IT’S A FEW DAYS after Christmas and I have seen (almost) all my dear ones, opened all the lovely presents, and eaten all the delicious food I can hold. And once again, thinking of all the gifts 2023 held for me, I find myself filled with gratitude.

In April, I wrote about the joys of meeting with book clubs and talking about The Walled Garden and in May, I had a great time meeting the 24th Avenue Book Club in Portland, OR, hosted by dear friends Susan and Mike Davidson. A highlight of July was meeting some of the members of the fabulous Benda Book Club (whom I’d previously met online) in person for lunch.

Looking forward, I’m excited to announce I’ll be reading and talking about The Walled Garden at a gathering of Washington state SheWrites and SparkPress authors at the King County Library in Woodinville in honor of Women’s History Month, March 15-16, 2024. More details to come!

The Walled Garden won several awards this year, which is very validating when you’ve been toiling in obscurity for what feels like centuries! I was especially pleased that the book was chosen as a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award, given by the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association. Though it didn’t win, going to the PNWA Writers’ Conference was still a great experience.

It’s such a delight to get out in the world and travel again. Besides a lovely long weekend in Victoria, B.C., I also spent ten days in Maui in November with my dear friend, Sue. It was a bittersweet time, overshadowed by the ongoing sadness of the losses from the devastating wildfires in August. It was surreal to think, We should have dinner at Pacific’O or Kimo’s tonight, and then realize that not only was that particular restaurant gone, but the entire charming, funky little town surrounding it is . . . gone. Though we still enjoyed exploring the gorgeous, jungle-y upcountry towns of Kula and Makawao, and the beaches and the sunsets were as beautiful as ever, there was—and will be for a while, I think—a deep feeling of sadness lying over west Maui.


Sue and I in Kula

Another fabulous sunset in Kaanapali

I read some great books this year too–I really believe women’s fiction gets better every year. More on that in my next post!

And finally, I’m happy to report that I’m two-thirds of the way through the first draft of my new novel, The Summerhouse, so stay tuned for more on that as well!

Last year at this time, I quoted a lovely line of poetry from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem New Year. I love the image so much, I decided to share it again:

I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl / and let it fall . . .

And so, we’re on to the new joys and (inevitable) sorrows of 2024. I hope it’s a blessed year for all of us.

Happy New Year, my friends!

All photos my own