eleven days and counting until TRUE blue‘s release. And yes, although the main characters are Chicago Cops, somewhere along the way they have to leave the city and venture to Glacier.  Although the book is intrigue and suspense, it was quite fun writing the majestic scenery into the book and sharing it with readers.

If you would like to be one of the first to get a copy of TRUE blue, click HERE to pre-order it directly from MusaPublishing today!


Only THREE WEEKS and counting until TRUE blue’s release… and we have a cover!

I’m very excited about this one and in honor of its reveal, I am offering a FREE eBook copy of TRUE blue to the first person who leaves a comment on this post or on my Facebook page who correctly identifies where the background picture is taken. You get two guesses. That’s two chances to win!

TURE blue cover Pic

The inspiration for TRUE blue’s cover!

True Blue: Book Three in the DeLuca Family Series

When Lt. Detective Joey DeLuca’s childhood flame breezes into Chicago seeking answers to her father’s twenty-four year old murder, the situation heats up for Joey, his wife Andi, and the entire DeLuca clan. For an excerpt, click HERE!

(All DeLuca Series books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.)

Enter to be the first one to get a copy of TRUE blue when it is released May 16th!

(HINT: this view is some place in the United States. Hope that helps!)

Read more…

Beta Readers–You’ve got to love them!

Or…What happens when they point out something in your novel that could make it stronger but would require some significant revising just days before your first edits are due back to your editor?

In a perfect world, you would have finished your manuscript and sent it to your Beta readers long before your first edits come back.  Ah yes…in a perfect world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

So, what do you do? First of all, you have to believe in your Beta Readers.  For that, you cannot have just anyone as a
Beta Reader. You need people you trust. People who are not going to love anything you write just because you wrote it, but people who read a lot, and read in the genre that you write. They don’t all have to be writers themselves, but one or two writers in the group is nice, especially if one of them has editing experience also.  How many readers should you have?  That’s up to you.  I have four whose opinions I value highly.

So now you’re Beta Readers have read the manuscript and pointed out some things that you might have missed in the story: things that were not said, but maybe should have been said; things you assumed readers would understand but that did not come across clearly in the manuscript; things that didn’t sound quite right to your readers; etc.  You take all their comments to heart, decide which ones you need to address and fix some, but you don’t necessarily make all the changes they suggest. Sometimes only one reader will have a problem with something and you have to decide if it is really is a problem or not.  Occasionally, however, there is an item that multiple readers come up with.

That’s what happened to me with TRUE blue, and to be honest, it was a change I was toying with as I wrote the novel, but had decided to leave as I originally envisioned.  Now, though, just days before the edits are due, three bring up this main point and feel the storyline would be stronger if I do this little change, which really isn’t so little as it is interwoven throughout the entire book!

Of course, I’m not going to tell you what it is. :-) That might spoil the story for you.  But I had to ask myself before I did any changes to the manuscript, would this main change really make the story stronger?  Would it make a significant enough difference in the character arch to justify the revisions? And, what did my editor think about it?  I sent off an email to my editor. She replied that she really didn’t see a problem, that the story worked just fine the way it was, but yes, changing it would work, also.  It was up to me to decide.  I still needed to meet the deadline, though.

So now what do I do?  Well, I decided to work through all of the edits first while I mulled over the bigger change. Finally, when all the edits were done, I decided that yes, in my heart I knew that what my Beta readers were telling me was true–and, although it would require more work, I also knew that I owed it to myself to put out the best work I possibly could. I made a new manuscript file, figured out the best way to make the change with the least amount of revising, and dove in.

Two days later, the manuscript, complete with all edits addressed and the new changes incorporated, was done–two days before I said I’d have it back to the editor. Yeah!

And yes, I do believe the story is stronger for it.

So, Beta Readers…It takes a lot of courage to put a manuscript out there to your first readers.  But if you want comments, be ready to accept what they give you, and be ready to put the work in if they come up with an item that might require a fairly significant revision. Of course, as a writer, one way to look  it is as just another awesome challenge to get the story just right.

To all my Beta Readers…Love you. Thanks! To my readers, only FIVE MORE WEEKS until TRUE blue’s release.  Until then, I thought I would leave you with this tease…

Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.

Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life.  He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town.  Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.

There is very little gray in Joey’s line of work as a Lt. Detective–it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father’s murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.

Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Susan Rae 

The Spirit–And Making Sense Of It All

Diane Nurse-cropped

Diane McCowan Shogren

Authors write about life, love, heartache, turmoil, joy, hardship, and death; and in doing so, we try to make sense of it all. Sometimes, though, especially when terrible, random events happen resulting in a tragic death, it is difficult to find the sense involved. So it would seem with the untimely death of my sister-in-law, Diane. I am not an especially religious person–I attend church only occasionally, but I do believe in God and a purpose for everyone on Earth. Do I believe he has some master plan, though, and that he took Diane from us as a part of that plan? My first reaction is no, that horrible things just happen, and it is through his strength that we find our own strength to deal with such loss.

However, these days I find myself waffling on that score.  If God did, indeed, need a kind, compassionate, loving soul to care for troubled souls in Heaven, Diane would be his girl. Years ago I wrote the following poem.  Originally titled Autumn, I have retitled it, The Spirit, in honor of Diane as I try to make sense out of it all.

The Spirit

Light illumines through the leaves,

The Sun, golden, shines through,

Like…the bright light when dying.

Is it God, or is it you?

Now when I glimpse the sunlight shining through the leaves as I play on the golf course, or sit beneath a tree, pondering the lives, joys, hardships, and yes, tragic deaths of the characters in my novels, I will think of Diane and recall her loving, caring spirit and believe that her soul is still working for good. Diane, we miss you, but I consider you one of our guardian angels. You were on Earth; I have to believe you are even more of one in Heaven.

It seems like your work is not done, my friend.

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