A Birthday Present & A New Book

Six years ago, I dug up the grass under a magnolia tree in my front yard and planted flowers, focusing initially on snowdrops, hellebores, and daffodils.

My birthday is the first day of spring in my hemisphere, and these early spring plants are a present to myself, a living bouquet that I share with everyone in my neighborhood.

Last year, so many flowers were in bloom on the first day of spring: 

This year is a different story:

We had a cold winter, delaying the growth of my birthday present. However, I am enjoying my hellebores, snowdrops, early snow glories, and crocuses, and I’m looking forward to the daffodils.

This is my second birthday during the pandemic.

A year ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported just over 15,000 cases and 201 deaths due to the coronavirus. Now, well over 500,000 people in the United States have died. 

In this tragic environment, I put the finishing touches on a story about loss, though it takes place in a time before COVID. It’s called Nothing But Patience, and it’s a modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility, which begins with the passing of an old gentleman whose will “gave as much disappointment as pleasure.” 

I enjoy analogizing classic stories to modern day experiences, and of course, I’ve added a legal twist related to the old gentleman’s will. The story also features a garden:

Sisters Noor and Maryam Dashel are struggling with the loss of two family members and their home. Will they risk losing their remaining family by pursuing a controversial lawsuit? 

It’s available now.

13 comments

  1. Happy belated birthday and congratulations on your book release! I’ve really been enjoying your flower pictures on twitter and I’m glad some more flowers have bloomed since this post 🙂

  2. Happy birthday! Sorry you didn’t get as glorious a flower display this year as last, they are still pretty though. Instead of an all at once dazzle you are getting an extended show where each one gets to shine. Love your Sense and Sensibility twist!

  3. Happy birthday, dearest Amal! I remember blog posts you wrote about planting flowers for yourself for your birthday, and the kindness with with you share those flowers with the whole neighborhood. I grabbed a copy of your newest book. I don’t think it cost anything when I got it; your work has value!

    1. Thank you! I love sharing my garden with my neighbors (and the bees, of course!), especially at this time of year, when so little is in bloom in the area. I appreciate your commitment to belief that writing is valuable. I agree with you, but I have found that it’s a challenge to even give books away (at least until there are reviews)!

        1. Yes, I’ve met so many readers through this blog, and everyone has always been supportive (thank you!). Retellings also have a built in audience, but reaching those readers is difficult on a limited budget. Overall, though, I write the books for fun, and I’ve been happy with the level of readership I get.

  4. First, congratulations on your new book, I just got it for my Kindle. Second, how can it be six years since you planted those?!?!? I either remember the actual planting, if you blogged about it, or maybe I just remember you telling the story of planting them even if the actual planting took place prior. In any event, I too look forward to your yearly bloom. Happy birthday.

    1. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and for downloading my book! It isn’t a heavy story, but it touches on the loss of loved ones. There have been times in my life when it wouldn’t have been something I would’ve wanted to read (even though it has a happy ending, as I believe all Jane Austen retellings should!). I find it easier to write about these themes than to read about it.

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