This is a week of a mournful memory in the United States. It’s been 12 years since the towers fell and the planes crashed, and although life goes on as normal in most places, the reminders across the country are ubiquitous. In Dallas, we have a memorial to the aircraft crews as DFW is the home of American Airlines. Most of us pause when we see flags at half-mast and remember where we were when we heard the news, so unbelievable but tragically true.
Here is one memory of mine from September 11th: It was a book release day, and when air traffic and other transportation halted, so did book deliveries. My tea group was very excited because we had finally gotten to be big enough that author was flying all the way from Seattle to be with us. Unfortunately, our guest author was stuck in an airport, and for better or for worse, she never made it on her tour and her books were delayed getting to her readers. Readers were busy with the rest of the nation, though, glued to watching television and listening to the radio. Perhaps fortunately, the social media we all now depend on was not invented, so we relied on email and instant messages on computers instead of always-ready smartphones and tablets. News spread a little slower.
Most of our books are delivered electronically now, popping up on e-readers and tablets at the stroke of midnight on release day. Now, emails remind of us of purchases made and finally delivered: There are no delays. Although reading technology is shifting, the reader remains constant, always looking for the next story or page: Just one more chapter, please! With a new book comes the opportunity to sneak reading in during the day, or during a commute, snatching moments here and there. Even during hard times, there will always be a book.
September has become a month of mysteries and romantic suspense for me. I’m not sure if it’s due to the feelings surrounding 9/11 or due to the change in weather. In Dallas, the leaves are all faded thanks to the August heat and the lack of rain, so it can be a very dreary world. For whatever reason, I turn to suspense to escape and this year I’m getting my fixes from an old favorite author—in fact the one who was to be our tea guest—Stella Cameron. She’s been dipping into the paranormal romance over the years and has returned to more “traditional” suspense in her latest independently published work, Cold. Cameron returns to England, to the Cotswold Hills, to set her new series of mysteries featuring the intrepid Alex Duggins, who has returned to her hometown to restart her life. Unfortunately, she also trips over a murderer who’s determined to keep secrets hidden even at the cost of more death. Cameron is at the top of her game and I’m glad to see her back with a new series.
Another mystery I’ve discovered is set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Susan M. Boyer, winner of the Agatha for her first book, Lowcountry Boil (September 2012), returns with the second book in the series, Lowcountry Bombshell (Henery Press, September 2013). Liz Talbot is a wild Southern woman dealing with all the temptations and obstacles known to womankind. She’ll make the reader smile and chuckle in commiseration. Liz is desperately trying to protect a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like who is in danger of an early death, like Marilyn. Complete with obsessed ex-husbands, a dead life-coach, a certifiable mother, a fake aunt, one control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, and a peculiar housekeeper, it’s almost too hard to keep up with all the possible suspects. But then, this is the story that keeps you flipping the pages until late at night. Boyer is definitely a keeper, and since it’s still early on in the series, you’ll have a chance to collect the books easily.
If you want some fun reading with a cast of characters seemingly ripped from reality shows, be sure to try Rosemary Harris’ The Bitches of Brooklyn. Only available via Kindle until November, Bitches is a hoot from the first page. Five women meet annually in Cape Cod for their vacation, but this year’s different. As four of them wait for the lagging member, they get a note instead: “I’ve run off with one of your men.” Now, is this a joke? Is she serious? Which man? All the questions may seem normal but the actions of the women are just hysterical! They evaluate their own lives and cause the reader to wonder about her own real-life best friend…true or not?!
So, although September starts out with somber notes, I find comfort in reading. What I need is a lively comedic romance. Any suggestions?
Sara Reyes is the founder and partner at FreshFiction.com a popular fiction web site for today's reader with new titles, contests, over 50,000 genre fiction author profiles with backlists, and permanently archived reviews, plus all the industry buzz. Fresh Fiction has a biweekly segment (Buy the Book) on WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning Texas to talk about new books not to miss. Believing face-to-face interaction is as important as virtual communities, Fresh Fiction sponsors an annual author reader tea in June, a readers conference in November, monthly literary events, and book clubs. Follow Sara at @FreshFiction on Twitter or Facebook.com/FreshFiction.