Not Another Newsletter!

Thirteen Years Ago I Took a Vacation


And since then…nothing. Not a couple of nights on the beach, not a free promo trip where you pledge to buy a condo, not even a stay-cay. Instead there were book tours, which the youngest in our set may’ve felt to be vacay-litious. Look at these memories!

For me, though, they were work, wonderful work, where I got to appear as an author, and meet many of you, and see bookstores in forty-seven states.

But…not a tropical drink in sight.

Till now. I had been whining about said vacation-less status, and a little birdie named my husband surprised me and the aforementioned youngest with a real, live vacay—airplane and all. Now, some of you know how I feel about flying, but I might be better with the kids because a) their excitement is infectious and b) I have to be reassuring for the eldest who, please forgive me, inherited my tendency to catastrophize, aka, write suspense novels.

I will share pics in my next newsletter…and they might be amusing because it’s not like I have a lot of resort-wear or bathing suits in my writerly wardrobe.

On a more serious note, this trip prompts a few self-doubts, because, well, what doesn’t? Will my career still have a chance at success if I break the unintentional vacay-ban and do something totally non-book related? How much do we give to this dream of Being a Writer and how can we balance all that we give it with real life?


Strand Magazine’s Best of 2018 List

Strand Magazine

I was truly honored when Wicked River was chosen by Andrew Gulli as part of this incredible list. There are books on it that immediately jumped to the top of my Pile. It’s a thrill when one of the experts in the genre likes and gets what you do. Thank you, Andrew, and get your next read on, everyone!


O.K., I Lied

Jenny In Maine

I did go on one quasi-vacation this summer. The reason I don’t count our family trip to Maine (that's my brother in the pic) as a vacay is because it was also a research trip for my next book, the revision of which I just turned in. (Cue the hurrahs! Cue the whining! Editing is sooo hard).

Twelve Miles to Mercy opens in the fictional town of Wedeskyull, like my first four books, but then our heroine leaves to teach on a remote island in Maine. This is a stranger-comes-to-town novel where it turns out the town is strange.


A Giveaway for Historical Fiction Fans!


I love meeting emerging writers. Robert Crawford’s novels are set in Victorian England, and Ripper fans will delight in his knowledge and detail. I have the first to give one lucky reader. Just reply to this newsletter and you’ll be entered to win!


Have You Ever Gone to Summer Camp?

The Drowning

J.P. Smith is a fellow Sourcebooks author and his new release showcases my favorite way to start a book. Perfectly ordinary scenario, most of us have done it, except twist the dial just a notch, turn it up to eleven, and voila.

The seed for my novel, The Drowning, was planted when I was eight years old.

I was sent to camp in upstate New York. I was not a swimmer, and was deathly afraid of deep water. Towards the end of the season, our counselor had us line up facing the lake. He told us to jump in and show him the kind of swimmers we’d become. I was the only one not to jump.

And so he threw me into the deep water. And I proceeded to drown.

He jumped in beside me, and swam me out to a raft, throwing me onto it and saying, “Either you’ll swim back and save your life, or stay here and die.”

All these years later, I thought: what if he’d come back four or five hours later, aimed his flashlight at the raft…and I wasn’t there. And I wasn’t in the lake. Or on the campus. I was simply…gone.

I had a thriller to write.

The boy he’d left on the raft had come back to get his revenge…


It was -5 degrees Fahrenheit the other morning

The back yard

And there’s snow on the ground, which I love, but still, I can almost feel those tropical seas. I will miss you all and can’t wait to connect when I’m back!


Love from the Hills of Wedeskyull,


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