Rolling Along!

The mural we painted

The mural we painted

I’ve been absent here for a while as the summer winds down, WAH! Spent a good chunk of time helping the child remove every single thing from her room. Which meant going through drawers that probably haven’t been touched in years!

Oh, the things we found. Won’t go into that since I know you want to keep your last meal down. But it took days, and the recycling, garbage and donate boxes were filled. Three large boxes of books went to her old school. And furniture left the house.

Then we spackled over paneling and sanded and vacuumed and painted. And made lots of trips to the hardware store. And painted more. And painted some more, while she slept on the couch for several nights. And got annoyed because we ran out of the paint colors we needed. And cleaned the floor. Then new/used furniture came in. Plus some of the old furniture came back. Walls were hung with decorations. So about 3 weeks later, things are finally finished, well mostly. We still need to find the right curtains or blinds. And the right bedspread, etc. But she’s back in her room, loving it and she had some time off before school started.

So now that school’s in session, a new school that starts much earlier, I’m struggling to get up at 6AM. Aaack. Isn’t that fun? And the days are getting shorter and wake-up time comes before the sun’s up. It’s been alternately sunny and rainy. So on the sunny days I’m trying to get outside and write, even though it’s cold and windy out there. Gotta enjoy the sun before it leaves until sometime next spring.

I’m working on finishing up the first draft of another novel. Then there’ll be a lot of adding in left to do before I send it out to readers. I’m also finishing up an online writing workshop which is giving me lots of great information.

Patio finally finished, well mostlyOn the gardening front, nothing is happening. I have a feeling I’m pretty much finished watering for the season, yay! Michael’s still adding sand between the pavers of the new patio. Here’s a photo of it after all the pavers had been cut, but without the sand in between them and without furniture.

Not much time left in the summer to enjoy it as the sun is slowly sinking behind the tall cedars, but I’m hoping the rains hold off till October because there’s lots of gardening to catch up on.

Today, it’s collecting poppy seeds.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to working on getting a new story up. I’m still behind on publishing things. I’ve got seven stories and one novel finished and/or out to readers. Another bunch of stories circulating out among various magazines and looking for homes. So, I’ve got to get moving on the publishing end of things! Because I’ve also got a lot of covers to rework. And oh so much more to do. But I’m not going down the road of panic. At least not today!

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

 

After it rained a couple of days ago, the garden was filled with slugs and snails. Countless numbers. But I also noticed a couple of very strange spiders. We always have a lot of spiders, so much food for them, so many insects! The spousal unit joked that we have the H&S garden. Filled with Hydrangeas, Hellebores & Heucheras. Slugs, snails, sowbugs & spiders.

So here’s a couple of photos. I’m off to try to pull my life together, run errands and perhaps try to cram in another couple of episodes of Prime Suspect before Netflix gets rid of it. I’ve got 12 hours more to watch by the end of the month!

Oh, and maybe try to read a book!

Another cool spider


Finally, A Cat Story!

PURR:JPEG:850X1288I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write a cat story. I have multiple feline friends, wear clothes covered with cat hair, feed the beasts twice a day, rescue garter snakes from them and they show up in my stories now and again. But I’ve never had an idea for a story about cats. Until now.

I was tooling around on stock photo sites, looking for a cover photo for something else and I found this picture. And I knew I had to write a story about this scrawny little black kitten walking down the street in the dark all by himself. Well, here he’s in a pool of light from a streetlight, but the rest of the street is dark.

So, the photo danced around in my brain for a while and finally, I had an opening this spring and this story was the result.

P.U.R.R. – Protectors United for Residential Requisition: What power does a tiny kitten have to change the world? More than you think. If cats ever got organized…

It’s available at all the normal places – Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc.

In other news, the patio is almost done! Just getting a few bricks cut around the edges and sanding it in are all that’s left to do. Woot! So, my outdoor writing office is back where I like it – closer to the house and the pond.

