On comes the New Year

It is our custom to walk the beach on New Year’s Day no matter the weather, to inspect the sea and the detritus the waves have carried to shore.

A lost trap

A lost trap

The first day of 2017 was sunny and warm with a light breeze, making for an especially pleasant visit to Scarborough Beach. Temps have been up and down in recent weeks, so there were no skaters on the ponds that flank the path.

tracks-across-the-marsh

 

The tracks of an intrepid skier—no doubt left on a recent cold day—were the only marks across the now-thinned ice.

lost-glove

A lone glove was marooned above the high tide line. I photographed it to add to my collection of images of solo mitts found on the beach.
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Sunday Beach Photos – October 30, 2016

The much-needed rain finally came to an end late yesterday, and today dawned warm and sweet.  Scarborough Beach was beautiful, but I’ll let you see for yourself.

The clouds were still breaking up, which allowed for gorgeous light on the water

The clouds were still breaking up, which allowed for gorgeous light on the water.

The storms that blew through this past week left interesting detritus behind

The storms that blew through this past week left interesting detritus behind.

There wasn't a lot of surf, but this trio was enthusiastic about what little there was

There wasn’t a lot of surf, but this trio was enthusiastic about what little there was.

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Long Days, Wonderful Library Visits

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. – James Russell Lowell

 

Beach Roses, Swan's Island

Beach Roses, Swan’s Island

The long days last week on either side of the summer solstice were truly stunning, each one more beautiful than the day before. It was my good fortune to have made plans for a couple of late-June library visits Downeast to read from Cover Story, my second Joe Gale mystery, which is set in that beautiful part of the state.

Am I lucky, or what?
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It’s spring, and I’m on the road again

Gardiner Public Library is a welcoming place

Gardiner Public Library is a welcoming place

Now that winter is behind us (the optimist writes on a day when the morning’s rain washed away the previous night’s annoyance snow, and the wind still howls outside the window) I’m out and about again, talking up Truth Beat in particular and my Joe Gale mysteries in general.

On March 21 I had a wonderful visit with a book group in Springvale at the home of my longtime friend Madge Baker, where we talked about Quick Pivot, the first in the Joe Gale series, among other things. Many thanks to Madge, as well as Ann, Yoli, Tess, Carol, Renee and Martha for a wonderful evening.

On March 29 I welcomed the coming spring with a reading at the beautiful Gardiner Memorial Library where librarian Anne Davis made me feel right at home as did a very engaged audience of old friends and new.  Special thanks to Mayor Thom Harnett for talking up my reading on social media.
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The Joy of January Beach Walks

We’ve enjoyed several spectacular Sunday beach walks this month. It occurs to me on this last day of January that it’s time for a little show and tell. Compared to last year, the footing has been good, but the height of the tide always informs the walk, a truth borne out in spectacular fashion this week and last.

On Sunday, January 24, thanks to Winter Storm Jonas, much of the eastern seaboard was buried under a couple of feet of snow. Not a flake of snow had fallen in our part of Maine because Jonas blew out to sea before it reached us. The sun was shining and the roads were dry as we drove out the Black Point Road in Scarborough. The pathway that cuts through Massacre Pond was nicely packed and there was some wind, but the air wasn’t too nippy. We heard the surf long before we reached the little rise that leads to Scarborough Beach.

The surf was up at Scarborough Beach after Jonas shot past Maine, just far enough offshore to spare us the blizzard it brought to the rest of the Eastern Seaboard

The surf was up at Scarborough Beach after Jonas shot past Maine, just far enough offshore to spare us the blizzard it brought to the rest of the Eastern Seaboard


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You’re Going to Sue the Church?

If you haven’t seen Spotlight, you really must.

The recently-released film starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo is the based-on-fact story of how a team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe peeled away decades of lies and denial to expose how the hierarchy of the Catholic Church covered up decades of sexual abuse inflicted upon children by parish priests. It is an important film, both for the story it tells and the way the story is told.

