Missing and Endangered in Paperback–Newsletters vs Blogs

Newsletters from authors are essentially birth announcements. They come out occasionally over the course of a year and are reminders to potential readers letting them know that a new book is about to hit the shelves. And that’s what this one is. For all my paperback readers out there—a very important segment of my readership—the most recent Joanna Brady book, Missing and Endangered, goes on sale in mass market September 28.

Blogs, on the other hand, are written and posted on a weekly basis every Friday morning on both my Facebook author page and my website. They consist of essays that reflect what’s going on in my life at that point in time—a window on my world, as it were. Sometimes they’re about the goings on when I’m off on a book tour. Sometimes they’re about the process of writing itself. Sometimes they’re simply recollections of and reflections on my life and times.

Occasionally, like today, they are one and the same, and there’s a reason for that. Some people who have subscribed to the newsletter never get it. I don’t know if the email hangs up in their spam file or if something else is going on, but the newsletters simply don’t come through. So on weeks when books are due out, the newsletter and blog are one and the same. And if you regard receiving the newsletter as an annoyance, feel free to hit the unsubscribe button. We are careful to remove those each and every time.

But this week, I had a problem. Last week, without remembering Missing and Endangered was about to make an appearance, I promised my blog readers the third installment of a difficult chapter in my history and the people of faith who came along to give me a helping hand. So newsletter-only readers may choose to quit reading here. Or, if they decide they’d like to catch up, they’re welcome to go to www.jajance.com/blog and read the last two postings.

As last week’s installment ended it was 1981, and a children’s sermon at church finally booted me out of self-imposed limbo and set me on a path to a new life. After months of nothing happening, my house sold. The kids and I packed our worldly goods into a U-Haul trailer, hooked it on the back of my Oldsmobile Cutlass, and headed north to Seattle. Did I mention I was scared to death? I had never pulled a trailer before. I only cried when both kids were asleep. I was a single divorced mother, heading off to a new city where, other than my older sister and my nephews, I knew no one. I had a job selling life insurance, but I had no contacts. My lifelong dream of becoming a writer was little more than a distant memory.

As we drove into Seattle from the south on I-5, I remember driving past the then-unfinished overpass to I-90 and wondering what would have happened if I had missed a turn and ended up on that. We arrived in Seattle early in July of 1981. On our first Sunday morning at the condo in the Denny Regrade, I told my sister the kids and I were going to go looking for a church. And we did, setting out walking. I remembered seeing a church on the far side of Denny as we drove by. It turns out there were two. The first one was a Korean church. We kept walking and ended up at Unity.

During the service, the minister announced that youth summer camp was scheduled for the Hood Canal the following week, and it was fully booked. After the service, on the way out, I introduced myself to both the minister and his wife. I told them that I was new to town and that I had two children. I gave Judy, the wife, my phone number and asked her to call me if there were any openings for the camp. She called that afternoon, and my kids went to the Hood Canal church camp the following week.

A few weeks later, as a thank you, I took Judy to lunch. I spent most of the meal crying on her shoulder and telling her how my life had come to pieces, necessitating my leaving Arizona and all my friends there behind. She was an excellent listener. A number of months later, we went to lunch again. Unfortunately, I was still stuck in pool of self pity and bewailing the loss of all my Arizona friends. When I finished my latest boohooing episode, Judy Sherman looked me in the eye and said, “You know there are people here who are willing to be your friend.”

Whap! Sometimes that’s what it takes to get someone’s undivided attention—a good slap along side the head. Judy Sherman became friend numero uno, and she still is. Four years later, in 1985, Bill and I met and married. By then, Judy had put herself through seminary and was a minister herself as opposed to the minister’s wife. She was the one who officiated at our wedding. Like my friend from Vancouver, Mary Ann Swenson, Judy is someone’s whose faith shines through her face as she shares it with others.

A few months after my second conversation with Judy, I finally gave myself permission to try my hand at writing. Bill and I met at a widowed retreat the week before my first book was published in June of 1985. In August of 1986, six months after we married, we traveled to Arizona to celebrate my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. While there, I took him by the office in Phoenix where I had worked during those three very tough years because I wanted to introduce him to the people I had worked with there, but here’s the interesting thing. None of them recognized me. They had never seen me smile, and they had never heard me laugh.

So whenever I drive into Seattle from the south or fly into town, whenever I catch that first glimpse of Seattle’s distinctive skyline, a profound sense of gratitude floods through me because Seattle is where I found my new life. It’s the city that gave me a second chance to find love and happiness. It gave me back my smile and my laughter. It allowed me to follow my dream and write books. It gave me a new life, a new husband, kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids, to say nothing of very my loyal readership.

