The Elephant in the Room and the one on my Chest

Why did it take me 5 years to write my second novel


Lisa J. Hogan

5/24/20244 min read

The Elephant in the room. You may ask why did it take me so long to finish my second book. I finished and published It’s in the Cards late in 2018. It did very well despite not knowing how to market or advertise properly. I began late 2019 to write the second installment now known as The Moon in the Cards. I knew it would take at least a year and a half to write if not more considering I started to Homeschool my two teens. Also, I had, along with two close friends, begun a secular social club for tweens and teens. I am happy to say that the club is still going strong today even though my kids have long since graduated and are now in college.

My schedule became very full. My writing slowed but didn’t stop. Even during 2020 I puttered along. Typing a paragraph here and there, I was far from completing the novel and I figured a 2021 publishing date was in the future. All was well. Or so I thought.

In 2021, my world fell apart. It crumbled. I became paralyzed. I just went through the motions and put on a brave face. Inside, though, I felt completely devoid of creativity. Ideas drained away. I deleted more than I wrote.

In March 2021, the most heart wrenching phone call one could ever receive came through that morning. My son Brandon Weaver had died.

Brandon had COVID earlier in the year and developed pneumonia while in Mexico. He recovered. However, the virus made an undiagnosed heart defect worse. Given the all clear, he traveled to Cancun to see the Polo matches with his friends. He partied, as all young people do. He felt unwell. Later that evening, my son had a massive coronary event. He was Thirty-Three years old.

That heart murmur he was born with was not benign, as doctors assumed. My beautiful boy was gone.

Next came the flying down to Mexico to take care of arrangements, and there was no real time to grieve. I felt I had to be strong for everyone else. They’ll be time to grieve later, I said. I felt I had no support, and I was wafting in the wind by myself. I just did what my mom said, “Just put one foot in front of the other.” She had lost two children herself, so she should know, I supposed.

I carried on for everyone else.

Then a few months later, I lost my mom. She was 92 and been praying to die since my father passed away from cancer in 2003. She died basically from old age. I wasn’t there. Luckily, my sister lived in town and was with her.

Again I felt alone. I felt as though I couldn’t grieve. Be strong. Be stoic. You can tell that I was raised by parents that were born and grew up in The Great Depression. Take care of business.

Several weeks later, a tightly held family secret hit me, which was only revealed after my mother’s passing. My world was now in full upheaval. Writing was no longer a priority for me. I plodded along and concentrated on my other children and my husband.

For 2021 and 2022, I just did other things. Kept that stiff upper lip and just kept moving. What else was I supposed to do?

I’m not sure when it happened. I sat down one day and begun to rewrite my entire second novel. Pleased with the flow, I continued. One day out of the blue, I received an email inviting me to participate as a vendor at a Steampunk festival and be on an Author Panel. It was the Universe telling me to get off my fanny and really get moving.

Afterwards, I continued to rewrite the second book and gave it a new title, The Moon in the Cards. Unfortunately, it didn’t release on time. Anything that could go wrong did. That’s a story for another day.

Grieving is a process. One that cannot be rushed nor ignored. I will never stop grieving for Brandon. I will grieve not just the person, but what his life could have been, the things I’m not going to be able to share with him, and not being able to hug him hurts. Brandon was a big personality and had a beautiful smile. I miss him.

Grief for my mother is easier, as she had lived a full life and I can appreciate that and understand that. I still miss her and think of her often. I also found how much she really loved my dad. She still had her dance card from the first night they met. My dad saw her and knew he didn’t want her to dance with anyone else. So he signed sideways along with her dance card. That way, no other suitor could get a dance in. Now that’s romantic!

So now you know why it took me 5 years to write The Moon in the Cards. Sometimes it still feels as if I can’t breathe and an elephant is indeed sitting on my chest. Through the tears of my trying to write this, the elephant has finally exited the room.

I want to thank those that stood by me as I struggled over these last few years. Even though I could not feel the support, I look back and can see it was there the whole time.

Till next time friends,