Letter from a Reader

Hello Ms. Riordan,
I just finished reading Robert’s Rules, and so have read all 4 of your books. I just wanted to thank you for your stories, and for conveying your love of Door County and the Island so beautifully! I live just south of the Wisconsin border, and have been traveling to Door County since I was expecting my oldest child. He’s now 34. Door County is my favorite place on Earth. When people ask me why I like it so much, I describe all my favorite places, but I can never really capture why it means so much to me.
But you did. In telling your stories, you capture the beauty and the simplicity of local life, and how that life is cherished by the people who call Door County home.
I hope to spend more and more time there, especially when I retire. I’ve passed on my love for the area to my sister, and now she and my brother-in-law just purchased land on the Island, with the hopes of building their little piece of heaven.
I have never written to an author before, but no other author has focused on a place that means so much to me, and managed to capture exactly how I feel about it.
Thank you for your writings! I’m looking forward to A Small Earnest Question!
With kindest regards,

The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

Well, it’s happened. Book Three, Robert’s Rules (Beaufort Books, Spring 2018), is finished, and off to the publisher. I say that in passive voice, as if it miraculously wrote itself. Not so. Over the course of the past year, and most particularly of the past six months, I have neglected friends, family, and dogs, and reduced my life to work, writing, and basic human survival. A trail of entropy lies behind me.

IMG_5146So, you ask: Now what will you do? Revel in the freedom? Drink champagne, or possibly bourbon? Walk the dogs? Go to Disney World?

Well, some of the above, except for the Disney part. But mostly more mundane things like do laundry, overthrow the reigning chaos in my office, and remind my family and friends that I still love them (the dogs, being dogs, still knew that). For both my dear readers, I will also go back to writing my blog.

On the other hand, I have, unintentionally, but apparently irresistibly (again that misleading sense of the passive), begun work on Book Four, A Small Earnest Question.

Life has its cycles.


Milwaukee Book Launch at Boswell Book Company


Goat photo courtesy the Washington Post (Flickr/Bagsgroove)

Come and celebrate the publication of The Audacity of Goats with me at Boswell Book Company on Friday May 20th, at 7 pm.

You can buy your copy there, or pre-order.


Support your local bookstore!

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Friday May 20 at 7 pm

Boswell Book Company

2559 N. Downer Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53211

(From their website)

This is the only location. Don’t let a yellow pages tell you otherwise. The store is located on the same block as the Downer Theater, up the bluff from Lincoln Memorial Drive. They’re north of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and south of UWM. We’re also pretty much on the southernmost tip of Lake Drive.

Now Me Also Commenting Here

When writers get together, the conversation immediately moves to the vicissitudes of publishing: which house treats authors well; who never issues checks on time; what kind of publicity is offered. And in these days of social media madness, the subject of blogging is always high on the list of topics.

If you’re a writer, you have to have a blog. And if you have a blog you live for comments. But you are always lured into disappointment by Spam. “You have 162 comments!” your blog site tells you. Eagerly, you check in, only to discover that your comments are 100 percent spam.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand how spam works. The majority of the come-on attempts are so patently false, and–at least on my blogging system–so completely separated out from the genuine, that I almost feel sorry for the perpetrators. Almost.

Remember Mad Libs? It’s a party game in which you are instructed to come up with a list of words: a noun, a verb, another noun, an adjective. And then your words are inserted into a previously unknown paragraph, with hilarious results.

Spam comments always remind me of this. And this is why I am puzzled.

Somewhere in the world, someone has provided a list of English synonyms to be inserted into standard sentences for the express purpose of permitting miscreants to invade your website and computer. Maybe the mastermind behind it played Mad Libs games as a child. Or maybe he has an unwarranted confidence in the intellect of his minions. And not incidentally, he may be underestimating the intelligence of the average blog writer.

To wit:

(All errors below are as written by senders.)

“I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.”

“Personally if all web owners and blogrrss made good content as youu did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.”

“i’ve read this put up and iff I maay desire to suggest soke fascinating issues of suggestions.”

“Ahaa, its good conversation not he topic of this article here at this website, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.”

“Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!”

One fellow (non spam) writer confessed to me that she was so fearful of contamination from these comments that she was afraid to even look at them.  She was missing the opportunity for some fine comedy.

But all the same, I am deeply grateful for spam filters. And I look advanced to your comments.

Happy Launch Day!

Gratuitous Dog Picture

Regular readers of this blog (both of them) are familiar with my distaste for Facebook. However, as a sop to Cerberus I knew I had to have a page to promote my book, North of the Tension Line. My editor and publicist at Beaufort Books, lovely people that they are, having heard of my misadventures, assigned an intern to set up a page for me.

Interns, of course, are college students–mostly English majors–hoping to gain experience so that they may beat the odds and find a job in their field after graduation. So, when they were asked to enter my birthdate on Facebook, they cleverly put in today’s date–the official launch date of NOTTL, and the most likely year for an adult to have been born–which is, obviously, 1993.

I woke up this morning to three different birthday greetings, all from people who know perfectly well how old I am, and who, therefore, were rather smirking in tone.

So, yes. Today is the birthday of North of the Tension Line, now officially out in the world. So please go purchase a copy. (Gratuitous cover shot to follow.)

Novel poster

For my part, I will alter my daughter’s suggestion of the traditional 21st birthday shot of tequila and celebrate instead with some nice champagne.

Although I may wait until after noon.

(Photo of Moses and me by Manning Photography)

It’s Here

We have some major landscaping going on here, and the place looks like a moonscape. There have been bulldozers and skid steers, the power company (three times), the stone and gravel guy, and, of course, a perfectly-timed autumn deluge to delay the whole process and increase the pleasure of muddy dogs and white bedspreads. No distractions here.

We live in the woods, and if there’s one thing we have a great deal of, it’s firewood. We had promised our neighbor and stalwart friend, Mark, that he could have the rather enormous stack down in the woods. It’s a long difficult hill to drag that wood up by hand, and he had been slowly tackling it over the course of the past year. With the new grading, though, it was suddenly possible to get his pickup down there without damaging anything, so we were hurrying–in advance of deluge–to load up the wood in the truck while we still could. We were down in the woods, throwing logs into the truck, unaware of what was going on up at the house.

When I came in to clean up for dinner there was a UPS delivery by the side door: a big stack of boxes. I swear it took me nearly three minutes to realize what they were:
100 copies North of the Tension Line. 


Official retail shipments begin arriving Monday.