A couple of weeks ago, I was down in the Mid-Atlantic, doing research for the book I’m working on, doing some events, and visiting with fellow Femme Fatale Donna Andrews. The weather was actually spectacularly comfortable for this time of year, and I thought, if July was that good, August will be even better!
Okay, I’m not that crazy; I know it’s going to be beastly hot and humid, but we have that right here at home, where it’s been like living in a chicken pot pie. I did have, however, a great time earlier this month: I adore research and got to speak with some very cool people, I visited with the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, I got to hang with Ellen Byerrum in D.C. (pictured with Donna, left), I saw Riversdale, a historic house in Maryland (right) as part of a fun event with Noreen Wald, Laura Durham, and Donna. It was a lovely setting for a mystery event and well worth a visit.
There was even a surprise trip—wait for it—to the USGS map store! (A word of explanation for the uninitiated: The United States Geological Survey, among other things, has maps of every square inch of the U.S., with details about the topography, geography, environment, buildings, roads, etc., at different scales. It is, in a word, a little slice of map-geek heaven.) When Donna pointed out the location of the facility, my eyes grew wide with reverence. When she said there was a store—and that we could stop—I squealed. It was a noise worthy of any four-year-old being offered an ice cream cone with jimmies (sprinkles, to those of you reading outside the New England area).
I doubt I’ll have time to visit Jamestown while I’m in Virginia, but there was a honking great (that’s an industry term) discovery there just this week. A well was excavated, and because wells have such good preservation (stable environments with water help prevent bacterial growth), some extraordinary artifacts were uncovered that date to an early clean-out of the fort (see? Cleaning episodes can be historically significant!). While I am partial to certain very early 17th-century sites in Maine, I have to admit, this was something amazing. And showing up just in time for the 400th anniversary of the founding of both sites in 1607.
It’s not just for the sites and the sights and the friends that I’m returning to Virginia and Maryland on August 8. Donna and I will be promoting our new books, No Nest for the Wicket and Ashes and Bones, respectively. We’ll be covering a lot of ground and then we’ll be coming up here to do the same. Check out my tour calendar here and I’m sure Donna and I will be blogging on our own blogs and in the Femmes Fatales’ blog.