In The Writer's World

Love in a time of plague

It has been difficult to summon the energy to write a newsletter. No, nothing is wrong here. It’s just been so very hard to find words. Things change every day, there are more restrictions and scary warnings. It feels like a chapter from a dystopian novel. And, in fact, for some it is a dystopian nightmare. We all wonder, what’s next? A full-blown toilet paper war or The Handmaid’s Tale?

Last summer, Steen’s Mountain!

And yet we continue. We take our walks, we greet people, we call friends. We do our work. As a writer, that part is easy. We work puzzles, watch television, read, eat, and sleep. At least I do. It’s pretty simple and pared down, but that is the way I have lived for the past decade. Little has changed for me except that I miss the human contact. I miss you all terribly, and love you, and wish that we could hug like we used to.


Today has been spent in the kitchen. I made chocolate chip cookies, and now there’s a big batch of granola in the oven. At some point, there will be a trip to the pharmacy. Our morning walk was sunny and beautiful–tulips, and camillias, and all manner of blooming trees are flaunting themselves throughout the neighborhood.

Author Louise Penny went live on Facebook to give us a tour of her home in eastern Canada and talk about her life. She is every bit the down home girl I believed her to be, sitting there in her hoodie, no evidence of makeup or fuss, with her strong, beautiful features. She talked about her late husband Michael (the boiler plate for Armand Gamache) and the more recently deceased Golden Retriever Bishop and the characters in her book. Her furniture is comfortable and overstuffed. She lives with strength and intention. It was a most generous distraction.


Candice Fox‘s Gone By Midnightwas recently released in the U.S. It’s the third in the Crimson Lake series. Gritty and darkly humorous, it features former police detective Ted Concaffey and his employer, the inimitable Amanda Pharrell. I love this series, and you will too. Number 3 did not disappoint.

While in Arizona (a month ago when the world was still familiar), my sis introduced me to Adrian McKinty, an author from Northern Ireland who now lives in Australia (and is a friend of Ms. Fox). I’m more than halfway through In The Morning I’ll Be Gone, which features Irish cop Sean Duffy, and is set in the Thatcher years in McKinty’s hometown. I love the plot, I love the setting, and Sean Duffy is a badass. This is a series, and I just grabbed the one she handed me. But I plan to read them all!

Another excellent read, The Tenant, introduced me to Danish crime writer Katrine Engberg. Her debut novel is impressive, with strong characters, complex relationships, and a puzzling sequence of murderly events within an interesting foreign setting.

These are the books I’ve been unable to put down in the past couple of weeks. They are great for these times of fear and uncertainty, times in which the reading of crime novels surges.

If you haven’t yet read the Emma Golden Mystery Series, or my most recent stand alone Gothic mystery Blackthorn, all are available to order from this website, or from Amazon. Happy reading!

Which reminds me…

As scary as it all is to be living in a worldwide pandemic, this is an opportunity for us to learn lessons, albeit uncomfortably. We have slowed down. The planet can catch its breath. We have more time to be thoughtful, and kinder to those around us, and helpful to our neighbors who may be struggling. We can love our families and our animals–and they us.

Stay safe, dear friends.


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  • Jennifer says:

    Once again, you are a bright spot and an encouraging friend in times like these. Now, I have a list of new authors to squirrel away. Thanks.

  • Alisha Christiansen says:

    Wishing you peace and good health as well, Judy!

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