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Worm Moon

Tonight is March’s full moon, known as the worm moon, and in its honor I am posting the poem of that same name by Mary Oliver.

Worm Moon – Mary Oliver

1

In March the earth remembers its own name.

Everywhere the plates of snow are cracking.

The rivers begin to sing. In the sky

the winter stars are sliding away; new stars

appear as, later, small blades of grain

will shine in the dark fields.

And the name of every place

is joyful.

2

The season of curiosity is everlasting

and the hour for adventure never ends,

but tonight

even the men who walked upon the moon

are lying content

by open windows

where the winds are sweeping over the fields,

over water,

over the naked earth,

into villages, and lonely country houses, and the vast cities

3

because it is spring;

because once more the moon and the earth are eloping –

a love match that will bring forth fantastic children

who will learn to stand, walk, and finally run

    over the surface of earth;

who will believe, for years,

that everything is possible.

4

Born of clay,

how shall a man be holy;

born of water,

how shall a man visit the stars;

born of the seasons,

how shall a man live forever?

5

Soon

the child of the red-spotted newt, the eft,

will enter his life from the tiny egg.

On his delicate legs

he will run through the valleys of moss

down to the leaf mold by the streams,

where lately white snow lay upon the earth

like a deep and lustrous blanket

of moon-fire,

6

and probably

everything

is possible.

Mary Oliver

The name of every place is joyful. Spring is coming, my friends.

Books, characters, fiction, mystery, publishing, stories, writing

Secrets of the Past, Published

It’s been one week since Secrets of the Past published!

Old Secrets Cast Long Shadows …
 
When newspaper columnist Pauline Gray agrees to help a retired schoolteacher write her memoirs, she has no idea it will lead to murder. Someone doesn’t want old memories stirred up … and they are willing to kill to keep the past a secret. Now it’s a race to uncover the truth that the murderer is so desperate to keep buried. It will take all Pauline’s ingenuity to solve this case before the killer strikes again—and this time Pauline herself might be the victim … 

I confess: I forgot to post about it on the blog on the actual publication day. I was so busy updating all my other social media sites that writing a post for here slipped my mind. So I decided I would wait and do a “one week” post instead (and then nearly forgot about that as well).

I am so happy to have this book out in the world. It’s a bit surreal to think that I have completed this series. Originally I had intended for there to be 7-8 Pauline Gray books, but as I went along I started to realize that this was better suited for a shorter series, and when I started working on Secrets, it became very clear that this was the final story. The final chapter was a little emotional to write! But I am satisfied with the three stories, satisfied with Pauline’s character arc throughout the series, and pleased to see the project completed.

The ebook of Secrets of the Past is available at pretty much all the usual retailers, via this link. So far the paperback is only available through Amazon, but it will eventually be distributed through other retailers as well. The process takes a bit longer with print than with ebooks.

I hope you have all enjoyed going back in time to 1930s Canton, NY with me, and getting to know all the characters I chose to people this town with, and I hope you enjoy this final book in the series. Happy reading!

writing

In Defense of the Detective Novel

As I approach the publication of the final Pauline Gray mystery, I am reminded again of this post I wrote six years ago. I have been finding myself turning again to detective novels this past week, as the world has been shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and I am certain that it is due to my instinctive need for the hope of justice and restoration that is implicit in such stories. Tomorrow, Secrets of the Past will be available for purchase in both ebook and print, and my sincere hope is that it brings the same sort of comfort to its readers that mysteries have always brought to me in times of chaos and grief.

StarDance Press

This essay came out of some thoughts I had on detective novels and their function in society. I’m not sure any of it is terribly earth-shattering–I’m fairly certain it’s all been said before–but it was important to me, so I wrote it all out, then decided it was worth polishing and sharing. So here it is.

Truth, justice, mercy. All very big, abstract concepts that can be hard to wrap our heads around in concrete terms. What is truth? How do we balance justice and mercy? To whom do we show justice, and when is mercy appropriate? If I were to tell you I was writing a story exploring these concepts, you might reasonably expect some weighty, literary piece of work, with dense prose and a somber tone. What you might not expect would be a detective novel.

Yet it is in mystery stories that I have had some of…

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Books, fiction, mystery, publishing, writing

Secrets of the Past, Print Release Date

The second proof copy of the print edition of Secrets of the Past arrived in the mail yesterday, and … it’s gorgeous. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

The first proof copy had some problems with the margins, which I was able to finally sort out, and I wasn’t happy with a couple of details on the cover, things that looked fine on a computer screen but just didn’t work well on a physical book. That’s why we have physical proof copies, to work out all those little details in order to have the final product be as close to perfect as a human can get!

