12466342_10207804925428558_1355296707218552166_oTuesday, January 5, marks the launch of A Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder—the tenth and final book in the Ghost Hunter Mysteries.  I thought that as the release day approached, I’d feel…sad.  Melancholy.  Filled with regret.

But I feel none of that.  Instead I feel tremendous joy, and truthfully my chest is near bursting with pride. This final book is my favorite of the series—not because of the plot or character development, but because it’s right.  It’s just…right.

While putting together the newsletter to announce the launch, my assistant—who does artwork—created a block of all the books at the bottom of the page, and as I was reviewing the newsletter, I found myself staring at that group of all ten books, eyes brimming with tears for a long, long time, thinking how wonderful it is to have been a part of their creation. There’s a whole world inside those three-thousand-plus pages.  A world I built and labored over and brought to life.  What a divine feeling it is to look at them and feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment.

And there is also that, with this final book, I know I’ve brought M.J. to the point where I can at last let her go.  Where she can leave me to walk on her own.  Where she no longer needs me in her life.  I’ve never had children, but I suspect this is the way a mother feels when her daughter finally heads off to college.

As much as M.J. is a figment of my imagination, she’s still been very real to me, and I’ve carried her in my mind for a decade, worrying and fussing over her, giving her my all, nurturing her with tremendous care, and patience, and frustration, and irritation, and gratitude, and joy, and fear, and love—so much love—and now I don’t have to do any of that anymore.

She’s free.

And so am I.

Of all the things in my career that I’m proudest of, that, right there, is at the top of the list.

I’m sure there will be fans of the series who wish it could continue, but I’m hopeful that after they read the final chapter they’ll understand what it means to let M.J. go with satisfaction instead of sadness.  I know I’ll always feel joy when I think of M.J., Gilley, Heath, Doc, Steven, and Teeko.  And I don’t know how you could ask for a better ending than that.