We’re about to tackle painting the child’s room. Carloads of things to donate to charity have left the house and countless paper has been recycled. Her room is nearly empty. Scary things were found lurking in her desk drawers – 2 Easter eggs from who knows how long – possibly not from this year. Really gross.

Anyway, we’re painting her room all one color, except on one wall – we’ll be painting a forest. That’ll be interesting. But fun! In the adult’s bedroom in the house, we painted cave paintings on all the walls, because it’s a minuscule bedroom with a low ceiling. It was a blast to paint and twelve, thirteen years later, I still love it. So, forest here we come!

And I just sent one novel to my readers and am about a third of the way through a different one. They’re not related, one’s Science Fiction, the other Fantasy. I’m having a wonderful time exploring this world. I’ve got more stories to publish soon and am busy, busy, busy. And school starts in two weeks! Oh yay. Time to start getting up earlier.

It’s been a glorious summer and I’m hoping there’s another two months of sun. Then I might have stored up enough heat and sunshine to make it through till next June. Possibly.

So, I’m off to wash walls for painting prep. Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer. Or winter, depending on where you live.

 


Back from the Dead!

Cool pineapple lily!

Cool pineapple lily!

I’ve spent the last two and half days sleeping about two hours then getting up for two hours, then sleeping again. Round the clock. And not eating much. Half a bowl of soup here, a cup of yogurt there. I caught something, somewhere, some nasty bug that made me feel like a python was wrestling with my intestines. And winning. Aaack.

Even when I was awake, I felt incoherent. Just sitting glassy-eyed in front of a movie and trying to stay awake, but it hurt to lie down. Hurt to sit up for that matter. Achy muscles as well as the painful wrestling match. The wrestling seems to be over, but the achy muscles are still with me. And I can’t lie down any more. It was so bad, I wasn’t even coherent enough to read the first page of a book by one of my favorite writers. Yikes.

So, hopefully I’m recovering because there’s tons of life and work to catch up on. I haven’t written all week, but last night as I was lingering in that space between sleep and non-sleep, which I did off and on all night, a huge chunk of the current novel came to me. So my brain’s been working on the story, even though my fingers haven’t been typing it into a file. I’d been feeling sort of stuck all last week, so I’m pleased to have this next piece fall into place. Yay!

And the four days before I got sick were mostly spent running errands and shopping. Not something I do that much of, but I still haven’t cleaned up after all that. I came home from errands on Wednesday and collapsed into bed. That was the day I woke up to thunder and it rained nonstop for about twelve hours or more. I still haven’t even finished unloading the car. Just got the perishable groceries out.

But I’m feeling a little better and will get back to the novel today. And perhaps to all the other things flailing about on my to do list. And grateful that the spousal unit and the child picked up the slack, so I could be a zombie for a few days.


Swallowed up by Summer!

Awesome red poppy that I’m naming ‘Fireworks’. Because I can.

 

I looked up and discovered it’s heading towards mid-July. Mid-July! Yikes. Somewhere I lost June.

I’ve been writing and cleaning up and publishing things, tending websites, watering the garden, gaping at poppies. Went to the beach one day (and I think I’m still sun burned), fought the slugs for lettuce, have pretended to clean the house every so often, herded the child to doctor and dentist checkups, herded the child to do some work around the house and pried her away from screens to read. I went to a reading by an awesome writer – Ian McDonald, met friends for dinner, hung out with relatives at a BBQ, bought a few plants. Okay more than a few. So far it’s been a busy, busy summer.

And I’m Wa-a-a-ay behind. I’ve got 11 stories and 1 novel in various stages of doneness. Some are floating around trying to find homes at magazines. Others are with my first readers. Still others are waiting till my first readers have a slot open. Others have come back and need to be cleaned up and sent out to magazines or published. And at least one, the novel, is still being cleaned up to go to my readers. And some are still being written. I feel like I’m in the middle of a carnival. Which story am I working on this hour?

