Recently, I went to a local jeweler because prongs that held the stone in a cherished ring needed tightening. I have worn this ring every day for decades, and while it isn’t valuable in the financial sense, I love it because my parents gave it to me on my sixteenth birthday. In those days, a sixteenth birthday was special. The ring looks like a blue sapphire.

The year I turned sixteen, the Beatles released their first record, “Love Me Do,” and films like “The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Longest Day,” “How the West Was Won,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” competed in the theaters. Comparing this year’s film fare to those films of 1962, I’d say sixteen was a very good year indeed.

That birthday was special because I got my driver’s license—a prized possession since it meant maturity, responsibility, and most of all, freedom. I was switching gears, both literally and symbolically. The family car had a stick shift rather than today’s more typical standard shift, so switching gears took some thought, practice, and a steady nerve in tight situations. That was a lot to expect of a sixteen-year-old.

Recently, I paused to reflect on that time in my life, a time of change with the expectation of muscle memory taking over that much-practiced shifting of gears in our family car. I learned that quickly.

Switching gears in other situations has never been simple for me. I marvel at people who adapt to change effortlessly.

A year ago, my Endurance Mysteries publisher, Five Star Publishing, dropped their entire line of mysteries. It was a shock for many of us who wrote various mystery series for that imprint of Gale-Cengage. I was given some good advice, however, by one of the editors I spoke to at a publishing company. “A new direction,” she said. “Take this opportunity to begin a new series or a standalone.” I’m taking her advice.

The new book is done, at my own editor’s, and next week it will sail off to various publishers.

A Death at Tippitt Pond begins a new series with newly imagined characters and a change in setting. The author voice will be the same, of course, so I’m hoping that readers who liked the Endurance Mysteries will be tempted to move over to a new story. The genre of the Endurance Mysteries fits between a traditional mystery and a cozy. The new series is not cozy … it’s darker. Shifting gears makes sense.

Let’s hope shifting gears will be easier this time.