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Happy New Year!

It’s a winter wonderland where I live…

019I haven’t posted for so long that I almost forgot how to do it. Hence, my resolution for 2015 is to post here more than once. Should be doable!

2014 was an uneventful year for writing but a pretty big year in my personal life. In¬†October I had a little baby boy. He is a sweet, considerate child who lets his mama (mostly) sleep at night. He is a great source of entertainment and seems to love staring at my bookshelves. Perhaps he will be a writer…

On the writing front, I hope to regain my confidence in 2015. Confidence is everything, isn’t it?

I wish you all the very best for this year! Lots of writing success and great stories…the world can never have enough of them.

Old Silver Beach in Falmouth

Old Silver Beach in Falmouth

When Peter O’Toole passed away last December I read an interesting anecdote about him in the paper. It was said he always knew a script was good when the words seemed to live on the page. A script was good when the words on the page seemed to just leap into his mouth, effortlessly. That’s how I feel when I open a really great book. No tricks are needed. No need for manipulation. The story lives on the page and the characters take your hand or possibly even breathe, ever so lightly, on your neck.

So here’s hoping we all live on the page in 2014, and read wonderful stories that live.

I’m a bit late with my new year thoughts but things have been busy. I won’t bore you with the details.ūüôā If you are one of the many suffering from¬†a relentless winter you truly have my sympathy! We have been lucky where I am with almost no winter to speak of. It’s been one big long early spring.

I’d love to know how your writing is going. Take care!

Clammed Up

I know book promos on blogs are tiresome, but I can’t resist sharing that two fellow Dead Calm authors have novels out! How excitin’.

Clammed upFirst there’s Clammed Up (love that title!) by Level Best Books editor Barbara Ross: Summer has come to Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there’s something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment…

I spied a recipe for lobster macaroni and cheese at the end of the book, so I’ll definitely be checking that out. And, I admit, I’m a sucker for any novel or story set by the sea. Surprising, huh.

Seance society

Then we have Michael Nethercott’s The S√©ance Society: It’s 1956, and Lee Plunkett has taken over the family business as a private investigator despite his reluctance to follow in his father’s footsteps. When murder intrudes on a group of ghost seekers, Lee is asked to solve the case by a cop on the verge of retirement…

This novel involves a “Spectricator,” a machine designed to communicate with the dead. Sounds pretty cool to me.

I’ve never attended a s√©ance, but I do recall engaging in teenager silliness with a Ouija board (I’m sure my friend M. was pushing it). I recall how we lit candles and leaned solemnly over the board. “Who are you?” we asked the spirit. “What is your name?” His/her “name” was often “WSTZUIR” or similar. “Are you sad?” we’d ask the spirit and the spirit would¬†say “Yes” and then “No.” An indecisive specter.

Later, we moved on to tarot cards, graciously advising friends at parties in matters of love, success, personal achievement, the future.

When you’re young, there’s a breathless air of mystery to such things. We loved to get frightened. I’ll never forget¬†how excited we were when Michael Jackson’s Thriller video came out. Ah, youth.

How are you guys doing? How’s your fall going? Carve any pumpkins yet? Attend any s√©ances?

Hi, everyone

Well, I won’t apologize for not having been around here a while. The only thing worse than an infrequent blogger is an infrequent blogger who apologizes…

So, instead, I’ll show you a few glimpses of the amazing vacation I just had:

Everything was golden in my Massachusetts hometown

Everything was golden in my Massachusetts hometown

Sun setting in Falmouth after a perfect day

Sun setting in Falmouth after a perfect day

No visit to the Cape is complete without these

No visit to the Cape is complete without these

...or without these very Cape Coddish cranberry and toasted walnut pancakes

…or without these very Cape Coddish cranberry and toasted walnut pancakes

I miss the beach very much. Very, very much!

I miss the beach very much. Very, very much!

It’s never easy for me to leave Cape Cod. I would actually love to buy a house there someday. Wouldn’t that be wonderful…

I’ve always felt very drawn to this place as a setting for writing, too. I admire people who can write about all kinds of exotic locations and make them their own. I don’t think I am one of those people. A place needs to be a part of me if I am to conjure characters and weave stories. I also deeply care about place/setting as a reader, but I know many people don’t at all.

Are you more or less (happily) “stuck” in one setting in your writing? Or can you make all kinds of locations your own?

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but yesterday I was still wearing my winter coat/scarf on my walk! Sure wish some nice weather would arrive. I’m eager to work in the garden again and listen to music in the sun.

Nothing to announce on the writing front at the moment. I do hope I will have something to announce someday.

A few years ago I thought the most important thing was to “get published” or “get an agent.” I feel differently now. It’s not a contest. The most important thing is the integrity of the work, regardless of who publishes it or when it is published. You have to be sure of your work. No novel is perfect but it should be the best you can deliver at that given time.

