Cattails are found in swampy, marshy areas. They are an aquatic to semi-aquatic plant. In my novel, The Body in the Cattails, the plants grow along the banks of Rose Creek. They also grow here in town, along the creeks in the many greenways through town. Artist Deirdre Wait created the beautiful cover for my novel, featuring cattails.
Here are five of the painted rocks I saw on the walking trails in 2023. People paint images or encouraging messages on rocks, and leave them in public places to bring a smile to passersby. One of my goals for 2024 is to paint and leave these bits of amateur art on the trails. I know these cuties brought me a smile! #719 Rocks!
Reviewing 2023 from strictly a writing point of view, I racked up some mileage.
My new Rose Creek Mystery series made its debut with The Body in the Cattails in May, and The Body in the Cornfield in November.
In the short fiction world, Claire's Cabin appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine - March/April issue. Also in March, my story Annie's Snow appeared in the Pikes Peak Writers anthology, Journeys into Possibility.
I completed two manuscripts for Annie's Publishing, which have not yet been released. I finished an outline for an additional Annie's book.
Another short story has been submitted to an anthology.
Will I slow down in 2024? I hope not. Although I intend to focus on two projects that have been slow to come to fruition. Maybe 2024 is the year to push these two books to the top of my priority list.
I talk about my three favorite novels of 2023 on the Shepherd website. It is very difficult to choose only three from the over 40 books I read this year.
One of my favorite mystery authors is Keigo Higashino. Start at the beginning of Detective Kaga or Detective Galileo series.
Another new favorite is Anne Britting Oleson. I read her stand-alone The Springs, and loved it. Oleson writes a thriller series, too. I hope to start reading her Aventurine Morrow series soon.
I am part way through Lois Schmitt's mystery series starring Kristy Farrell, a wildlife journalist.
Picking favorites from among my long reading list hardly seems fair, although these three authors are terrific. I'm looking forward to continue reading favorites, and discover new authors, in 2024.
My favorite list on Shepherd: here.
Tomorrow night, daylight will begin fighting back against the dark. I welcome the first day of winter, when the tilt of the Earth's axis tips those of us in the Northern Hemisphere gradually toward more sunshine.
I have SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I can get pretty bleak this time of year. I joke with my husband that my brain believes the world is ending, and the sun is never returning. The cure is undoubtedly a trip to Tahiti.
A more accessible cure is to read books set during warmer seasons, or in exotic places. While you might not be able to afford travel, you can make a trip to your local library (or their website) and check out fun, uplifting reads.
Other healthy ways to battle SAD is to boost your Vitamin D by taking a walk outdoors. Exercise is better than turning to food or alcohol (or other substances - I'm talking to you, Colorado). Coupling holiday season with depression can make for difficult choices. The struggle is real.
I'm doing my best to stay away from carbs and sweets. Getting on the treadmill or going for walks and runs outdoors. And in January, I'll be participating in the British challenge, Try Dry. I did this for the first time this year. The app makes you mindful of your alcohol consumption. Dry January sets the tone for the rest of the year. If you can handle no alcohol during the heart of winter, you can slay any dragon.
I'm pretty sure the sun will return in its full glory. I hope to see you on the other side - of the winter solstice.
Books one and two in the Rose Creek Mystery series are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other vendors.
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