Anniversary

This is my 22nd wedding anniversary. As it happens, this year has the same calendar as 1995—it was a Friday afternoon when we went over to the courthouse and joined the queue of people who were there primarily to pay traffic tickets and other fines. “You guys got the best deal,” one young man told us when we announced we were there to get married. The Justice of the Peace put on her robe over her civilian clothes and conducted the wedding in her chambers. She also took the wedding photo on one of those disposable cardboard cameras that were so prevalent back then. No iPhones! We learned just this week that the J.P. will be retiring next year after 32 years on the bench.

I won’t be making it to New England Crime Bake this weekend. The only time I went to the mystery writers’ conference was in 2010, when I was the recipient of the Al Blanchard Award. I couldn’t tell anyone why I was there, though, until the banquet, because the identity of the winner was to be a surprise. So I had to make up excuses for why I’d flown all the way from Texas for a New England-centric conference. This year, as always, Level Best Books will be launching the latest in a long line of annual anthologies: Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories, which contains my new story “Sticky Business,” featuring the same gang of ne’er-do-wells that were in my 2010 story “The Bank Job.” The physical book is available for pre-order now, and it will debut tomorrow, I believe, or Sunday at the convention. Not sure about eBooks yet.

My story “Aeliana,” included in Shining in the Dark from Cemetery Dance Publications, will be translated into Italian for a version of the anthology from Independent Legions. A Bulgarian translation was previously announced and will likely be the first version of the anthology published.

I installed an SSL security certificate on my website last week, so you may notice a switch over from http to https: and (hopefully) a little secure lock. I had to clean up some pages to satisfy the security—some of my older blog entries probably have some insecure internal links, but all the pages should pass muster.

I was sorry to hear about the death of Paul Buckmaster, whose orchestrations have appeared on numerous albums, including those from Elton John and David Bowie. I had been introducing his work to my wife just a few weeks ago and we listened to some of those very early EJ albums, where lush strings virtually defined so many of those songs.

Last weekend, I watched all six episodes of Alias Grace, based on the Margaret Atwood novel. It stars Sarah Gadon (from 11/22/63) as well as Paul Gross (Due South, Men with Brooms) and Anna Paquin, as well as featuring the occasional appearance of David Cronenberg. The story was adapted by Sarah Polley, well-known to Canadians from Road to Avonlea. The miniseries has an Anne of Green Gables aura about it, but it also made me think of Mindhunters in that it deals with a psychiatrist interviewing a convicted killer. In a sense, the story is about the stories people tell—different ones in different circumstances, depending upon to whom the story is being told. Stories we tell ourselves to make us feel better about incidents, or to serve the needs of others. It’s inspired by a historical incident in which two servants were convicted of murder.

A funny vignette from last weekend. It was mild out, so I had a mid-afternoon lunch/dinner at a nearby restaurant while I read. The table next to me had four young women who I learned through their conversation were teenage lifeguards. At one point they discussed how they wanted to be disposed of upon death (burial, cremation, etc.) and one of them suggested that she’d like to be preserved by taxidermy. “They can stuff bears, and they’re bigger than a person, so why not?” she asked. Funny people.

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