*creeps up to dusty, neglected blog*
*blows dust off neglected blog*
It’s strange to discuss the past year, isn’t it? For me, it was divided into two parts. The first part was filled with remote teaching and online tutoring, which, given the circumstances requiring those things, made me loathe my computer. Not super helpful for all the authory stuff I do on said computer.
Or the stuff I *should* do, I guess.
Thankfully, the second half of the year was more “normal,” so my rendition of the year-in-review post starts in July, because that’s when I started a new book for the first time since Dreams of Justice came out. That month, I attended a writing retreat. A group of friends and I rented an Airbnb in the mountains for a few nights, and between all of us, thousands and thousands of new words were added to our works-in-progress. I even wrote words in the middle of the night, which I haven’t done in years.
But it wasn’t all just creating new word babies.
In August, we all went back to in-person school.
We had to go back to masks a few weeks later, but that’s okay because it meant we got to stay in-person, meaning my computer and I continued to be on good terms.
In October, Heather and I returned to selling at events! The first was FanExpo Denver, which presented the opportunity to meet new readers and completely nerd out. The boy and I opted to express our affinity for Stranger Things.
The next event came the weekend before Thanksgiving in the form of a holiday craft fair. Having never done one of these, we had no idea what to expect and braced ourselves for a day of slow sales. However, we ended up selling more in that one day than we did during *all three days* at FanExpo. We both sold out of multiple titles.
The lesson here? Craft fairs rule. I predict we’ll do several more next holiday season.
So what’s next?
The upcoming year promises more events and at least one new book. Heather and I will be attending Albuquerque Comic Con in January (barring any interruptions caused by Omicron), we’re booked for FanExpo Denver again in July, and of course, craft fairs around Colorado after Halloween.
On the book front, I hope to have the new one finished and out by spring or early summer (so it’s ready to go for FanExpo). Until then, as a sneak preview, I offer the prologue of said book, a historical mystery that is currently titled The Thrift Store Note (but that may change because titles are hard).
The cab squeaked to a stop in front of a bungalow set back from the street, its only light coming from a table lamp muted by a sheer curtain in the window. Separated from the rest of the town by half a mile, it stood as an outcast, as if unwelcome among the more respectable structures. Betty squinted into the darkness. “Is this the right place?”
“It’s the address you told me.” The cabbie twisted around in his seat. Fatigue, impatience, and age etched themselves on his face, apparent even in the cover of night. Betty may have been his last fare (and one who paid more for his trouble), but she also took him two hours out of the city, a trip he hadn’t likely hadn’t anticipated. “Are we turning back?”
Swallowing, Betty peered at the house. “No. I’m sure this is it.” She reached into her coat pocket, where she’d put the scrap of paper. She didn’t need to look at the address again—she’d memorized it soon after it was scrawled, along with the name of the woman who Betty hoped would be her savior. But her reason for coming here surely warranted more that a small, dark house and a single lamp.
Her fingers searched for the scrap but came up empty.
She checked the other pocket, then returned to the first one. Where is it? She racked her mind—she hadn’t set it down anywhere; she was sure of that. The note was more than a simple paper. It was hope, one that was hers alone. Her coat was its safe place—but was she wearing this coat that day? She liked to rotate her apparel, partly to keep her look interesting and partly to show her friends that she had the means to do so. But what if she had worn this coat and the note fell onto the floor at home, threatening to expose her?
What if Rick had already found it?
Her stomach knotted.
“So, what are we doing?”
Burying her anxiety, Betty unclasped her handbag and removed the bills she’d agreed to pay the man, along with two extra, and passed them across the seat. “Can you wait a couple of minutes? I’ll wave if it’s okay.”
He took the money and offered a short grunt.
Betty stepped into the chilly air. There wasn’t a path to the house. In her pumps, she struggled across the soft ground, her steps growing heavier as she closed the distance. Combined with the weight of her purpose and that of losing the note, she was surprised to make it to the front door.
As instructed, she knocked four times.
She tried again. Four knocks. What if no one is here?
A lock clicked, and a tall woman wearing a handmade, cream-colored house dress and with gray hair pulled into a bun opened the door. She stood in silence.
“Are you Rita?” Betty asked.
“I was told to come here.”
“Do you have the money?”
“Come in, then.”
Betty waved to the cabbie, who sped off, leaving her alone with her decision.
She followed Rita inside.