Reverend McKinley was absolutely right all those years ago All I had to do was open my hand and let go of that one, because there wasn’t just a ten dollar bill out there waiting for me. There were blessings beyond measure.

As Paul Harvey would say, “That’s the rest of the story.”

25 thoughts on “Missing and Endangered in Paperback–Newsletters vs Blogs

  1. Love your post today about faith and your finding your writing ability in Seattle. I miss the Seattle I experienced in 1980 and think of it fondly as it was then!

  2. LOVE your blogs, or anything you write! Anymore , when online,I stick to Facebook and Google research, so I’m very happy for your posts . The Seattle of the past is long gone. Other than our son driving up from the Lebanon area of Oregon to Lewis County to pick us up and drive us to the Seattle Cancer Care Hospital when our daughter had successful breast cancer surgery a few years ago,we don’t go further north than Puyallup to husbands hearing aid store or to check on our home of 45 years, that family members are renting. Pierce County is on it’s way to be as bad as King County. I wonder if we’ll EVER live the way we did in the past?

  3. I still remember my shock and pleasant surprise when you wrote a blog about our meeting and discussion following your book tour presentation in March 2018 at Red Mountain Library in Mesa, Az, when we learned of a connection unrelated from both of us being Cochise County girls. I feel fortunate to be counted among your friends.

  4. I was so anxious to read the second part of this story. what a wonderful lesson to us all. Before we can walk through a new door, we have to make sure the old one is closed.

  5. I believe it was in the cards, or written the stars I should say, that you would have some struggles before you became a successful writer. You’ve been able to use some of those occurrences in your books which makes them so good to read. Continued good health and happiness to your and your family.

  6. thank you for not only this Blog/information about ur life. But thank u for enabling u to enter both of my sisters lives (70 and 18 months younger) vicariously thru ur books, bought at Bisbee bookstore (ken the owner for 2 years with partner from Chicago.) Standing where u stood a few weeks ago in the spot that YOU stood . Those Run on sentences are like my mind operates. Apologies are in order. Old town Bisbee is improving slowly but tends to be in a positive vein.. Wedding was at Nirvana Ranch. just north of Tunnel and contintal divide marker.. Proably TMI. in this response to ur blog.. BUT so be it.

  7. Chuck from tacoma 9/24/21 aparently went thru as came up on my windows ten HP computer, hopefully u recieved it. yes I am the same guy that deove for Shuttle express SEA and Military Brat.Having trouble getting into wordpress. to have 2 way commo with u. any sugestions?

  8. I love, love, love this! I, too, left AZ with my young son and daughter in 1979 after a divorce. I landed in Denver, CO where I met many lovely people who became lifelong friends. (In fact, I just spent the weekend with some of those dear friends.) Ten years later I met the man who became my second husband (we just celebrated our 28th anniversary.) Sometimes a new environment helps us become who we were meant to be. Thank goodness you followed your bliss so that we can enjoy the many books you have birthed. ??

  9. I’m so happy you and Bill found each other. I’d love to see him. Will you consider posting a picture of him?

  10. All your loyal readers are glad you came to Seattle and that you share your life with us in this blog and in your books. Thank you.

  11. Oh my goodness and congrats for pulling the Uhaul in the back of your car. My husband wanted me to do that many years ago and it would have been over the curvy, mountainous roads of Western Pennsylvania. It was a dicey move anyway since we were moving in with my MIL. Hubby had arranged the move without my consent and his mother put an addition onto her house without telling me. Schools were pisspoor and we had kids. I never pulled the Uhaul because I started to cry. I don’t cry often. We lasted about 4 months. Our house back in NJ never sold and we had no offers for it. I had no car in Western PA and we discovered the deal my FIL, now dead, had made with the well driller. FIL only got away with his deal because he did not have a mortgage. MIL thought it was the driller’s fault. I had a toddler in diapers and I could not wash clothes/diapers. Was told a tale of how it was the ‘country’. Someone forgot to factor in that when my family had moved to NJ, it was ‘country’. We moved back to NJ. Oh, yes, there is more.

    • Nancy, I’d like to know the rest of your story. I guess it can’t be too bad because you are still alive. 🙂 My husband was in the Navy and the government moved us four times. Didn’t have to get a U-Haul trailer.

  12. You’ve regained love and happiness, your smile and laughter.
    Congratulations! You worked hard to succeed.
    I hope that, some day, I can say the same.

  13. What can I say, Judy? Each blog allowing us to know more of your personal story gets better & better! Thank you.

  14. I love your Joanna Brady series. Have read the whole series from beginning to end, TWICE! More, please!

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