The really good news, so far as my readers are concerned, is that with the success of this proof, I will be able to release the paperback edition of Secrets of the Past on March 1st, right along with the ebook edition. Hurrah!

So mark your calendars for March 1st, 2022, whichever edition you prefer to buy, because you will be able to take your pick.

Less than a week to go!

Books, characters, fiction, mystery, publishing, reading list, writing

Secrets of the Past Release Date

Old Secrets Cast Long Shadows …
 
When newspaper columnist Pauline Gray agrees to help a retired schoolteacher write her memoirs, she has no idea it will lead to murder. Someone doesn’t want old memories stirred up … and they are willing to kill to keep the past a secret. Now it’s a race to uncover the truth that the murderer is so desperate to keep buried. It will take all Pauline’s ingenuity to solve this case before the killer strikes again—and this time Pauline herself might be the victim … 

I am very happy to be able to announce a release date for Secrets of the Past, the third and final Pauline Gray novella. It will be available in ebook form on March 1, 2022. You can preorder it now using this link: Secrets of the Past

I am hoping that the paperback will be available on March 1 as well, but I can’t make any promises with that.

This book was one of my most challenging to write, and one of the most rewarding. I can’t wait to share it with readers! This is a bittersweet release for me–I am pleased to have brought Pauline’s journey to completion, and a little sad to say goodbye to her. I hope all of my readers find satisfaction in how this final mystery works out.

You can also add Secrets of the Past to your Goodreads list here, if you like.

I will update once I have a set release date for the paperback as well!

research, Sci-fi, world-building, writing

Sci-Fi and Physics

In my last post I said I wasn’t sure when the next Caledonia book was going to come out … but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun with research, anyway.

I never did physics in college, so most of what I put into From the Shadows was very much seat-of-my-pants, desperately looking stuff up as I thought of it, hoping to technobabble my way through. That only goes so far, though, and so I am hoping to equip myself better for future books.

Besides, the more I know, the further my imagination can roam … who knows how many creative possibilities are out there that I haven’t been able to grasp simply because I don’t know about them?

So when I found Physics of the Impossible and Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku, I knew they were just what I was looking for. Especially since the entire premise of From the Shadows is based on the idea of parallel worlds, and they are traveling through space at faster-than-light speeds, with alien planets capable of sustaining life along their way … yeah, those are definitely some impossible physics right there. Like I said, these books are just what I need for future sci-fi stories.

I have a couple of books I was already reading when these arrived, so I’m hurrying to get through them, and then … it’s physics time!

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, goals, mystery, publishing, Sci-fi, stories, writing

Publishing Plans for 2022

I often hesitate to post about upcoming books and publications, because so often life ends up turning my plans upside down–or the book refuses to be written–or the prior book takes longer to be written than planned and so this book has to be pushed off yet again–and so on and so forth. However, I also do like to keep my readers informed as to what they can expect, and so with the qualifier that these plans are very, very loosely held, here is what to look out for in 2022, and possibly beyond.

Secrets of the Past. The third and final (at least for now) Pauline Gray novella will be coming soon–possibly even this month, though a March publication date is more likely.

Death by Disguise. The third novel in the Whitney & Davies series, following after Glamours & Gunshots. (The current chronological order of the series, for those who are curious, is: Magic Most Deadly, The Third Thief*, Masks & the Magician*, While Shepherds Watch, Glamours & Gunshots, Death by Disguise.) My original plan for 2022 was to have this published by April. Substantial rewrites are making that look less and less likely, but I am still intending to publish it this year, just most likely later than the original goal.

Another collection of short stories in the Whitney & Davies collection, these to feature some of the smaller cases the team solves between Glamours & Gunshots and Death by Disguise. This collection is tentatively titled Sorcery and Suspicion, but we’ll see if the title lasts throughout the actual writing and organizing of the stories!

Those three books make up my publishing plans for this year. I have not forgotten about the Caledonia sequel I hinted at however many months ago (either here or on one of my social media sites, I can’t remember now where I talked about it). That story is still proving recalcitrant, and since it is more important to me to get it right rather than publish it fast, I’ve stopped trying to set a publication date for it. It is still happening, just … not very fast.

I also have two more Whitney & Davies novels planned, and my hope is to publish one if not both in 2023. After that … who knows? We shall see where the muse strikes!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about the upcoming books, or an urgent request for a story that you are hoping to read, or a character you’d like to see featured in an upcoming story, or if you just want to talk about the books! I always enjoy chatting with my readers.

*found in the short story collection Magic & Mayhem