In The Writer's World

Ghosts of Christmas Past

December was its usual pain in the rear, but aside from that annoyance my sacred inner curmudgeon managed to fully enjoy one very fine concert, a day baking cookies, two Solstice celebrations, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day with family, old friends, and some new ones.

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday. As a kid, I nearly destroyed myself with anticipation and expectation, and all the excitement I could possibly cram in. Then, some years ago, life kicked the crap out of me and Christmas…as some of you know…and it’s never been the same. It’s taken years for me to reset, readjust, and find a new way  to deal with it. Now, it works for me again. We accept, adjust, and move forward. It’s not magic. It is work.

The Old One Passes

We made it through another one. I am looking forward to the challenges of a new year and a new decade.

Celebrating at Annie Bloom’s Book Store. Bill Barry photo.

I look back with a sense of accomplishment for the completion and publication of Blackthorn, my stand alone gothic thriller set on the Columbia River Gorge. I love this book, and found it very freeing to tell the story of Sage Blackthorn and her evolution. I enjoyed the release events, book signing, book talks, and house parties, and connecting with every one of you as I signed those books.

Blackthorn as well as my three Emma Golden mysteries– An Unholy Alliance, The Difficult Sister, and The Man Who Wasn’t There–are available on this website, on, and at select bookstores throughout the Northwest. Annie Bloom’s in Portland still had copies last time I checked.

The horrible personal event of 2019 was the death of my beloved cat, Omar–close companion for 11 years. I miss him every day. For now, I’m content to enjoy other people’s animals.

It was a year of many plays. I reviewed 54 of them in 2019, and continue to marvel at the creativity both onstage and behind the scenes. Over three years, theatre has grown into one of the richest parts of my life. Attending and reviewing 54 plays takes time and effort, and it is well worth it.

I was energized and inspired by trips to Tucson, Spokane, Steen’s Mountain in southeastern Oregon, and Montana/Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park). Three journeys were in company with my sister Janet and her longtime partner Patrick. We have learned to travel well together, and they know their way around some of the roads less traveled in the North- and Southwest.

Hail the New!

Everyone I know hopes and prays for a better new year and a better decade, peace and harmony, the opportunity to undo the Evil that has been done.

For me, I am writing my fifth novel. I hope for a bathroom remodel, and another trip abroad. My dream is Cornwall, so I’m throwing it out to the Universe. Cornwall. Daphne DuMaurier, Winston Graham, and any number of writers have embraced this place as their inspiration. I must see it for myself, and hope it touches me as other trips to England have. To date, I am most inspired by the northern regions (Jane Eyre country), particularly Durham, but we shall see. Except in literature and in my dreams, Cornwall is an unknown.

Just a bit ago, Judy Tillinger checked in with this clip. We were Guest Editors together at Mademoiselle Magazine for the month of June, 1970. She is a fabulous Manhattan-based artist and photographer, and my sole contact from that time 50 years ago. I have been a writer for 50 years. 5-0! How cool is that?

We have yet to be interviewed by Oprah, but we’re still living the dream.

Life is what you make it, my friends. So make it good.






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  • Jennifer says:

    I love that this was the first thing I read in 2020. Your newsletters are chocked full of you and your life and I find them inspiring! Thanks again.

  • Christine May Deal says:

    As we spent the first 9 months of 2019 deciding, implementing and carrying out the decision to move to Sun City West, buy, remodel and move into a house I haven’t had time to read 90% of my emails….I am sure you wrote of Omar there, so I am just sad that I am just learning of his passing here. I am hopeful for a few more good years with Charlotte, so I know the hole he has left. He looked like my Spencer Tracy of the mid 80’s to mid 90’s…Charlotte is #5 and holds a particularly special place as a rescue and who chose me…May you find the peace that will allow for another sweet presence into your world at some point later this year….I can’t imagine a decade without one. Be well dear friend… Christine

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