Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Live and in person

The other week, I did an author event at a local venue. It was the first time I had done something like that - I did a reading at a bookstore not long after Songbird came out, but covid put paid to live events and I never got around to trying it again. 

This event was interesting. Not very large, not very well attended, though I did sell a few books and, more importantly, made some local author friends. 

On the other side of my efforts to not return to cubicle life, I did a large craft show this past Sunday. Well attended, but it started very early, the weather was very damp and chilly, and by the time it was over I was remembering why I started to cut back on craft shows.

Not that there weren't good parts, not that there weren't sales, not that there weren't great conversations with crafting friends - none of whom were located within chatting distance, so we were all grumbling via text message - but outdoor shows are such a crap shoot. I've been rained out as often as I've had glorious days, but most are just in the middle. Okay weather, but not the sort of day that will draw people outside, and which make me think longingly of my sewing room or, better yet, my desk. 

But I can't give up craft shows anytime soon. I don't really want to, and it is still a source of income in the spring and fall. I don't do summer shows because I don't like sweating, and a lot of the people who would buy for me are off at the shore with their kids. So I can justify staying home in front of the fan.

No photo with me at Sunday's show but I'm really pleased with this one from the author event. Maybe I'm just more photogenic when surrounded by my books.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

So pretty!

Just a short check-in this week because I'm up to my ears in craft show prep for this coming weekend, edits on the just-finished book 4 of my Tudor Court series, and the garden is calling pretty loudly.

The Son in Shadow won't be out until June 15, but the pre-order is up for the ebook (can't do pre-orders on paperbacks on Amazon, at least not yet) and I wanted to show off the new covers I've put on the ebooks.

While I love the paperback covers with their historic ceilings, I wanted to try something different, and it's very easy to change out ebook covers because they're a simple graphic, rather than tthe actual typesetting of a full-wrap book cover with spine measurements and text, etc.

I wasn't planning to do a re-cover, but these came out so well that I've put them up. Ebook only, for now at least. A Wider World is my favorite, but it's also my favorite of the books, so that makes sense.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The scent of childhood

Late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were out taking a walk when we heard a lot of sirens. I checked my phone - our county fire and police have a live dispatch app - and saw there was a house fire about two blocks from where we were walking. So obviously we walked that way.

Our town is technically a borough, and in our weird county, each borough has its own fire department, most of which is volunteer-run. You would think that would make the response less efficient, but the exact opposite is true. The call had gone out less than three minutes before we got to the block, and there were already four trucks there. The call goes out everywhere at once, and anyone who's available will show up - especially for a house fire, with the implied possibility of people being inside. 

It was pretty clear from looking at the firefighters that they already knew that wasn't the case. They were calmly going about their jobs. Moving quickly, yes, but not with the underlying anxiety of potentially having to rescue anyone. We stuck around for a while, and watched as another half dozen engines eventually appeared.

It was really cool watching them, all these men and women who obviously work together all the time, because the companies were acting interchangeably. At one point there were firefighters from three different companies balanced on the roof line, cutting a hole in the roof. Just the sight of that is enough to turn my knees to water. 

Everyone watching - and it was a lot of the neighborhood - had their shirts pulled up over their noses because it did stink. But to me, it also smelled like my childhood. My dad was a Philadelphia firefighter, and he came home everyday smelling like whatever blaze he fought. He could have probably showered at the firehouse, but he wanted to get home to his family and his bathtub full of scalding hot water where he could rinse off the smell and soak away his aches and pains. 

What happened to those two houses in town was tragic. The first house looks like a total loss. It was unoccupied at the time, though being worked on. The second house, adjoining it, has some pretty significant damage. 

But this is one of those times where I can hold two opposing thoughts in my head. Any loss by fire is tragic, but the smell of that fire took me straight back to my childhood, straight back to Sunday mornings on the curb with the other fire kids while our exhausted dads paced back and forth in front of the shell of a building and refought the fire until they were satisfied. 

Fire is bad. Fire is also the smell of my dad. And for that, I will always have a moment of warmth, and a smile, before my brain clicks over to the present. They say that smell is our strongest memory sense. I think they're right.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Welcome to the farm!

I'm still going to get The Son in Shadow finished by the end of this week. If I have to give up sleep, I'm going to get that book FINISHED.

But I probably won't have to go to those lengths, because it started raining Sunday night and it's still raining. And considering that what I want to get up to in the back yard involves moving soil from my old raised beds (4'x4', 6" deep) to my new raised beds (2'x4', 12" deep), that would be a messy, heavy business better saved for a day with a little sunshine. 

Though I will get the rest of those completed aluminum beds out of the living room, because we're tripping on them and the cats seem to think I'm building an amusement park for them.

These are much better quality than the old raised beds, and the rectangular size allows me to arrange them so that they're closer together (because they're not wider than my arm's reach). I'll be able to grow a lot more this year, while still having an empty space alongside the garage - to the left of this photo - where I can set up my hammock and a small table to hold a drink and a book.

I've got a nice little seating area set up on the front patio, but sometimes you just don't want to be where everyone can say hello, and the hammock stand, as I found out last year, only fits on the patio if the other chairs are removed and the peach tree is pruned back. So I need a little space to hide away, and I'm going to get it, so long as my back holds out.

Fingers crossed that my back holds out.