It’s All About the Roses!

Summer’s almost here and the roses are exploding out in the garden. The show began in March this year!!!! The earliest ever. With Rosa ‘Mme Alfred Carriere’. She’s peaked for the season, but wow is it fragrant out there.

I’m back writing in the outdoor office on non-rainy days and everywhere I look, the roses are having a great year. Most of the heirloom roses haven’t yet begun their show.

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This is Rosa ‘Tradescant’, an Austen rose, from England. I love the dark color. And yes, it’s fragrant.

 

 

 

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This one is also an Austen rose – Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. It’s as fragrant as it looks and the bush has about thirty blooms on it at the moment. It perfumes our back porch, so it’s the first thing I smell as I go outside each morning.

 

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This is Rosa ‘Sappho’ which is an old Alba rose. The shrub is arching over ten feet tall now, coming into its prime. I have no idea how tall it will get. This rose only blooms once a year, but it goes for a good month or so. Fragrant and gorgeous.

 

 

 

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This is one of my favorite roses, ‘Jude the Obscure’, also an Austen rose. Incredibly fragrant (I really do have very few, maybe zero, roses that have no scent) on a 6-7′ tall shrub. Peach colored blooms all summer long.

 

 

 

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This is my newest rose. An Austen rose called ‘The Lady Gardener’ which I’m growing in a container. It’s a shorter one at 2 1/2 feet tall. Most of our sunny areas now are out where the container garden is and I wanted yet another peach colored rose. Lovely fragrance and lots of good sized blooms on this small shrub.

You might have figured out that I love roses. We have dwindling supplies of sunlight in our garden as the trees grow taller, so over the years I’ve had to give away lots of roses. At one point we had over 200 roses, all different varieties. I love heirloom roses, not sure I have any modern roses left, other than the Austen roses. I think now we have somewhere around fifty roses. Give or take a dozen. On half an acre. Of course some of the roses are 2′ tall by 20′ wide.

What can I say? Roses make my heart sing.

And they smell pretty good too.

 

 

 


Cleaning Up!

Chinese Tree Peony

Chinese Tree Peony

So, I came to the end of the latest novel last Thursday. Which is not the same as finishing it. Much cleaning up left to do before I send it to my first readers.

But that sort of ending hit at just the right time.

I had planned a busy three day social/running errands weekend. And had to wrap up the triple threat that happens every year at this time. Within two weeks there’s the daughter’s birthday, our anniversary and then Mother’s Day.

Holidays are wonderful fun, but I’m so grateful there’s a month’s respite till the spouse’s birthday!

And I foolishly picked up a book I’d been curious about for some time. ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up; the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ by Marie Kondo. It’s been hitting best seller lists and caught my interest. I put it on all my library reserve lists and it had huge waiting lists everywhere, but it finally came in. So, I had to read it quickly!

Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carriere'

Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’

I’m a sucker for organizing and feng shui books. And this is quite good and very simple. I liked her focus on taking each item and asking if one really loves it.

So Sunday, after two days of madly running around getting errands done and going to social things, I was whupped. Way too whupped to go out again. And I didn’t really want to mess around in the garden. I wanted to tackle that bulging clothes closet that I could no longer cram anything into.

Four hours later, I’d held every piece of clothing and asked if I loved it. And if I didn’t, but wanted to keep it – then why was that? So, the closet contents got cut in half and I took out bags and bags of things to the car to donate. Now, I can actually put things away in the closet. I was so invigorated I managed to vacuum the whole house!

The down side is there’s the rest of the house to tackle. And we won’t talk about the hoard of art supplies out in the tack room. Or what’s out in the garden sheds. Or the barn. Or the store room off the deck.

Sigh.

Rosa serratipetala

Rosa serratipetala

And this morning I did all the weekend’s dishes and even cleaned the microwave! Can’t remember the last time I did that. Housekeeping is so not my thing, although I love having a clean house.

So, I’ll give myself a couple more days of trying to put my life back together and finding flat surfaces. And try to do a few publishing things – I’ve got stories and novels that need to be published stacking up. And I need to get a few of the plants that are collecting outside into their waiting containers.

Then, it’s back to writing. I can only clean for so long.

The photos above are some of what’s happening out in the garden. Tree peonies are done, herbaceous peonies, roses and iris are beginning. Plus hundreds of other tiny things that don’t photograph as well.

Life is happening out there in the garden!


Falling Into Flight!

A long time ago, perhaps even thirty years, I spent a lot of time reading Irish mythology. I was completely entranced by the world they described. (Okay, maybe not just Irish Myths. I’m fascinated by all Mythology and how people make sense of the world.)

One of them stuck in my mind – The Penguin Classics Edition of ‘Early Irish Myths and Sagas’ translated by Jeffrey Gantz, called it ‘The Dream of Oengus’. Other versions of the myth named the man Angus and the woman/swan he’d fallen in love with – Caer.

That story lived in my head for a while and I got an idea. So, I wrote a Science Fiction story about the two characters. Instead of a woman turned into a swan, Caer became a genetically engineered human born with wings, an air dancer. She lived with an entire troupe of air dancers. I loved the characters, but the story was a complete flop because it wasn’t a short story. It was a piece of a novel.

