Texas noir and

Midwestern mayhem

The Covid mysteries

I can’t wait to get out and see live music again, sit at a bar and make idle talk with strangers. I never thought I’d miss bumping into fellow diners waiting for a table at a crowded restaurant. But I do, so much. I want to worry about spilling wine on your suit jacket, or roll my eyes when your Doc Martens land on my toes for the third time on the dance floor. I’m really, really looking forward to it.

But I got so much done during the lockdowns. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to work from home with minimal economic damage (thank you, PPP), and after dabbling in some pandemic-inspired procrastination (sourdough starter, handmade face masks, Zoom cocktail hours), I dove into my Sisters in Crime membership and finished a manuscript that had been limping from hard drive to hard drive for the past seven years. The result is Public Record, a Texas noir tale of a well intentioned mayor, Ida Harrington, who can’t escape her father’s corrupt past. It’s in much-needed restructuring right now (Like that passive voice? Someone’s restructuring it, right?) but you can read about it here. It’s going to be killer when it’s done.

Indeed, she is a good girl, but – and this is the point – she would not care for it to be generally known.

J.R. Ackerley

Sometime late last fall, a scene and a character just showed up on the blank page I’d opened: Jack England, a young, gay attorney trying to build a nice, quiet practice in 1980 San Antonio. Like the first story, it was very loosely inspired (in a non legally problematic way) by people and events I’d covered as a news reporter and editor for a South Texas altweekly. That manuscript, temporarily titled Blue Wave, after a Georgia O’Keeffe painting that plays a small role in it, went out to my invaluable beta readers this week.

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