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Good morning from Heathrow Airport! I am on my way home after a wonderful visit to Scotland, and as always, have lots of news to share. Even though I was far from home this month, I was privileged to be one of the judges for Surrey Public Library's Young Writers contest this month. Currently, I'm deep into reading submissions for the 29th annual Surrey International Writers' Conference contest, which will be judged by the one and only Diana Gabaldon. AN ACCIDENTAL ODYSSEY will be here before you know it, and this month we have a wonderful interview with the fun and fab Julia London.
Let's dig in, shall we?
farewell to Scotland
e's SO much I'll miss of this beautiful country. This visit was primarily for family, but I managed to sneak in quick visits to Edinburgh and St. Andrews, plus a peek at a couple of very cool ruins in Fife. Keep an eye on my blog in the next little while if you'd like to see more pictures! For now, here's a dew-laden spiderweb adorning a thistle to add a little Scottish content to your day.
exciting news: ExLibris is coming to ITALY!
Details are still to come, but I am thrilled to announce that the ExLibris novels will be translated and published in Italian! The ink is drying on the new contract with Harper Collins. I am so excited to see what Italy has in store for my books.
and a little sneak peak...
We've made some VERY cool enamel pins for the launch of An Accidental Odyssey. Want one? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for details! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest news.
- with Julia London -
We are lucky enough to share three questions this month with Julia London. Julia’s not new to this newsletter, as last year we shared a book launch for EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE with the first in her series YOU LUCKY DOG. Julia’s new book IT STARTED WITH A DOG is out this month, and I’m delighted to get to chat with her again.
kc: Welcome, Julia! Let’s begin with an easy one. What is your favourite setting for a story?
JL: England, Scotland and Wales. Growing up, I read all the gothic romances set in gloomy castles in England, and I was either a) the princess or b) the young woman fleeing the dark secrets. Then I read the Sharon Kay Penman books that cover the history of England and Wales and Scotland, and Here be Dragons made me fall in love with Wales, although I am not sure why, as that history was a bit brutal. And Scotland—I have had the pleasure of traveling there many times and I feel like I've walked through every castle and I am certain I must have been a Scot in a previous life. At least Scotland-adjacent. It's hard to actually make that leap except in my head, because my own family history goes back generations on the Texas plains, sooo... But having said that, I also love to set books in my hometown of Austin, Texas. I sort of speak the language. I set my historical novels in the UK, and my contemporary novels in Texas.
kc: Yeah, I think we bonded over our shared love of Scotland, for sure. But what about if you weren't a writer? How would you like to earn a living?
JL: That is a good question. I did earn a living as a county administrator once upon a time, but I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, and that is why I am a writer today. Government work is not for the weak. I have been thinking about what comes next for me, as in what will I do when I no longer want to write to a deadline? I would love to take up some role in preserving our environment. Maybe take a job with a non-profit, or get out there and do some of the physical work. I am happiest outside, and I want outside to be happy for generations to come.
kc: Okay, let’s talk about your real life to finish up. I’d love it if you could describe the perfect meal. What foods, location, companions would you share with?
JL: I just had this conversation with a friend the other day. My perfect meal is in Paris, because the food is amazing and fresh, and the cocktails are even better, and the atmosphere is so romantic and beautiful. I would have that perfect meal with my best friends, because the only thing that can make an excellent meal better is laughter. I already know (having done this a time or too), that we would eat like kings and drink like dancehall girls and linger over the evening without caring if we were too loud. Sae la vie! Since the pandemic, I dream of this evening a lot.
kc: Aw, that sounds perfect. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today, Julia! READERS -- if you'd like to win a copy of Julia's new book, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with 'I'd love to read IT STARTED WITH A DOG' in the subject line. Two lucky winners will win copies this month -- hurrah!
[Note to blog readers: This contest is STILL OPEN! Send me your email today!]
books and shows and audio...oh my!
I recently talked a bit about the charms of comfort reading during a pandemic, which goes to explain why I'm still deep into reading the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series by the wonderful Anne Perry. These mysteries, all named for actual locales in and around London, are rife with Victorian manners, and the joy is watching how Charlotte manages to flout the standards of the day to help her Inspector husband solve gruesome murders. I've recently finished CARDIGAN CRESCENT, Book 8 in the series -- where murder comes a little too close to home for Charlotte and her sister Emily. Emily's blue-blood husband has met an early end, and Charlotte has to work hard to clear her sister's name -- and help Inspector Thomas Pitt find the true culprit. Bloody-- and bloody good-- comfort reading at its finest! RECOMMEND!
If you're into an irreverant and iconoclastic take on Canadian politics, I can't recommend Sandy and Nora Talk Politics highly enough. Sandy Hudson and Nora Loreto discuss everything from Canada's Covid response to facism and the status quo, and they take no prisoners. RECOMMEND!
One last UK recco -- we've been watching the sewing equivalent of Bake Off lately. The Great British Sewing Bee has taught me more about plackets and the value of interfacing than I ever thought possible. It's on BBC, and for a gentle family watch, it's perfect. RECOMMEND!
what about you?
What do you love? If you send me your recommendations, I promise to share! Find something good? You can reach me by pressing the contact button, below.
Thanks for reading, and for sharing your time with me today.
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