And this was the time I was going to redo all my old covers.Yeah. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Pots patiently waiting for a patio.

Pots patiently waiting for a patio.

The spousal unit is busy sifting and shoveling sand for the patio, so he’s unable to keep up with the garden. The weeds are having a major party and the slugs aren’t far behind. I’m the major waterer since I work at home, and that season has begun. It takes a week to make a circuit around the entire garden and sometimes that’s fast enough. Not this July. Plants are wilting before their turn rolls around again, one of the drawbacks to having soil that’s sand and gravel. We add a lot of compost, but it’s never enough. So I’m watering both mornings and evenings this week. With the sprinkler, of course. I only water pots by hand, which takes a good couple of hours.

So once the patio’s done, snort, we move on to the child’s room. She’s going to middle school next year and has decided it’s makeover time. So we need to take all the furniture out of her room, cover the paneling and paint all the walls and ceiling. Then we’ll paint a mural on at least one wall, perhaps more. I’m tired just thinking about it. Then we get to move new/used furniture back in, furniture that’s more appropriate for a middle schooler. Whatever that is. I’ll figure that out next month.

But for now, it’s writing, writing and more writing. It’s halfway through the year and I’m still making my tiny goal of 5,000 new words a week. Only missed it twice since the beginning of the year. Yay! So, I’ve got lots of stories coming, they just need some tweaking and I’ll let them fly away. With writing so much new stuff, I’m still finding it hard to stay caught up on the publishing part of things.

Rosa ‘William Lobb’

But I keep trying.

I’m sucking up all the sunshine that I can, writing outside every day, saving it up for winter. I can already feel the days growing shorter. I’ve got to absorb a lot more sun before I’ll go quietly into the darkness of fall and winter!

Hope you’re having a lovely summer.

 


Alive Again!

IMG_2558Look what I opened my front door to this morning! What a gorgeous breadseed poppy.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been touring gardens. Friends’ gardens, Nurseries’ gardens and then over a long weekend, I went to the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend. Four days of lectures, touring members’ gardens and of course, plant shopping.

So, I’ve spent that time immersed in glorious gardens of all sorts. There were formal, fussy gardens, architectural ones, Mediterranean looking gardens, cottage gardens, Northwest woodland gardens and everything in between. And even one that contained mainly species roses. I took over 600 photos! And climbed countless stairs and walked miles upon miles.

My brain is crammed full of information and overflowing with new ideas for our garden. After the patio from hell is finished, of course. Which might happen sometime during my lifetime. I think.

The conference finished Monday night. I spent yesterday dealing with piles. Piles of newspapers, piles of laundry, piles of dishes. We won’t even talk about email! I’m still playing catch up today, but there are flat surfaces to be seen! Progress.

And I’ve been writing, of course. I didn’t make my word count last week, although since that’s only the second time since January, I’m okay with that. This week I will. And perhaps even get some publishing stuff done too.

So today, it’s writing, lunch, and then I’m going to finally get the windows washed and screens up. Mosquitos are here. And then bake some lavender shortbread. I’m having a meeting here tomorrow and need to offer treats for people who are driving out this far.

This week Zoe has swimming lessons every day and parents can use the facilities for free all week. Yay! So this morning I swam while she had her lesson. Then after showering I sat in their lovely, dark sauna. Sigh. I love saunas and someday I may get one. Sitting in the silence, darkness and heat grounds me and fills me with ideas. I found a better ending for a story I thought I’d finished last week. Will need to change it. So swimming and sauna. I’m in heaven. I’d join the club, but I know that I wouldn’t keep going. Been there, done that. Having to drive an hour round trip to exercise is just an excuse to say ‘no’ waiting to happen. But I do miss the occasional swim and especially the sauna.

So, I’m off to get my day going. It’s glorious and sunny and I’m in my outdoor office being buzzed by dragonflies. Life just doesn’t get much better! Hope yours is going swimmingly.


