Looking back on some favorite memories from 2017…
March: In Arizona’s Red Rocks country, beside Dry Beaver Creek. But as you can see, in spring, it’s anything but dry. I took a solo hike into the back country to try to unravel a few knots in the plotting of the Cork O’Connor novel I’m working on right now, Desolation Mountain (#17 in the series). Walking alone is always a good way to let my imagination run wild. And even if the ideas don’t come, the hike is heavenly.
May: Can you go home again? The answer, I’m very happy to say, is a resounding, “Yes!” When I returned to Hood River, Oregon, where I’d spent some of the most important years of my life, I received the warmest of welcomes. My high school classmates, some of whom I hadn’t seen in nearly fifty years, the committee that had worked so hard to plan the Hood River Reads program, the students in the schools where I spoke, and the crowd who joined me at the library to hear what I had to say about Ordinary Grace, all embraced this prodigal son with an affection that moved me deeply.
June: Hanging tough at the California Crime Writers Conference in L.A. with Matt Coyle, Elizabeth Little, Hallie Ephron, Glen Hamilton and Craig Faustus Buck.
July: Hamline Church United Methodist partnered with the Ain Dah Yung Center (ADYC) for a pizza feed at the bread oven on the church’s lawn. ADYC is an amazing organization that houses Native youths who are homeless or whose home lives are precarious. The kids from Ain Dah Yung, other volunteers, and I pulled pizzas fresh from the wood-fired oven and served them—for free!—to anyone who dropped by.
August: Sulfur Springs was published, and one of the early stops on the book tour was Mystery to Me in Madison, WI.
September: It took eighteen books, but I finally cracked the top ten on the New York Times bestseller list. I not only cracked the list, but I cracked open a decent bottle of champagne to mark the occasion. A huge thank you to everyone out there who bought a book and helped me reach this moment!
September: My wife Diane and I color-coordinated with the Sulfur Springs cover for this signing at Book Passage in Marin County, CA.
September: On my way to the South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, I paused at this magnificent statue of Sacagawea on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River just outside Chamberlain. It’s only a year old and is a striking tribute to the young woman without whom Lewis and Clark would, quite literally, have been up a creek.
September: I wrapped up my tour swing to the East with a signing at the wonderful Vero Beach Book Center, in Vero Beach, Florida. A full house and an attentive audience: what more could any author ask for? I followed up with a well-deserved drink on the beach.
October: A great big welcome from the public library in Kearney, NE, where I spoke at their One Author Kearney event.
November: Here I am in picturesque Grand Marais, MN, an iconic community on the shore of Lake Superior, just shy of the Canadian Border. I presented at the North Shore Readers and Writers Festival, organized by the Grand Marais Art Colony. A bunch of my good friends, also fine writers, were here as well, including Faith Sullivan, Peter Geye, Mary Casanova, and Erin Hart. It’s a wonderful festival, and if you’ve never attended, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year.
November: I had a lovely time on my birthday this year. Did some good writing in the morning, got in a workout, celebrated with my wife at a local fun spot—check out the photo—and polished off the evening watching one of my favorite Bogart movies, “The Maltese Falcon.” Every day should be so fine.
December: I finished up the year on the cover of Minnesota Good Age magazine. You can read the article here.
Happy New Year, and happy reading to all in 2018!