I returned this past week from 11 days in Mexico, a true escape with my husband and sons from the frozen tundra of February in New York. I'm going to upload my photos to share with you all as soon as I make my weekly page quota (last week's quota!) for my work-in-progress, Sleepwalker. Yes, I blew my usual self-imposed Friday deadline. I guess I was still in a lazy, hazy Caribbean daze!
No sooner had I settled in back at home than I received a couple of news bulletins.
First, the good news: SCARED TO DEATH has won a Washington Irving Prize for Fiction! I'll be accepting this honor from the Westchester Library Association at a luncheon in May, and I can't tell you how proud I am to have received it for the fourth time in my career. It means so much to me, particularly given the fact that I'm a weekly patron of my local library and I do what I can to support libraries all over the country in this time of troubling library budget cutbacks.
On the heels of that wonderful news, I received sad news--twice in the space of a single hour on Thursday afternoon--of the passing of two men who were special in my life.
The first, Stanley "Stahoo" Saeli, was a close family friend. Not only was a constant presence in our lives from the time I was a little girl, with a kind word for everyone and a twinkle in his eye, but he played Santa Claus every Christmas for me, my sister and brother, and cousins when we were little--and then continued to do so for our own children. Stahoo passed unexpectedly, and much too soon, and will never be forgotten by the many people who knew and loved him.
And then there is Walter Zacharius, the founder and CEO of Kensington Publishing, where I built my career and published for almost two decades. It was Walter who introduced me to his friend Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, with whom I wrote a mystery series for several years in the '90s. And it was Walter who, when I was a young mom and fledgling author, stopped short and then laughed heartily when he walked into his office one day and found me kneeling on the floor changing my firstborn's poopy diaper. (My editor and I didn't realize he was coming in that day!) Not only was Walter a good-natured guy, but he believed in me and gave me incredible opportunities, and I will never forget him.
And now, it's back to writing--and getting ready to fly to Tucson, Arizona this coming week for the Tucson Festival of Books, and I hope to see some of you there!