If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile (this is post number 746, believe it or not), then you know I began writing the second book in my cozy mystery series in mid-January.

And then it was like the gods and cosmos and planetary alignment and all things surreal conspired to keep me from my goal of completing the first full draft by the end of April. Hospitalizations, deaths, chaos and mayhem reigned, and they rained down upon me.

I have felt at times like I’m about to drown, like I can’t keep on keeping on. Yet despite the setbacks, despite the almost insurmountable obstacles, I somehow managed to put down word after word, day after day. Because I told you in this blog I would do that.

And maybe it was that public commitment, albeit with no “penalty” for non-completion, that helped me maintain my sanity the past few months. When I write, I immerse myself in another world, where the resolutions to all problems are all just a keystroke away.

Line after line, I felt some tiny sense of control remained, if not of my own destiny, then of the destiny of my characters. My imaginary friends assisted in carrying me through the darkest hours of my life, and today we celebrate a small victory together.

Today I have “finished” the first complete draft. I have written 58,000 words, one at a time, and made something from nothing. And already I have two full pages of notes concerning the additions and embellishments I want to add when I revise this draft.

When it’s ready for public consumption, it will have about 70,000 words, give or take. Book number one had 72,900. But right now, Baby #2 needs to “rest,” while I get some space and perspective, so I can tackle the second draft with fresh eyes in another month or so.

Considering what all I had to go through to get this far, I’m damn proud of it. Please feel free to celebrate with me!