As I sit in my office in my small Midwest town, the snow continues to fall, and we may get over a foot over the next day or two. It’s beautiful, but I plan to stay inside today catching up on tasks I put off as I finished writing Death in a Ghostly Hue. Cleaning out files, I found the very first blog post I wrote, under the name, “And Sometimes She Writes… A Blog by an Author, Teacher, and Mom.” It was so hopeful, and while undated, I believe I published it in 2011. I didn’t have a website, just a blog site. These were the first three paragraphs:
A few years ago, when my brother and I were clearing out our father’s possessions after his death, we came upon a stash of family treasures. Besides WWII love letters to our mother and various newspaper clippings about his children’s accomplishments, he had also saved a tattered, construction paper-covered book I had handwritten and illustrated when I was eight or nine. The Mystery of the Golden Slippers—evidently a precious gem had been stolen and hidden in the toe of the titled ballet slippers.
I had forgotten that early, ambitious foray into drafting a novel, just as I had failed to remember a neighborhood newspaper I’d typed on an old typewriter using carbon paper to duplicate my words. He had saved a few of those too. Perhaps he was trying to remind me that pencil lead and ink were in my blood. He was usually right.
So, I am being very intentional as I begin this blog and welcome everyone to read and comment on my entries. They will reflect my thoughts on my world, my small town, and my current novel. The title of my blog comes from this thought: She teaches, sews, reads, watches grandchildren, and loves movies. Oh yes—and sometimes she writes.
And Sometimes She Writes was the name of the blog.
Back then, I was spending my winters in Arizona, where my children live, and working on my very first mystery. In 2010, I had self-published my teaching memoir, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks). That book is no longer in print, but I am considering updating it and republishing it next year, which will be its fifteenth anniversary.
I finished that very first blog post by writing:
In my new life as a retired teacher, I am now shifting my focus to writing fiction, specifically cozy mysteries.
Please come along for the ride and check back for new blogs. I’m changing the focus of my life from teaching in high school and college to writing fiction. One of my favorite authors, Henry David Thoreau, decided to change his direction and leave the woods of Walden Pond because, “Perhaps it seemed to me that I have several more lives to live…”
Me, too. Henry.
So many people have come along with me, including all the readers who have encouraged me and told me they loved my books. And a few who didn’t like them at least gave me something to think about. And then there’s my editor who has stuck with me all this time, publishing companies who have printed my words (wow!), beta readers who have pointed out the errors of my ways, friends who have left me alone when I had a deadline, and experts who explained things I needed to know so I wouldn’t sound too stupid. (Like you “install” an art exhibit, you don’t “hang” it.)
Since that initial book, I’ve written and published, or had published, the Endurance Mysteries—Three May Keep a Secret, Marry in Haste, Death Takes No Bribes, The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney, and The Witch’s Child. (I’m working on the next one now.) A Death at Tippitt Pond came out as a standalone. I’ve also written the Art Center Mysteries, published through Level Best Books: Death in a Pale Hue, Death in a Bygone Hue, and Death in a Ghostly Hue (out June 2024.) That’s one memoir, nine novels, and a novella in thirteen years.
I guess I did have “several more lives to live.”
Here, at the hopeful beginning of another year, I’m looking forward to the June publication of Death in a Ghostly Hue and the joyful work on another Endurance mystery starring Grace Kimball, Jeff Maitlin, and TJ Sweeney. Here’s to 2024.