A New Year and New Challenges

on January 30, 2018

It is impossible that January 2018 is almost gone, another month torn from the calendar. How is it that time truly is so fast now? Back in 1964, when I was sitting in my school desk thinking that because my dad was from New York, I would somehow, magically, be transported to NYC for the world’s fair, I thought the days would never pass. I’d been hearing about the fair for several months, and like Christmas, it seemed it would never really arrive. A week of waiting was a lifetime. A month—an eternity of longing and suffering. Now a month is a blink. I never made it to the world’s fair, and there was no Internet or TV coverage. Just newspaper reports that my father would tell me about. Oh, it was a splendid and magnificent fair—at least in my mind.

I was taking Lulu, my oldest dog, for a ride in the truck this afternoon and came upon five youngsters in an electric cart. They were riding between their houses, out on a perfect winter afternoon. One wore a headband with unicorn ears and a horn. They were laughing and cutting up and I was reminded of those carefree days when sunshine and my best buddy made everything okay. I was fortunate to live close to really good friends, and we rode bikes and played each afternoon until the street lights came on. Then it was time to be home, and we’d better be quick about it. Marie and Becky were always up for riding bikes or playing badminton or the neighborhood game of football or baseball. Good memories.

There’s something about the light in January that makes me nostalgic and brings back memories that come spilling out. When the past tugs too hard, I look toward the changes to come. As my friend, Debby—another childhood buddy—said to me this morning, the answer is living in the moment. A noble goal, especially when the lure of the past becomes too strong or the future seems unclear or clouded. Debby slipped on the ice Wednesday morning and broke her wrist. It could have been so much worse, but broken bones really hurt! Her future is surgery and then an itchy old cast. Beyond that immediate future, though, are spring days with her grandchildren and summer at the beach.

[photo: Pollux]

Here’s what I see coming down the road toward me—first the bad. I have two very sick cats. Keep a good thought for Kinky and Pollux. The vet is doing everything humanly possible, but there comes a time when the body is tired. I lost my wonderful MoKitty the first of the year to cancer. So keep tender thoughts for my black old heart, too.

Now the good news. We have a brand new short story collection (featuring Trouble, Cat Detective). THE TROUBLE WITH CUPID features writers who are an old hand at short stories and one or two first-time storytellers. The best news is that you can enjoy these “fun-sized” bites of Trouble and all proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. If you don’t know this place, look it up. It’s a wonderful sanctuary for animals to live out their days. The collection will be e-book only and will cost $2.99. You can pre-order now and it will magically download to your reading device on Valentine’s Day. It’s always fascinating for me to see how different writers handle Trouble, the black cat. And also the short story form. Beth Terrell, Claire Matturro, and Michelle Ladner edited the anthology, and they gave each writer as much rein as possible in working with Trouble. So you’ll see some fun and frisky interpretations of the wily black cat detective. And all in time for Valentine’s Day. You all know Trouble is the real cupid! He’s smarter than your average arrow-slinger!

[banner: Small Town Trouble]

Laura Benedict’s book is out—and getting rave reviews. Check out SMALL TOWN TROUBLE. We have the 2018 publishing year lined out with more stories from Rebecca Barrett and Susan Y. Tanner, along with new-to-this-series (but not new to readers!) Jaden Terrell and Jen Talty. I’ll also have a story in the fall—which will be set in Zinnia. The Bones characters will make a cameo appearance!

In other terrific news, STICKS AND BONES has been nominated for Reviewer’s Choice Best Amateur Sleuth at Romantic Times magazine. This is such an honor. These reviewers read hundreds and hundreds of books, and STICKS is one of four nominees. I am very, very excited. The RT convention will be in Reno this spring. I wish I could go, but it’s not happening. The publishing schedule for KaliOka Press is keeping me way too busy. But it’s an exciting busy. And the animals require my undivided attention—and they get that. I can’t make them healthy or live forever, but they get a lot of love and care while they’re with me

I will be in Birmingham February 2-3 for Murder in the Magic City, a wonderful mystery conference put on by Margaret Fenton. Ten of the Trouble mystery writers will be there! And we’re going to have a great time.

Sunday, February 4, all of the writers will be in Wetumpka, AL (home of the fabulous cat detective Trouble! And his owner Tammy Lynn!) at Murder on the Menu in the civic center for a fundraiser for the public library. This is another terrific event and one I look forward to each time I can attend.

And in the last bit of good news, CHARMED BONES is available for pre-order. Release date, May, 2018. And there will be a second Sarah Booth book, A GIFT OF BONES, on sale for Christmas this year. Not to mention BONEFIED TROUBLE, which is the Trouble book that will be set in Zinnia, MS. So lots of black cats and lots of Bones and lots of Trouble this year.

The crazy thing is that before I can blink, it will be May, and then October, and then November! I have very little time to be that grammar school kid daydreaming about the world’s fair. Time is elastic. When I was younger it stretched and stretched and stretched. Now it is snapping back with a vengeance! A week is like an hour of kid time. Crazy making! But the really good news is that you’ll have lots of Trouble on the horizon!

Until next month,



P.S. Don’t forget to enter my End-of-the-Month Contest to win a hardcover edition of BOOTY BONES!