Saturday, April 28, 2018


Thanks to those of you who suggested a title for the story of the laurel hedge and the postwar life in a housing development. I sent them along to my publisher, a nice person, I’m sure, since she agreed to publish my books, and she conferred with whoever shares her office and said they had come up with a title.  She hoped I liked it.

                                            BLOOD SISTERS

I gasped and then realized that she’d picked up on a scene where Patsy and Eleanor decide they can be friends and share lives, once they had found their ways through the hedge. They didn’t draw blood, but they did agree that they would have each other’s back if the going got rough. “Blood sisters, like Laverne and Shirley,” they say. If you don’t remember who Laverne and Shirley are, you are young and you need to Google them.

So, we have a title, I have edited my bio for the back of the book, the cover is unofficially designed but cannot be revealed quite yet. And yes, I like it. A book is about to be born.

So now, all this author needs to do is to bring her almost -book, coming out in September, to the attention of her friends. That’s why I'm sending  emails  to everyone, acquaintances, relatives,and anyone else who has landed on my contact list. Two sendings, actually, because I got exhausted and quit midstream in the list.

At this point, I find I have a need to talk about writing with other writers or those who are interested in writing. As an ex-English teacher, I have the tools of getting the sentences on the screen, but what I’m lacking is the support that comes from sharing ideas and words with like-minded folks, who like me, have thoughts that bud half-formed, need to be pruned, poked at, fertilized, maybe even weeded, and of course, admired as they develop.

With that awkward metaphor, I wonder if you, dear reader,  are interested in talking about your desire to write, sharing a some of your words, learning what others are writing about, meeting occasionally in a casual writing group. I have a dining room table and a coffee pot.  We are on line and can operate that way too, minus the coffee.  I’d love to hear what’s blooming in your quiet moments. Let me know, here or by email:

Jo Barney Writes

Monday, April 9, 2018

Behind a Laurel Hedge

Okay, I misspoke--or mis-wrote--or even worse, mis-forecast my future a while back.  I said good bye to my readers, you folks who have been tuning in to Breakout Novel: A Race. . . on and off for several years.  I know about you because Google Analytics (a ghostly Google entity) has let me know that even after I gave my last hurrah to this project, some of you kept tuning in.

I'm back as a blogger.  I'm also back as emerging novelist, not that I haven't been emerging for fifteen years or more until I decided to stop emerging. The reason is that my publisher has accepted a new story of mine, one that I wrote a year or so ago and gave up on because it didn't have an old lady in it.  She will publish it in September, despite the fact that it doesn't fit the Henlit model. No old ladies wander its pages, just memories of an old lady.  Me.

 The time is about l970;  the place is the postwar housing development I grew up in and left in l956 for marriage and who knew what. The small bungalows were built for returning veterans and for
shipyard workers like my father. Families had some money, probably for the first time in their lives. They could afford a new house, two bedrooms, one bath and yards big enough to build a garage in.  They were beginning again, this time without war. The future looked good. The neighborhood filled working husbands and wives who had time to make friends over morning coffee klatches.

But war continued, not THAT war, but the one in Korea, then Vietnam, then the Middle East.  When the first settlers in the development moved on, their old homes filled with new surges of veterans' families glad to have a chance to begin again, to heal. Eleanor, old timer, white, in the neighborhood, meets  her new neighbor, Patsy, black, through a hole in the overgrown laurel hedge that separates their houses. Different wars, different colors, similar struggles. Their lives entangle, like the limbs of the hedge between them.

I really like this story. However, my publisher and I cannot agree on a title  My idea, You've Come to the Right Place is a copyrighted song title.  She says we can't use it.  Do any of you have a suggestion? 

Jo Barney Writes