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
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
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
I was honored to be part of a terrific panel at the inaugural Local Authors Showcase at the Scarborough Public Library this evening. I was glad for the chance to talk with readers about Quick Pivot, and excited to hear about the books of some of my Portland-area peers.
Here I am with Richard Afuma, whose memoir, The Python Trail – An Immigrant’s Path from Cameroon to America was published by DownEast Books in May.
I’m sorry not to have gotten a shot of Stephen Johnson, whose debut novel Those That I Guard, came out last November, or Richard Shain Cohen, whose book Our Seas of Fear and Love is the seventh he’s published. It was great to hear from both of them.
Who doesn’t love libraries?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is credited with this lofty quote: The student has his Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library. He has in his books the ruins of an antique world and the glories of a modern one.
But I also like Paula Poundstone’s take: The truth is, libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.
Libraries also are also wonderful places to meet readers and talk about your book if you’re a newly-published writer. In recent weeks I’ve had a terrific time at three local libraries doing just that, and I’m looking ahead to three more events this week and next.
James Rathbun and the rest of the staff at the beautiful Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham hosted me on May 27, one month to the day after Quick Pivot was released. I was honored to speak in one of the beautiful rooms in the old part of the building, which was built in 1908 by James Phinney Baxter. It was a wonderful evening with an intimate, supportive group of readers.
A couple of days later I spoke at the Portland Public Library over the lunch hour. Rachael Harkness and Harper Chance helped with publicity and room set up, and a good group of folks came. We had a lively discussion about, among other things, female authors writing male protagonists and the ins and outs of e-books.
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Tagged Anthony Rich, Barbara Ross, Baxter Memorial Library, Curtis Memorial Library, Joseph Souza, Kate Flora, Peaks Island Library, Portland Public Library, Richard Afuma, Richard Shain Cohen, Scarborough Public Library, Stephen Johnson, Walker Memorial Library
I am pleased and excited to pull back the curtain on the stunning cover for the second book in my Joe Gale Mystery Series, Cover Story.
Heeeeeere it is:
Here’s a sneak preview of the plot:
Maine newspaper reporter Joe Gale is at his best when covering the crime beat for the Portland Daily Chronicle. In the dead of winter Joe heads Downeast to cover the murder trial of fisherman Danny Boothby, charged with burying a filleting knife in the chest of politically well-connected social worker Frank O’Rourke.
Chris Holm, Katrina Niidas Holm, me, Ken Cohen and Kate Flora
On Friday May 15, the launch of Quick Pivot was celebrated with a party at Rí Rá, an Irish pub on the Portland waterfront. We had a rollicking time sending my debut novel down the ways.
Many family members were in attendance, as were writer friends, lawyer friends, island friends, mainland friends and a few people who fit multiple categories. It was gratifying (and fun!) to hear from those who already have downloaded and read Quick Pivot.
The members of my former writing group, who were so helpful when the book was first being outlined: Richard Bilodeau, James Hayman, me and Jane Sloven.
Over the course of the evening a considerable amount of beer was consumed, and everyone seemed to have a heck of a convivial time.
Despite the challenging lighting conditions inside the pub, here are a few photos of some of those who’ve been stalwart and generous supporters of me and my work.
I was transported last night back to the Central Massachusetts paper mill town where I was raised. It was the early 1970s and the community was in the middle of a long strike. My parents didn’t work in the mills but that didn’t matter. With the millworkers on strike pay, every small business in town felt the pinch. As a young teenager, I was just old enough to understand what it meant to live in a mill town.
Maine’s brilliant Monica Wood has the ability to help people who did not grow up in places like her hometown of Mexico—located across the mighty Androscoggin from the Oxford Paper Company’s Rumford mill—understand.
Last night, when her play Papermaker premiered at Portland Stage Company, I was fortunate to have a seat in the packed theater. Because not many plays are written about the lives of people who work in mills, a number of proud papermakers were in the audience. I spoke briefly with one after the standing ovation finally ebbed. We both had tears in our eyes.
This weekend was the second Maine Crime Wave conference, and it was a blast. Maine has an embarrassment of riches in the crime writing world, and some of the best in the business were on hand this weekend. There was a lot to learn, a lot to share and plenty of laughs along the way.
Here is a photo of me with Lea Wait, who writes cozy mysteries (her latest is Twisted Threads) as well as young adult mysteries (her latest, Uncertain Glory, has been nominated for an Agatha Award) and Chris F. Holm, whose Big Reap, the third in his Collector Series, has been nominated for an Anthony Award. His thriller The Killing Kind, to be released in September, is drawing rave advance reviews.
At Friday night’s event, Two Minutes in the Slammer, ten intrepid writers took to the microphone and wowed the audience with brief, powerful passages from their work. Kudos to Anne Fowler, Bruce Robert Coffin, E.J. Fechenda, Heidi Wilson, J.T. Nichols, Jen Blood, Kathy Lynn Emerson, Lea Wait, Maureen Milliken, Sandy Neily, Alice Adams and Jim Hayman for giving such terrific, brief readings.
This morning’s beach walk turned out to be what I think of as Spring Shift Day, when the tilt of the earth in this northern clime finally hit a convincing tipping point. I breathed deeply, pulling the notably softer salt air deep into my lungs, finally confident that winter is behind us.
Appropriately enough, it is Easter Sunday, and the transformation that has occurred in the past seven days has been nothing short of miraculous. The sand was no longer frozen underfoot, the ocean was that lovely blue-green summerish hue, and the wind had lost its sharp winter bite.
It’s Maine and it’s February, which means it’s often cold and frequently snowing. This month has been off the charts cold and snow-wise, but if you let the weather coop you up inside, you miss a lot.
Case in point: today’s beach walk. Virtually every Sunday afternoon we head out to one of the local beaches for a bit of fresh air. Our favorite is Scarborough Beach, but the hike in through the marsh ponds feels endless on a really cold day, especially on the way back to the car after 45 minutes of being buffeted by the wind. This afternoon icy snow pellets were bouncing off the windshield, so we passed on Scarborough Beach.
When the footing is decent we go to Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth, where the hike through the woods and fields to the south end of the beach is especially lovely. But when there’s several feet of snow on the ground it requires snowshoes, and we’d forgotten to put ours in the car today, so Crescent was out.