My partner, David, and I had a small group of friends over this morning. We all spent the first half of today watching the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States. We shared food and comment and -- at 9 a.m. Pacific Time -- uncorked a bottle of something bubbly and toasted and cheered and enjoyed each other and the tremendous milestone that this day has meant to so many.

One of the remarkable aspects (and there have actually been many) has been the raw outpouring of emotion that President Obama’s election -- and now inauguration -- has invited. And at every step of the way, there’s been this delicious feeling of watching the beginning of tomorrow and being part of something absolutely new. And most of those watching in our small group were Canadians. Still, in so many ways, what is represented is beyond country. It’s even beyond race. One of the things Obama brings is a message of universal hope and optimism. Certainly, it’s very difficult for me to listen to him speak and not feel a little brighter about the future. It’s been a wonderful day.

Yes we can.

Today is also the official publication date of Death Was in the Picture. At this moment, that seems a very small thing in the shadow of a large, important one and, in any case, as I’ve mentioned in this space before, the publication date of a book is a fairly arbitrary thing. That said, I’m very proud of this book and happy that, as of now, the new Kitty Pangborn novel should be available at your favorite bookstore. If it is not, please ask them and they’ll bring it in for you. If you’d like a sneak peak, an excerpt of the book ran on January Magazine today.

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