October, 1998
Hi, everyone!

Well, September roared through like a runaway train and somehow I ended up tied to the tracks. What an intense month it was for me. I polished and shined and polished and shined the new book, KEEPSAKE, which is now in production. I visited my kid sister on the west coast and then my husband and I went out to see all of our other relatives in the Chicago area. (Did I ever say how I met my husband? In a roller skating rink? Back when they HAD roller skating rinks? I was 16 and even then was plagued by bad hair days, causing my future husband to remark at the time--and this is a quote--that despite all the hair spray, I looked like I'd been hanging upside-down by my toes all night. Some girls might have taken that personally. Apparently I didn't.)

Anyway, add a few booksignings, throw in an annual reunion with our sailing pals, and there you have it: one month nearer to the next deadline!

I'm looking forward to writing the next book. I seem to have settled on creating stories filled with family, quirky characters, and mystery. By now you know that A CHARMED PLACE has no ghosts in it (although you've written to say that you were expecting a haunting almost until the last chapter). KEEPSAKE, which will be on the shelves next April, is also ghost-free. That doesn't mean I won't someday write a sequel to EMILY'S GHOST, but for now I seem to be mesmerized by questions of fidelity, fallout for the family, and Unsolved Mysteries. I hope that you'll meander along with me on this interesting new path.

Chalk it up to middle age, but I and all of my friends seem to be obsessed with glacing back at the Path Not Taken when we're not peering forward with a mixture of trepidation and excitement at what lies ahead. Middle age is actually a pretty fascinating phase of life. Boomers are close enough to youth to remember exactly how exciting it is to be 25, 30, or 35, and yet close enough to their parents to be able to understand what the twilight years may bring.

In short, boomer authors are in a unique position to write rich and satisfying stories that cut across generations. So here's my advice. Turn directly to the back publicity photo in a book to see what the author looks like. Do you see crow's feet? A certain depth in the knowing gaze that stares back at you? Then buy the book! Buy the book! That author has lived enough life to actually have Something to Say.

Before I step off my soapbox, let me confess how excited I am about my new book, KEEPSAKE (which, by the way, is a name I've given to a fictional town on the Connecticut River). KEEPSAKE has agonizing dilemmas and moments of despair thoroughly blended with scenes of humor and elation. You will be down. You will be up. You will be whipped around emotionally until your vision blurs and your heart begs to be allowed to beat at a steady pace again. In short, I think you're going to have a real good time.

CAT TALES: Two pictures this month, readers, both of Tommy the Terrible.
"I've read all these. Don't we have anything else?" Tommy reading(20K)
Tommy searching(12K) "When do we eat? I'm starved."

All the best to you,

Antoinette Stockenberg

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