Vacation in Maine

I had a unique vacation this year. Partly R & R and partly work.  But the location made the mixed bag enjoyable.  Maine’s southern coast is an ideal July destination. We had cooler temps than in the Northeast, and the mix of water and trees and expansive skies made waking up a wonder everyday.

I didn’t get as much writing done as I intended, but I had some good food, good visitis with new friends, and good news for the month.

Goodbye, for now to beautiful Maine. Maine background Rocks Maine low tide
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Conversation With Librarian Caroline Pak

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I had a chance to sit for a one-on-one with the librarian at the Ellen Coolidge Burke Branch Library.  I was happy to address my personal writing practice, my first novel Long Way Home: A World War II Novel and the difficulty of research for that project.  I address the growing representation of diverse crime writers in the mystery/crime genre, and pose a challenge to mystery readers to go beyond their comfort zones.  I mention two other unpublished works that are completed, and read an excerpt from Book 6 in the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery series: Warn Me When It’s Time.

Reading starts at: 37:45

Book Trailer-Warn Me When It’s Time

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Friend, writer, colleague, Suzie Carr produced this marvelous book trailer for Book 6 in the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery series.  Please, give it a look!

Warn Me When It’s Time is a case that takes Charlie and her team to dangerous territory, as they try to outsmart a group of white supremacists hell bent on starting a race war.

Credit:  Sunny Bee Productions/Suzie Carr, Producer

Buy the ebook, at Bywater Books, Here

Pre-order the book, Here

HAPPY. NEW. YEAR.

It’s a relief to bid 2020 adieu. A year that brought unprecedented economic, health and political hardships to America.

As is the case with really hard times, we can learn so much about ourseves and others if we pay attention, and reflect. Happy New YearCOVID-19

Those of you who are extroverts (I’m not one) had to slow your social roll. Reduced face time; reduced personal engagements, reduced outings.

For those who, sadly, lost jobs or businesses you’ve had to change your lifestyles, and in many cases ask for help. Nothing teaches like being in the position to have to ask for help.

For those who suffered the ultimate loss-the loss of loved ones and friends-you may have had to mourn without even the simple comfort of a hug. Many of us had to miss the ceremony of funerals and memorials for our loved ones.  My heart goes out to you.

For students, you’ve had to make adjustments in your young lives that affect the way you learn and connect with friends, and live life.  Things will, soon, change. I hope the loss of some of your freedoms will push you to appreciate the things you DO have.

Social Injustice

Before Covid rocked us on our heels, we were outraged by another slew of police shootings of black citizens. Covid-19 gave us the time and bandwidth to reflect on where we really stand when it comes to championing racial justice.  A lot of people read books, and gave money and time to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some of us were changed, forever.  Let’s continue to work and fight for the fair treatment of ALL of America’s citizens. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the ONLY thing to do to keep our divisions from growing wide and wider.

Politics

Men (so far) have come and gone from the most important position in our democratic Republic.  We’ve reeled from 4 years of chaos, fear mongering, and mean spiritedness. We can do better, and in my abundant optimism, I believe we will. If not, like the perils of ignoring racial injustice, we will have what James Baldwin invokes in his seminal work on race, The Fire Next Time.

So, Happy New Year. We can be hopeful, and look forward to more peace and grace and trust and good works. But, we can’t be complacent, or sit on our laurels, or revert to our old ways.  If we do, 2020 will be a preamble rather than an anomaly.

 

Poem for Black Friday

Black Friday Blues

Black Friday

Civility has gone away

It’s been replaced by ruder sway.

A flat-screened TV is the treasure

relieves us of all sense of measure.

We elbow, gouge and snatch with zeal

And our true natures we reveal.

We cue up just to make the score

For some, even the night before.

Thanksgiving prayers and harvest reap

Take second place to discounts deep. Continue reading