Although I¬†don’t currently have many important¬†announcements to make here, I still believe in the value of a writing blog. After my first short story was published I was thrilled when an agent (a big one)¬†contacted me. I don’t know if he¬†obtained my email address from the editor or from this blog, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have some kind of online presence. Unfortunately my novel then was in¬†no shape to be published. But he left the door open and I will always treasure my correspondence with him.

Wherever you are in your writing journey, I hope you won’t feel too rushed. Some things take time. Like spring.

Looking forward

005 025Hey, everybody. Happy 2013!

I’m not making any writing resolutions this year as I don’t seem to stick with them.

But I can tell you what I’m looking forward to this year: a trip to the¬†Cape! That’s right. Sea and sand, family and friends, lobster and fried clams. It’s still in the planning stages but I think it’s going to be loads of fun. I’d stay two months, at least,¬†if I could.

BenedictionAnd¬†I’m looking forward to¬†some fine novels coming out in 2013. I discovered by accident that one of my favorite authors on the planet has a new one appearing this year, to your left. “Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way.” I do¬†love bracing novels.

Ann Hite has a new novel coming out. I truly enjoyed Ghost ann hiteon Black Mountain so I’ll be sure to pick up The Storycatcher, “a haunting gothic novel set in the Depression-era South about two young women who form an unlikely alliance when the spirit of a dead woman takes up residence in their home.” Sounds good to me.

SC+cover+4x6+webAlso very much looking to Carol Kilgore’s 2013 novel Solomon’s Compass. “A missing belt‚ÄĒher uncle’s prized possession. The lure of buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?” I sure couldn’t want more.

 

What are you guys looking forward to this year?

Have a merry one

This is what it looked like here a couple of weeks ago… Winter wonderland

Now it is mild and sunny, almost freakishly so. But I love it. Pretty as the Bob Ross scenes above may be, I will always prefer warmth over freezing temperatures.

Whether you are celebrating alone, with friends, with family РI hope that you enjoy the holidays and that they are peaceful for you. My heart goes out to everyone whose Christmas (and so much more) was ruined this year. They are definitely in my thoughts.

And now I must go out into the sun. Who knows how long this mild weather will last. See you in 2013!

Fall days

Hi, everyone. Happy Halloween! Hope it’s nice and spooky for ya.

And I hope you didn’t suffer too much storm damage. Naturally I’ve been thinking of family and friends back home. Hope fellow writers got some quality writing time by candlelight. I actually kind of miss those New England storms. There was always an element of excitement as you rushed out to buy bags of high-calorie foods and hauled out the candles and board games.

So hard to believe it was a whole year ago that I traveled home to attend Crime Bake. What a fun trip, with freakishly warm weather. Here are some strange fellows I encountered on a walk around my hometown last year.

How are you guys doing? Working hard? Anything exciting?

I’m plugging along. And I’m intent on enjoying fall and winter this year, rather than moaning that I¬†miss summer.

Summer scenes

“And over one more set of hills, along the sea, the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness and are giving it back to the world. If I had another life I would want to spend it all on some unstinting happiness. I would be a fox, or a tree full of waving branches. I wouldn’t mind being a rose in a field of roses.” (Mary Oliver, Roses, Late Summer)

Just a few scenes from my summer taken by an amateur photographer (me) with an amateur camera (mine). The ruby beauty above is, oddly,¬†called “Fisherman’s Friend.” What a name. I think she deserves better.

How’s your summer going? Have you been reading, relaxing, watching Olympics, enjoying daiquiris, slapping mosquitos etc. as I have been?

told me that the Kindle version of our New England anthology, Dead Calm, is currently marked down to around four bucks. What a bargain! Just thought I’d share as, you know, what else is a writing blog for?

Speaking of little birds, there’s been lots of bird activity around here lately. Why just this morning (yes, as I was writing) a blackbird’s song seemed even closer than usual. I looked outside and spotted one¬†nestled comfortably in my blueberry plant pot. I’d placed a net over the pot but he’d clearly¬†found a way to outwit me and¬†hopped under it. He sat there for a while, sang a little song… I thought¬†perhaps he¬†was just enjoying¬†sitting in there, so¬†shady and comfy. But then he snapped his¬†little orange beak, plucked a large¬†velvety blueberry and I watched the blueberry disappear¬†down into his¬†little stomach.

Bad blackbird. Naughty.

Last week we were visited by a blue-eyed, presumably teenaged crow who couldn’t fly and looked under the weather. He enjoyed half an apple, part of a¬†peach, a piece of an¬†omelet, oats, a walnut, and a host of ants, spiders and other insects supplied by several house inhabitants. Strengthened, he hopped off (about as gracefully as the¬†crow Jeremy in The Secret of NIMH)¬†¬†to his cawing¬†parents in¬†the Big Tree.

“I bet that will remain the best meal of his¬†life,”¬†said a¬†neighbor. Don’t know why we were all so sure he was a boy. It could have been a gal, with a great appetite.

So what do all these bird stories mean? What do they tell us? I have no idea.

Any bird stories of your own? Hope all is well. Happy writing (and bird watching etc.).

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