What’s New as Summer Draws to a Close?

When I was a kid and my family was driving back from our annual August vacation in New Hampshire, my mother would always break into song. “On the browning fields the spider spins, and the lambs no longer play, and the cricket now his chirp begins, sweet summer’s gone away. Sweet summer, sweet summer, sweet summer’s gone away…”

“No!” my sisters and I would yell. “Stop singing!”

We couldn’t stand saying goodbye to summer, and I still have trouble doing so. Doesn’t everyone love summer, the relaxed outdoor season, the time of vacations, water play, and backyard barbeques? I still can’t stand seeing back-to-school ads in late July.

But I’ve noticed a pattern that consistently plays out. By the time a chill hits the air in late August or early September, I’m ready for a change. Even as I’m still enjoying summer activities I begin to look forward to the next phase, whatever that might bring. And, perhaps because of a lifetime of teaching, fall always feels like the real beginning of the year, much more important than January.

Recent chilly mornings have put me in mind of that change. It’s been a good summer for me personally (lots of writing and good visits with family and friends), but a challenging one for the country — heat dome, wildfires, voter suppression, the withdrawal from Afghanistan — so the seasonal reset button is quite welcome. I greet fall with extra enthusiasm this year because I have a new novel, Sinking Islands, coming out. I will honor the event with a Zoom book launch on Sept. 14 (pub day) at 4 pm Pacific time, 7 pm Eastern, sponsored by The Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver Colorado where I have read a number of times in the past. I have family in Denver so it is dear to my heart. But of course you don’t need to be in Denver to attend. You can register for the event here. And if you buy a book from them it will be sent to you with no shipping charges. (If you want it signed, let me know, and I’ll send you a signed book plate.) I think it will be lively occasion as there will be six other wonderful writers present who will read short sections of my novel.

For those of you who are local to Eugene, I will be signing books at J. Michaels Bookstore on Sunday, Sept. 19th from 4–5:30. Stop by for a glass of wine and a (masked) chat.

I have done a number of interviews leading up to publication (check out the links on my website — caiemmonsauthor.com), but for now other events are on hold until Delta loosens its grip, though I will attend the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Conference in Portland on Oct. 4. Book promotion with diminished speaking capacity is a bit of a challenge, but I’ve been doing interviews with my text-to-voice computer, and so far it seems to be going well.

In other news, I’m happy to announce the recent sale of two new novels: Unleashed to Dutton and Hair on Fire (or Sybil’s Trials — title still under discussion) to Red Hen Press. I am excited about both of these books (they have nothing to do with Weather Woman and Sinking Islands), and I am full of gratitude that both publishers are speeding up the publication schedules to bring them out in 2022.

Meanwhile, I’m crossing my fingers that more wildfires don’t erupt here or anywhere else, and that rain returns to the Pacific Northwest. As cooler temperatures prevail there is nothing more gratifying than escaping to a cozy corner with a book.

Happy reading and be well,


Cai Emmons is the author of 5 books of fiction, most recently the novel, SINKING ISLANDS. Two more of her novels will be published in 2022.