Summer Solstice and All That Jazz

on June 27, 2023


Dear Reader,

The planet has spun around the sun for half a year already—this has been one of the fastest years in my memory. So much going on, so much to do, so much to think about. It is hot as blue blazes, but we’ve gotten some rain, at last. Along with wind and hail and other things I don’t really like, but it is summer in lower Alabama. No point complaining.

photo of cake

I had a wonderful birthday in May—with a red velvet cake. And the best! Isabel Brown has translated TOUCHED into Spanish and it is available now. It was a crazy task to take on, but Isabel has worked miracles, keeping the “Southernness” right and rendering it available to an entirely new audience. SUMMER OF THE REDEEMERS, TOUCHED, and JUDAS BURNING are a trilogy of books set at different time periods in the town of Jexville, MS. They are all available now.
photo of Isabel

I’ve planted a lot of new plants this year, and most are doing pretty good. I am not a green thumb, so this is a revelation to me. Growing things is really hard work so keep a good thought for all the farmers who put food in the grocery stores. I do miss “the good old days” of family farmers where so many chemicals weren’t used. My niece, Jennifer, has a bodacious garden but she is a hard, hard worker. I had lunch at her house today—delicious fresh tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes. Fried zucchini. Green beans and new potatoes. Yummy! I should have taken a picture of it. Too late! I ate every bite. And I brought home a slab of chocolate cake. Life is good on Jennifer’s farm.

TELL-TALE BONES has done really well this summer. It was #1 in Southern Fiction for a while, and at #7 on the Publisher Alley Mystery bestseller list. That is very gratifying to a writer, and I want to thank all my readers for the reviews and for talking the book up. Word of mouth is the very best recommendation a book can get. I’m excited by the reception the book received.

We’ve changed the name of JAWS BONES to LIGHTS, CAMERA, BONES. So that will be the book for May 2024. I’m waiting on the art department to send me a mockup. I’m sure it will be wonderful. And I am busy writing TENDER BONES for Christmas 2024. It seems impossible to be planning for Christmas 18 months from now. But that’s the business.

Mandy Haynes, who has moved to Alabama with her magazine Well Read Magazine, and I have been working on some ideas for some thrillers. We keep chewing on things and we’ll find exactly the right thing to work on. It just takes a little time to find the story that “must be told.”

Mandy introduced me to a terrific movie, DEAN SPANLEY. We rented it from Amazon prime. I highly recommend it. Terrific acting and a lovely story. Some of my very favorite actors. So now I’m trying to tell everyone I know about it. Ha ha ha.

Things on the farm are doing okay. It’s hard to see the animals age. And me too. But hey, no stopping that.

I was honored to be invited to talk to Sue Walker’s poetry writing class at the Botanical Gardens in Mobile. It had been a while since I was at the gardens. I used to walk the trails there on my lunch hour when I worked in the PR office of the university. It’s a beautiful place, and we had a delicious lunch there. Sue’s students are quite accomplished, and it was fun to meet them and learn a little about them. She’s been teaching that class since she retired from the University of South Alabama. She has a real heart for teaching poetry. I miss my students, and I am lucky to be in touch with many of them. But I am glad not to be teaching. I loved it when I did it, but now I’m happy to be home with the critters and writing.

Don’t forget my friend (better known as my OLDER brother) Dean James, writing as Miranda James, has a new book out today: HISS ME DEADLY.

Dean’s books are terrific fun and well-written. And he is old! Ha ha ha (He is going to get even with me for this, I’m sure!) So if you’re looking for a great read, get this book.

That’s about all the news that’s fit to print. Since I’m working on TENDER BONES, I’m in a nostalgic Elvis mood, so here’s a tune for you from the King himself: The Song I Am Listening To.

Until next month,
Carolyn and the critters


P.S. Writerspace is hosting a new giveaway!