Wednesday, February 28, 2024

It happens every year

Autumn is my favorite season, but winter comes a close second. I like battening down the hatches and being indoors when it's cold outside. I like being outdoors when it's cold outside. I definitely do not like sweating, which is why summer is a distant fourth in the seasonal sweepstakes. 

 But this winter is ending early, and I'm not as upset as I could be. We had an actual winter storm a few weeks ago, and it started raining in the house, which entailed getting an entire new torch down rubber roll roof on the flat portion. Not inexpensive, but it could definitely have been worse, and it was one of those times where we just had to think, "pay now or pay later." We paid now. 

 And now, today, it's in the high 60s and I am going out to face what has become of the garden during the off season. As always, I put a few things aside in November to deal with later, and later has now come. And current me is swearing at November me for being a lazy cow and leaving me with all this to clean up. 

It happens every year. I shouldn't be surprised.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Sentimental journey

A non-book-related post this week.

Before Christmas, I was contacted by a woman who I'd met when I was vending at the local farmers market. She asked if it's be interested in doing something with her mother's vintage wedding gown.

I said yes, so long as she didn't mind waiting until after the holidays. We got together in early January to discuss the project. She suggested pillows, one for her and one for her sister.

Their mother got married in 1949, and the gown was a relatively plain ivory rayon satin. It was pretty, but it had been in a box (not even proper wedding gown storage) for more than sixty years. It had more sentimental value to them than value as a vintage garment. Even so, it was hard to make that first cut.

I embroidered each woman's initial in the center of a rectangular panel, and then pieced strips of the satin around it. The fabric has such an exceptional glow that I wanted to use pieces to catch the light. Since she asked if there was a way that the covered buttons could be incorporated, I made two rosette-style flowers and used buttons as the centers. The backs of the pillows are a patchwork quilt that had been on their parents' bed their entire childhood.

I finished the pillows on Friday and she stopped over on Sunday to collect them. I love making people cry.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

What's next: The Son in Shadow

Now that Ava & Claire are fully launched into the world, I've gone back to my first love, the Tudor era.

I thought there were going to be five full novels in the series, with a collection of short stories to finish it out, but it turns out that there will be four and the collection. The fifth book just isn't taking shape properly, and everything I've been working on with book four tells me that it's the proper end of the series. 

When the book is that definite, I don't argue.

The illustration here is AI. There is a completed cover, but it's not yet for public consumption. Here's the blurb.

The Son in Shadow: A Tale of Spies, Love, and Rebellion in the Elizabethan Court 

Will Hawkins has spent his life under the thumb of powerful men, but no more. He's finally carved out a comfortable existence for himself, working in Elizabeth's court for the esteemed Cecil and Walsingham. His future appears secure and full of potential, especially with his burgeoning love for the delightful Kit Rowan, his niece's governess. 

But Kit unknowingly harbors a dangerous secret, and when she comes under the watchful and unforgiving eye of Walsingham, Will's carefully constructed world begins to crumble. He's forced to make an agonizing choice: his future or the woman he loves. 

Desperate to save Kit from the spymaster's clutches, Will finds himself partnering with the last person he ever expected - his domineering father. Together, they embark on a perilous journey, navigating a web of deceit and political intrigue. Can they find a way to free Kit from Walsingham's grasp, or will their efforts be in vain, costing them not only their hearts, but their very lives?

Drama, drama, right? A blurb has to suck readers in, and I'm hoping this will do just that. Now I need to keep writing so that the inside lives up to what's written on the cover.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


This week it's just sort of a piecemeal, patchwork, catch-up affair - nothing major has happened. 

I had a birthday, it was 60, we went out for a lovely dinner at our favorite French restaurant. The Ava & Claire omnibus dropped, the cats are still hissing and spitting but getting along better than they were, and we're going to need an entirely new flat roof on the back of the house. All of which makes me tired.

I'll be better by next week. In the meantime, enjoy the children competing to see who looks better in the chair that gets the afternoon sun.