#MyrtleMondays: 2022 Year in Review

It’s hard to believe we’re already more than a full week into 2023, and speeding along to the release of Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries book 5, Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity, this October! Before we get too far along, I want to pause and take a look back at one of Myrtle’s and my busiest years ever.

Of course, 2022 was the release year for Myrtle Hardcastle book 4, In Myrtle Perilbut that didn’t happen until later. I began 2022 with my head deep in the first draft of Book 5, brain full of all things Scottish…

Loch Fyne, Argyll, setting of Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity | Patrick Mackie

While I was neck deep in Loch Fyne (um, figuratively), in came a flurry of honors and awards nominations for Myrtle Hardcastle book 3, Cold-Blooded Myrtle!

Following on the heels of Premeditated Myrtle‘s big year, Cold-Blooded Myrtle was also a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Agatha Award, and the Anthony Award, as well as the Silver Falchion Award.

After pandemic years forced the awards ceremonies to go digital, this year they would all be live and in person. Which meant, of course, Making some Spectacular Awards Ceremony Garments! The dress code for the Edgar Awards is Dressed to Kill, naturally, so I brought it, in a peacock-and-blood-read bolero:

…with skeleton lining, of course. The dupioni was a gift from an online sewing friend and Myrtle fan!

Off I went to New York City, and met my publishing team in person for the first time ever.

Some of the incredible folks who bring you the Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries: Art Director Laura Williams, Your Learned Author, Production Editor Ashley Mason, and Editor Emerita Elise Howard

After—well, no, actually before that—was Malice Domestic in Washington, DC, home of the Agatha Awards. While the Edgars is just one spectacular night, Malice is a weekend-long conference (and, erm, party). I met some fantastic fellow writers, readers, librarians, and booksellers, signed a few books…

Fans in high places?


That would be fellow Agatha honoree Laurie R. King

…And flitted about in a sassy black and red frock.

They don’t call it “slinky knit” for nothin’…

That wasn’t the only posh red party dress I made. There was also a fair bit of doll sewing, crafting some really special Victorian garb for my little family of models.

I recreated this 1893 girl’s “holiday dress.” No Christmas tree skirts were harmed in the making of this ensemble… but it was a near thing.

And I made the (incredibly detailed!) cover dress from In Myrtle Peril! Read about that here.

Myrtle indulged in some Christmas Carol cosplay

And the newest addition to the fold, Little Myrtle got a fabulous Victorian fancy dress costume

All of this was in preparation for a Very Special Event, World Doll Day in June.

The Kansas City Public Library, Westport Historical Society, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, and United Federation of Doll Clubs teamed up to celebrate the Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries.

…And I received the best honorarium ever, a custom-made Myrtle Hardcastle Doll (with Peony!)!

The fall brought even more events! In September I set off for Minneapolis and Bouchercon for the Anthony Awards, where The Peacock Bolero made another appearance…

With Mystery to Me booksellers–and Myrtle fans–Jayne and Joanne.

…and I was barely back to Kansas City before I turned around and sped across the state to St. Louis, to be the Guest of Honor at Archon!

Hey, it’s the bolero again! And fellow artist and filk Guests of Honor.

…Which finally brings us to October and the release of In Myrtle Peril! It was another whirlwind release tour, with both virtual and in person events.

This signing at Rainy Day Books in Kansas City was a reunion for my writer’s group–we’ve been meeting virtually since 2020, and many of us haven’t seen each other in person since the beginning of the pandemic!

The last stop on my fall tour was a spooky Hallowe’en meeting of the Myrtle Hardcastle Detective Society. I gave a reading from In Myrtle Peril and talked about the ghost ship Mary Celeste to Myrtle fans at the Westport Historical Society.

I dressed as everyone’s favorite English nanny. As one does.

We rounded off the year by cooking up a Very Special Fan Recipe, a Bûche de Noël in honor of Cold-Blooded Myrtle.

My childhood librarian–and mom of one of my best friends–sent me her family recipe, perfected over decades of Christmases.

Along the way, I also had a humorous piece published in Crime Reads: So You Want to Marry a Mystery Writer. 

Of course, none of these lovely experiences would have happened but for the enthusiasm and support of Myrtle’s loyal fans and devoted readers, all of whom made 2022 so memorable and special. And some of you even went above and beyond in your shows of affection, by presenting me with the most amazing fan art!

A taste of some of Myrtle’s fans’ work, including Little Myrtle’s seaside holiday frock, from Connie Heller at the Doll Cradle; one of many glorious Instagram reader spreads; a fully-illustrated envelope from a young reader’s fan letter; a needle-felted Peony from reader Patricia O’Brien, and a stained glass Myrtle from librarian Krista Ghazar!!

Thank you all for a tremendous year, and wishing you happy reading and making!

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)