It’s 2021!

It’s snowing as I write this.  Helen Jane Long’s “Echo” is playing, and I’m watching great fluffy flakes fall in delightful abundance.  It is a perfect moment, listening to the music and watching from my study window as the snow falls.  As you can see by the above photo taken in my backyard, it’s not much of a snow by the standards of other parts of the country.  But in my neck of the woods, it’s significant and a rarity we enjoy maybe bi-annually.  Such a beautiful, calm moment in a world that seems anything but beautiful or calm right now.  Nature can be such a great healer.  For just a moment, saying goodbye to 2020 seemed like something to celebrate, and that moment was lovely while it lasted.  In truth, it doesn’t seem that 2021 will be all that different than 2020, at least not for a while.  I find I am often reminded of that once-popular poster that showed a kitten desperately hanging onto a thin rod, feet dangling in the air as it desperately tried not to fall.  The caption read “Hang in there, baby.”  How are you “hanging in there”?  In my case, I try to focus on the long-term hope that is represented by that faint glimmer of light at the far end of a very long tunnel.  Hope is a powerful thing, isn’t it?  In the short term, I’m trying to focus on small triumphs and upcoming events.  

In the “triumphs” category, The Light Catcher Murders continues to be well received by readers.  Thanks to all of you who have told friends, posted reviews, or otherwise spread the word, sales have picked up slightly.  I do hate that sales need to matter so much.  After all, I love writing and would likely keep writing regardless of the monetary return.  But I do like that affirmation that people enjoy what I write, and earning a little money helps justify the amount of time I spend writing.

In the “upcoming events” category, I’m spending a lot of time this month preparing for my guest appearance on a special edition of Linda Nickell’s “Happiness Hour” on Thursday, January 14 at 7:00 p.m.  I will discuss aspects of The Light Catcher Murders that make it “not your typical cozy mystery.”  Because the Happiness Hour series is primarily aimed at photographers, I will also be discussing my inspiration for the novel’s topic, Lucy Celek’s character, and a few ways in which the story evokes the photographer’s eye.  Writers, photographers, and artists are akin to each other in their ability to focus on the everyday details of life in a way that can evoke a new appreciation or understanding of those things that can be taken for granted.  That ability informed many of the choices I made in the novel.  

We will be joined by my cover designer, Heather Foster of Star Street Creative, who will discuss the process we went through to come up with my AWESOME cover!

The live event may be accessed via the “Happiness Hour” tab at lindanickell.com.  You can also find past episodes of her wonderful series by searching on YouTube for “Linda Nickell Happiness Hour,” or using this link linda nickell happiness hour - YouTube.  If you join us for the live event, you don’t even have to change out of your bathrobe or put on make-up!  Participants will be asked to turn off their mics and cameras when we begin.  A chat box will be available so that you can submit questions.  I do hope you will tune in!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photo Courtesy of Linda Nickell — lindanickell.com

 
 
 

Locations

Of the towns I amalgamated into the fictional Wheaton Creek, Wimberly, Texas is the closest fit and provided some of the most fundamental elements included in the novel.  Wimberley, situated along the Blanco River and Cypress Creek banks, is not on a major highway but is close enough to Austin and San Antonio to make it an attractive day trip.  It is a pretty town in a pretty setting.  The rolling, Hill Country geography, varied vegetation, natural springs, one-of-a-kind shops, and gorgeous views attract visitors who want to escape city noise, traffic, and congestion.  History buffs are attracted by the area’s rich history and the number of historic structures still in existence.  The town also draws an interesting corps of residents, including retirees, artists and writers, and college professors from nearby San Marcos and Austin.  But the feature that most makes Wimberly akin to Wheaton Creek is the thriving community of artists.  Like my fictional town, a handful of artists settled there, word spread, and before long, the place was crawling with them!  Please visit WVACA | Wimberley Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance (wimberleyarts.org) for more on that vibrant and important community.

If you’re ever in the area, Wimberly is a “must visit” location.  Check out Wimberley History - Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce for more on Wimberly Valley and a calendar of events that will hopefully sometime this year be back in full swing.

 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

Photo courtesy of Linda Nickell — lindanickell.com

 
 
 

January’s “Random Thought"

This month’s “Random Thought,” about the six-part Netflix series The English Game, is perhaps my most random ever.  What does a TV series about soccer and late 19th-century English social reform have to do with writing?  For my take on that, read MORE…

 
 
 
 
 
 

Coming Events

January: Silver Dagger Book Blog Tour.  January 14 through February 14.  This blog tour will include an Amazon gift card giveaway, so keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates!

January 14, 2021, 7:00-8:00 p.m.: The Light Catcher Murders: Not Your Typical Cozy.  To join the Zoom meeting, click on this link and then select “Tonight’s Meeting.”  https://lindanickell.com/happinesshour 

 
 
 
 
 

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