Every year brings a mix of high and low points. Hopefully, you have experienced positive outcomes in both your personal and professional lives. I’m delighted to say that that has been true for me in several ways. On the personal front, my husband John was declared free of cancer. This September was especially memorable. I was able to visit friends as well as readers of the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries in a visit to the city of my youth, Portland, Oregon—after an absence of more than twenty years.
MERGING OF PAST AND FUTURE
When I used to travel from Honolulu to Portland, I often planned a gathering of friends, which allowed us to catch up on one another’s lives. This was not possible on my last trip. However, each day I was able to see people who mean a great deal to me. The first evening, I saw had supper with Jerry Lesch, one of my favorite directors at the Portland Civic Theatre. We briefly met with my editor, Viki Gillespie, who was delivering marketing materials that I had shipped in advance. Although he was not aware of it, he had met Viki many years earlier during my performance in the play A Shot in the Dark, which Jerry directed. Later, her daughter had taken drama classes with him in high school.
The following morning, Viki took me on a tour of the city. I found that the trees had grown phenomenally and the city seemed much hillier than when I lived there. Later, I enjoyed dinner with my former Highland Dancing teacher, Bonnie McKenzie and her husband Colin, a renowned bagpiper and composer of classical piebroct music. My next event was passing out Hawaiian candy at my 50th high school class reunion. The following week, I gave public addresses at my high school and a combined meeting of book clubs of the American Association of University Women. What a wonderful visit to the past, while gliding more firmly into my public life as an author!
ACCOLADES FOR THE NATALIE SEACHRIST HAWAIIAN MYSTERIES
After returning home, I received gratifying news that the mysteries have continued to receive recognition. Murder on Mokulua Drive, the second book in the series, took Second Place for Published Literature in the 2018 Arizona Literary Excellence Contest. In addition, I received another First Place for Cover Art Design and was named a Finalist in the Cozy Mystery category at the 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. None of this would have been possible without the keen eyes of my editor, as well as the invaluable input of Bill Black and Kay Lesh, co-authors of Under Sonoran Skies Prose and Poetry from the High Desert.
While appreciating my good fortune, I have been saddened with the tragic challenges faced by friends and colleagues. Two friends whom I have known since moving to Tucson faced painful end-of-life situations this past year. My friend and beta reader Nelda Garza provided hospice care for her grown daughter for more than nine weeks before her passing. Also, after facing cancer for several years, geologist Kevin Charles Horstman, PhD, an adviser and good friend made his transition from this plane.
Throughout the writing of the first three volumes of my mysteries, Kevin’s technical knowledge and insightful perceptions helped me shape both story and environmental elements. These ranged from aspects of general landscape, the tufa travertine stone of the Danish Church in Murder on Mokulua Drive, and sucrosic crystal edged jade from the White River area of China that appears in the forthcoming Murders of Conveyance.
CONTINUING THE TEAMWORK
Last month, I discussed the importance of teamwork in shaping award-winning book jacket designs. This can be said for most aspects of a creative endeavor. When we lose the invaluable input of our special people…or watch our loved ones suffer from such a circumstance…it is a reminder that a team must grow in order to remain vital! This is true in both our personal and professional lives.
For 2019, I look forward to broadening my interaction with friends of many years, as well as working with a widening group of creative spirits with whom I can learn and share.
Wishing you the best in your unfolding Life’s journey,
author, narrator, consultant, motivational speaker
To learn more about the Natalie Seachrist Mysteries, including Murders of Conveyance [Winner, Fiction Adventure-Drama, 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards], Island recipes and other projects, please visit my author website at JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com.
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