Hello there. Welcome to the insane asylum.

My name is Holly West and I write crime fiction. I recently completed my debut novel, Diary of Bedlam, for which I’m currently seeking representation.

I also write short crime fiction, which you can find here.

 

 

I am a writer seeking representation for my novel, DIARY OF BEDLAM, complete at 80,000 words.

Synopsis:

“Lady Isabel Wilde, a former English spy and occasional favorite in the royal bedchamber, has a secret: she makes her living disguised as Mistress Ruby, a fortune teller who caters to London’s elite. Charlatans, rogues, villains and swindlers lurk in every dark corner of 1678 England, and Isabel concedes she is one of them. But hard experience has taught her that women have few advantages in this world, and her conscience does not often bother her.

Everything changes when Sir Edmund Godfrey, a popular London magistrate, seeks Mistress Ruby’s counsel and reveals his accidental involvement in a covert Jesuit plot to murder the protestant King. Despite their estrangement, Isabel’s first concern is for her royal lover’s safety, but soon after Sir Edmund’s visit, her diary is stolen. It’s the sole record of her activities as a soothsayer and Isabel must locate it before anyone connects her to Mistress Ruby.

When Sir Edmund’s corpse is discovered a week later in a remote area north of London, Isabel suspects whoever committed the murder also has her diary. Unwilling to trust the investigation to a court infamous for its schemes and intrigues, she begins her own inquiry, re-entering the cutthroat world of London politics and reluctantly resuming her turbulent romance with the King in the process. After a series of increasingly violent threats against her and her loved ones, Isabel learns that Sir Edmund’s murder is only a small part of a conspiracy that leads all the way to the throne and promises to alter the future of the British monarchy forever. With everything she holds dear at stake, Isabel knows she must find Sir Edmund Godfrey’s killer before she becomes the next victim.”

My short story, Once a Loser, appears in the Fall 2011 issue of Needle: A Magazine of Noir. My short fiction has been featured online on Shotgun Honey and is forthcoming on Dirty Noir. I am an associate member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. I also write a blog geared toward aspiring authors called Adventures in Bedlam.I am a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

I live with my husband Mick and two dogs named Stuart and Stella in Southern California. In my spare time I like to read, knit, run, pet dogs, and decorate my house.

As part of my rehab, I’ve been prescribed a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine. I have to use it at least 3 hours a day, usually for an hour at a time. I alternate that with an hour spent in an ice cuff to help with any swelling and inflammation caused by the CPM.

Here’s a look at how it works:

As you can see the excitement never ends here at Casa West! But though I’m being sarcastic, I’m actually much happier now than I was last week. I am back to work, which thankfully I can do with my laptop lying on the couch, and being able to sleep without the brace and walk without crutches makes me feel free as a bird after what I experienced those first ten days post-op.

There is a long road of recovery ahead, one which I have already begun limping down slowly, but with increasing speed every day. And though I have come out on the other side of this ordeal relatively unscathed, I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: Be kind to your ACLs. It is your friend.

I’ll leave you with this video of how I feel about my own poor ACL:

Mick and I spent a couple of hours painting our fireplace over the Memorial Day weekend and gave it a whole new look.

Here's how it looked before:

Fireplace_0510 

The floating shelf cut the fireplace in the middle and just looked out of place.

Here's what it looks like now:

Fireplace_after_2 

The view from the other side:

Fireplace_after

Without the shelf, there's nothing to interrupt the flow from floor to ceiling. It's much more dramatic, and I think, more in keeping with the design of the room.

Eventually, all of the walls in the living room will be light colored. At that point, I may decide to paint the fireplace a contrasting color. For now, I'm just glad to have one paint project out of the way.

About four weeks ago I tore my ACL in a skiing accident. I suppose the term "accident" is a bit melodramatic; the truth is I fell down. I was skiing down a blue/black run, challenging, but certainly not beyond my capabilities. I was practicing carving and I got to going a bit too fast. I'm not sure what happened next but I lost control and fell with my left knee in an awkward position. I knew from the pain and my subsequent inability to put weight on it I'd done some significant damage.

After an MRI and a couple of visits to an orthopedic surgeon, it was determined the ACL is fully torn and I will need surgery in about four weeks to repair it because apparently, ACLs don't heal on their own (sneaky bastards). The surgery is fairly routine, not too invasive, and recovery is generally quick, so I haven't been that concerned. In the next four weeks, it's up to me to rehab the knee by swimming, using the stationary bike, and a little bit of eliptical.

If you're interested in learning more about the surgery, visit this link.

I'd been healing well. Most of my range of motion had returned, I had almost no pain and no swelling. But yesterday I had a bit of a setback and I re-injured the knee simply getting into the back seat of a car. 

I have no adequate way to describe the level of pain I experienced; suffice to say I nearly passed out from the intensity of it. Now my knee is worse that it was before and I'm feeling a lot more nervous in general about the surgery, the recovery, all of it.

I'm just not that good at dealing with setbacks.

This is where I pick myself up by my bootstraps and keep limping forward until I get to the finish line. I keep telling myself nothing's changed. But the truth is I'm tired of being a gimp. I'm tired of not being able to exercise properly. I'm even tired of being waited on, if you an believe that. I just want to get this done with.

But enough of my complaining. How do you deal with setbacks?

Pardon me while I take a moment:

Inspired by the recent Madonna episode of Glee I was listening to some old Madonna songs and came upon this one. It brought on an uncontrollable jag of tears. Not for the obvious reason–I’m still lucky enough to have a mom with whom I see and talk to all the time.

But this song has always had meaning to me, and now, more than ever.

I miss you.

Despite the fact I re-joined Weight Watchers yesterday, the holiday season pretty much means one thing to me: Food. Delicious, special, eat-until-you-burst, food. So I thought I'd share some of the things I'm planning to make for Christmas dinner and the surrounding meals. Click on the links for the specific recipes.

We'll be spending Christmas at my parent's house in Northern California. On Christmas Eve, my mom and dad go to church but my sister and I don't, so we'll be making a lovely (but modest) for my parents to come home to:

Christmas Eve:

Venison Chili (this is actually my turkey chili recipe, substituting venison sausage for the turkey)
Cornbread

Christmas Day:

Turkey (This is the best roast turkey recipe I've ever tried)
Butternut Squash Puree
Mashed Potatoes

Mashed_potatoes 

 

My sister is making the deserts and my sister-in-law is making a vegetable dish (I think) so this will be a delicious meal with many cooks contributing.

Next week, I'll be doing a 2009 recap of my favorite posts throughout the year.

Wishing you all a happy holiday!