That question – you’re going to sue the church? – is uttered repeatedly in the first hour of the film. People inside and outside the newspaper were stunned by the notion that the Catholic Church could successfully be called to account in a court of law. At the outset, even those on the Globe’s vaunted Spotlight Team a small group of investigative  reporters who’ve won accolades over the years for their hard-nosed journalism – were amazed enough to ask the question.

We’re going to sue the church?

In famously parochial Boston, the idea of petitioning a court to unseal records that the Catholic Church wished to keep private was unfathomable. The church wasn’t just plugged-in to the power structure, it was a load-bearing wall of the power-structure. Like certain banks and other financial institutions deemed too big to fail, the church seemed too big to sue. What petitioner would dare to try to expose not only the names of abusers, but the pattern of lies and favors and looks the other way that allowed the abuse and the cover-up to continue? What judge would ever grant such a motion?

You’re going to sue the church?
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New England Crime Bake 2015

I’m back from New England Crime Bake, the terrific writers’ conference held every November in Massachusetts.  This was my seventh time attending Crime Bake, which has come to feel like old home week(end). It was especially sweet this year because unlike the first six, I am now a published author.

There were 22 debut authors in attendance this year, far more than usual.  The organizers made sure we felt celebrated, which was lovely. Here is a photo of the 2015 finally published class. That’s me wearing a red shirt in the middle of the top row.

The twenty-two (!) debut authors who attended the 2015 New England Crime Bake conference

The twenty-two (!) debut authors who attended the 2015 New England Crime Bake conference

Others include my Maine colleagues Maureen Milliken and Mary Lawrence, my Malice Domestic friend Lisa Lieberman, and four wonderful writers with whom I participated in a new author panel discussion Saturday afternoon — Julie Hennrikus, Brian Thiem, C. Michele Dorsey and Ray Anderson.
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Crime Writer Confab in Bar Harbor

Maine’s crime writing community invaded Bar Harbor the sunny weekend of September 18 – 19 to hang out with readers and other writers at the inaugural Murder By The Book conference sponsored by Jesup Memorial Library.

Imagine this crew, together in one small town.

The author lineup at Murder By The Book in Bar Harbor

The author lineup at Murder By The Book in Bar Harbor.

Friday night Julia Spencer-Fleming, Chris Holm, Dorothy Cannell, Kate Flora and Paul Doiron read work in progress. Those five also participated in Saturday panels and classes, along with Lynn Raimondo, Gerry Boyle, Lea Wait, Bruce Coffin, Maureen Milliken, Vaughan Hardacker, and me.  It was an honor to share the bill with so many talented writers.
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Summer’s End

I hate to admit it, but the calendar doesn’t lie.  The thermometer does sometimes—witness the heat wave that washed over Maine this past week. But summer is at its end, which prompts this greatest-hits photo array from what was a wonderful spring and summer.

Stalwart tulips, spring of 2015

Stalwart tulips, spring of 2015

After the endless winter of 2014-2015, we were ecstatic when the tulips arrived in early May.  The spring flowers and long hours of daylight were beyond welcome. It was a thrill when the earth reappeared beneath the snowbanks and blooms started pushing toward the sun.  These tulips fought their way through a considerable crust of snow that lingered in our front yard. They were showing off their red petals a couple of weeks after the green shoots emerged, a balm to our winter-weary souls. Continue reading

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On the Road and On the Sea

The renovated Mayo Mill in Dover-Foxcroft

The renovated Mayo Mill in Dover-Foxcroft

This week I’ve been both on the road and on the sea, talking with readers about Quick Pivot.

Tuesday evening, I participated in a panel discussion with other Maine crime writers at the wonderful Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft, a former mill town in Piscataquis County.  The other authors were Maureen Milliken, whose debut novel, Cold Hard News, also has a newspaper reporter as its protagonist, and Vaughn Hardacker, whose thrillers feature a pair of big city cops who find they most certainly did not leave crime behind when they moved to Maine. Retired librarian John Clark, who writes young adult novels as well as adult mysteries, moderated what turned out to be a free-wheeling discussion about crime, Maine, back roads, deep woods and mill towns. Many thanks to  librarians Michelle Fagan and Helen Fogler for making this event happen. Continue reading

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