New Story Up, oh, and Roses!

I finally, finally, finally got a new story up for sale. I’ve been writing like mad, but not getting things published. Although I do have several things out circulating among magazines, hoping to find a home.

The Emotions of the Non-Living:JPEG:850x1288

 

 

So here’s the Amazon link for The Emotions of the Non-Living although it’s available at B&N, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords as well.

 

 

Can an android help us understand what makes us human? Lilith’s traumatic encounter with a mutant stowaway will scar her forever. Or is it a blessing in disguise?

 

 

Also, it’s June and our garden is awash with roses. I walk out either door in the morning and the scent is unbelievable. The roses perfume the entire garden. Last week it was especially wonderful with the combination of one of the huge climbing roses and honeysuckle. I love this time of year.

So, I took a bunch of photos, a few of which I’m putting up here. I can’t seem to get a good photo that shows the twenty-foot tall rambler that’s growing on a fir stump. But it’s stunning to see in person. So that’s what I’ve got for today. School ends in three and a half days and then chaos ensues. Well, actually it’s here already. The child is almost on her way to middle school!

Anyway, hope you’re having a lovely June!

Unknown species rose from Heronswood

Unknown species rose from Heronswood

Rosa 'Jude the Obscure'

Rosa ‘Jude the Obscure’

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll'

Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ & Rosa ‘Sharifa Asma’


Perfection!

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Outside the front door

I’ve been working hard lately, despite the fact nothing’s been visible here. I finished a draft of the novel. I started with a bright shiny idea and am struggling with the frustration that what ends up on the screen doesn’t match the vision in my head. It never does, but for some reason it’s really bothering me with this piece. I thought I’d gotten past being a perfectionist. Apparently not.

It works the same way out in the garden. In April everything looks glorious. Old friends are coming up. I’m planting new things. It looks to be a fabulous year. And then comes May. The weeds and grasses shoot up, smothering everything and I can’t keep up.

So, both in the garden and in my fiction. It’s time to pull some weeds. And plant new stuff to fill in the holes. The difference is that the fiction is just the piece of writing and myself. The garden is a collaboration with nature. And nature this year has brought a wealth of tent caterpillars, masses of slugs and snails and dubious weather, after a brutal winter. The predators have yet to deal with the tent caterpillars, but at least I’m not sustaining as much damage as I see driving around. They’ve defoliated entire trees out on the road! Yikes. I think we have more birds here who are working hard. I tossed a caterpillar into the pond to see if that was an option, but the koi had just eaten and weren’t paying attention.

So, I believe (fingers crossed) that I’ve wrestled my technology problems to the ground. I’ll be getting more stories up in the next few weeks. I’ve been so busy writing new stuff, that I just haven’t gotten around to the publishing part. This week I’ll be passing my word count for the entire year of 2013. And we’re not quite through the first half of the year. If I can keep things going, this will be a very productive year for my writing. I just need to carve out the time to make covers and format things and get them up for sale. After the weeding and planting thing!

Baby Spiders!

Baby Spiders!

It’s a crazy time of year. School’s ending in a couple of weeks, which involves a lot of extra social things. Especially since Zoe will be leaving elementary school and heading towards middle school. And there are plant sales, birthdays and in June I’m going to a Plant Study Weekend, which is actually 4 days and involves touring hundreds of gardens. Yippee! My phone’s battery will probably run out every day from taking so many photos! I toured a garden last week and took 175 photos. It was one amazing garden.

And the Clarion West Writeathon starts in a couple of weeks as well. I’m planning on participating, but still have to nail down my writing goals for the six weeks. What do I want to work on? A novel? Short fiction? Just haven’t been able to get clear on that yet. I’ve got two weeks to figure it out.

So, I’ll leave you with a photo of my garden walk partner for today, Tiger.

She was out romping in the wet, chasing me throughout the garden. The other cats were inside being lumps.

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