Five Things and a Giveaway

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the recent storms have left a tangle of bare branches everywhere the gaze lands.

Today is the release day for my fifth Beryl and Edwina mystery, Murder in an English Glade and I must admit, such days always leave me feeling reflective. While, theoretically, a new release should be about the future, in fact it always makes me look back at the path that has led to publication day.

As I peer into the rearview mirror at my writing life so far there are five things, in no particular order, that I have learned since my first book released in 2010.

  • Buy the good stationary supplies. I know I have mentioned it on the blog before, but I never tire of praising the virtues of beautifully crafted fountain pens, luscious bottled inks and thick, creamy paper. Goulet Pens and JetPens are two of my favorite places to procure such things if you want to give them a try for yourself. Even those who feel their handwriting is less than lovely will probably be pleased with how much nicer tools than a ballpoint pen and a sheet of copier paper will improve things!
  • Time management is pain management. Some sort of high level planning makes life richer and much more fun. It may not sound glamorous, but since I plan my free time first and slate in work around it I end up feeling inspired by my calendar rather than subjected to its tyranny. I love using a personal kanban system along with a quarterly goal planner and a Google calendar.
  • Inspiration is found in the most unlikely of places so say yes to things that are unfamiliar, possibly boring or simply interesting. I have ended up visiting Spiritualist enclaves, a maple syrup meadery, art galleries and even a pirate museum to fill my well and conduct research. Walks with my dog, books at my library and snatches of conversation overheard at the grocer have all contributed to the books I have written over the years.
  • I love sharing my life with a dog. I ended up with one, quite unexpectedly, three years ago and it has proven to be one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had in years. I have raging allergies that run the gamut from foods to plants to animals and dogs happen to be on that list. But, Sam, the poodle, is from a breed that doesn’t make me ill. In our time together I have learned so much about the value of nonverbal companionship, loyalty and exciting games of tug. He faithfully keeps me company tucked up in his dog sofa beneath my desk and gently reminds me to stretch my legs by taking a walk a few times each day. What an unexpected joy!
  • Writing really is about the journey, not the destination. I adore my job. Well, not during copy edits, or if there is a technology snafu that incinerates most of a manuscript, but all of the rest of the time. I love imagining circumstances, people, relationships and growth. Traveling to other places and back into the past is a constant source of delight. Researching bits of trivia like the number of times per day the post was delivered during WWII or the starter mechanism for a 1920s motorcar makes my heart sing. I delight in spending time with other writers and sharing experinces. But most of all, I am grateful for the chance to connect with readers like all of you. Thanks for making this life I love a possibility!

Readers: What word of advice or encouragement have you picked up over the years? Three lucky commenters will be sent a hardcover copy of Murder in an English Glade!

74 Thoughts

  1. Love Beryl and Edwina stories! (And it makes me chuckle to think my 2nd great grandmother in Scotland was named Jessie Crockatt.)

  2. Happy book birthday, Jessie! Great points, and I wholeheartedly agree that pets make life so much better. I’m glad you found one that doesn’t trigger your allergies.

  3. Always treat others the way that you want to be treated yourself. My mother always said you attract more with honey than vinegar. I don’t know if that was one of her WV sayings. I took it to heart but I am nice to everyone unless they are impossible then I just avoid them but I do it nicely. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway! pgenest57 at aol dot com

  4. Congratulations on the release of another fabulous Beryl and Edwina book which I’m dying to read!

    Think some of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten are:
    1) Never put off doing some of the fun things for “some day”. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow and maybe if tomorrow does arrive you might not be able to do what you always dreamed of doing for one reason or other.
    2) Never miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them or that you appreciate them. The chance can slip away in the blink of an eye.
    3) Open your eyes to really see what’s around you. Even in the worse of conditions, there is beauty to be found and things that can easily turn that frown into a smile.
    4) Live like you wish to be remembered then you will wake each morning and be able to hold your head high.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy of “Murder in an English Glade”! Shared and hoping to have the opportunity to read and review this book that is most definitely on my TBR list. Love Beryl and Edwina!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. Congrats on the new release! Particularly with the pandemic, I try to lift those I come into contact with at work. For many, it has been their only human interaction for days.

  6. When our son was born and he was later diagnosed with Autism we asked why our child. I took extremely good care of my pregnancy. Never drank any form of alcohol, didn’t smoke and definitely no recreational drugs. Prenatal care was above and beyond since we went through early labor. After his birth which was done by c-section all seemed fine for a period of time. Then Autism moved in and we were devastated. It was our church family and close friends who helped us through this difficult times with the following words, “God does not give you more than you can handle.” Although there have been and still are times when we wondered again why us but each time we remember these words and pull through. Thank you for the chance to win this book. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. My top rules are “trust your gut” and “always bring a book.” Both serve me well.

  7. I’ve always followed “Bloom where you’re planted”! No matter if it’s due to a move or just being somewhere else for a few minutes, it’s keeping a happy light shining within myself that keeps me going. Congrats on your book!

  8. My grandmother always said, “Pretty is as pretty does” and “To have a friend, be a friend!” My parents taught me to live by the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” And, I learn so many life instructions from reading books…things that I write in my quote journals and share with others. Recently I read in Verity Bright’s book A Lesson in Murder, a tip Lady Eleanor’s mother always told her, “Everyone may not be good, but there is good in everyone.” I wish nothing but good things for your new release and look forward to reading it!

