The first week of a new year always seems like a time to consider where you’ve been and where you’re going. The past year for me was a banner writing year, and I’m not sure I can duplicate it. We’ll see. A series of projects all came together, and I suppose it’s safe to say that after 2020, I felt myself fortunate to do any writing at all. That was the year when the absence of people in my pandemic life squashed what little creativity I had. The only bright spot in the year was my signature on a contract with a wonderful agent, Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She immediately snagged me a three-book deal with Level Best Books. She is astonishing.
2021 began with a new contract for an audio version of A Death at Tippitt Pond, and the audiobook came out at the end of March with an amazing narrator, Patricia Santomasso. The story of a murder in 1971, A Death at Tippitt Pond is one of my favorite books because it combines my love of history and an opportunity to dip into genealogy. Digging into the past is fast becoming a theme in my stories.
In May, Harlequin Worldwide Mystery republished my second Endurance mystery, Marry in Haste, as a mass market paperback. When I began this mystery series—my first—I didn’t realize it would be like the little engine that could. This was a mystery about two women who live a century apart in the same house, and they share a dark secret. I purposely wanted a challenge, and I pushed myself to plot this book, because it had a double plot, but each story had to fit together and transition clearly back and forth.
At the beginning of September, Harlequin republished Death Takes No Bribes, the third Endurance mystery in a mass market format. This story took Grace Kimball, my protagonist, back to her old school where she helped TJ Sweeney, her best friend and Endurance detective, find yet another killer. I am grateful to Harlequin for picking up this series because they have a huge presence in the publishing world, and their book club readers are now aware of my Endurance series.
Also in September, I published a new book in the Endurance series called The Witch’s Child, under my business name and a new logo, Prairie Lights Publishing. This is a unique story in the series, and I’m not clear in my own mind about its origins. I moved away from using Ben Franklin aphorisms for my titles, and I added a little magic to my manuscript. People appear to like it, so I’m grateful that they continue to read my little series. I’m already thinking about the changes that will occur in Grace and Jeff’s lives based on the end of this novel. So another Endurance book will be in the project pipeline once I finish the second book in the Level Best Book contract.
Many of these 2021 projects were in the schedule for a long time because the publishing world moves very slowly. Right now, I’ve sent out a couple more projects that may come to fruition in 2022. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m working on the second book of the art center series called Death in a Bygone Hue. The first book, Death in a Pale Hue, is in, and I’m awaiting editing. It will come out next June from Level Best Books.
Meanwhile, 2022 is waiting, and thanks to my readers, I’m still writing mysteries since I began eleven years ago. I appreciate every review, even the not-so-good ones, and I am thankful for each of my readers who has kept me going for a decade now. So bring on 2022 and a year with two mystery series out at the same time.