Lisa Jones said she had recently moved away from Long Beach when her sister, Dana K. Jones, died.
“She was the only person ever to die of blunt force trauma with yoga,” Jones said. “This happened. My sister died of yoga, which is just a preposterous thing.”
The now-Colorado resident said she couldn’t believe the police and others’ reports and decided to write about it. “Renegade Nuns: Sisterhood is Powerful” is the result and will be published by Verbal Construction, with a March release. The mystery/adventure takes place in Long Beach and the Languedoc region of southern France with a group of nuns. Jones said it’s fictional — she had been working on a book involving French nuns.
“I knew how much Dana wanted me to complete that novel, and felt that I could weave it together with the story of her death,” Jones said. “The result surprised me in a good way, and I think it works as an adventure story for women over the age of 40, which is something my sister and I joked about as a genre for novels.”
Jones lived on Broadway and Termino Avenue, she said, while studying history at California State University, Long Beach, in the early 1990s. She specialized in professional and technical writing, she said, to make herself more marketable and later got her master’s from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Years later, she said she was working in Colorado, but returned to Long Beach for several weeks when she learned of the incident. She said was in disbelief when her brother-in-law called her with the news, which she has recreated.
“It’s a work of fiction,” Jones said of the book. “It involves my impressions of the 2014 case… That gives you the freedom to be a little outlandish.”
Her sister’s husband said he heard a loud noise and discovered Dana’s head was cracked open, Jones said. She said statistically, the most likely scenario would be he had caused the injury.
“The police said, ‘There’s nothing to see here, move along,’” Jones said. “There are so many documents, but I can’t get into the case itself.
“I feel like it’s a compelling story. She had an amazing life. So many people who knew her are still kind of wondering if she really died of yoga.”
Dana moved to Long Beach to be near her, Jones said, and was working as a kitchen designer. She also had gotten out of a bad marriage, but found herself in another one, Jones said, adding she felt bad for leaving her sister — probably her biggest encouragement, especially in this, her third book.
Other publications from Jones include “Daily Scoldings: A Bracing Tonic of Criticism, Rebuke and Punitive Inspiration for Better Living,” and “Up,” under her pen name Beryl Barclay.
“I think I’m sort of good at it,” Jones said of writing. “Especially in this case (“Renegade Nuns”). It’s a way to get at an audience not necessarily accessible through other expositions… You’re putting the pieces of puzzles together. You’re saying, ‘How am I going to put all this together so it makes sense?’”
In fact, Jones said when she was crafting what became the beginning of “Renegade Nuns,” her sister said, “It’s almost good. You almost have something there. It just needs something more.”
“She was always my best critic,” Jones said.
After her death, Jones said she reworked and renamed the book to its current title.
“I realized the two could be intertwined… I wanted to say, ‘Here, Dana, I did something that stands alone,’” Jones said.
For more information, visit https://yogacidal.com.
Emily Thornton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.