on November 29, 2022

Dear Reader,
photo of family with stolen turkey

I’m glad to see the backside of Thanksgiving. For those of us who have lost so many loved ones, the holidays are not what they used to be. Those of you lucky enough to have family and friends nearby really should count your blessings. I have tons of close friends but most are not in the Mobile area. But I do have Eudora Welty, who STOLE the Thanksgiving turkey last year.

And I do have Dick Cheney. Yee-haw!

And I have an early Christmas stocking stuffer for you. My friend Mandy Haynes (I claim her as my illegitimate daughter who never learned to spell my name!) is gifting each one of you with a short novella. Click this: Junebug Fischer by Mandy Haynes. You can download and read it on your favorite reading device. Mandy has a true Southern voice, and we both share a great love of “the Gothic South.” We are products of growing up in a special time and place. We don’t shy away from the problems, but we also still see the beauty around us. So Merry Christmas from Haynes and Haines—and check out her other books. This is available for only a short time.

Mandy is a workaholic, and once a month she puts out WELL READ, a magazine about books, authors, and readers. It’s free, too. So take a gander at that and enjoy!

I’ve finished edits on TELL-TALE BONES, which will be published June, 2023. Thank goodness for great editors and my A team at St. Martin’s Press who work hard to keep me on the straight and narrow with my story telling. I’m not a terrible speller, but I am a poor typist because I type so fast!

I grew up typing on a manual Royal typewriter and you really had to pound those keys. Now it’s just the whisper of a touch on a computer. But my fingers have muscle memory (if only my gut had muscle memory!) and they pound hard and fast and the results are sometimes hysterical.

A few years back I was messaging my niece that I was going to the veterinarian for some vaccinations for the horses. She asked me to get the shots for her horses too. So, I did. I texted her, “Hey, I have the shits.” I meant to say shots. “I’ll bring them by.”

Her response. “Just stay home.”

Yes, my typing and autocorrect have made me laugh more than once.

I’m working on the 2024 book, which will be called JAWS BONES. It’s about a bull shark in the Mississippi River at Greenville (these sharks can actually live in fresh water, and they are very dangerous), and the filming of a movie about the 1927 flood. It’s going to be a fun story, I hope.

In talking with some Greenville natives (Mary Dayle and Hugh McCormick who ran the wonderful McCormick Book Inn for many years) I learned about a real movie that was filmed in Benoit, Greenville, and around. A scandalous movie. BABY DOLL. Elia Kazan, writer/director and based on a play by Tennessee Williams. Wow! Carroll Baker was the star. Eli Wallach and Karl Malden. Check it out. 1956. You can’t beat a Tennessee Williams’ story.

I didn’t grow up in the Delta, but I knew plenty of people who did, and no one ever mentioned this to me. Now I must see this “scandalous” movie.

With each book I write, I learn so many interesting things about my home state. I’m so glad you all take the journey with me.

My friend Hope at last year’s Christmas tree competition.

I’m going to be making several library appearances in December. I’ll be in Bay St. Louis twice! Once to judge the Christmas tree competition (always a great fundraiser for the library), and again to speak to the character’s lunch (Dec. 13—be sure and come. Signed books will be for sale from Bay Books.) I love Bay St. Louis and the hard-working library folks who are so invested in their community. I love being an honorary part. And for those who haven’t discovered, BONES OF HOLLY, which just released, is set at this very library during the Christmas tree judging.

On Dec. 7, I will be in Washington County, Alabama, in Chatom at the library for a fun get-together. The library friends are also selling signed books to support the library. Please come out and have a few laughs.

photo: book signing

When you invite a writer over, be careful. You never know who we might decide to kill off in a book! Or bring back to life. Weezie was the library cat for many years, and it broke my heart when she died. She didn’t exactly love me (more like tolerated) but she was such a wonderful part of each of my visits. She is missed.

Eudora Welty is doing good. Her blood work came back with no real problems from the chemo—so far. The treatment is hard on kidneys and liver. We’re watching that closely. Sorrow has a growth on her spine. Checking it out today. Dick Cheney is plotting—always plotting. I’m sure I’ll pay for that pink cowgirl hat that I made him wear. Everyone else seems to be doing okay.

Winter is the perfect time to read. Don’t forget about The Jexville Chronicles. The funds go to support Good Fortune Farm Refuge. And yes, a shout out to my former colleague Matt Ames, a professor of drama at USA back in the day. He was so kind and generous to talk to my creative writing students about how to do a successful reading. And on his birthday, he created a GoFundMe for GFFR. What a lovely thing to do for me and the animals. Here’s a link if you wish to donate: Matthew Ames GoFundMe Page. Every penny goes to the critters. The cook, feeder, medicator, and litter box cleaner will always remain unpaid! And that’s exactly how I like it.

Speaking of the GFFR, I had lunch with my assistant Priya and I autographed a slew of various books to replenish the inventory of the Zinnia Shop on my website. These books would make excellent holiday gifts and again, all profits generated from the sales of these books will be donated to the GFFR. It’s first come, first served – but we’ll gladly refund you if we sell out of a book. We’ll send you tracking info and you can always contact if you need to reach out.

A big woof from the dogs until the next newsletter, which will be after Christmas. So all of you have a great holiday. I hope Santa is good to you (if you’ve been good).

And just for our pleasure, A Song for Ireland. Mary Black. Incredible.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Until next month,
Carolyn and the Critters


P.S. Don’t forget to check out all the November giveaways at WriterSpace! I’m giving away a signed hardcover edition of STICKS AND BONES.