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I have had such a great time writing my romance novels, but as 2011 moved toward its end, I had a renewed vision of my writing life.  I envisioned a body of work that would represent the real me to the public.  Oh, not that I’m not really like those light-hearted, romantically minded, hopelessly optimistic heroines of No Penalty for Love and Love Under a Dark Sky.  Most assuredly, I am.  However, that’s only part of the picture.  There’s so much more.

Those of you who know me personally are already aware of some of my ethics and lifestyle choices, you tolerate my posts and statuses and love me anyway.  Those posts and statuses, though, are really only bits of pretty colored glass that make up the larger kaleidoscopic picture that is the life of a professed Christian living in the midwest in her mid-life who has adopted a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons and desperately wants to be able to share all those things that are in her heart and mind in some meaningful way.

As I said in a recent interview, I have avoided writing about animal welfare issues, because for me the cause is so very important and I couldn’t find a way to treat it with the proper care through fiction.  I gave one of my novels a vegetarian hero and that was great, but what I really want to do is explore the complexities of marrying traditional faith with non-traditional values.  It’s a challenge, but at last I believe I’m up for it.

The calendar year has begun and so has my new work.  It’s important, but still fun.  I’m challenged every day to not only meet my word count goal, but to get my message across without sacrificing good writing.  Character development, strong plot, good secondary characters and story lines – they all matter.  I have to stay at the top of my game.  There can be no compromising the quality of my work.  What an exciting, blessed time this is for me!  I am eager to share my story with you and eager for you to share the process with me.

As January ends, I anticipate reporting to you that I have a first draft of my novel.  Shortly thereafter, if my writing has been good enough, I hope to take you along on my journey as I query an agent and further develop my platform.  I want mine to be a reliable and faithful voice in the wilderness that seems to exist between Christianity and animal rights.

I hope you’ll join me.  A pilgrimage is much more pleasant with friends.

-Shellie

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