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Work in Progress (fiction): A Future Sky

I am never alone these days.

In my (very few) quiet moments I am visited by one or more of the characters from my current fiction project, A Future Sky. Sometimes it is Tess McCutcheon, that story's protagonist, who taps my shoulder. Her recently published children’s book, Ava’s Owl and Wizard, is stirring things up in the town of Wexbury. It seems several children—and a few select adults—are actually seeing Ava’s owl. Some are even talking to it. You see, Tess based her book on the near death experience she had years ago. The fact that elements from her NDE and her book are appearing in real life have her befuddled. What does it all mean? That is the question she has been asking since the day she came back to life.

At other moments, Celia Batiste, another of the story's protagonists, joins me. Celia is about to mark a sad milestone: the five year anniversary of the day her husband was killed in a school shooting. She does have things to be happy about. She just received a PhD and is a full-time professor at Wexbury University. Her house is finally being repainted—by an intriguing male student. And her selective mute daughter Sasha is speaking more and more each day. Unfortunately, most of Sasha’s conversations are with an owl. And Celia can’t shake the feeling that her dead husband’s presence is more than just memories.

And then there is Kendra Littleton, the third of this story's protagonists. Kendra is relying on humor, wine, and chocolate to get her through the six months her husband is away on a dangerous security assignment. Her two daughters, her pie business, and the stripper pole her best friend just sent are providing safe distractions. Although Kendra hides her anxiety well under a cloak of sarcasm and snark, she seems to be one joke away from unraveling. You can actually follow Kendra on Twitter @BoxedWineAndPie.

In A Future Sky, Tess, Celia, and Kendra are about to be united under tenuous circumstances as they all try to find magic and enlightenment in a soccer mom/Desperate Housewives world.

I am fortunate to have a creative partner in this writing project. I met Ann Craig at church ten years ago. We were both pregnant—me with my second, she with her third. We weren’t more than acquaintances for years. Then one Sunday, God or some other universal force changed that.

Ann had just had a surreal encounter with an owl—in broad daylight—and it sparked an idea for a book. But she needed someone—a scribe as she put it—to help her write it. She happened to look at a project taped to the wall of the church school class. It was a project that I had just done with my class of 1st and 2nd graders: "With faith as small as a mustard seed, I can…" Along with crayon drawings of kids riding a bike, swimming, diving off a diving board, etc., was the sketch of a little book cover with the words: "by Cathy Baldau."

“Are you a writer?” Ann asked.

I replied: “With faith as small as a mustard seed, I will be.”

Ann is a healing arts practitioner, life coach, and intuitive reader. She has unique insight into mind, body, soul integration and natural—hilarious—story telling skill. Combining her attributes with my imaginative story writing has been an exhilarating, creative process, and out of that we have, I believe, woven one powerful tale.      

There is one major roadblock that exists when two working mothers attempt to write a book together: TIME. We have tried to reserve one day a week to work together. But sick kids, snow days, and summer vacations have often interrupted our plans. It has been a long journey and I know these characters are aching to finally break out of my laptop. So I say, patience, my imaginary Wexbury friends. Yes, with just a little more patience and diligence, your story will be told.