As this year draws to a close and we prepare to ring in the New Year, it seems fitting to recall some of my professional highlights of 2018. A big one was the February release of Rattlesnake Hill, the first book in my new series of Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries, which garnered a starred review in Library Journal. I celebrated with a well-attended launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, and did a lot of guest blogging. Blog topics included: timber rattlesnakes in New England (yes, they’re here, though not in the numbers they once were); the white stag (a legendary creature that plays an important role in the book, and actually does exist in nature); and the time the main character from my Living History Mystery series put her foot down and refused to do what I wanted her to, which made me realize she didn’t belong in Rattlesnake Hill, and led to the creation of an entirely new character as the heroine.
The spring brought the publication of the Malice Domestic 13 anthology, Mystery Most Geographical with my story, “Death in a Strange and Beautiful Place,” in which grief and the need to see where her husband died bring a widow to Iceland, where she makes a heart-stopping discovery. The publication led me to attend Malice Domestic for the first time in a number of years. I took part in a mammoth book signing for the anthology, and also served on a panel.
The summer found me giving talks at various bookstores and libraries in the Berkshires, These included: The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox, where I spoke before a Standing Room Only crowd. (Owner Matt Tannenbaum has a loyal and well-deserved following!), and the New Marlborough Public Library, which is the library for the town where I have a house. The latter was especially fun, as it involved both a talk at the library and a hike to the ruins of the Carroll Mill in Mill River, which is the setting for two important scenes in the novel, including the climax.
After a fascinating four-weeks of travel in Scandinavia from mid-August to mid-September, I returned to do more book events, but also to hunker down and work on the sequel to Rattlesnake Hill, titled Shuntoll Road. I’m happy to say that I finished the first draft on Saturday, December 15 at 2 PM. While I still have a lot of revising ahead of me, I hope to have the final draft completed in the 2019, so stay tuned!