Those of you who garden understand this. My mother used to spend hours and hours in the garden, just “playing with the plants” as she would say. She loved roses, which has become my favorite as well. I go for the scented ones as much as possible, the deep rose-red and intoxicating scent of the Chrysler Imperial being my very favorite. This rose is the Peace rose, another favorite of mine.
We've built our rock walls spanning the past 2+ years, and the sprinkler system was removed to do this, so it has been barren around our house, save for the occasional calendula or nasturtium volunteers. Several foxglove have been discovered, and even some potato plants that cropped up when we were filling holes created from the wall building, importing soil from our rear old garden yard.
As has been said before, “Life finds a way.” That's certainly true of my plants. I let volunteers bloom and grow where they are planted, even if planted by mistake. I think the garden faeries reward me by doing so. Just doesn't seem right to pluck out a young plant just because it couldn't know where to put itself with it's own kind. Sort of like my life.
Now that the kids are gone, my garden has become my outlet for the need to tend and bear children.
I negotiated a little compromise and got a plot rototilled and fenced so I could have a small vegetable and flower garden this year. I've kept it small because I only got a few man-hours to use and I used our helper on the hard stuff – pulling weeds and tilling the soil. My garden soil is nice and sandy-loamy, after 30+ years of putting 6-8 yards of mushroom manure on it every year before I planted. But the front of the house has, like the rest of our property, thick black soil loaded with nutrients, but makes the roots work harder when allowed to dry. I can dig a hole a foot deep, fill it with water, and a week later, it's still there.
My roses have had lots of chicken manure over the years from the chickens I used to have. They actually became pets when they got too old to lay eggs, but at least I got to collect their manure embedded in the bales of sawdust lining their boxes! My 66 very expensive pets, most of them hatched on my property (and I watched nearly every one being born), eventually had to go the way of the garden, my koi pond and everything else on our outside landscaping after the fire and rebuild. I was sad to see them go, but that's when I threw myself into writing. A silver lining.
I don't think I have seen my roses so lush as this year. And now, a new venture for me: my small vegetable garden. I'm good at negotiating, so got some tractor time in the rear yard and now have it set up to plant corn, as soon as I finish my next book. If you look at my calendar, you would see garden things noted, as well as editing deadlines and story launches. It's that important to me.
This time of year is magical for me – before the hot weather puts me into overdrive to protect and water, buds forming and branches are not yet leggy and needing to be pared back. Everything is small in the vegetable garden, ripe with possibilities for a savory summer of cabbage, kale, squash, peppers, beans, peas, eggplant and swiss chard.
Gardens are hopeful, like new love, they start out precious, perhaps a bit fragile. These lovely beings take their own time. Like falling in love, I'm learning how to enhance their beauty, and that brings me great joy.
It's always a wonder at this time of year, how my garden will come back. This year, I'm charmed with the magic of possibility for a wonderful blooming adventure and prosperous year.
Playing catchup to the #A-ZBlogChallenge, and my topic for the month is gratitude.
G is for:
Romantic Times Book Convention was one of my best. Although they seem to get better and better for me each year, I think I'm finally beginning to figure things out. I gave away about 60 books, and met some wonderful new readers. Sold a bunch of books this year, more than I'd planned on. Met with author friends, did one panel on Heroes Out Of Uniform, which was moderated by Gennita Low – many people said it was the best panel of the whole convention. Participated in the Military Tribute (thank you Elle for organizing it), and of course rewarded my new recruits with swag and tee shirts.
Lucky to have one of my readers who attended my Coppola book signing in Sonoma County, come to this event to sit at my table.
Got to mention the Operation Aloha Shirt Quilt and sold out of raffle tickets (wish I'd brought more).
Met with Cissy and Susan at Writer Space, who do my newsletter and so much more.
|You can see my interview with this handsome cover model on my RB4U Blog post last year here.|
We are a community of writers. I always like spending a lot of time in my writing cave, which is what I have to do when I get home, but without our writer friends, and the suggestions they make (I am a big one on asking questions and getting information), I wouldn't have the kind of career I am lucky enough to have. My readers wouldn't get as much from me, either.
So, from the Erotic Museum, to the rooftop gazing at the VooDoo Lounge, the Club RT and the Giant Book Signing, I go away with happy memories of hard working authors dedicated to their readers. The work ethic and professionalism of our industry, fueled by such fandom, is outstanding. I am so inspired to go home and write my heart out for all of you who take a chance on my books.
