A new Column below!
When you read this newsletter, I will have been on home lockdown for 49 days. This has not been a terrible hardship on me because I spend most of my days alone on the farm writing. But it is wearing not to see my cohorts in crime! The dogs, cats, and horses are great companions but they do not really appreciate practical jokes. Not at all!
First, I know I’m in a fortunate place. I won’t be evicted or lose my car because I’ve lost my job. I don’t have those worries. And no one I know and love has caught this disease—yet. Right at this moment, everyone seems to be doing okay. I am very, very lucky because so many people have suffered devastating losses. John Prine was not friend or family, but he was very much interwoven into my life. His songs touched and motivated me. His death from COVID-19 really hurt, for the loss of his talent and his huge spirit and compassion. See below for a link to one of my favorites of his songs.
With all of that said, it is wonderful to see the world rejuvenating (the air is so much cleaner!) because humans are no longer polluting so much. Staying home has a lot of benefits to the planet. And we were on the edge of pushing Mother Earth over the brink. We have an opportunity to reset now. To rethink the things that are really valuable. Our friends and family, kindness, caring for each other and the creatures of Earth. We can make different choices and have such a fabulous outcome. I hope this happens, because if humans don’t stop the terrible pollution and destruction, COVID-19 will be only the first pandemic to sweep over us. Viruses are not selective. They take the good and the bad, the right and the wrong.
People are also learning that they can do without a lot of things they really thought they had to have. I was at the grocery store recently and they had toilet paper AND paper towels. I got a packet of each and three bottles of wine, fried chicken for my 16-year-old dog Lulu, and some green things and fruit and I was a happy camper.
Here’s a special little treat. My friend Gina Gilmore asked to paint a photo of my farm I posted on Facebook. Of course I said yes, and here’s her “sketch” as she calls it. I call it a painting! I love it.
Next newsletter, I’ll have a report for you guys on the number of Trouble books we gave away (prepare to be impressed!). And here’s a tidbit of really good news for those of you waiting impatiently for the next Sarah Booth book. Because I knew so many people were hoping for Sarah Booth to keep them company while in isolation, I penned a brand new novella—”Enchanted Bones.” St. Martin’s will release it on June 16, digital only. It’s one of my favorite covers!
Also as a treat, St. Martin’s has put the first chapter of THE DEVIL’S BONES up for you to enjoy! Here’s a link to it: First Chapter Teaser
And on May 5, you’ll have an opportunity to get another “sampler” of the upcoming St. Martin’s mysteries. These things are so much fun! Catch up with the latest from your favorite cozy authors: Free Cozy Case Files Sampler
Then July 21, THE DEVIL’S BONES (set in my hometown of Lucedale) will be released, and in October, A GARLAND OF BONES, set in Columbus, MS, will be released. So it’s going to be a big year for Sarah Booth. She’s all over the place and solving lots of mysteries.
I’m also very proud of a just released anthology, ALABAMA NOIR, published by Akashic Press and edited by Don Noble. I have a short story included, “The Price of Indulgence.” There are some terrific writers included in the anthology—my old buddies Suzann Hudson, Ace Atkins, and Tom Franklin (who were all in DELTA BLUES) and a ton of terrific writers you will love. We had to cancel all of our signings, but look for us in the fall when this pandemic subsides and we can gather with readers for some fun.
Here are some links provided by the publisher for purchasing this book:
And don’t forget that BONE TO BE WILD is on special sale for a few more days (ends April 30!) for only $2.99.
I had a number of signings and library talks set up, but those had to be cancelled too. I’m hoping to set up some “virtual” gatherings. I actually kind of dig doing those. I’ll post my schedule when I get it set for those who might want to attend.
Hopefully this fall I’ll have time to work on my new Trouble book—TROUBLE AFOOT! And yes, I have a Raissa and Reginald book I’m dying to write. What do you think of this title? THE CURSE OF CAIN? So even though my birthday will come and go next month, I can’t get older because I have a lot of stories to tell!
As I write this, the animals are fine. Lulu, my most wonderful dog, has cancer. She is 16, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Every single animal I got after Katrina has died of cancer except for one kitty, Scooter. She was snake-bit when she was about a year old, and so far she is doing great. No cancer. If I were a snake oil salesman, I would sell snake venom as a cure for cancer. Some people are doing crazy things like that with COVID-19. Don’t listen to them.
I don’t have a lot of reading time, but I am reading Jerry Mitchell’s book RACE AGAINST TIME about the murder of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, MS. I remember when this happened. I was a child, then. Now, looking back on it I am slapped upside the head with the horror of those times and how truly evil some people were. Anyway, it’s a terrific book.
Soon the summer swelter will be on us and it will be misery for 4 or 5 months. Today, no human could ask for more than the sunshine, the lovely grass, the woods in the distance, and peace and quiet everywhere because humans are SHUT IN and not out polluting everything.
Don’t forget to scroll below to ask Jitty for some advice. She knows everything.
And here’s one of my favorite John Prine songs: In Spite of Ourselves It will take a long time for me to get over his death.
So long, John, from Carolyn and all the critters at Casa Carolyn. You will be missed.
I’m curious about all the pets that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Do you see them in the Great Beyond? Are they happy and healthy?
Dear Pet Lover,
You know I can’t reveal a lot of secrets from the Great Beyond. Sarah Booth is always devilin’ me about tellin’ her stuff, especially about her mama and daddy. Those who have loved and lost, whether a human or an animal, await the promised reunion and we all long for confirmation.
What I can tell you is that most folks fail to understand that animals come to us as teachers. It takes a wise person to listen and comprehend the wealth of knowledge an animal can impart. Take for instance that old hound dog of Sarah Booth’s. Sweetie Pie looks like an ordinary red tick hound, but in her heart of hearts she is a combination of Miss Marple and Wonder Woman. She knows Sarah Booth goes a little nutty at times, and she looks out for her and takes care of her. But it isn’t just the physical protection that Sweetie Pie does. She guards Sarah Booth’s soul. In those times when Sarah Booth is verging toward a terrible decision, Sweetie Pie can nudge her in the right direction. Pluto, for all he is a cat, helps too. They teach Sarah Booth to trust in others, and to trust that there is so much more to this reality than she can see.
There is not an animal in your life that isn’t around you for a specific purpose. Each one gives you the opportunity to be kind, to be loving, to learn the miracles and mysteries of their intelligence, and to believe. And also to learn that death is not final. So yeah, here’s a little secret for you—your animal friends will be there waitin’ for you. They’ll be there to cheer you home and remind you of the valuable lessons you’ve learned in this life. And they will be there to give you the unconditional love that is so much a part of the Great Beyond.
Jitty—who is tellin’ way too many secrets today
P.S. For everyone reading this, let me guide you honey chile. Get some advice by writing me at DearJitty@yahoo.com