Happy Autumn! Iím grateful for the way readers have allowed Farewell, Miss Zukas into their lives. Ending a series is a daunting balancing act, and I admit I fashed over it (Thanks, Alison for that new word!), wanting to satisfy readers as well as wrap up Helmaís adventures on a positive note. Finally, I abandoned thinking of what anyone might expect and concentrated on Helma and her cohorts, letting their tale unfold at their pace. After a dozen escapades, they ought to know whatís best, right?
Farewell Miss Zukas was Julyís #1 bestselling trade paperback at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and #4 in August.
Avon Breast Cancer Walk
Due to a glitch, Iíll be walking in the Avon Walk in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 22 and 23, instead of the Santa Barbara Avon Walk. Best of all, my sister will be walking with me, and I couldnít be more pleased. Iíve never visited North Carolina and Iím looking forward to the adventure. The training for the marathon on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday continues: I stepped back six weeks, which means according to the schedule, thereís a 22-mile walk coming up. Groan. Thank you for your good wishes and contributions Ė we WILL make a difference!
Someone once said to me, ďWeíre fortunate if we outlive our pets.Ē I guess, but itís not much comfort when we lose them, is it? Ruby was stubborn, cantankerous, crafty, disobedient, way too smart, and I absolutely adored her. We locked eyes in a shelter twelve years ago and I was a goner. I was wild to rescue her that very moment, and brought her home before I even owned a food dish. She weighed 80 pounds, could slip her collar at will, never learned to walk on a leash, flunked out of obedience school (twice!), ate her way through a wooden deckís uprights to escape, uncontrollably chased cats, dragged whoever held her leash into any water, and held a grudge against all black dogs. She was also fastidious, groomed herself like a cat, never did her business in the house, and was uncompromising loyal to me. The instant she heard a raised voice, she was at my side, quietly placing herself between me and the world. There was never any doubt of her intent. Iím convinced that dogs never forget when theyíve been rescued and who rescued them. Ruby was a dog of bearing and independence to the very end. So, letís raise a glass to the animals we have loved and who have honored us with their unwavering affection.
Go to my website, jdereske.com and click on "Writing" at the top of any page for thoughts on accurately depicting a historical era.
Because Helma really loves her nephew, sheís tackling one of his favorite books: JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL, by Susanna Clarke. Magic and all that. But she admits, the writing is deliciously dense.
Ruth, is also tackling a book out of character in honor of someone else: MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, by Jill Bolt Taylor, the story of a brain scientistís massive left-brain stroke and her recovery. Ruth does take umbrage at the implications that we all might benefit from losing our left brain for a while, though!
Enjoy these last days of good weather before winter! jo