At that time I wasn’t ready to write a novel about anything. So I stuck the idea in a drawer. And waited. Last year when I was casting around for ideas about a novel to work on, I found the old manuscript. Typewritten. Yes, it was that old.

I tossed huge chunks of the world I’d built back then and came up with a whole new world and more characters, although Caer and Angus are still there. And a completely new story.

The novel was published last week, but it was spring break and life was crazy, so I didn’t write anything about it. And I felt lazy, it was sunny. What can I say. I was a sloth last week!

So here I am to tell you about it now.

All last year people kept complaining within earshot about all the dystopias being written. And how they were wishing for a positive and hopeful vision of the future. I had several books in the works that were hopeful visions of the future. This is one of them.

Falling_Into_Flight:JPEG:850X1288In a world where polar ice caps are nearly melted and the big quake rocked the entire west coast of the U.S., New Seattle rises from the ashes. A series of islands, a community divided.

Angus grows living buildings, the first of their kind. But something’s gone terribly wrong.
Caer is an air dancer. The first human born with wings after decades of engineered humans. She’s expected to become the best of the best.

Then she meets Angus and all hell breaks loose.

 

If you click on the tab for Books & Stories, then Novels, it will take you to the links of your favorite store. It’s not in paper yet, I’m still hoping that when I get a new computer late in the summer I can start working on that.

Right now old computer is dying and it’s all I can do to make digital files and upload them. Hoping this lovely old beast can hold out till then!


Random Thoughts!

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January Sunrise

Here’s a few things I’ve observed:

~At 7:20AM, whether it’s dark, dawn or daylight, there are a deafening number of bird conversations going on as I stand at the road waiting for the school bus with my daughter. I wonder what they’re all talking about.

~After buying the DVD of the final Hobbit movie and watching it last night something occurred to me. I wished that I hadn’t seen any of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies.

That way I could watch them all again, fresh and new, in a different order. It’s quite like after having read a fabulous book, I wanted to have not read it, so I could have the experience all over again.

~Before I went to bed last night I asked the universe for a couple of solutions to show up in my dreams.

One – the cover photo I found for my soon to be published SF novel isn’t going to work. It looks too much like Fantasy. I need a new concept.

The second – I need to figure out who the antagonist is in the novel I’m currently writing. Right now there’s a void from which all the evil actions are coming from.

So, I woke up this morning from a dream about a field of boulder sized dragon (or dinosaur) eggs. Not gonna solve either problem. Le sigh.

~This month I’ve been a failure at fixing things. The drippy sink faucet. Fail. The vacuum cleaner. Fail. Getting the Blueray Player to reboot and play Netflix again. Fail.

I have resolved to give up this shoddy life of attempting to repair things and move on to doing other things with my time. Like napping.

 

That’s it for my random life right now. I’ve got a busy day, so it’s back to work for me.


Writing Stupid!

A photo that I may have messed with. Skunk cabbage from our garden.

A photo that I may have messed with. Skunk cabbage from our garden.

While I try to learn as much as I can about Business and apply it to my own business, writing and publishing, it keeps coming to my attention that I’m failing on a few levels.

Smart writers write series: this gives them continuing characters, sometimes continuing problems that the characters need to deal with, and often continuing worlds. They don’t have to invent the wheel every time they write a story or a novel.

And they gain fans! People who love the characters and the world the writer’s created. Characters and worlds the fans don’t want to let go of. I know, I’m a fan of so many writers who do this.

And TV. I’m still angry about so many shows that were cancelled. I still miss Agent Cooper, Wash, and Parker. Oh, I could go on and on.

I wrote a series once. Years ago  – ‘The Jeweled Worlds Series‘. But silly me, I had mostly different characters in each book and a different world for each book. I couldn’t even write a series the ‘right’ way.

Cackling.

I can’t even seem to write in the same genre or using the same tone for more than one piece. Serious Science Fiction novel followed by a weird Fantasy short story followed by a whimsical Women’s Fiction novel followed by a silly Science Fiction story and on and on.

Ghost story – sure I’ll try that. Ooh and let’s make it a Mystery too.

Light little faery story? Oh hell, let’s just turn the bloody thing into a dark Faery novel. About saving the world from um, um, I’ve got it! The apocalypse! Yeah. That’ll work.

What was I thinking?

More cackling.

My brain always seems to need to stretch out into new territory. It’s easily bored. I need to keep challenging it to keep it interested in writing. Inventing new worlds for every single thing I write. New characters. New kinds of beings. New genres.

New. New. New.

I’m the epitome of contemporary humanity in its search for novelty.

Even more cackling.

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve decided not to eat stuff with added sugar in it for a month. Except for a few squares of dark chocolate per day. I may be going insane.

Mad, maniacal cackling.

I’m going back to work now.

 


New Story Up & Catalog Progress!

I’ve been keeping my eyes on the screen and working hard. Getting a lot done. Although it’s probably invisible to most people. I’ve redone a bunch of old covers, but I’m not even going to count the enormous amount of covers left to do.

