A new Column below!
I often write about the elasticity of time, and how time quickens as we age. This has been a strange year. The month of May seemed to last for a decade, and June is moving slowly too. I suppose “sheltering at home” has a lot to do with this sense of a slow-down. But not being so “on the go” has had some benefits that I hadn’t anticipated. Along with cutting down on world pollution, the stay-at-home has given all of us a chance to explore our internal terrain, or to take up some hobbies, or to talk on the phone with friends we miss. I think slowing down has been good for all of us if we choose to view it as a positive instead of a negative. That being said, I’m able to work at home which is a huge benefit. I know others are not that lucky.
Speaking of working—I have been on fire with storytelling. Not the white lie kind, but the Sarah Booth Delaney kind. From June-October I will have two complete Sarah Booth books and one novella out. All of the months of writing and editing have ended and the books will be sent out into the world for readers to judge.
ENCHANTED BONES is a short novella I wrote when I realized that THE DEVIL’S BONES release would be delayed from May 12 until July 21. I knew readers were disappointed at the delay, so I tried to fill the gap with a Sarah Booth snack! The story is available in all digital formats (sorry, not print—it’s too short for a print run) and you can get it here: Enchanted Bones
The story begins when Sarah Booth is riding Reveler through the vast expanse of the Mississippi Delta. She stops by an old favorite swimming hole and Sweetie Pie (her trusty hound) takes off in the woods and find a toddler wandering around on her own. The little girl has a strange birthmark on her forehead, and a note pinned to her jacket saying she is cursed and should be left to live with the wild creatures. The little girl seems to be able to communicate with the small wild creatures. Sarah Booth has to find who the child is—and who abandoned her to a fate that would likely have ended in death.
The next Sarah Booth adventure, THE DEVIL’S BONES, (release date July 21) is set in my hometown of Lucedale. Mississippi. Tinkie, who is pregnant and exploring different belief systems to find just the right one for her coming baby, has set up a weekend treat for her friends at the Bexley B&B. They attend the wonderful sunrise Easter Service at a beautiful garden that includes tours of a miniature Holy Land. The threesome breaks off from the guided tours to explore on their own and stumble on the body of a detested local lawyer. Lucedale pharmacist Erik Ward, the prime suspect in the murder, hires Delaney Detective Agency to prove his innocence. That proves to be a difficult task as more bodies turn up in the beautiful gardens.
The 22nd Sarah Booth novel, A GARLAND OF BONES, takes place in the beautiful town of Columbus, Mississippi. Located on the banks of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, Columbus is home to the W, the college Eudora Welty attended. Tennessee Williams also lived there. In this adventure, Sarah Booth and the girls are taking a Christmas vacation in Columbus. Though they’ve sworn NOT to take a case, Sarah Booth and Tinkie get swept up in a series of bizarre “accidents” that include a karaoke microphone that shocks a woman senseless, a real estate agent who falls down a flight of stairs during a party, and a new Cadillac convertible that is “accidentally” filled with cement. While it seems there’s a dirty tricks campaign being waged on one segment of Columbus society, there’s something more deadly at work and Sarah Booth and Tinkie are on the case. The book, which is Christmas themed, releases October 13. You can pre-order it here.
And for those of you who’ve been reading the free Trouble, cat detective, mystery novel downloads, don’t forget our anthology, YEAR-ROUND TROUBLE, which features Trouble solving mysteries on different holidays “around the calendar.” Many of the stories—all written by fabulous authors—are set in the towns and cities where the authors set their own cozy mystery series. So, you get a Trouble story and also get introduced into the world of various popular cozy mystery writers. Win-Win.
My story was set in June, “Midsummer Trouble,” and the next story celebrates July, and it’s a patriotic rouser from Rebecca Barrett. “Yankee Doodle Trouble” is the perfect read to celebrate America’s birthday. And you can get it right here! Along with 13 other original short stories.
Billie Holiday is one of my all-time favorite singers. Man, she is terrific. So here’s a little welcome to summertime, a la Billie Holiday: 1936 Summertime. The song was written by George Gershwin and has been covered by dozens and dozens of fabulous singers including Willie Nelson. But Billie is my favorite!
See you next month! Stay safe! From all the critters at Casa Carolym
I am a white woman in my 60s and I am just now catching on to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’m immunocompromised so I haven’t been going to the protests. I live in NOLA and looked out on my balcony earlier this month to see people of every race and age marching peacefully in protest. It was galvanizing to see my community come together this way and I want to join the fight to end systemic racism. I am mindful of my privilege as a white person in this country, so I’m a little anxious about saying the wrong thing on social media. I’ve been thoughtful for weeks and want to jump in the conversation. I want to see change and I want to help my fellow black Americans. What are your thoughts? What can I do?
Dear Ready to Help,
You pose a question that puts all of Jitty’s brain cells to workin’. These times are fraught with missteps, and meaning well too often doesn’t carry the day. You know I come from a different time, and because of that, sometimes even I step in it, though I’m doin’ my best to be sensitive. (Don’t believe Sarah Booth when she tries to tell you I am not sensitive.)
I guess the best advice would be the thing that Aunt Loulane tried to pound into Sarah Booth’s hard head. Be kind. Sometimes the best thing is just to ask what you can do in a particular situation. (Don’t be Sarah Booth—bull in a china shop. That girl can leave a trail of wreckage behind her a mile wide.) Keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules in this conversation, and at times it’s going to be touchy. But unless we have this conversation, things will never get better. You have goodness in your heart. You have courage to want to speak out. You want a better America for everyone. I think you have all the tools you need. Just take it slow and feel your way forward.
P.S. For everyone reading this, let me guide you honey chile. Get some advice by writing me at DearJitty@yahoo.com