Messages From the Beach 2003

"July 17th, 2003
Hello Guys,

This message will not be on my phone line. I'm away in my beach retreat in Florida working on my novel, with the blue gulf and the blue sky to keep me company and laboring desperately to give birth to a new creation. Here, amid the extraordinary sea-light, I often find energy I can no longer access anywhere else. Many pages in The Witching Hour trilogy were written on this stretch of Florida beach, and so were the concluding chapters of The Tale of the Body Thief. Blackwood Farm was written here, and so was some of Blood Canticle. I love it so much here that it is a second home. My apartment in New York has never been the same kind of haven for me. I suppose many of you have similar retreats, escapes, points of pilgrimage and restoration. We need them. Some times we find them within our own homes merely by setting some rooms apart.

I do want to be in contact with you, however. And having recently made the momentous step of going "On Line" and learning how to send E-mails -- that is, having joined the techno-digital world at last -- I can write to you direct through the website for the first time and this is my first direct greeting.

Let me take up several points. First of all, be assured as always that the messages you leave on my phone line in New Orleans are reaching me. They're transcribed and sent here to Florida by fax daily. I hear you! I need you. People are calling now from all over the country and I love it.

Second, apparently in giving out the word that Blood Canticle, to be published this fall, was my last of the vampires and the witches, in novel form, I apparently gave some people the impression that I was retiring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am simply taking a radically different path with my writing. I will discuss this further in my next message from the beach, as it requires more words than I can muster here. But I am not retiring by any stretch of the imagination.

Third: let me tell you about my sister Alice and her new book, which was just published. Her name is Alice O'Brien Borchardt, and the novel is Raven Warrior. It's the second in a trilogy of books concerning the King Arthur legends of ancient England, and Alice's principle character is Queen Guinivere. The first novel in the trilogy was Dragon Queen which is just now out in paperback. Of course I highly recommend Alice's wonderful storytelling and style, and I hope some of you will want to pick up these books and have a look for yourself.

We are -- Stan, Anne, Alice, Christopher -- a writing family. There is no doubt of it. We have it in our blood, in our background. It is a wonderful thing to share with one's spouse, siblings, children. My father wrote a children's novel when we were little. We are trying to find a publisher for it. One of my other sisters is an accomplished poet.

Alice has been writing for years. She's published many books, and will publish many more. She has an extraordinary imagination and is given to making marvelous plots and to creating memorable descriptions of battles as well as love making. Her historical research is effortless and accurate. As a child, she was a voracious reader and she sacked the library on various subjects and greatly contributed to the atmosphere of literary excitement in our house. I owe a lot of her influence, though she was only two years older than me.

The third book in her series will be Golden King -- about Arthur himself. I suppose she's already at work on it. I don't know what she plans to do after this trilogy, except that she'll keep writing. Writers don't retire.

Well, that is all for right now. Except to say I love you. Keep the faith. Anne."