Dear MysteryPartners' Friends,
It's time to celebrate the passing of 2013 and welcome the year to come.
Like most years, 2013 brought sunshine and a few shadows. MeadowKnoll got just enough rain to keep the trees and grasses green from March until the November freeze, but not enough to replenish Pecan Creek or fill our small neighborhood lake. Summer arrived early and days of 100+ temperatures curtailed the spring garden, but we still harvested enough fresh veggies to fill our plates and Susan's "girls" (four Red Star and two Buff Orpington hens) produced heroic quantities of eggs. We lost Texas, our elderly Longhorn cow, but Blossom (half Longhorn, half Limousin) is flourishing. Bill's pecan trees, still suffering from our multi-year drought, failed to give us a decent crop, but we still have more than enough pecans in the freezer for holiday pecan pies.
Bill's work on our 31-acre place is never-ending, with grass to mow, dozens of drought-killed trees to fell and burn, and two miles of unpaved road to maintain. Using a borrowed Bobcat with a front-end loader, he cleared ditches, crowned the road, and spread 50 tons of road base. (Don't tell him that life in the country is easy!) He also continued to work on his woodturning, keeping busy in his New Mexico workshop (our log cabin in the New Mexico mountains) and offering his bowls and vases at several shows and in online and local outlets. Susan developed a love for needlepoint this year, producing several wall pieces. We enjoyed extended family visits from Susan's sons Robert (Reno) and Michael and his wife Sheryl and children (Juneau). We also celebrated granddaughter Angel's graduation from college, with a degree in Environmental Engineering, and daughter Robin's promotion to Academic Program Director in the Business Program at Everest University Online.
This year saw the addition of three more books to our growing bookshelf. Widow's Tears (China Bayles #21) was published in April to excellent reviews. The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star (#4 in Susan's Depression-era series) came out in September. And A Wilder Rose, the true story of Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the iconic Little House books, was published in September, by Susan's own Persevero Press. The book received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly and has been named to the Kirkus Best of Indie 2013 list! It's difficult to get small-press books into libraries, so she is delighted to report that over 180 libraries have already acquired A Wilder Rose. If your library doesn't already have it, please ask the librarian to order it. And if you'd like to read Rose on your e-reader, you'll find the Kindle edition on sale through the end of the year.
Through her press, Susan is also reissuing two more books: Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Creating a Right Livelihood and Writing From Life. Our Robin Paige Victorian/Edwardian mysteries continue to be available as well, both in print and in ebook format, as well as Susan's eight-book series, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter.
And in addition to new books in her two current mystery series, Susan is looking forward to a new writing project. She and her brother John Webber (a much-published writer of magazine nonfiction) are planning a collaborative memoir of their growing-up years in Danville IL, during the 1950s. They're expecting to publish the book in early 2015.
We hope that 2013 has been a wonderful year for you, wherever you are. As we look ahead to 2014, we wish you peace, contentment, and good health. Thanks for being readers and friends—we appreciate every one of you!
Susan and Bill