I'm flying to Scottsdale for the Desert Dreams Convention. Teaching a couple of classes and looking forward to the reader signing on Saturday. I think I have only one suitcase close to the limit. I was smart and sent ahead my things, and I'll send any unused books to RT in Las Vegas.
Having dinner tonight with my friend from Tucson Festival of Books I think 3 years ago now, and his wife. He's one of those guys who has done things we don't want to know about. LOL. I have used him as a source for several FBI and other law enforcement questions I've had.
So, #atozchallenge is now at the letter F.
I get a lot done on the plane and in the hotel room. Meeting my narrator on Friday, and we'll be doing a class on audio books. After having worked together on 21 of them, I think we've got it down, but then we find something new just about every new project we undertake.
I am grateful for being able to fly to visit friends, to teach and to give back to the community of wonderful writers. It's like fishing, and that's another F word. I put myself in these places, and people show up, events happen and I learn something.
Friends is a good F word. Today I learned how to upload a movie file to my FB author page. Looking for a way to track it, and did not know the video is treated as an impression, rather than a click. I've got tons of videos I'd like to show off. And Facebook, okay, that's another F word, likes them right now.
I like Free also. Free books, free first in series.
And, as I write this, I hear frogs. I love frogs for various reasons. I've got 12 tattooed to my forearm, one for every SEAL book, just like my characters have in the series. And I have a pretty one on my back, something that could have been drawn in the 1960's. Love the color and the paisley symbols.
Flower Child. Some would make that one word, because it certaiinly is a THING! That's me. This flower child has a small garden this year. And that's another great F word:
Grateful today for the letter E. I like evening. I must admit, I like that dusk and dawn kind of magical place, especially for some of my romantic scenes. My guardian angel is awakened at dawn after having spent a glorious evening in her lover's arms. For the first time, at the very end, she is finally being able to sleep at last.
Readers of mine will know I always end my books with a lovely bow: a love scene that somehow transcends all the danger and pain and hurt, misunderstanding and confusion. When the couple finally relaxes into themselves and enjoys just the intimacy of the two of them.
Dusk is a special time for colors, for those Maxfield Parrish type sunsets where the sky is turquoise and the horizon is deep orange. The trees overhead are black. You can see the effects of the glow on reflections outside, through windows, and the overall dark fabric of the ceiling of nighttime to come mutes everything except for these firery sunbursts. A magic time.
Vampires see this as an awakening (those that have to go to ground). Others see it as the death of the day. That space between light and dark, where both dance together. Like that image in Ladyhawk where the hero and the heroine can meet, but only briefly because one has to stay in the night and one lives in the day.
Evening is more emotion than time. Color more than idea or thought. When I see the sun fall below the horizon and on those special nights when the glow is extra bright, my ideas wander and my heart bleeds something good.
I have no idea what it is. But that's what Evening is to me.
What is it to you?
Well, I was going to pick Dogs, Do-overs, Dumb Stuff, but I guess that's why Discipline is so important today. Let me explain.
My letter D (above) doesn't look like it would belong on a Navy SEAL Sweatshirt, does it? But it is very important, and here's why. We are the sum of all the life experiences we've had. As a storyteller, I spin these stories, placing one flower here, or a vine there, a color here or there, and all of a sudden we have a bouquet, a tapestry of stories filled with emotion. These come from my past, from my fantasies, from the future, from others. Who really cares where they come from, as long as, being a writer, it isn't plagiarized.
And here's the gratitude part (my theme for the month). Thank goodness we have all these experiences. Thank goodness we have the variety, color, the pain and the joy of living. Thank goodness we have more than enough to choose from.
Discipline means to Decide. To “kill of other options.” In a world where we are lucky enough to have so many options, we have to learn to pare down to the useful and focus on our goals, or out energy gets pulled away, wasted, if you will, in thousands of different direction.
The word Decide has the ending like other “cides” – and I know you can creatively think of them on your own. We choose what to let into our lifespace (my new favorite word), we choose what stories to tell. In terms of working with addiction issues, we learn which Dog to feed. We starve the dog that isn't good for us, and feed the dog that brings about all the miracles. Sometimes we are drawn and choose unwisely. Then we get a do-over the next time it comes up.
