Today I am thrilled to welcome Sally Goldenbaum back to my blog whatever the name may be. Sally has been with me since the beginning. She no longer calls Wisconsin home but she grew up here and that makes her a Wisconsin Author. More importantly she is my friend and she writes wonderful stories for you and I to “escape into”. I look forward to every visit to Sea Harbor to catch up with the Seaside Knitters. I also look forward to Sally’s visits. Today we are taking a virtual road trip, hang on tight!!
It’s a lot like the place where I write, so I thought I’d share that place with you today, invite you to sit a spell, to feel the breeze, sip a glass of wine or tea.
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t write in this place when winter comes and snow makes its way through the screens. On those days I move to a coffee shop, to the library, or to my friend Nancy’s office. But when it’s spring and the robins beckon, I answer their call. And here’s where I land—
It’s small and square with an old cabinet built into one corner, crammed with books. The chairs are casual and worn and the couch is the perfect length to stretch out on between chapters. It even has its own special breeze, one that moves through the space on warm Kansas days and whispers, ‘Stay. Be still. Write.’
Each spring I fill buckets with soapy water and head out to clean the wide ceiling fan. Next come the screens and the walls, dreary with winter dust. The cushions are washed, the chairs wiped off, the small refrigerator filled with writer’s tonics—water, diet coke, iced tea.
It’s not a homey office or a kitchen table (where I wrote when my kids were little) but a breezy, comfortable writing space that suits me just fine. It’s where I sit and imagine the people of Sea Harbor. It’s where I got to know Finnegan, the old fisherman who both helps—and hinders—Cass’ life in A Fatal Fleece. It’s where I met the skeleton in Birdie’s closet who became so important to the knitters in A Fatal Fleece.
It isn’t only the seaside knitters and their friends who share this space with me. My writing companion, Nancy Pickard (The Scent of Rain and Lightning), often wanders in with her black Mac in hand and settles into the wicker chair across the porch from me.
We write our own separate books, but share the porch and the writing vibes (not to mention those elusive muses, when they show up). Especially we share a kindred spirit and sensibility. Another person who knows that sitting at a computer isn’t always easy. That cleaning an oven or walking in a freezing rain or going to Target sometimes sounds devastatingly attractive.
But no, it’s time to write, our presence says to one another. And so we stay put. Without a single word passing our lips, we shout to the other: I’m sitting here on this lovely porch writing. Don’t you think you should be, too?
The rule of our writing porch is simple: Quiet. Authors at work. And mostly that’s what we do, saving news updates, Words for Friends, and gossip for later, pausing only for water or coffee or diet Coke refills.
Sometimes, though, we take breaks and walk around the yard to talk about the perfect murder or red herrings or why a plot is suddenly falling apart. Then back to the porch and the hum of the fan, to pages begging for words and resolution. But all days come to an end, and often our end is marked with cheese and crackers, a glass of wine, a little time to celebrate the people living in our books, the way a plot unfolds or a murder is solved. The joy of having written.
And sometimes we simply sink deep into the cushions and wonder why our brains hurt.
But there’s always another day. And on those other days, wondrous writing things can happen, like Finnegan the fisherman telling me what he was all about in A Fatal Fleece, and Izzy’s perfect wedding in The Wedding Shawl unfolding so nicely it made me cry.
Some days when I sit out here, my mind wanders to days before the porch gave birth to The Wedding Shawl or A Fatal Fleece and Nancy’s The Scent of Rain and Lightning. It’s always been a special place in our family’s life. Sometimes I think it’s why we bought this house 30 years ago. It’s where we gathered to welcome grandbaby Julian home from the hospital, and where we introduced a new daughter-in-law from California to the rest of the family.
It’s where these amazing grandchildren play and eat and laugh.
The porch has hosted baby showers and birthday parties, bridesmaids’ luncheons and family reunions—and it’s where our daughter and her fiancé looked out over the yard one summer day and planned a wedding ceremony—right back there beneath the trees. The same backyard wedding that inspired my favorite scene in The Wedding Shawl (available this month in paperback!). The porch. It’s where we go. Where our family gathers.
Where memories—and books—are born.
I’m glad you came for a visit. Come back soon! And a huge thanks to Lori for planning our visit.
[Note: a few parts of my porch essay previously appeared in an online magazine, ShelterPop.]
Sally Goldenbaum is the national bestselling author of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series and twenty-five other novels. Her most recent mystery, A Fatal Fleece, was released May 1st and The Wedding Shawl was released in paperback the same day. Sally lives in Kansas, far from the sea, but her porch, like a magic carpet, transports her to far-away places where mysteries dwell and Sirens sing.
Visit her online at sallygoldenbaum.com
Thank you Sally for inviting us to drop by! I don’t know about anyone else but I need to pick up Nancy’s latest book too. Some wonderful novels have been written on that beautiful porch!
A Fatal Fleece:
A Seaside Knitters Mystery
6th in series
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
There’s someone new in Sea Harbor!! Gabby is a granddaughter Birdie didn’t know she had. Joe Marietti found out about his son shortly before he died but knew nothing about Gabby. Her great-uncle Nick has brought her to Sea Harbor for a visit. She is a very intuitive little lady and quickly makes friends with almost the entire town. She even starts a new trend.
Gabby makes friends with Finnegan, an old fisherman that has become quite a recluse since his wife passed away. Before Gabby he was only close to lobsterwoman Cass Halloran and her mom. Cass tried to brighten up his life and wardrobe by making him a bright yellow fleece vest. He loved it. The property he owns has become quite the scene of disrepair and many people are trying to get him to sell it. He has refused all offers.
The whole town is in shock when Cass finds the old man dead. She immediately becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Her friends know Cass would never hurt a soul. Now they just have to prove it. It may not be easy because they have a ten year old who wants to help and they all need to keep her safe.
The friendships that bind the people of Sea Harbor together are what makes reading this story and the rest of this series pure pleasure. They stick together in good times and bad, have each others back, and get together each and every week for dinner, discussion, and dissection of the current crime that needs to be solved.
Finnegan was not part of the core group of characters that got together for the weekly feast, (yes they are feasts, these people cook up some scrumptious food,) but I quickly felt for him as he was grieving all that he had lost. Gabby reaching out to him was so perfect. It is amazing how kids can do things adults just can’t do.
Part of the charm of the Seaside Knitters Mysteries is the setting of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts and the way Sally describes it perfectly. The pictures are so clear in your mind that you feel like you are walking down the streets, pulling weeds in the garden, sitting in Izzy’s yarn studio knitting or crocheting your latest project, or enjoying a glass of wine with some friends.
You do not need to be a knitter or even the least bit crafty to enjoy these mysteries. The plots are riveting, the characters are real and the setting is rich. I enjoy each trip to Sea Harbor and know you will too!
Would you like to win a copy of Sally’s new book?
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
Plus I have 1 copy of The Wedding Shawl to give away too!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”