Personal blog

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I just did an early shopping for Thanksgiving staples and await my daughter who will deliver the fresh turkey she ordered. It will cost more than my royalties, but no matter. I love Thanksgiving. I even still like cooking the dinner–as long as I can find the right kind of stuffing mix to replicate what my grandmother used to make. Success today.

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. Turkey, squash, potatoes, stuffed celery, olives, and, of course, cranberry sauce. Pumpkin pie and apple crisp for dessert because I can make that gluten free. I remember the days when we could talk about the first Thanksgiving. I’m a New Englander. In school we made pumpkins and Pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses. Sure, the first Thanksgiving is a myth, but it’s a good story. The Wampanoags weren’t invited, but when they appeared, they were welcomed in. This was before their fragile relationship with the Pilgrims descended into war.

I just watched a PBS special called, I think, The Great Dying. I knew about it–disease that had wiped out all the population in the area of Plymouth. No one was to blame for that except maybe the unsuspecting rat or sailor from a French or Dutch ship. I liked the Native American speaker who said that we can’t alter the past but we can go forward and see that no more tribes are wiped out.

I’ll celebrate this Thanksgiving with family. The turkey will be humanely raised, though there’s nothing humane about slaughtering it. The cranberry sauce will remind me of the cranberry bogs in Massachusetts. I’ll celebrate that no one has Covid and that my immediate family will all be together. Maybe I’ll think of a way to incorporate the holiday into a story or a novel. Or maybe not–I tend to write about macabre things I haven’t experienced. Another thing to be thankful for.


It’s a rainy day, something unusual in my adopted state of Oregon. I have a new novel coming out in less than a week and I need to be marketing. Not one of my strong suits. I spent two weeks in September traveling around New England and reminding myself how much I love that area of the United States. I saw family and friends in Massachusetts where I was born, in New Hampshire where I lived most of my adult life, in Maine where I have more friends, and in Connecticut where my brother lives. I reminisced, ate lobsters and clams and corn on the cob and ignored what I should be doing about marketing. Should I mention that I drank a bit of wine?

When I returned to Oregon, I seized some beautiful weather and continued to avoid marketing except for a few hours of posting the title and publication date of The Wicked Bible (October 27, 2021). Then I seized another excuse and entertained my brother-in-law and his wife for a week, wine included. I also got distracted by working on plans connected to my academic life. A group of us will have a conference in April 2022 on Constance Fenimore Woolson, who’s been a ghostly character in some of my fiction. More on that in another blog.

Meanwhile, I have no excuse to avoid marketing except to clean my house or go for another hike between the raindrops. But I’m making progress–a post on Booksirens, one on Facebook, one on Goodreads, one on Instagram. Truth be told, that’s more procrastination because I really need to work my way through a difficult transition section of my novel in progress, Finding Freedom. I have until September 2022 to submit the first go-around. If I can stop procrastinating, I think I can make it.

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