Messiah. Nutcracker. Blizzards. Butter. And Gratitude.

Quick Sidebar: My daughter (here) is a Physicians Assistant and says she sometimes feel safer at work than out running a few errands where some people are lax on protecting each other. So, let’s do our BEST for her and for EVERY health care worker in the universe. OK? Thx. 

Sandra Neily here, sharing winter writing, winter performances you can stream and enjoy, and what I love about winter. 

I am grateful for blizzards that bury the car and my To-Do schedule as well.  

Working on the third Mystery in Maine,   Deadly Taboo, I dug into my personal   misadventure archives searching for a way   to start the novel. (Yes, this moment did   really happen to me. “Don’t ignore personal   experiences if they work for you,” said a   writing mentor.)  

  Setting up the Deadly Taboo excerpt:     tracking lynx across a late winter landscape, Patton and her often wayward dog discover that maybe spring is already on its way.

Up to my waist in broken ice, snowshoes scrambling for good footing in the melting marsh, I struggled for breath as freezing water saturated clothing and skin. I wasn’t too busy to miss Pock sinking into a happy crouch. My dog was a Lab. Water—any water— was heaven-sent.

I learned to respect March outings by keeping close to shore where it’s only ankle deep. Or taking a nap.

“Nooooooo,” I yelled. “No, don’t jump! Not fun in here. Not FUN! …


Before we go outdoors, here’s at least two things I will be streaming this holiday season. (After watching my fav holiday movie “Love Actually” too many times.)

The Oratorio Society of New York starts sharing the “Messiah,” on December 21. I may listen at least twice.

And during this time when so many dance companies have to give up desperately needed income that multiple Nutcracker performances bring to them, I will pay for a ticket to see it performed on line by the San Francisco Ballet.

Now for the outdoors: here’s the link to a recent post where I shared ways to find snowshoeing locations and tips for taking the kids with you.  New Season. Same Pandemic. But New Get-Out-There Strategies | Maine Crime Writers

Grateful for West Branch Pond Camps grooming trails we can use.

Each of these long, early-dark days, I am working on being grateful for things I haven’t thought about recently. And here they are:

In my novels it’s called Antler Camp, but it’s really just home.

With Fran, a snowshoe out and a walk back on the beach: Reid State Park. And it’s open all year!

With Sally: Lily Bay State Park with miles and miles of the sound of snow under our skis.

Glad Bob and I got in a ski before the Loaf closed last winter.

My dog Raven is the black dot waiting for me. No lift lines.

A cup of tea, watching as the storm comes in off the lake.

Grateful to have a daughter who isn’t fazed by combining winter and motherhood.

Very pleased I’ve stocked my freezer with butter. This is really just BUTTER in disguise.

Wishing all our Maine Crime Writers’ authors and readers a crisp-feeling new book you’ve been dying (well, it’s always on our writer brains …) to read. You’ll find many here with our authors!

Sandy’s novel “Deadly Trespass, A Mystery in Maine,” was a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards, a recipient of a Mystery Writers of America national award and a national finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest.. Her second Mystery in Maine novel, “Deadly Turn” is now in Sherman’s Books and on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. She lives in the Maine woods and says she’d rather be “fly fishing, skiing remote trails, paddling near loons, or just generally out there.” Find more info on her website.

About Sandra Neily

Sandy’s novel “Deadly Trespass” received a Mystery Writers of America award, was named a national finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest, a finalist in the Mslexia international novel competition, a runner- up in Maine’s Joy of the Pen competition, and recently, an international SPR fiction finalist. Sandy lives in the woods of Maine and says she’d rather be “fly fishing cold streams, skiing remote trails, paddling near loons, or just generally out there—unless I’m sharing vanishing worlds with my readers. "
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14 Responses to Messiah. Nutcracker. Blizzards. Butter. And Gratitude.

  1. Happy holidays, Sandy! Thanks for the wonderful get-outdoors ideas!

  2. Nicely done and I love the photos.

  3. Kate Flora says:

    Love Actually and The Holiday. Musts for holiday watching. Wish I could find a few more to add to the list. Great photos. The message to enjoy instead of complain is an excellent one. And yes, I will stream The Messiah. Won’t be the same as in a room full of mesmerized people and the pure joy of standing for the chorus. The way it pulls us all to our feet….

    • Sandra Neily says:

      Agreed. Something about being shoulder to shoulder with stained glass looking down on us, will miss that. Next year, hope to be back to going to Christmas in the Cathedral in Portland. My special treat. Sending out a hug!

  4. Marilyn says:

    Tracks, please! We love to snowshoe in Grand Falls, Maine and have seen big cat tracks there. Weren’t able to identify which cat, though! Happy Winter to you!

  5. Marcy Brenner says:

    Tracks please!
    Can’t wait to read the new one. And the third one!
    Happy Holidays you northern person – wow, the landscape, activities, snow, angles of light in Maine.

  6. Colleen J Fritze says:

    “Tracks, please”! Tis the season for tracks and deep dives into the Maine Woods…vicariously of course through your insightful adventures with Patton and Pock 🙂 Happy Holidays…
    Always with love and warmth,

  7. Steve Grieser says:

    Tracks please …I am also grateful for good memories during these times, the north cascades, escalate, etc. Looking forward to your new book

  8. Geri Lawhon says:

    Great photos, I especially like the one with the storm coming off of the lake.

  9. Victoria Akins says:

    Dorcas Miller! Tracks, please. Looking forward to reading Deadly Taboo. Very enjoyable newsletter… people and places so very important in my life.

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