In The Writer's World

Welcome new subscribers! It’s so great that you have joined our fabulous group of readers. On these pages, you will learn about the Emma Golden Mystery Series and other adventures in the writing life. I write a monthly newsletter where you will be the first to learn of upcoming releases, events, and special deals. But we’re all busy, right? I won’t pester you daily…or even weekly. (I do, however, write play reviews. So please, bear with us. They are not terribly frequent. If you live in the Greater Portland Area, you might find them useful.)

Hope is on the way!

A year ago today it was perfectly quiet outside. No school buses. No traffic. We cowered in our homes with our toilet paper and canned soup, triple-washing our produce and fearing the worst.

The worst did happen for me. I quit writing. I wrote and wrote, but it was all crap. I quit. The fear and doubt crept in. Everything I’d ever written was crap. I was a fake. A paralyzed fake.

No stranger to trauma, I made life bearable by masking up and walking more. Our little group walked like our lives depended on it. (They did!) I read, worked puzzles, and perfected my chocolate chip cookies. I cooked for friends. I learned I would become a grandmother. Cheryl was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I slunk more into myself and told myself I was doing well. I told myself it was okay if I never wrote again. I could do other things.

A year later, I am vaccinated. My life has changed in a million tiny ways. There is hope.

Second anniversary!

Today I read the best review of my gothic thriller BLACKTHORN to date. The thoughtful reader/reviewer made my day. I realized once again that my purpose here is to write. I am not a fake. Like so many of us, I’ve just been through a lot over the past year. Glory Hallelujah! The best is yet to come!

BLACKTHORN was published two years ago this week. If you have not yet immersed yourself in the mysterious lure of life and death in the Columbia Gorge, don’t you owe it to yourself to take a peek? The book is available on my website only for 99-cents for the ebook, $9.99 for the paperback (limited to stock on hand). This special lasts through March 31. Go here to get your books. The code is SPRING.

The cruelest month…

“February is the cruelest month…” according to my protagonist Emma Golden at the beginning of my second in the Emma Golden mystery, The Difficult Sister. This year was the cruelest February ever. Some of you will recall that one of my major new year’s goals was to be on standby to help my close friend Cheryl whenever possible.

Cheryl (left) and Marg on our fabulous trip to Washington, D.C., September 2013.

By January her prognosis had taken a tragic turn. But Cheryl was tough. She remained cheerful and upright when we visited her bringing food, flowers, stories, and gifts. We sat on her deck wrapped in the infamous white fleece electric throw freezing our tushes off. It was well worth it.

On February 5, Cheryl was overcome by pain and nausea. One of the tribe checked her into the hospital and stayed with her all day every day until she was sent home on February 10. Two friends moved in with her, and then the ice storm hit. They took care of her through snow, ice, and power outages until she passed away on February 13.

Cheryl had a special brand of charm, social grace, and enthusiasm. She was an artist of life, always creating beauty. She had groups of friends from wherever she worked or played. Her great tribe rallied when she became ill. She knew how much we loved her. While she and I each bore the scars of losing a child and a marriage or two, we managed to have more adventures and laugh harder together than anyone else I’ve ever known. Life will still be good, it has to be. But a huge light went out when she left us.

Yin and Yang

Little Julian, my two-and-a-half-month-old grandson, has kept me going. Even before his birth, he rained on the pandemic parade, keeping our little family of parents and grandparents hyper-focused on the hope he symbolized in our lives.

Thankfully, he lives nearby. I see him often, and each time I marvel at the changes. One week he’s started smiling. The next week he’s sprouted eyelashes. In addition to the other many things I do, I will be watching him one day a week beginning Very Soon. There was a trial run last weekend, which ended in considerable screeching when I did  something not quite to his specification. Fortunately, Mom was available to set things back on course. I raced home with my tail between my legs. Today I am going back for more. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated!





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  • Lynda Walker says:

    Good to hear you will be with Julian one day a week. What fun you will have.

  • Linda Eguchi says:

    How I love your newsletters! I could read what you write ALL the live long day. Keep on keepin’ on. Love, that girl from UO.

  • Jennifer says:

    Always I look forward to these updates. Thank you Judy. ❤️

  • Rebecca Hamilton says:

    Can’t WAIT for the next book!!!❤️

  • Emily B. says:

    What a touching update on your friend Cheryl. Sorry for her passing. Your grandson is precious.

  • Laura Pudvah says:

    I’m soooo glad you picked up your pen again! I love reading your books ❤️ Def not a fake

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