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Have you ever felt like you were going in circles? We all have highs and lows in our lives, valleys and mountain-top experiences, periods of relative calm followed by turbulent times. We expect ups and downs to be part of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But sometimes I have a great sense of deja vu, a feeling that I have been here or there before, that even with all the maturity and wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years that I’m right back where I started from. Gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight. Making money, losing money. Finally outgrowing teenage hormones only to get hit by menopausal hormones. Firing one employee and hiring another, divorcing one husband and marrying another, only to come full cycle and discover that the same old problems persist – despite the fact that the faces and names have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s discouraging. It’s frustrating! Like one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek, Next Generation, it’s like being caught in a time warp, living the same few minutes or days of your life, over and over again, and not being able to escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then, every once in a great while (or sometimes, in alarmingly frequent succession), we get thrown out of our established, comfortable orbit. Our socks are knocked off. We’re thrown for a loop. Something catastrophic and life-altering happens. We’re permanently kicked out of our circular, holding patterns and forced to take a new look at life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding the merry-go-round of life can be a delightful experience. Coming around the bend, making a full circle, and seeing those familiar, once-per-revolution sights can be heart-warming and comfortingly familiar. Yet I pray I will never be lulled into such complacency that all I do is go in circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new release, Merry Go Round, scheduled to be out later this month or first thing next, has made me examine my life. There are some circular ruts that I need to break out of. There are some new, unexplored paths I need to explore. There are some old habits that I need to shed – permanently. There is a whole new world waiting to be experienced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe someday, I’ll move to France. I’ve heard they like carousels there – and that the lingerie is very pretty. And that the food is quite delicious.

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Tracy’s supposedly perfect life as a pastor’s wife and mother of three is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for a man.

Clay Alexander’s charmed life starts spinning out of control when his father threatens to shut down Maple Valley’s woolen mill – unless Clay turns his back on everything he believes in.

Is Tracy and Clay’s love meant to be, or will they always be caught in the chaos of other people’s expectations, riding up and down and round and round on opposite sides of the merry-go-round?

Her children. His parents. Her pride. His honor. The welfare of an entire town.

MERRY GO ROUND… Hang on for dear life.

Coming soon from http://www.SecondWindPublishing.com

It would have been very convenient if Tracy, the main character of my new book, Merry Go Round, had turned out to be a fan of Blood, Sweat and  Tears. It only makes sense that her favorite song should be the 1969 hit, Spinning Wheel. The song is one of my favorites, and it’s full of merry go round imagery. My readers know how I love weaving in double meanings, even triple meanings that speak to or reinforce the theme of my books.

As an author, you would think that I could just make it happen. If I want the main character’s favorite song to be Spinning Wheel, then that’s the way I write it. End of story.

Unfortunately for me, and I’m assuming other authors who get deep into their characters POV, this is rarely the way it happens. It’s almost like magic, as you get into writing a book, the way characters acquire minds and thought processes of their own – and have ideas that often take you by compete surprise.

Photo by Rose Hill. 

As I was working on Merry Go Round a couple of nights ago, I suddenly discovered that Tracy has a thing for Rita Coolidge’s music. I was re-writing a scene near the end of the book when the words to “Don’t Cry Out Loud” started floating through my brain. Then it was “Fool That I Am”, “We’re All Alone”, “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”,  “Words”, “Fever” – a regular hit parade of Rita Coolidge songs, each one a perfect match with what was going on in Tracy’s life.

I know this may sound odd, but stay with me for a moment… Tracy went on to tell me that she had loved Rita Coolidge’s music from the time she was in junior high after being invited to a concert by a friend of hers. As usual, Tracy had only told her parents she would be staying over night at her friend’s house, not what they would be doing while she was there.

Her strict parents hadn’t let any of the Jones girl listen to rock and roll or popular country music, but after the concert, when Tracy told them that Rita grew up singing gospel in her church choir, her mother let her buy a cassette tape of her greatest hits (obviously, without looking at the song list). Tracy was always of the opinion that what her mother and father didn’t know, didn’t hurt them, and in this case, like so many others, kept the rest of Rita’s story to herself. I mean, isn’t that what headphones are for?

Then Tracy revealed the truly sad part of the story – at age sixteen, when Tracy started dating Trevor, her childhood sweetheart, she stopped listening to Rita’s music (because Trevor though she was too country) and started listening to Bette Midler, who was his his favorite.

Fast forward twenty years – when Tracy starts to reclaim her life, part of her journey is re-embracing Rita Coolidge. Thankfully, she’s learned that you don’t give up the music of your heart – for anyone.

Suffice it to say that when you read Merry Go Round (coming from Second Wind Publishing in late April), the song “Spinning Wheels” is never mentioned. But you will find snippets of several Rita Coolidge favorites. I’ll leave you with one:

As pretty as you are,
you know you could have been a flower.
If good looks could be a minute,
you know that you would have been an hour.

Well, you could have been anything that you wanted to,
and I can tell the way you do the things you do.
The way you do the things you do… The way you do the things you do.

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