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Where’s Raleigh??

What a long strange trip...

I wouldn’t call them “famous last words” because they actually launched a great beginning.
But in my last blog post, I wrote the following sentence:
I’ve spoken with the screenwriter for the first movie; she is lovely, adores Raleigh.

Now, two-plus years since that four-movie project began, “lovely” is no longer the word I’d apply to that particular screenwriter.

However, “lovely” is the exact word — in all CAPS — that I’d use to describe the God who can grab ahold of a wrinkled mess, snap it tightly, and create a smooth surface on which goodness and truth can come to rest.

That’s what He did for Raleigh.

What happened?

Here’s what happened (in the voice of Adrian Monk):

First — for the record — let me say that I’m totally and completely in agreement with changing elements of a novel to adapt it for the screen. In fact, I applaud such changes. Screenplays and novels barely resemble each other — for excellent reasons.

But when a book’s main characters are changed so drastically that even their creator (the novelist) doesn’t recognize them, well, that’s what my Jewish grandmother would call “dreck.”

Let me offer some examples. Because I think we can all agree on the following facts:

1. Raleigh doesn’t frequent the pot dispensary.

2. Drew is not a lesbian secretly in love with Raleigh.

3. Raleigh is not “pansexual”…

You think I’m kidding?


Wonder no more why you struggle to find something to watch.

But in order to fix this script’s problems, I was powerless. The studio didn’t hire me to be the screenwriter. They didn’t balk at these changes. And contracts are contracts.

In the midst of this maddening madness, Covid struck. The “pandemic” delayed every production, including ours. That was good news for me, in terms of delaying this disaster of a movie.

Meanwhile, my husband and I were moving to Arizona — and the move was challenging, for all the reasons that provoke people to yell, I will never move again!  even if that means remaining in a double-wide with an outhouse.

Life, fortunately, settled beautifully in Arizona. But the dreaded screenplay drafts kept coming — each draft worse than the last. I seemed to be the only person disturbed by these bizarre — creepy — changes to the Raleigh story. Not a reassuring feeling.

And still, there was nothing I could do to change it.



Every morning at dawn, I headed into the Sonoran desert with the dog. And prayed.

For months.

Close this door…

You know these prayers — when you’re absolutely powerless to change a bad situation, and there’s nothing left to say to God except “please.”

More months went by, more fervent prayers. And all of you wonderful Raleigh readers were asking for updates —  but I didn’t want to upset you, too, so I remained silent.

I hammered away on other writing projects, including my husband’s AMAZING book series Great Battles for Boys. (Do you know a boy who hates to read? Give him these books. You’ll change that kid’s life. Seriously)

Then one day, a letter arrived.

From the movie studio.

Very sorry, nice knowing you, wish you all the best, but we’ve decided not to continue…

I’m sure that letter would’ve crushed most writers.

Me? I popped open a bottle of very expensive champagne.

Then my husband took me out for a fantastic steak dinner — where we toasted the news again. Our smiling waitress wanted to know what we were celebrating. My husband exclaimed: “They’re not going to turn her novels into movies!”

The waitress’ expression… like she spotted escapees from the mental asylum. Which made dinner even more delicious.

Today, the Raleigh screen project is thriving.

A veteran TV producer is attached to the project, along with a distribution company, and — crucially — we have a thrilling two-part TV pilot screenplay written by yours truly and an Emmy-award-winning screenwriter. I love this pilot script.

Yes, it changes elements from the books, but do not worry. It’s RALEIGH, not some twisted version of her. By adapting parts of Stone and Spark and Stone and Snow, we get to revisit these stories, expand characters, elongate storylines, and fully encompass Raleigh’s singular world. A gift for me as the writer.

However, the Writers Guild is currently on strike.

Like Covid, the strike shut down all in-process productions. Including this one.


And that’s fine. The champagne is ready either way.

Because…God. Always there.

I’m also busy “rebooting” the four Raleigh FBI mysteries (Rivers, Clouds, Mountains, Stars) because Harper Collins returned publishing rights to me. Fresh edits, new covers, and I hope, some new Raleigh short stories.

Thank you for all your emails, notes, questions, and cheerful support during this “silent” time. I’ll do my best to keep you updated moving forward.


With LOVE, grit, and gratitude,

— Sibella


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