Giving Thanks For And About Our Writing Lives

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude, to celebrate with family and friends the positive events and accomplishments in our lives, the blessings, if you will, that enrich our days.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Maine’s crime writers are much like a family. We spend a lot of time together, cheer each other on, watch each other grow and change book to book to book. Given that, it seems appropriate on this Thanksgiving Eve to go around the virtual table and find out what about our writing lives everyone is grateful for this year.

Kate Flora, this blog’s founder who still does most of the cat-herding around here, says she has much to be grateful for this year:          

Kate, rocking her tiara. I realize this photo also was on the blog yesterday, but Kate’s wonderful smile captures the tone of this post, so here it is again.

  For the huge honor bestowed on me by the mystery community this year at the New England Crime Bake—a lifetime achievement award and my first tiara. For a publisher who works with me and lets me have a say in my covers. For my fabulous beta readers who catch the missing words, the glitches, the way I can mess up character names, and the tattoo everyone would think was a clue. For getting to be a writer, which is what I used to dream about. For having wonderful friends who reassure me that it is okay, since I’m a writer, to have voices in my head.

KathyLynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett, who manages the blog’s Weekend Update, released new books this year in two different series. She’s giving thanks this year for two special groups of people in her writing life:

First and foremost, are my readers, especially those who were willing to take a chance on the new series and read both the Liss MacCrimmon books and the first Deadly Edits mystery, CRIME & PUNCTUATION. The second group includes all the terrific people at Kensington who do such a wonderful job of producing and marketing every book. They come up with great cover designs year after year and are always on the alert to find new audiences. The most recent example? OVERKILT was included in the Christmas gift picks newsletter put out by MODERN CAT.



 For William Andrews, it’s also all about the readers. He says:

 I’m grateful for the folks who find my email on my website and write to tell me how much they enjoy my mysteries and urge me to continue the series. They’re strangers, and I take great satisfaction in knowing they care and take the time to write.

If you’ve been reading Lea Wait’s posts this year, you know she’s been facing big health challenges. But in her characteristic way, Lea is full of positivity this Thanksgiving:

I am thankful for so many people! For my agent and editors who didn’t question extending manuscript deadlines when I was dealing with health issues … for my fellow Maine Crime Writers who volunteered to edit, dropped off food, and provided rides to medical resources … and, most of all, for my readers, who have sent me hundreds of notes, cards, flowers, angels … and thoughts and prayers.

Ed Note: And we are all thankful for you, Lea, for inspiring us with your indominable spirit.



Three (!) regular members of this blog have launched the third books in their respective series in recent weeks, an accomplishment inspires their gratitude this year.

Dick Cass, who just released his third Elder Darrow mystery, BURTON’S SOLO, says:

I’m giving thanks for a new book and the sense that the series is starting to gain momentum with readers; for having a tribe to hang out with, commiserate with, eat and drink with, and generally enjoy; for having, finally, the time to chase my writing down whatever strange paths it wants to lead me.

Maureen Milliken. Doesn’t she look happy?

Maureen Milliken whose fresh-out-of-the-box Bernie O’Dea book is called BAD NEWS TRAVELS FAST, says: 

I’m grateful for finally getting my third book done after a long two years that included being unemployed, moving out of my house, and then having to replace most of my furniture, repaint, etc. once I moved back in because of my tenant. I never thought that book was going to get done. I’m grateful it is and I’m back home into what’s finally a relatively comfortable house.

Bruce Coffin, whose third Detective Bryon mystery BEYOND THE TRUTH came out in late October, says: 

This year I am most thankful for my supportive wife. All writers know what a crazy business this can be. From those late night out-of-town library appearances, to the many out-of-state conferences, to the weekends locked away in my writing studio, Karen is always there cheering me on. What more could a writer ask for?  

Barbara Ross, who will be releasing her seventh Maine Clambake mystery, STEAMED OPEN on December 18 and whose novella LOGGED ON is included in the three-author holiday collection YULE LOG MURDER, says:

I am, more than anything, grateful for my supportive family. When I first started writing, I was squeaking it into my busy schedule, robbing time from the day job or family, foregoing time or money. Even now I’ve missed birthdays to attend Malice, and more recently, family time to attend Crime Bake. I am frequently in “book jail” and no fun for anyone. Yet, my family has never been anything but supportive. My gratitude for this is beyond words.

As for me, Brenda Buchanan, I’m grateful for pie, the breakfast that gets this writer going on cold (okay, or warm) Maine mornings.

Like Kate, I’m grateful for beta readers, the unsung heroes who guide us when we’re too close to our own work to see its flaws.

Like KathyLynn and William, I give thanks to all the readers of my Joe Gale mysteries for their support, feedback and loyalty.

Like Lea and Dick, I am thankful for the precious, vital sustenance that comes from my fellow Maine crime writers, which Dick aptly calls our crazy tribe.

The Maine crime writers who read at last weekend’s Noir @ The Bar at Banded Brewing in Biddeford. Left to right, Gayle Lynds, Maureen Milliken, EJ Fechenda, Bruce Coffin, Sandra Neily, me, Dick Cass, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Barbara Ross, James Hayman, John Shelton and kneeling in front, Joe Souza.

Like Maureen, I’m grateful when I get to the end of a project and can relax at home while gearing up for the next book.

Like Bruce and Barb, I am blessed to have an incredibly supportive spouse and family members and friends who sustain me on the days when the words don’t come easy and the nights run late.

Every single one of us is grateful to the readers of this blog. Whether you read our posts once a day or once a week, whether you comment regularly or once in a blue moon, we appreciate your participation in this community conversation about our work, our lives and our dreams.

Readers:  Please let us know in the comments what you’re grateful for this year, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Brenda Buchanan is the author of the Joe Gale Mystery Series, featuring a diehard Maine newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. Three books—QUICK PIVOT, COVER STORY and TRUTH BEAT—are available everywhere e-books are sold.


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8 Responses to Giving Thanks For And About Our Writing Lives

  1. Richard Cass says:

    Pie solves everything, Brenda!

  2. Gram says:

    As usual I am grateful for family and good friends and at my age for reasonably good health! I’m also grateful for good books to read…thanks to all the Maine Crime Writers.

  3. Anna Marie Milliken says:

    I am grateful to this group of crime writers for being so supportive of one another. Through Maureen, I have gotten to know you and enjoy your company and your books.

  4. bethc2015 says:

    I am grateful for so many new books to read over the cold winter. Currently enjoying Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd’s Death and a Pot of Chowder. Probably will have to move on to Crime and Punctuation because I love the title. Then you have offered a full season of good reads.Thank you.

  5. Julia Hoover says:

    Thankful to be nearly finished with first draft of medical memoir, “Face Palm.”

  6. Julia Hoover says:

    Also thankful for my wonderful family, without whom life would be drab and grey. And for pie, the preferred dessert of Hoover’s everywhere.

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