At 1 PM on Saturday, August 29, I will be at the Books-A-Million store in West Lebanon, NH, to sign books and say hi to readers. Please stop by if you’re in the area! It’s a great store. We will be celebrating the release of KEEPER’S REACH, my latest Sharpe & Donovan novel.
P.S. I originally said August 30 but that’s the date of my nephew and his wife’s baby shower!
Creating Father Finian Bracken in my Sharpe & Donovan romantic suspense series has been incredibly rewarding for me as a writer. I love that so many readers have written to me about how much they enjoy this rather unusual Irish priest. He plays a role in each of the Sharpe & Donovan novels, starting with SAINT’S GATE and now in KEEPER’S REACH (out tomorrow). A widower who lost his wife and daughters in a sailing mishap and a “whiskey man” with his twin brother, Declan, Finian entered the priesthood in his thirties. Not incidentally, Colin Donovan, an FBI agent and one of Finian’s best friends, thinks he looks like Bono. Finian is serving a small parish in Colin’s hometown, a struggling Maine fishing village. He’s a confidante of dangerous men with dangerous jobs, as well as a certain ex-nun, Emma Sharpe, now an FBI agent herself.
I was on a personal writing retreat on the southwest Irish coast, grappling with Finian’s character as he took shape in SAINT’S GATE. I ended up wandering to a historic cemetery, with a holy well and the ruins of a church named for Saint Finian, an early Irish saint. Emma Sharpe and Finian Bracken visit the holy well. It’s quite a spot! In the photos, you can see the steep, very old steps behind me. They lead straight up to the graveyard. And I do mean straight up!
This is such a moving spot on the southwest Irish coast, offering a perspective on time and place that has stayed with me to this day. What’s next for Finian Bracken? I’m writing LIAR’S KEY now, so we shall see.
Take care, and enjoy,
It’s pouring rain here on our hilltop in Vermont. Perfect for reading, and for ordering books for late summer and fall. We’ve posted an excerpt of KEEPER’S REACH (on sale August 25) on my website. Take a look!
Don’t forget to register your preorder for free recipes and a chance to win a basket of Irish-made goodies I selected myself. Click here for all the details:
KEEPER’S REACH opens with Martin Hambly, assistant to mysterious Oliver York, a wealthy Brit who witnessed his parents’ murder when he was eight, carrying amaryllis pots back to the York farm in the Cotswolds. Martin runs into a suspicious FBI agent, and off we go.
Here’s a photo of a Cotswolds church not unlike the one where Hambly and the FBI agent meet.
Have you pre-ordered KEEPER’S REACH, my upcoming Sharpe & Donovan novel? I’m asking because the countdown is on. One lucky fan will WIN an incredible Basket of Irish-Made Gifts! We are also giving everyone who registers their KEEPER’S REACH purchase a KEEPER’S REACH Fall Recipes booklet inspired by my Sharpe & Donovan series.
I loved picking out what to include in the gift basket on my latest trip to Ireland earlier this summer. There I was in shops on the southwest Irish coast, deciding between this beautiful scarf and that beautiful scarf…these scented candles and those scented candles…and bookmarks, a Celtic necklace, a Muckross Bindery journal, a quintessential Irish scarf, spa products…what fun!
Click here for details. I don’t want you to miss out. Do it today!
Thank you and happy reading,
You can read more about KEEPER’S REACH here and register your pre-ordered copy to receive a booklet of recipes and be entered to win Irish-made products I selected myself while in Ireland in June.
In April, Joe and I were able to get away for a quick trip to Holland, where my father was born and raised. We visited one of my cousins in a small village in Noord-Brabant, and we wandered through Keukenhof, famous for its spring flowers. So beautiful! We’ll see what stories this trip inspired.
New England is in the throes of a major nor’easter and ECHO LAKE, the fourth book in my Swift River Valley series, is out today. I’ll celebrate with a mug of hot cocoa by the fire! Thought I’d share a couple favorite Vermont winter photos. ECHO LAKE takes place in winter in the small fictional Massachusetts town of Knights Bridge.
Enjoy winter wherever you are!
We’re twelve days into January already. Happy New Year! I’ve signed up to run the Covered Bridge Half-Marathon here in Vermont on June 7. I’m so proud to be running in support of David’s House, a wonderful charity that “provides a home-away-from-home and support for families with children receiving treatment through the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.”
I started my training last Monday with the first week of an 8-week beginner’s running course. I can walk forever but I haven’t done any serious running in a while. I love to run outside but it’s been too cold and icy. I like the temperature at least in double digits.
But wouldn’t it be fun to run on an Irish lane like this one on the Iveragh Peninsula?
Take care, and, again, Happy New Year!
Winter wonderland this weekend in our corner of Vermont. Hoping for a White Christmas!
This is my short essay on enjoying my writing life, included in WRITES OF PASSAGE, an outstanding collection of essays on the writer’s journey put together by Sisters in Crime and published by Henery Press.
“I’m one of those writers who loves to write. It was the joy of writing that prompted me to climb a tree with a pad and pen as a kid and sit up on my favorite branch to spin stories. Sixty-plus books later, I love to write as much as ever. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. A writing life can get out of whack for any number of reasons. No writer I know is immune, including me. So, I asked myself what do I do that allows me to enjoy writing as much now as when I was a kid? Is there any one thing? Any one practice? The answer is yes: I make time for “discovery.”
A few years ago, I took off to Ireland for my own personal writing retreat. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip. Next thing I knew, there I was, alone in a tiny cottage on the southwest Irish coast with my pads and pens, figuring out how to light a turf fire on a rainy, chilly autumn night. My Irish sojourn wasn’t a getaway to meet a tight deadline, and it wasn’t a vacation. It was three weeks I set aside for creative discovery—for consciously and intentionally standing back from producing, doing, inventing, measuring, making things happen. It was time away from the usual walls: page counts, word counts, hours-at-writing counts. It was time away from the external lures and pressures of publishing, platforms, website updates, reviews, Facebook, Twitter, wandering on the internet.
My cottage made setting these boundaries for myself easier: it had no wifi and only limited (and expensive!) “data roaming” access. I had to walk into the village to get on the internet. The five-hour time difference between Ireland and the East Coast also worked in my favor. There’s magic in being fully present in the moment, whether it’s on the page at hand, or whether it’s walking in the Irish hills, listening to sheep baaing in a green field or watching a rainbow arc over the bay.
Those three weeks in Ireland crystalized for me just how important discovery is in my creative life. I have always given myself time away from “producing” and “doing,” whether it’s an afternoon walk, an internet blackout, not counting words and pages—or another getaway to an Irish cottage. Discovery is what sharpens, greases and fires up our creative gears, our senses, our powers of observation, our openness, even our trust in whatever drove us to write in the first place. For me, it’s the foundation of creativity, and it’s essential to the joy of writing.”
Enjoy your day!