Dear Reading Friends,
Thank you for your interest in my books! I hope and pray you and yours are doing well and enjoying the blessings of the season. Since I traditionally send out an annual update to my family and friends, I thought I should write one for you, my faithful reading friends, as well.
Despite some of the curve balls and challenges thrown my way in the past year, I have many blessings for which I am thankful.
Family and Grandchildren
Our greatest blessing was the miraculous addition to our family of identical twin granddaughters, Josephine Yvette and Naomi Evangeline Jeschke, on August 5! Besides our three daughters and six sons and their wonderful spouses, we’ve now been abundantly blessed with thirty grandchildren and one more due in March. I’m also grateful for Bill, my husband of forty-six years, and his recovery from a successful prostatectomy for prostate cancer. All indications are that the cancer was contained and removed. PTL!
After two years of covid postponement, I was able to participate in the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s “Oxbridge” conference where I conducted “Inklings” walking tours of Oxford for the conferees. Since 1998, I’ve been blessed to attend and volunteer at seven previous C.S. Lewis Summer Institute conferences with seven of my nine children, but this is the first time my husband Bill was able to accompany me. We had the great privilege of singing together in the conference choir, something that had been on my bucket list. What a thrill it was to sing praises to God in the University Church of St. Mary and in the parish church in Headington Quarry, where Lewis attended and is buried in the churchyard with his brother Warnie. My first Oxbridge conference, back in 1998, inspired me to begin writing professionally and specifically to create, the Oxford Chronicles series. We had wonderful times of fellowship with other Christian artists, authors, and Lewis aficionados, and I was especially happy to finally meet an author I particularly admire, Patti Callahan Henry, who wrote Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Once Upon A Wardrobe. I also met and chatted with actor Max McLean and director and producer Norman Stone of the feature film, The Most Reluctant Convert. Besides reconnecting with many old “Oxbridge” friends and meeting new ones, we were able to visit with my brother’s family in Lausanne, Switzerland, having missed the weddings of my niece and nephew the previous summer due to Covid.
Oxford is my favorite city in the world, but
my favorite place to relax and recreate is definitely the beach, so I very much enjoyed good times this summer with my family on Topsail Island, NC, and also some alone time with my husband on Fripp Island, SC, in October.
Last spring, I taught a virtual Western Literature II class for Patrick Henry College, but I hope to be “retired” from teaching now so that I can devote myself to writing —although in November, I taught seminars on Tolkien and the Inklings for our own Inklings conference at our church The King’s Chapel in Northern Virginia.
Last winter, I completed a draft of a novella mystery with the working title Death at Clifton Manor, which is set at the country estate of my Oxford Chronicles characters, Lord Stuart Devereux and his new bride Natalie MacKenzie. I’ve been obsessing recently on British mysteries and particularly the genius Agatha Christie and thought it would be a fun challenge to try my hand at a cozy traditional Christie-esque mystery. So far, my Beta readers are enthusiastic! I hope to work on revising it this winter and then begin querying publishers. I have also written the love story of Edith and J.R.R. Tolkien in a novel I’m calling Dancing in Hemlock, which took me five years to research and write, but sadly so far, I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a publisher. Meanwhile after twenty years (!), I have re-released with Freiling Publishing a lovely new edition of my first historical romance novel, Inklings. The plan is to slowly get The Oxford Chronicles back into print and in e-book format. Freiling Publishing re-released Jillian Dare: A Modern retelling of Jane Eyre in 2021.
I send you my warmest wishes for a joyous Christmas season and a blessed New Year! May the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Christ our Savior and Lord, be born anew in our hearts.
Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!
Many blessings, Melanie