Nine novels later, Carole Bellacera is no longer stressed about her writing career.
“It’s one of my things,” she says about it now, just after “Howling at the Moon” was published.
That wasn’t always the case.
When she was an Air Force medical technician working in a library in Hawaii, she left a space in the “B section” for where her first novel would eventually fit.
That first novel, “Border Crossings,” was published in 1999, with others following in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2016.
That novel was optioned by TV’s Lifetime network, and although it didn’t become a movie, Julia Roberts’ story editor called Bellacera to say it was the best script she’d read in years.
There’ve been myriad high points in the Covington Lake resident’s writing years, but “Howling at the Moon” might well be her last novel.
Set on the fictional floating island of Salamander Cay off the Isle of Palms, four women meet for monthly “goddess meetings” to do what women do.
Identifying with Cat, “the level-headed one,” Bellacera describes the others as classy Ashleigh, boisterous Micki and sex kitten Samantha.
She describes the novel as “A story about love, lust and betrayal, and ultimately, binding friendships that weather all storms.”
When the author says being a novelist is “one of her things,” she has a sizable list of “others.”
She paints, on canvas and on wine glasses.
“I’m not good,” she says, “and I don’t compare what I do to real art, but I enjoy it.”
She makes jewelry.
She sells “Beautiful Evening Beads” on Facebook, and says the designing is the best, most creative part.
Earrings and necklaces are part of the inventory, but the bracelets have a story. She buys cheap watches, and when the batteries wear out, she turns the watches into bangles with baubles and beads.
She’s been in four Theatre of the Republic productions, and has been an opening act at The Asher Theatre twice.
Bellacera says she didn’t even know she could sing until she tried karaoke on a cruise ship, and that “opened up a whole new world.”
She considers acting “her second calling in life.
“You rehearse for two months, and you feel like it’s never going to happen, and you feel like that until the week it opens, and then like magic on opening night, it comes together.
“There’s such a bond with these people and then on the last night, you’re standing back stage with these people, and you know you’ll probably never do this again with this particular group of people.”
The prolific author is sentimental about her early days as a writer.
She remembers her first published piece, an article about meeting the late Princess Diana at Andrews Air Force Base, was published in the military magazine, “Family.”
That brought Bellacera $100.
She says one of the reasons she thinks “Howling at the moon” may be her last novel is all the fun she’s having doing other things.
“I’m happy with my life, and I’m very blessed,” she says, listing her husband Frank, her two children and four grandsons high on the list of those blessings.
“The older I get,” she says, “The more I realize there are a lot of things I want to do in this life, and I better do them.”
One of the things she should have done, was leave a lot more room in the B section of that library in Hawaii.