Here's some Double D's – my favorite thing to write about (crazy, I know). But I just love my heroines to be big chested.
|Yes, I think these are DD's|
Now, that's a lot of dumb stuff, but I managed to include all my words, weave them together with today's word, Discipline.
What Dog are you feeding and what Dog are you starving?
|Mary Shelley 1797-1851|
This was my second year participating in the Local Author Showcase and Symposium, presented by the Sonoma County Library and Creative Sonoma, in association with Copperfield's Books. Thank you, David Dodd, for inviting me back this year, and for making me a part of this wonderful experience. I was enriched and enthralled!!
I thought last year was wonderful, but this year's symposium was even better! I think any writer loves books – all kinds of books. Carolyn Jewel, Sabrina Rawson and I were the only romance writers there, but the variety of readings and stories, including the panel on The Business of Writing, was excellent.
Some quotes I loved:
|David Dodd (right) Sonoma|
Jonah Raskin – Reading inspired me to write. I devoured books.
Sabrina Rawson – It wasn't until my relapse with cancer in 2011, within my first year of diagnosis, that I started to think of creative writing becoming more of a hobby.
Thonie Hevron – I can take my work on the road when I travel, edit at the hairdresser, do marketing/social media on the fly.
Marian Lindner – Inspiration became reality for me when my search for the creative path that would fulfill me became essential.
Carol Miller – …making “beautiful” things. This has always what gets me up in the morning.
Carolyn Jewel – I value honesty in the writing, to the story, and to the worlds I build.
Crissi Langwell – ..I feel my work is making a difference.
Gilbert Mansergh – I think of the tough commute: 15 feet from house to office, flexibility of time (except deadlines) and locations (California, British Columbia, England, Wales, Crete, Norway, Denmark, etc.)
Jeane Sloane – My most important value in my career of writing historical fiction is to write little known pieces of history for people to read, enjoy and/or not forget the past.
Andy Weisskoff – I'm inspired by the desire to write books that help others manage tricky situations.
Armando Garcia Davila – told a great story of being 10, taking communion for the first time and feeling he'd saved his boyhood friend's soul.
|Daedalus Howell (my star from last year)|
There were so many others. But I think the highlight of my day was the story, which will be coming out this October, and I believe will also be a play, Immortal Frankenstein. The author read a passage through the POV of Mary Shelley, the day after her death, discovering the changes in her lifeless body, her life, and the snicker at what will happen when her Step Daughter or someone else will find her husband's (Percy Shelley), heart in her desk drawer.
Yes, Shelley's body had washed up on shore. Custom was to burn the body, not knowing who the man was, and a friend rescued his heart and other body parts. Mary Shelley kept it in her desk drawer for years.
Just had to share that.
I'm grateful for books. I love reading books. I love writing books. I love book conventions and all the beautiful readers there. Here are some other B things I'm grateful for:
1. Boys. I dated them, married one, bore two and fell in love with lots of them. What would my life be without boys? Not so sweet.
2. Band of Bachelors – and here you thought I wouldn't pimp my series? I am finishing up one now, and he's a very messed up bachelor, and that's my next grateful point!!
3. Bachelors! They shield themselves from women, but they fall and they fall badly. The give wrong advice. Without Bachelors to write about, what would life be?
4. Baseball. I'm grateful for the new Giant's Stadium, for lazy afternoons out at the ballpark, getting sunburned and loving every minute of it.
Better come back tomorrow!
My Away We Go! #atozchallenge is doing a blog every day on Gratitude! Listing everything that starts with the letter A, here's a few of them. Hello from Blogger #110!!!
1. Best new self-help book: The Power of No by James and Claudia Azula Altucher.
3. My favorite blog sister: SOS Aloha and her book Blog SOS Book Blog.
4. My quilt project, Operation Aloha Shirt. If you have a few snippets of fabric and old shirts you want to donate to this quilt project, please send them to me. I'm making a quilt to go to a military family in Hawaii, and another one to auction off at to donate money to Navy SEAL/UDT Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
5. Spring Fling Audio Giveaway (use the #SpringFlingAudioGiveaway to be connected to all the other authors who are participating in this. I'm giving away an Audio Book every day this month. You're welcome!
6. AMORE! The Italians do so many things well. I've wanted to learn Italian for years. Just so I could speak love in their beautiful tongue. We need more Amore. Always.
Be sure to join the other bloggers. Remember, I'm #110 on this list. Come back and see me anytime!