Two Weeks, Three Rivers


photo by Martha Reynolds
photo by Martha Reynolds

I’ve been working on a new novel, Villa del Sol, for months now. Sometimes the writing comes easily (I have the story in my head, but getting it out isn’t always easy). Life can be a distraction, an inspiration, a temporary derailment. And as much as I had wanted it to be finished in time for the 2016 Expo, that’s looking more and more unlikely. So what’s a writer to do?

Well, last week I was featured locally here, and perhaps it was talking about my grandfather that pushed me back to a project I’d backburnered. In 1924, Earl Handy (my mother’s father) and John B. Hudson (a local treasure and one of Rhode Island’s foremost naturalists), took a canoe trip. Two weeks and three rivers. Earl kept a journal of the adventure. There are photographs. I’d wanted to publish this account, and now I’m determined to do it.

photo by Martha Reynolds
photo by Martha Reynolds

In delving back into this project, I’ve reawakened an interest in family history. I’ve spent days at the library, scanning microfilmed pages of old newspapers, finding articles of note, reading about long-forgotten villages in Rhode Island and Connecticut. It’s fun! And, I hope, will provide for an interesting piece of history. So, stay tuned – my novel will be published sometime in 2017, but Two Weeks, Three Rivers will be ready by December (fingers and toes crossed).

Following Three Rivers


I’m in final edits for my new novel, Bittersweet Chocolate, which is the third and final book in the trilogy that features Bernadette Maguire, Karl Berset, and Jean-Michel Eicher, among others. Presently the manuscript is with a couple of readers for feedback, so I have a non-writing day planned for tomorrow – something that will lead to a new book.

In June 1924, my grandfather, Earl R. Handy, and his pal John B. Hudson set off for a two-week canoe and camping trip along three rivers in Rhode Island and Connecticut: the Moosup, the Quinebaug, and the Pawcatuck. This was two years before he married Dorothy Kenyon, my grandmother. Locals hikers are familiar with the name John Hudson – there’s a hiking trail named after him. Hudson and Handy did a lot of hiking and camping in this area, as well as up in New Hampshire. As a child, one of my fondest memories is traipsing through the woods behind their house in Perryville, a marked route we called the ‘bunny trail.’

"Hemlock Hill" Perryville, RI
“Hemlock Hill” Perryville, RI

My grandfather kept a journal throughout the two-week trip, and I have it. Tomorrow I’m going to trace the route – not by canoe, of course, but by car. We’ll head west through Rhode Island, following the Moosup River into Connecticut, then follow the Quinebaug as it heads south all the way to New London. We’ll continue along the shore, passing Groton, Mystic, all the way into Westerly, where we’ll pick up the Pawcatuck and head back north toward Bradford and Worden’s Pond, following the Pawcatuck to Thirty Acre Pond, next to the URI campus, where the journey ended. I have some old photos from 1924, but I imagine whatever pictures I take will look nothing like what these two men saw from the water nearly ninety years ago.

So that’s the plan! Something a little different to work on, and I hope to publish the book in time for the 90th anniversary of the trip.

GIVEAWAY! If you haven’t read my most recent book, Bits of Broken Glass, you can enter to win a print copy here via Goodreads. I’m giving away five copies and a couple hundred people have signed up so far. You can enter up until December 2nd.