Halloween is almost here and that means it will be New Year’s Day before we know it. At least that’s the way it sometimes seems as we approach the end-of-the-year holiday months. Is it the old saw about time flying because we’re having too much fun? The end of the year always seems to be stuck on fast forward.

For me as an author, October means a whole new set of tasks and responsibilities beckon (and during the World Series, darn it!), since my last three novels have all been published at the ends of their respective years. And with novel number four, BURNT BLACK, being released on November 19, well, there’s a helluva lot of stuff I need to be doing.

I like doing bookstore appearances in support of a new book, but most authors today spend a lot of time doing new book promotion online. So I’m busy getting ready for the release of mystery novel #3 in my Detective Cliff St. James series.

Did I mention it was World Series time? My team, the Cardinals (Go, Cardinals!), just got their asses handed to them in Game One by Boston. But if the Series goes to a Game Seven, it will take place on Halloween night. The fact that the professional baseball season runs all the way to All Hallows Eve is scary in its own right, and probably has the ghosts at Fenway Park up in arms.

Scary Halloweens and I go way back, right about to the age of five. I remember getting carsick in the back seat of my Aunt’s huge Buick one Halloween. She had been kindly ferrying us all over town so we could trick-or-treat our way to Candy Heaven.

Aunt Annie was also a herky-jerky stop-and-go driver, and I tossed my cookies right into my bulging bag of candy. How scary is that? I must have had five pounds of candy in that shopping back, because we didn’t mess around.

And then there was the Halloween back in D.C. when I attended a costume party and fell in love with a woman before the clock struck twelve. Due to her costume, I didn’t know what she looked like, but sometimes I can overlook such details. I told the party’s host that she was the woman I intended to marry, and two months later we tied the knot. (The knot got untied 13 years later, but that’s a different story.)

I’m now a little gun shy about attending Halloween costume parties, although I have had some fun Halloweens in New Orleans. (But isn’t it Halloween every weekend in New Orleans?)

BURNT BLACK doesn’t take place during Halloween, but I hope it’s a spooky read nonetheless. My detectives Cliff and Honey are baffled by a series of bizarre deaths tied to a secretive occult group. And since occult goes with New Orleans like a poor-boy sandwich goes with a cold beer, well, their investigation just gets curiouser and curiouser.

Kirkus and Booklist, two of the Big Three book review entities, both gave me good reviews for BURNT BLACK. Hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Halloween, and Go Cardinals!

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