Life has a way of interfering, sometimes. All those things you planned to do simply go out the window because life has decreed otherwise. In this case, it was three things. You know that old adage about things coming in three’s? Well, it’s true.

My intentions were simple. Put the house on the market and be in the new place by fall, take a trip and settle in for the winter to write.

That was my first mistake, thinking I’d be in the new place by fall. It was nearly fall when I placed the house on the market. I was to have flown off to Hawaii in November, for a last breath of summer before winter hit. It would never happen, partly because of the housing market and partly because my travelling partner was suddenly incapacitated and unable to travel at that time. You’d think that would be all but it was only the beginning.

The second, which saddens me still and will for a long time, was the death of my sister. We knew it was close. My family and I had discussed my upcoming trip and the fact that she could expire while I was away, and what would I do? These things are not cut and dried. We knew she was failing, but with cancer, you just never know. She’d been taking treatment, was still in treatment, so how long did she really have? Discussions with doctors via phone were helpful and as they seemed hopeful the chemotherapy was helping, I made my plans for a trip. And then came the phone call that said they were pulling her off treatment, she was too weak to continue. Shortly after, it was to say she was being moved into hospice care. Again, phone calls with her made her sound good, she was liking where she was, taking it all in stride, and I was lulled into complacency. Being 2600 km away by car is not a simple half hour drive away from seeing her, so I had only her word to go by.

Until I received a call from the staff, who told me a different story. My house was in the process of being sold, I was still in a state of packing up, but I put it all aside to see my sister, arriving at her bedside 22 hours before she passed. I am glad I went. I regret I was not there a few hours earlier, when the nurses said she was awake and was excited to hear I was coming; that we could see each other one more time. Sadly, she was not awake when I got there and never would be again.

I read to her, spent the night with her and held her hand as she took her last breath, and as she did, I kissed her goodbye. It was November 1st, strangely enough, the day our elder sister had been born. Sandra had passed away a mere 6 weeks after birth, so neither of us ever knew her, but my brother and I hypothesized that perhaps Susan was the reincarnation of Sandra, a child who hadn’t lived long enough to grow old; that perhaps she was born into a new life, to try again. We may never know.

Back home, I moved into my new abode at the very end of November, a place smaller than my previous home, and I felt cramped, yet excited to start afresh. However, as boxes piled up in areas I had thought would be roomier, my energy flagged and a week before Christmas, I was hit with hurricane number three: Pneumonia. I had been working 24/7 for four months.

Life goes on. It is now the new year, and I have put the sorrows and the stresses of the past behind me, although the nagging cough of leftover illness will plague me for a while yet, I am told. Still, between the move and everything else, I had managed to get the third book in my Irish series out and replace the covers on books one and two, but had neglected to update my website. So finally, despite all that has gone on before, here are the new covers, along with the introduction to Brandon’s story. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed creating them.