As can only happen during a pandemic, the release of my new urban fantasy novella The Monsters of Chavez Ravine collided with Covid reality.

I planned to spend the day continuing the marketing push for this book that is so close to my heart, monitoring Amazon’s author site to see how sales were going, and endlessly scrolling social media. I was also prepared to be anxious. As an independent author who publishes her own stuff, I’m a writer, marketer, publicist, data entry clerk, and office cleaner.

There’s a lot to worry about and there is always something that needs doing, and if I am not doing it, I am fretting about it.

And then I scored a last-minute Covid vaccination appointment.


Except it was more than a hundred miles away in Davis, which is in Northern California. I live in Capitola, on the central coast. No appointments are available down here, at least not that I could find.

I love writing and my new book, but I also want to be healthy enough to continue doing all the things that bring joy to my life, so my husband and I hopped in the car and went.

About fifty miles in, it occurred to me that obsessively checking Amazon or social media at this stage wouldn’t drive more sales or encourage readers to leave those all-important reviews.

I’d set the wheels in motion, and things would happen.

The book will sell. Or not. People will like the book. Or not. Taking a road trip would influence none of those things.

The book is now out in the world.

Being stuck in a car away from the computer—and I have intentionally not loaded these sites on my phone—was exactly the right thing to happen on a day like today.

I’m writing books, not performing brain surgery, or saving lives.

It’s a hell of a fun way to spend time. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I’m grateful to have the time to do it now that I no longer work full time in the news business, which drained me of time and energy needed to finish a manuscript.

I returned home feeling calmer than I’d had in a long time, with one shot down.

Still, I was thrilled to see that Women Writers Women’s Books had published my essay Writing About Social Injustice. With Monsters.

And it was a wonderful weekend, too. My essay about what inspired me to write The Monsters of Chavez Ravine appeared in Latino LA.

This wasn’t the day I’d imagined, or planned. Instead of sitting in front of my computer all day, I took a long car trip and saw the green, jagged hills that rim the San Francisco Bay Area and sat in a big room at UC Davis surrounded by people of all ages, excited and grateful to get a vaccination.

Not bad at all.