Escaping Winter

I’m escaping winter in my California mountain village. So I’m looking for a furnished rental place of some kind in Ventura, California.

It’s not so easy because I want to bring my two cats along. Landlords have had bad experiences, and I understand that.

Since I grew up in northern Ontario, I’m well aware this is baby cold. Nonetheless, it bothers me. I’m also looking forward to bright lights, a choice in restaurants, and places to go after dark. Like most villages, everything shuts down here after dark. And there are no streetlights. Sometimes I get tired of my own company, I must admit.


Sooner or later, my plan is to move to Ventura.

imagesVentura is warm and sweet and there’s somewhere to go after dark.


I’ve made a lot of friends on the California coast through Sisters in Crime. Moving means taking a look at the books I need in my life. I’m a fast reader and go through books way too fast. I’m always scrounging for something to read. Some of my books I want to keep, but which ones?

I mostly read fiction when I read actual books. I read nonfiction online, not that that makes a lot of sense. Since I write crime fiction, the fiction I read is—no surprise—crime fiction. But I’ve collected paperback and hard-bound reference books on police procedure, police science, and forensics. Those I keep.

Most crime fiction novels I read once. Some of them I read all the way through and enjoy. Those I pass on to my mystery reader pals at Sisters in Crime Bakersfield meetings. I go to writers conferences and there are always books available and books for sale.

I’m looking at my six book shelves now.

I’m not going to throw out the dictionary my parents bought me when I went away to university, or the Norton Anthology I used in my first English classes. This is where sentiment and nostalgia creeps in.  This must be suppressed ruthlessly. I don’t dare to go through the boxes of photos because of the avalanche of emotion.

When I was young and foolish, I thought that having books on my shelves told the world that I was smart. I don’t care anymore whether people think I’m smart.  That’s a freedom to put books in other people’s hands who will appreciate them now.

Some are going to the English teacher at the nearby correctional institute. Many inmates are poor readers, and using these books as teaching material makes me feel good about giving them away. Our nearest library is 18 miles away. Some will go to the Friends of the Library Sale.

I’m finally giving up my Guide to Literary Agents 2005. Some books don’t have any value to anyone.


I’d sure appreciate any help in finding a rental—and soon. Contact me at


You might be curious about the crime fiction novels I’ve written. Payback is set in the village where I live. The others are set in glitzy Santa Monica.

A sequel to Payback, titled The Most Dangerous Species  is moving slowly through the publication process.  Sign up here for my yearly newsletter and I will notify you when it is released.

This entry was posted in Mar Preston, Moving, Mystery Conferences, Mystery novels, Sisters in Crime Bakersfield, Ventura and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Escaping Winter

  1. Liz Redwing says:

    Nice to meet you tonight, Mar! I hope you don’t move to ventura TOO soon. Looking forward to fellowship with other crime fans in my new neighborhood! Had to give up my mystery book club at the Santa Monica library to move here. We looked in ventura too but prices were too high for us.

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