August is upon us and we've yet to feel the real heat here in Chicago. That's fine with me. I seem to generate my own heat these days, as if an organic space heater was implanted along with the bio-identical hormones I started getting when I turned 50. It's not bad, not compared to some women I know, but still. There's been entirely too much change going on in the old bod. Let's everyone just simmer down.
My partner Linda, on the other hand, loves the heat. The hotter the better. Both she and her sister have a July 20 birthday, so the family tradition takes us somewhere south to celebrate the birthdays and eat gargantuan quantities of food. This year we went way south, to Longboat Key, Florida. Beautiful, but entirely too hot. The photo shows me sitting outside the little cottage Linda and I shared, steps from the beach. It was very beautiful and peaceful and I must say, I got an excellent tan. We both left very relaxed.
Now my eyes turn toward the rest of the year and the anticipation of my second novel, Veritas, being published on November 17. I've just received two advance reviews, or blurbs, by two writers I really, really respect and admire. Here's what they have to say about Veritas.
Anne Laughlin presents us with a finely nuanced, compelling portrait of Beth Ellis, who has always held life at arm's length. With skill and wry humor, she shows us the realities of a life half lived and what happens when Beth's certainties are blown away by the violence of murder, and the intoxicating thrill of passionate love.
- Claire McNab, author of the Carol Ashton and Kylie Kendall mysteries
Veritas is a high-adrenaline read that left me breathless, waiting for the climax. Anne Laughlin plots like a demon and creates memorable characters. But Veritas is more than a satisfying entertainment, as Laughlin paints a dead-perfect picture of corruption and lethal intrigue on a college campus. The novel's emotional force builds as the lives of strong female characters intersect: a beautiful Dean with a secret, a determined cop, a mechanic with a gift for no-strings sex. Gripping, fast-paced, smart, and erotically charged––Veritas is a winner.
- Joan Larkin, award-winning poet and editor
I'm starting to line up some events related to the book launch and I'll post those on the web site and on Facebook. I might me the most excited about the invitation I received yesterday to appear at Knox College, where I went to school many moons ago. The Gay and Lesbian Club (sorry, they may have a different name) will host me for a reading and Q&A, then a separate talk with those interested in talking about writing, and then a dinner with students and faculty. What a blast!
As a matter of full disclosure I'll say upfront that I didn't graduate from Knox, nor do I remember many details of my time there. I was in a fog of alcohol during my three and a half years on campus, and even so managed to get a good education. I didn't stick around long enough to graduate, though, and ended up finishing my last year some time later at a school in the same academic conference. I think. It is one of the enduring regrets of my life that I was not capable of giving my education the attention I wish I had. What a privilege it was to go to a school like Knox, but I spent far more time in the Downtown Lounge than the Seymour Library. It will feel great to go back to the campus, twenty years sober, and long over that time when I wasted so much in my life. I'm just trusting that no one will remember me there!
And another thing that will be fun is to talk to gay and lesbian students there. I know this is a "back in the day" rant, but when I was at Knox, I was fairly convinced I was the only lesbian there, so I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself I wasn't one. I'll tell you, that's enough to drive you to drink right there. Needless to say, there was no organization for LBGTQs or funds to bring in writers and other speakers.
Other events this fall will include appearing on a panel discussing mystery writing at A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco (Oct. 24), hopefully other readings in the bay area, appearances with other Bold Strokes Books authors at Womens Week in Provincetown, Mass. (Oct 14-18), and then my month away at Ragdale to make a serious dent (I hope) in my new novel.
Linda is nearly back to full health after her dance with death in May. The doctors tell us she almost certainly had swine flu, which then led to the pneumonia that snuck up like a snake and nearly took her down. Last week she was kayaking like crazy in the Gulf of Mexico, chasing dolphins.