"Dripping with Southern gothic atmosphere."
— Booklist starred review of Charlotte's Story
It's been quiet here in my writing office, and at my house. In fact I just plain skipped sending out my April newsletter! I know I get a ton of emails and newsletters, so I thought I'd give us both a little break. But I'm back, now. How are you? Is your spring going beautifully, full of blossoms and turtles crossing the road, and raindrops? I hope it's all those things and more.
I've been reading tons of new books, tackling Algebra with my son (we are so not a maths family), and walking many miles to try to shed those winter pounds. I've started writing a new novel (Shhhh—it's not a Bliss House novel, but something brand new and different that I think you'll like.), and a short story. I've been feeling impatient for The Abandoned Heart: A Bliss House Novel (October 10th), and for the paperback of Charlotte's Story (October 8th) to arrive. (Yes, I'm excited, too!) So I'm putting together some of my short stories to release as individual ebooks. October seems so far away, and I don't like that you have to wait so long in between books—so look for information and links in next month's newsletter.
In the mean time, if you haven't read Bliss House or Charlotte's Story, yet, now is a great time to catch up so you'll be ready for The Abandoned Heart. Pre-order it now! And if you order before July 1st, and email a copy of the receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll send you a signed copy of one of my first two novels—Isabella Moon or Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts!
Around My House
Is there anywhere in the country that doesn't claim the old joke, "If you don't like the weather around here, stick around, because in five minutes it will be different?" That's certainly true here in Southern Illinois. We have had a very nice, proper spring, though I don't know how long it will last. Do you know what I really love about spring here? It's that the bugs and snakes and flying things are still (mostly) asleep. I wish it could be April and May all year ‘round. Columbine and Lilies of the Valley are blooming in my garden now. Lillies of the Valley grew along the garden wall at my grandmother's house, and are old-fashioned but close to my heart.
Out and About
Since most of my books come out around Halloween, spring is usually a time when I stay home, but this year I've been out and about a bit. Last week I did a podcast with some terrific writers and poets, and read a scene from Charlotte's Story. You can listen to it here, at Dames in the Dark. I had a great time, too, at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest in Bowling Green in mid-April. On Friday, I taught a writing workshop, and on Saturday I met hundreds of book lovers from both Kentucky and Tennessee—but I also got to spend time with fabulous writers J.T. Ellison (my bestie), David Bell, Dana Chamblee Carpenter, Erica Wright, Jamie Mason, Victoria Schwab, and so many more. We laughed a lot and talked books, books, books.
Here's J.T. Ellison and David Bell at our Thriller Panel
Dana Chamblee Carpenter and me, goofing off in the book room.
Do you write? Come and study with me (or one of several terrific writers) in Virginia this summer from June 12-17th. This will be the third year I'll teach a genre fiction writing workshop at Tinker Mountain Writers' Workshop in Roanoke, Virginia, on the gorgeous campus of Hollins University. There are workshops in everything from novel-writing, to poetry, and creative non-fiction. Read all about it here.
Here is my workshop group from 2015. We had a terrific time and got lots of work done. (The food and the scenery are pretty darn special at the workshop, too.)
On Tuesday, June 14th at 7 pm, I'll be reading and chatting at the Vinton Library, not far from Roanoke. Come out and see me if you're in the area.
I found the cutest Scrabble coffee (or tea) mug set—one mug for travel, and one for at home, and knew I had to put it up for my May contest. Enter at my website for a chance to win it, as well as a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card.
Hope your spring is full of delightful changes. Read lots and love much!
"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." —Andy Warhol
Cats show affection for their people and each other in many ways, but there are few that are more endearing than an insistent headbutt, also called "bunting." While they mark others with pheromone scent pads on their whiskers and chins and foreheads—indicating possession and territory—bunting is an indication of trust and a desire to bond. Other ways they show affection are baring their stomachs, giving light love bites, squinching their eyes while making direct eye contact, kneading with their toes (and even claws), and, of course, purring.