  9. My dad taught me Don’t let the bastards grind you dowm.Non illegitimate carborundum.

  10. Happy release day, Jessie! When I was getting ready to enter high school my mom told me I’d like it more if I joined lots of activities. (She may regret how much joining I did because until I could drive, I always needed a ride somewhere.) I’ve been a joiner since and my life is much richer for it.

  11. What a lovely post! Thoroughly enjoyed the reflections. I have learned that even after a long, busy and satisfying career in a different discipline, studying writing craft and spending my days writing and reading, surrounded by family, fills my heart with a great joy!

  12. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if there’s a little thought or idea floating around the edges of my brain- embrace it! My Grandma used to call it sideways thinking 🙂

  13. Another Beryl & Edwina book is worth celebrating 🍾!

    One thing I believe is to compliment people (including strangers) often. The look on someone’s face when you stop them & tell them what a lovely sweater they are wearing or how their smile brightens your day is a joy!

  14. My mom always said “when one door closes, another one opens” and she was always right! I have used this throughout my life. Sometimes you have to be patient, but it works out in the end! Congratulations on another book release! Love the Beryl and Edwina seies!

  15. My father taught me that if he wasn’t there to help me, I needed to figure it out myself. It’s been 47 years since he was here to help me, and it’s amazing how much I have figured out myself.

    And I concur with Kay on all of the things she listed.

    Have read the ARC and love it! Keep ’em coming.

  16. Congratulations on the new book, can’t wait to read it! I love Beryl and Edwina. One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever heard is to find a job that lets you do something you love to do. That way, you won’t really be going to “work”, you’ll be doing something you love and getting paid to boot!

  17. Being open to new things is important. I must do that more.

    Congrats on the new release! It’s always a pleasure to visit this duo.

  18. Do something nice for someone, even if it’s just holding a door or saying thank you

  19. Congratulations on your release. Seeing your book in print and with delightful covers had to be enormously exciting! Years ag I just wrote weekly food columns for local newspapers and seeing my articles in print each week was so great! I can just imagine all your labors of love with covers being read around the world! Has to feel amazing! And I’m betting your furry friend feels the excitement as well! 😀

  20. So many congrats, Jessie. Many years ago, my grandfather Allan, whom I adored, reminded me that when I started something, I should finish it. Good words for life!

  21. Congrats on the new book. I have very much enjoyed reading all the lovely comments. The sayings are reminders of living, are wonderfully comforting words, and reminders to commit to enjoying the people around you.

  22. Congratulations on your new release. Sounds like a great addition to the series. I agree with you that sharing life with a pet is a good thing. I’m so glad I’m lucky enough to not be allergic to cats because I realized that I’m definitely a cat person.

  23. My Mom used to say that “everything happens for a reason”…I have believed in that saying all my life!

  24. Congratulations on your new Release! The advice I would give and have learned is to “Not take Anyone or Anything for Granted”. We have a half Schnauzer he is 8 yrs old and he is a joy to have, he is great company and he is very loyal and a very good little friend, we have had him since he was only 6 weeks old. He sits under our computer desk while I am on the computer, and he loves to be where I am. I enjoyed reading your post, Thank you. Have a great rest of the day and stay safe. Time for you to Celebrate your new release!!

  25. I don’t know which I enjoyed more, your post or reading the comments! There is much wisdom here.

    Congratulations on the latest release. How can it be the fifth book already, seems like yesterday the first came out.

  26. Congrats! I agree with so many commenters. My mother used to say things like “Be nice to people ,just be yourself, and make sure everyone has a good time! Life is short, so make the best of it.”

  27. One piece of advice I’ve picked up over the years from parents, Grandparents, Maya Angelou and others is to never quit and follow your dreams because you never know where you’ll land and those dreams may turn out better than you thought.
    Another piece of advice I’ve picked up always smile because you never who’s watching you and people want to be around a happy person more than an unhappy person.
    One old fashioned and it rings true today is “if wishes were horses beggars would ride”. Basically meaning just because we wish it we may or may not get. A good piece of advice because sometimes what we wish for and don’t get may end up being better because we may get something better.

    1. My mother used to say “if wishes were horses then beggars would ride” often when i was a child! I used the phrase in my first Change off Fortune novel, Whispers Beyond the Veil!

  28. There maybe days when everything goes wrong or seems wrong, but do not give up. Tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself credit. You have made it. Do not question yourself. You have this. Hang in there.

  29. Congratulations on the newest release – looking forward to more Beryl and Edwina adventures! I hope you and Sam did something special today.
    As far as words of wisdom, as I was starting a new job years ago, my new manager ended his first day welcome pep talk with ‘… and, don’t be afraid to make a mistake’. To someone like me – wired for perfection (and frankly petrified of making mistakes) – those words gave me license to relax a little, learn, and approach the new job the right away. I still think back on that advice and marvel at how perfectly timed and meaningful that advice is.

    Congratulations again, and thanks for all of the wonderful stories!

    1. We did do some fun things together despite torrential rain! I love the advice from your manager! If writers aren’t willing to make mistakes they won’t create books!

  30. Congrats on your book! I’ve heard from my parents and grandparents,

    Dreams remain dreams until you take action.
    Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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