Ask almost anyone and they will likely say the past two years battling COVID have radically changed the way they do things. That has certainly been the case for me! Here are my reflections on the year that was, and my hopes for the year ahead.
- In April we launched my second novel, “Darkness and Grace,” to amazing reviews and support. In mid-April I hosted the book launch at Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury. We had perfect spring weather for the event. The turnout was beyond my wildest expectations as over 60 people joined me for a brief reading, wonderful conversations, great food and service, and of course, a book signing. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. The book has sold well.
- In August, I traveled to Nebraska for the first time in 20 months for my nephew’s wedding. It was warm, for sure, but I finally saw my family in person instead of via Zoom. Hugs were plentiful.
- September saw my mother, Louise, and my Uncle John and Aunt Jean visit for five days. They were excited to see my new home and I was thrilled to have them. Minnesota weather cooperated quite nicely.
- In October my amazing publicist, Chris Olsen, developed a writing/editing timeline for my third book, “Missing Pieces.”
- Last fall, Bouchercon, the world’s largest mystery and crime writers convention, had a short story contest in partnership Sisters In Crime. Winning stories will be featured in the “Land of 10,000 Crimes” analogy, which will be available for purchase during Bouchercon, which will be held in Minneapolis in September. Fingers crossed that my story, Family Tree, will be one of the lucky stories chosen.
- For the holiday season, I stayed home in Minnesota for the second year in a row due to COVID (even though I’m vaccinated and boostered). I shared special gatherings and time with dear friends, and wrote, wrote, wrote!
- The first goal is the release of the second edition of “Darkness and Grace,” through Chris’s brand new publishing company focused on female authors and stories, Publish Her Press. I’m honored to be part of this endeavor.
- Sticking to the timeline for “Missing Pieces!” The tentative publication date, again with Publish Her Press, is set for late 2022 or early 2023. 42,000+ words and counting, so it’s halfway there! It is immensely helpful to me as an author to have a firm deadline.
- Once “Missing Pieces” is complete, I’ll get back to reconfiguring a murder mystery I set aside. Tentatively titled, “The Women with the Cheshire Grin,” it takes place in a rural college town.
- Besides hoping to be a part of the “Land of 10,000 Crimes” short story anthology, I will be attending Boucheron themed-events, panels, workshops and readings. After two cancellations in a row, my friend Kathy and I are optimistic this year’s convention will take place. Kathy and I reconnected in Dallas at the 2019 Boucheron, picking up like 20 years hadn’t passed. We already have hotel rooms and Kathy has her flights booked for Minneapolis. One of the unexpected effects COVID is that Kathy and I have become pen pals, sending handwritten cards back and forth. I keep most of them, as letters provide a great history of the past, like pandemics.
- On to traveling! Caryn, my former neighbor and I are planning in May-June to visit the UK. I will first connect with my niece, Lauren, who is in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh studying to be a museum curator. Lauren is anxious to show her aunt the hot spots in Edinburgh and we’re both excited. After six days, I’ll head to London and meet up with Caryn where we’ll spend a leisurely nine days seeing the sights and taking a couple of day trips to the English countryside. It’s been Caryn’s dream to sail across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. After all that exploring, we’ll need the rest! So far, all arrangements are on. It will be a trip of a lifetime.
- Slowly getting back into volunteering with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, the COMPAS arts organization, and the St. Paul Public Library. Much of it occurs over Zoom or is socially distanced, but it is wonderful to get back to doing one of my other favorite things, which have been sorely missed in the last two years.
- Hopefully by Christmas 2022 I can visit Nebraska and share in other traditions with family once again.
I am excited at being more organized with my book production, and it certainly helps to have a top notch publicist/editor who has an incredible team that have helped turn my books into reality. For that, I am grateful.
Whatever your goals and plans entail for the coming year (writing or otherwise), here’s to a happy, healthy, productive 2022!