Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you once more from Eastport, Maine. It’s been a long, cold, dark winter here, and quiet as an abandoned house, but now we are waking up: to mud when it’s raining, which it has been a lot, and to dust from the street sweepers the rest of the time. But at least it’s not snowing, or it wasn’t the last time I looked (knock wood).
One thing long winters are good for is writing books, since escaping into another world looks better and better the darker and colder it gets outside. I’ve started a new series, this time set in Aroostook County and starring Lizzie Snow, a Boston ex-homicide detective on the track of her missing niece. Once she gets out in the boondocks, though, she finds there’s plenty of local mayhem for a murder cop to investigate, and that the mean streets of Boston have nothing on the North Woods for general deadliness — and one person’s murderous plans in particular.
Meanwhile the rest of Eastport is coming back to life, too, and some parts of it are being reborn.. I’ve been particularly happy with Shead High School’s radio station, WSHD 91.7, because it’s begun playing lots of jazz and indie pop. The former is among my favorite musical genres, and I’m always glad for the chance to hear new sounds. Now my background music resembles the sound track for a smart indie film and who doesn’t like that?
And another source of happiness recently is the cover of WINTER, a big change from the kinds of covers I’ve had in the past and one I’m liking a lot. I mean don’t get me wrong but this looks so…ominous! And since my goal in life is to raise your anxiety level, that’s good.
Also: Congratulations to Barb and Julia for their Agatha noms and to Kathy for her GOH-ness and Dorothy for her lifetime achievement award at this year’s Malice Domestic, and Vicki for her story’s inclusion in the MWA collection. The Maine contingent seems to be pulling down honors right and left, lately, which doesn’t surprise me a bit. Nice to see the rest of the world noticing what we already knew: there’s great bunch of writers in this state and on this blog, of everything from short stories to novels.
In past years, I’ve been finishing up my winter’s writing by May or so and am ready to go out into the garden to dig in the dirt. But this year, my deadline for the second book in the Lizzie Snow series isn’t until September so although I do see the end in sight, so far the spring flowers to the right have had to be enough for me. They’re in a lovely panel of stained glass in one of the shop windows downtown, where everyone’s getting ready for — yes! — tourists. Love ’em or not, they are on their way; I personally enjoy the hustle and bustle of visitors, especially at the beginning of the season.
Antiques, t-shirts, baked goods, art and crafts, mugs, candy, souvenirs, hot dogs, ice cream…pretty much the whole shebang is cooked up, spiffed up, and put on display for our guests to delight in, and we all enjoy it, too. At left is the newly done window of the Eastport Art Gallery, where the first show of the season is Works On Paper. Sadly, the Pickled Herring is no more but we do have the Liberty Café, where great Greek food and a cozy bar with a big screen TV for sports has been drawing raves.
But nothing can really beat the show Eastport itself puts on: here’s the tugboat resting at the fish pier after guiding in another container ship. Things will be lively around here from Memorial Day until the beginning of next winter, which you’ll excuse me if I really can’t bear to think about that so soon after this recent one.
And that’s it for now from Eastport, Maine, where with any luck at all next time I write to you it will be about the garden shovel and not the (shudder) snow shovel.