Dear Reader - past and present and future selves - this journey continues as it has for so many years where you walk beside me up one road and down another. Nothing has given me greater pleasure than receiving your notes, letters, phone calls about how the novels and the memoirs have touched your lives and changed them for the better in so many ways. There is nothing more I could hope for in my life.
This past eleven years where my fiction voice had to slumber were filled with a few heartbreaks and a lot of heart light.
Living with and fighting with my Mama. All the stories those years of our together under one roof brought on that otherwise would have been lost, swept up by time and distance. Then she passed and I'm still walking through the passing. I've not let her go. Maybe never will.
Travels across the country and the world. Riding trains in Scotland. Couchsurfing with strangers. Making new friends for life. Celebrating twenty years of the Pulpwood Queens in Jefferson Texas was a highlight. So many friends be they authors or readers have been born in the midst of this wild celebration of reading.
Working at Parnassus Books and falling in love not just with words and books and writers but with readers in an entirely new way as a bookseller. God, if I had a different life to live I'd stay right there climbing that ladder, pouring over the new books that arrived, the classics on the shelves, the books that might escaped me (oh horror) had I not discovered them here. The readers who came back each week and the ones who said - anything River suggests give to me. It's when the love comes full circle. Not just the writing of my stories but the sharing of all great stories from everywhere. It's that breaking bread again over words.
Somewhere in those eleven years there was a divorce and that's a different kind of death but the amazing thing is the true life that resurrects in the shadow of the dark improbable, the seemingly impossible. The North Star that emerges from the darkness on the clearness of winter nights. The depth of springtime green. The peace that passes all understanding. New babies have been born into my life. The lovely richness of it all overpowers me with gratitude.
A great company of characters have kept me company through these changes and along my journey. Among those paramount and foremost - Sugar Baby who stomps through the backwoods of Georgia like a feral cat. (She's a sassy one I tell you!) They've been speaking their truth and they are magnificent in the telling of it. I will not lie or undermine their power with some kind of false humility. They don't deserve that. I am grateful to the Divine Muse for bringing characters to life, stories to the page, allowing me this great honor to commune with you through story. Some of these stories are violent and some are gritty and some are whimsical and some heart-rendering and all worth of your time I promise you.
As an added appreciation for your pre-ordering the first fifty pre-orders will receive a bonus book from my collected works and a short story from the collection - The Seven Sisters of Trouble Road.
A special shout out and thank you to Mandy Haynes for her glorious cover for Sugar Baby which perfectly captures the soul of the collection. Her experience has been invaluable in shepherding these stories to publication and they flat out wouldn't be arriving in your hands without her.
And those hands of yours that will be holding these stories and reading them. This relationship with each of you through my writing is the gold that I was cast for. 'Tis my purpose 'till my dying day. And may that be for each of us many adventures and a long time away. Wishing you peace and light and love along the journey.
Now Available for Pre-order!