hilltowns, Isabel Long Mystery Series

Having My Way With It

Actually, that title is an abbreviation of what I will be talking about March 9 at an event sponsored by the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club. Specifically, I will talk about how the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, where I live, have been an inspiration for my fiction.

Actually, if I were to give the whole title it would be: I Take What I Know and Have My Way With It.

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Andrew Heinrich on the bassoon at Brodksy Bookshop in Taos, NM

I will be honest in saying I love doing these events. I’ve done them at libraries, classrooms, book stores, on stage and for literary groups — in person and virtually. One memorable reading was for my novel, Peace, Love, and You Know What, at Brodsky Bookshop in Taos, NM, where my friend, Andrew Heinrich played Beatles tunes on the bassoon. It was appropriate given the book’s pitch: First a three-day bash at a college hippie pad … and then maybe adulthood. Peace, Love, and You Know What is a comedy framed by the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Now I will be talking and reading in Shelburne Falls, Mass., the village where I live. For this event, I will concentrate on my Isabel Long Mystery Series. As I’ve said before, there’s a lot of me in Isabel. Given it’s written in first-person, present tense, I can’t help it. But I have no plans to be a private investigator now that I’ve left journalism for good. I will write about one instead — plus work on my other writing projects. It’s been a month, by the way, since I left that profession.

I admit I pay homage to family members, especially my mother, in this series. But this is definitely not a memoir. The rest of the characters are made up. So are Isabel’s cases.

But I honestly believe the hilltowns are a permanent part of my DNA considering the the length of time I’ve lived in Western Mass. — 25 years the first go-round and reaching five years this one — and importantly covering it as a reporter.  It helps my books be authentic.

I’ve been to lots of readings by other authors, so I am familiar with what works and what doesn’t. For the next few days I will concentrate on what I will say and how much I will read. There will be time for questions and I will have books for sale at a discount.

If you’re in the area, here are the event’s details: Wednesday, March 9, 4 p.m. at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center at 53 Main St., on the Shelburne side of Shelburne Falls.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE:

That’s me giving a reading at SOMOS in Taos — “a place for the written and spoken word.”

HOW TO FIND MY BOOKS:

Here’s the link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Livingston/e/B01E1HKIDG

 

 

 

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Isabel Long Series

And Now for the Sequel

Here’s some very welcome news: Crooked Cat Books has signed Redneck’s Revenge. The mystery will be published several months after its prequel Chasing the Case — Crooked Cat has that one too.

Two mysteries written and signed this year. Damn, I’m excited.

Those who know me also know that it’s been a challenge breaking into the business side of writing. I thank Laurence and Steph Patterson for providing that break.logosmall2

So, here’s the lowdown on Redneck’s Revenge, which like most of my books takes place in Western Massachusetts — although my characters and towns are pure fiction.

Isabel Long, a journalist turned amateur P.I., has taken on her second case: the suspicious death of a junkyard owner.

Despite her success, Isabel is feeling a bit lost months after solving her first. Her relationship with Jack, the owner of the Rooster Bar, has cooled. Then the police warn Isabel she must work for a licensed P.I. before she can go out on her own.

With the encouragement of her 92-year-old mother, Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case. The official ruling is that Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered.

Topping the list of suspects she gives Isabel are two dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband. Isabel is unfamiliar with the hilltown of Caulfield and its rough-and-tumble residents. But as she did when she worked as a journalist, Isabel checks out leads and builds a story.

Could Chet’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

Right now, Chasing the Case is in the hands of my editor Miriam Drori. And I’m onto writing the next one. It’s called Checking the Traps. Yup, Isabel is once again in the thick of things.

Here’s the link for Crooked Cat Books: www.crookedcatbooks.com

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