I’ve been away for a while due to unintended consequences. Now, before you start picturing handcuffs and steel bunkbeds, let me clarify.

First there was a manuscript to beta read and another to edit. Then many hours had to go into pulling together the stories and final edits for an impending short-story collection (more about that later), and finishing the first draft on Sacrifice. Then there was prepping for and teaching at the conference, edits for critique group, playing with my grandchildren and keeping up with my day job, plus another editing job.

Notice that nowhere in that list is there anything bad. It’s all good stuff and I loved every minute of it. But in a schedule packed that full, something had to give. I didn’t intend it to be The Brass Rag, but there it is – an unintended consequence.

Sometimes unintended consequences are good, like the night I went in to work as usual and ended up meeting my wonderful husband. Sometimes they are not so great, like the time that I drove my ’66 Mustang through a yellow, only to get t-boned by a driver jumping the light across the intersection. In neither case did I see the broadside coming. In the first instance, the effect was a lifelong companion, in the other, a visit with the EMTs and the body shop. All unintended consequences.

The thing about unintended consequences is that you can’t anticipate them. There is no way to plan for the vagaries of fate, or destiny or even the inscrutable will of God. Even if you probably should have been able to anticipate the possible outcome of a given action – I could have been a tad more cautious with that yellow light, I’m sure – you don’t know, do you? Juliet didn’t know she would meet Romeo. She was just a girl going to a party. Roarke never meant to marry a cop. He was just a master criminal bent on retirement.

But the things we do carry weight, whether we are aware of it or not. And the weight pushes outward, changing everything in its path until it has run its course.

My latest ripple of fast moving, unanticipated outcomes may now have finished its run, but I kind of doubt it and I can’t see that as a bad thing. The unintended consequences in my life have transformed it over and over again. I’ve received many blessings via accidental circumstances and I can’t forget that. Don’t even want to try.

Oh, and that collection of short stories? Announcing the launch of Earth and Fire by C.L. Roman, a collection of time-bound tales. It contains nine kinds of unexpected consequences.


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