Still, progress is being made. And as I finish them, they go up onto the catalog – which you’ll find beneath the header that says ‘Books & Stories’.

As do the new stories and books.

And I’ve got another new story up!

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Soul Harvest: Trixie’s trying to hold everything together. She’s working full time and taking care of her cancer-stricken sister’s two young children. Then the bloody aliens arrive wreaking havoc everywhere. But what if they’re not here for her?

I had fun writing this story. It’s sort of a wacky first contact story, set in a tourist town in the mountains of Northern Idaho.

And I also got one of my older novels, which is in ebook and print, completely redone. So, it’s a sort of new book. And paper! Once I figure out the catalog page for that, I’ll put the link up for those of you who like paper books.

And I plan to get more of my work in paper this year. But first I need to wait for that extra paycheck to appear which will have enough moolah so I can buy a new computer. The last system update had pretty much tanked my laptop. It is now moving slower than a slug. Seriously.

I took it in and they cleaned things up a bit, but the verdict was that it’s just old. Almost six years old. Sigh. They used to last at least ten. But all the graphics and deh interwebs just keep getting more complex.

So all that is a long way of saying that once the new computer’s here, in late summer, it’ll have enough oomph to run InDesign and I’ll be making lots of paper books. I’ve heard the learning curve is brutal, so I’m calculating that by the end of the year I’ll be getting things up.

Until then, I’ve got covers to remake, more things to write and four novels sitting on my computer in various stages of cleanup, editing and formatting.

So, no pressure.

And then there’s the garden.

But there’s so much going on outside that I’ll save that for another day. Because today, I’ve got to pull together a library edition of the print novel and upload everything.

Because Libraries! They need our support.

 


At A Crossroads, Yet Again!

Spring is almost here. The Hellebores are about to kick into high gear. Cyclamen are appearing. Snowdrops are popping out of the ground. The garden is returning to life. I’ve seen my first slugs and snails of the year. Just in time Costco has Sluggo again.

I’ve been mostly busy inside. Working on a new novel and publishing things I wrote last year. I’m still quite a ways behind. But I’m under the illusion that it’s possible to catch up, so I keep trying.

Journey Into Darkness:JPEG:850X1288This week I got up a very long story written last summer.

Journey Into Darkness:

Melanthe is destined to be the next Queen. If she survives the passage to adulthood. This is her one chance to experience the world outside the domes at the bottom of the sea. After she makes the grueling swim to the surface, she has to survive on land. Will her magic last long enough to complete the challenge?
An Enigmatic Pearl Story.

This is set in the same world as one of the books in The Jeweled Worlds. It takes place years before that trilogy, but I don’t think it matters if you read it before or after.

It’s YA Fantasy, but I know a lot of adults who read young adult fiction, as do I. If you’re looking to escape into another world, give it a try.

So, crossroads.

We have a large garden, it used to be nearly half an acre. Then I decided that getting horses would be a good idea. So we spent years tearing apart half the garden. Moving some of the plants, giving others away. We made a wonderful horse space, filled with ground cover fabric and gravel in most of it, sand in another section.

Allergies hit me really hard a month after the horses arrived. The horses were awesome. Allergies not so much. I couldn’t even walk across the room because of dizziness. We finally decided it was the hay. It took a couple of years, but we sold the horses. They’re now living happily back east in the Great Lakes region. I see photos of them now and again and miss them terribly.

I don’t miss the awful allergies and dizziness and the stress of being unable to carry on anything resembling a normal life. It’s taken nearly three years for me to get better. And all that time I’ve been looking out at a vacant horse area. Which has made me unhappy. A huge reminder of failure. I don’t like to spend huge amounts of time blaming myself or my body.

What I usually do after failing is reassess, then pick myself up and do something about the problem. Three years is a lot of time to dwell on a problem without being able to deal with it.

Last summer we started moving the sand from the former round pen so it could be a foundation for the back patio. I’m hoping this year we’ll move the rest of it to the front yard and cover that with pavers.

But the big news is that I’m making a new fruit garden! I lost mine when we rearranged for horses. I’ve so missed wandering the garden and finding fresh berries. I didn’t realize what a big thing it was for me until I became totally obsessed with planning it over the last few weeks. And because it’s a sunny area, there will be more roses. English roses filled with fragrance. I’ve been lost for hours looking at online plant catalogs and garden books, making maps of the space. The kitchen table has vanished beneath the piles of books and papers.

Today, the gates begin coming down, to be sold soon, I hope. I’ll rake up gravel in places, pull up ground cloth and plant golden raspberries, blueberries and thornless blackberries for a start.

I’m so excited.

Much of the gravel area is going to become a home for containers and raised beds. I’m going to plant a fig tree in a large watering trough. I’m going to have figs again! And I’ll move the strawberries, which have been escaping their pot for a couple years now, into a permanent space.

So, I’m reclaiming that outdoor space and turning it back into a garden again. I’m so excited about the possibilities.

I’ll leave you with some of my Hellebore photos. I love these perennials. Each one is an individual. Our garden is filled with them because I buy at least a couple more every year. The doubles haven’t opened yet, so all the pictures are of singles.

 

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