BOOK TWO: Title Reveal, Cover Reveal, Synopsis, and More

If you had told me two years ago, as I sat proofing my debut novel to ready it for a release in August 2022, that today, March 5, I would be undertaking the same task for my second novel, I would have fallen off my chair. Yet, here I am, six months out from the publication of… drum roll…

THE PATH BENEATH HER FEET Coming September 5, 2024, from Black Rose Writing.


THE PATH BENEATH HER FEET continues the story of Dr. Eliza Edwards’ commitment to limit suffering and save lives amid the tumultuous landscapes of 1930s and 1940s America.

In 1936, as the Depression ravages careers, Eliza re-defines her abilities. When a position calls her to Warm Springs, Georgia, to tend to a polio patient, Eliza faces the harsh realities of a society plagued by prejudice. Mirroring the pack-horse librarians’ mission to bring books to the illiterate communities of Appalachia, the American Women’s Hospitals delivers essential medical care. Eliza joins the AWH, reclaiming her purpose and rediscovering her dreams against the backdrop of the Tennessee mountains. As family responsibilities call her home to Boston, the heartbreak of losing those dearest to her amplifies with the eruption of World War II, bringing chaos to the world and sending her sons into battle.

In this emotionally charged sequel to THE UNLOCKED PATH, Dr. Eliza Edwards defines her journey through sacrifice, love, and an unyielding pursuit of justice in an era defined by adversity. The ingénue student becomes the mature mentor, steadfast in her calling to effect social change by addressing women’s health issues and guiding others to realize their dreams.


Through the magic of e-books, I’ve added the opening of Chapter One as Bonus Content to the end of THE UNLOCKED PATH in the Kindle version. If you already have it in your KINDLE library and have put your SETTINGS to Update Automatically, it appears after THE END. For help on checking your settings, this article is helpful.


If you don’t have the Kindle version, but are still curious and can’t wait until September, my publisher has set the Kindle version to $.99 for today and tomorrow only, March 5 & 6, 2024. You don’t need a Kindle device; you can download the Kindle app to your smartphone and/or tablet. That’s how I read all my Kindle books.


Email me the name of the person Eliza is speaking to in the opening scene by 3/10/24. I’ll pick five random winners to receive the full Kindle book when it releases on 9/5/24.


While it took me four years to come up with the title for THE UNLOCKED PATH, THE PATH BENEATH HER FEET came to me while listening to author Libbie Grant (Olivia Hawker) deliver the keynote address at the Historical Novel Society’s 2023 conference. Upon my request, she sent me her entire transcript so I could ensure that I quoted her correctly with her statements about paths to publication: Sometimes the path doesn’t even exist until you begin walking. But if you keep moving forward, if you take whatever next step presents itself to YOU, by and by, you’ll discover that a path is creating itself beneath your feet.

I am fortunate Black Rose Writing granted me creative direction for my cover. As soon as I wrote the sequel, I knew the cover had to replicate THE UNLOCKED PATH for consistency. With the help of my talented photographer friend, Marj Warnick, who also photographed the cover shot for THE UNLOCKED PATH, we scoured backdrops and identified the right elements for a still life. The doctor’s bag and stethoscope are the same. Although by the 1930s the stethoscope tubing would be black—no need to change it to brown as I had to for the first cover to be authentic to a time period closer to 1900. The stone fireplace backdrop, rustic tabletop and glass milk bottle flower vase convey a new setting for Eliza, namely the time she spends in Appalachia. The book stack is a tribute to my grandfather. Those are original copies of his SMILES books, set in Appalachia in the 1920s. They served as some primary resources for me. The blue bottles on top of the books and recipe card figure into the story (no spoilers!). The framed photograph of the two young men represents Eliza’s sons, who by the time the novel opens in 1936, will both be college graduates. The photo is of my father and his older brother, Albert. I had never seen the photo before until my cousin gave it to me. We connected for the first time 3.5 years ago (thank you when she gave me an entire box of family photos and keepsakes.

Although the back cover isn’t quite finished (waiting on a couple of blurbs from other authors to include), here’s a sneak peek at inspiration for the photo. Photo courtesy of the Drexel School of Medicine archives. American Woman’s Hospitals in Appalachia, 1930s.

I hope you will enjoy THE PATH BENEATH HER FEET as much as I did in researching and writing it. I love these characters and the new material I found to further honor the women in medicine who committed their lives to helping others. Watch for further news about pre-order dates.


Some days it feels surreal that creative writing, book publishing, and author marketing comprise my daily existence. Looking into a crystal ball of life, I never envisioned days filled with creating characters, drafting dialogue, and setting scenes. I can only chalk it up to fate, especially when a book club member pointed out during a discussion of how I came up with the title for THE UNLOCKED PATH. While Eliza Edwards unlocked her path and strode into a career in medicine, I unlocked a new path for my next chapters. I guess my B.A. in Psychology missed that nuance!

At my age, new can be scary. It can cause one to falter and balk. Inertia takes hold as monotony sets in. Not for me! I started 2024 with my first polar plunge. With my husband and friends by my side and wearing a t-shirt with the word BE the most visible, the dunk was quick, but the invigorating aura will stay with me for a long time. That’s what I call a fortuitous omen for the year to come.

During my research into 1930s life and strife, I came across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. Wise woman. Wise words. You don’t need to dive into 35-degree lake water for newer and richer experiences, you can find them outside your own back door. So go ahead. Plunge into new beginnings and seek opportunities to continue to learn, experience, and redefine your life. I’m glad I have. I think you’ll find my character Eliza Edwards subscribes to the same line of thinking.

Read Chapter One.


  1. Judy Zell on March 5, 2024 at 1:37 pm

    “In 1936, as the Depression ravages careers, Eliza re-defines her abilities. When a position calls her to Warm Springs, Georgia, to tend to a polio patient,” immediately made me think of FDR. Then you quoted Eleanor at the end of your blog. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I love the title and your cover. I can hardly wait to read it.

    • Janis on March 5, 2024 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks so much! Eleanor Roosevelt was a huge influence and inspiration, especially for women in the 1930s and 1940s. Stay tuned for a couple of quotes from her within the book. 🙂 Thanks for your continued support and interest.

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