The Elephant In The Living Room – COVID-19

by | May 28, 2020 | General | 5 comments

It’s been hard to write with the elephant standing in the living room, staring me down.

I’m talking about COVID-19.

I’m fortunate in that not much has changed in my household. My husband and son are both essential workers so abject fear from unemployment is not an issue for us. Although my husband was moved from 3rd to 2nd shift and he has a lower pay rate because of it, we aren’t hurting for money. We have very little debt – a car payment and that’s it. The credit cards are paid off. There is money in the bank. We are healthy. I know how fortunate we are.

Even though not much has changed for us, I still feel the stress of the pandemic. There are lines at the grocery store. The marijuana dispensaries were closed until this week. We must wear masks in the common areas of the apartment complex and outdoors. Everyone is social distancing, although my husband thinks more accurate wordage is physical distancing. Social distancing implies something like shutting down your Facebook account temporarily because you’re stressing out from all the depressing political and pandemic talk. Physical distancing is more accurate and descriptive, but everyone knows what social distancing means.

I haven’t been able to write much of anything except for some blog posts for my blog tour for my new LGBTQ paranormal romance novel “Full Moon Fever”. I need to work on my horror novel “Hell Time”, but the desire simply isn’t there. I’m having very strange dreams. Not nightmares. Just dreams. I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m sure other people including writers are experiencing much the same. It helps to have someone to talk to about all of it.

While I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. I just finished the first book in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It was good, but I thought the names of the vampires were silly. Rhage? Wrath? Zsadist? Seriously? The book held my attention, though, and I did enjoy it. I wanted to read the top best seller in the paranormal romance category, and that’s the book series that came up first. Now I’m reading a non-fiction book about feminism by Dr. Phyllis Chesler. I want escapism. So do some readers. Readers I’ve talked to aren’t interested in dystopian stories, especially those about pandemics. I do know of some people reading Stephen King’s “The Stand”, but most want something a bit more cheerful and uplifting. I had thought about rereleasing my novelette “Roughing It”. but it’s about a pandemic so I’ve decided against it. I also need to rewrite that story, and lengthen it to novel length. It’s too short.

I’m also watching TV. My husband and I are binge-watching “House M. D.”. I’ve never seen the show before. All I knew about it was that Hugh Laurie, who plays Dr. Gregory House, is British and can do a mean American accent. I also knew it was a medical drama. This show is damned good! We’re also binge-watching “Midsomer Murders”. I love that show. It’s whimsical and funny – just what I need to cheer up my somber mood.

I’m not going to pressure myself to write before I’m ready. I may reread “Hell Time” and see where I stand. The book is almost finished. I need to finish it. I also have an idea for a new contemporary romance/women’s fiction story. It’ll be a bit of a fish-out-of-water story about a woman who moves from the Big City (Boston) to my small island community Caleb’s Woe for the summer while researching a set of old photographs she found from film in a very old camera. She wants to locate the heirs and return the photos to the proper family. That’s as far as I got. I need to flesh out the characters and plot before I may begin writing. When I will write is up for debate. I simply don’t want to. Yes, I’ve been busy with book promotion but that’s really an excuse. I’m too distracted to write at the moment, but I know I will begin again soon. COVID-19 is stressful and I’m sure other writers feel the same way. I guess this is the new normal.


Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her three cats. Her new LGBTQ paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” is now available for purchase at Amazon and other book distributors..

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Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black's erotic fiction has been published by Cleis Press, Xcite Books, Scarlet Magazine, Circlet Press, and others. She also writes dark fiction and horror as E. A. Black. She lives in Massachusetts next to the ocean with her husband, son, and three cats. The beach calls to her and she listens.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    “Social distancing implies something like shutting down your Facebook account temporarily because you’re stressing out from all the depressing political and pandemic talk. ” What a great comment, Elizabeth.

    I thought I’d get all sorts of writing done during the lockdown, but it’s been tough – not so much because I don’t feel like writing but oddly, because I don’t have the time. My job went online which ironically meant a lot more work, even though I didn’t have to commute. I committed to increasing the regularity of my exercise regime, to keep myself healthy and sane. And then just dealing with stuff seems to take so much time and energy. Going to the grocery store is an expedition, since we’re still being cautious and keeping well-stocked in case the situation takes an extreme turn for the worse.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll get your writing moxie back. I like the idea of your new story – lots of directions it could go.

  2. Elizabeth Black

    Lisabet, I understand a lot of people whose jobs have moved online or home have seen an increase in work. This was long before the pandemic, too. I’m glad things are working out for you, and I hope you have the time again soon to write. I agree going to the grocery store is an expedition. I never thought I’d live through the movie “Contagion”. LOL I know that in time things will settle down. Right now, all is in upheaval.

    I’ve decided to read through my horror novel and finish it when the writing moxie comes back. It’s a familiar project, and I’m only a few chapters from the end. I do want to work on my fish-out-of-water novel. I love the idea of that one. The photos are going to be from the 1920s, so there is some history involved. Now to figure out where that one goes next.

  3. Rikki de la Vega

    I recently finished the manuscript for Book 10 of the Free Spirit series, set in a post-COVID future with a mix of people getting back to normal & others retaining all of the habits of “social distancing” … Book 11 will also talk about fallout from COVID shutdowns, namely for businesses “of a prurient nature” who are prohibited from getting small business assistance; plus I have a recurring character killed by the virus, leading to her husband and their mutual sex partner getting closer …

  4. Elizabeth Black

    Rikki, how long have you been working on the book? It sounds good since I like pandemic-type stories. I wish you the best of luck. It’s going to be an interesting world, post-COVID.

    • Rikki de la Vega

      I started work on “Moira’s Covenant” in December. Since I usually time them to “present day” I had to make a choice when COVID hit full blast: Make everyone wear masks and “social distance” or set it post-shutdown so the characters (especially Moira) could have some hot kinky fun. I went with the latter, even having it start with a celebratory BDSM play party … but then put in observations that a lot of people will have “social distancing” & fear of contagion ingrained in them.

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