Everyone around me at the day job is taking this week off. Kids home from school, travel plans to warmer climates (although this year, Alaska was warmer than St. Louis on days) or just relaxing.
I’m not a spring breaker. Or at least not a consistent one. My son in fifth grade got measles the Friday before spring break. We didn’t have school trips out of the country when I was in high school. Most of my classmates spent spring break plowing the fields to get ready for spring planting.
But I did take a couple spring breaks just for me. When I turned 40, I realized my marriage wasn’t working. In fact it was on life support and I was the only one manning that breathing bag they use in movies and television shows when the electricity goes out. It took a long time before I admitted it to myself but once I did, I was resolute.
That spring break, I took a trip to California to see my sister. I’d invited my son (a teenager) along, but he wanted to stay close and hang out with his friends. So the 10 hour trip was on my own. And I loved it. Music blaring, I stopped at any road side attraction I wanted to see. No negotiating. No losing. I was my own boss for a week.
During this time, I visited a lot of little tourist spots along the coast. Solvang, Cambria, Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, San Diego. I even drove the mountain roads where James Dean wrecked his new Porsche 550 Spyder in 1955. (Photo from Wikipedia)
The trip grounded me. And for the first time, in an awful long time, I felt hope.
When I left California, I had a ton of pictures and a new lease on life. I knew I was doing the right thing in my personal life. One of the pictures, an old run down house for sale, haunted me. I kept that picture on my wall for years. The idea for Guidebook to Murder grew from that picture. It’s ironic that many years after my spring adventure, the book will release April 17th, 2014.
So what adventure are you having this fine spring break?
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store--Coffee, Books, and More--open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?
When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill--along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit--especially if it gets her closer to South Cove's finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she's on the case--and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently. . .