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Ending the Year


If you're like me, you're surprised to find yourself facing the last three months of the year, and with temperatures that remind me of August. I'm eager to make the most of the last good days, perhaps even good weeks, and bring my yard farther along on the transition to all (or mostly) native plants.

In September I cleared out an area thick with vines and invasive plants that had been growing unhindered for years. On my neighbor's side of the property line the growth serves as a clear boundary, but I chose to clear out my side and replant natives to attract more birds and stabilize the area. I've put in four bearberry shrubs (still very, very small), which will spread and and grow into a low hedge with brilliant colors in the fall, produce berries for birds, repel deer (not that we have so many of them), and they tolerate their less than ideal location. Nearby is a juniper bush, which will also produce berries and keep its foliage during the winter.



This is also the season for the Topsfield Fair, where I saw the sign for Mann Orchids. Mann Orchards is located in Methuen, MA, and their apples are delicious.



And the Halloween season has begun in our neighborhood.


When I'm not rooting out invasives I'll be meeting readers at several upcoming events.

On Saturday, October 14, visit the Sisters in Crime table at the Boston Book Festival in Copley Square. I'll be there from noon to 1:00 and again from 2:00 to 3:00. This is a great opportunity to meet New England writers and find out what we're up to.

On Monday, October 16, if you're part of the New England Library Association, you can visit me and other writers at the NELA annual conference in Springfield. We'll be at the Mass Mutual Center with other vendors talking about library books along with our books.


On Saturday, October 21, at 6:00 pm. I'll be at Molly's Bookstore in Melrose with Kim Kerdman Shapiro and Kate Flora. If you're in the area, please drop by if you can.

The big event of the season, and perhaps the year, is Crime Bake, November 10-12, with Guest of Honor Deborah Crombie. I'll be moderating a panel on Saturday morning, "A Dab Hand at Sleuthing: Using a Special Skill to Solve Crimes." Five writers—Susan E. Cory, Elise Hart Kipness, Christine Knapp, Vanessa Lillie, and Kim Herdman Shapiro—will talk about how they use their "other" talent in their mystery novels. On Sunday morning, we'll hear from three writers who have worked on the Innocence Project. All in all, this year's conference is lining up to be one of our best.