September 2010

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25 Sep Catching Up

I am working away on The Silver Casket. One of the most fascinating things is the way Rinette, the heroine, uses her idiosyncratic system of floromancy to characterize the other people in the story. By the time I’m done the “Floromancy” part of my notes will be a book in itself!

Sincere thanks to everyone who has voted for The Second Duchess on Goodread’s “Historical Fiction 2011” Listopia list—“Books we are excited about coming out in 2011.” Are you excited about Duchess? Yay! Please add your vote.

Delicious things I have cooked/baked this week: well, it’s not really cooking, but I made the best carrot and broccoli slaw. Healthy and easy. One bag of shredded carrots and one bag of broccoli slaw—take a handful of each and throw in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a pinch of salt, and toss. (You could shred the carrots and broccoli stalks yourself, of course, but think how much more trouble that would be!)

On the unhealthy but yummy side, doughnut muffins. Mmmm! All the pleasure of a glazed cake doughnut but baked into a muffin rather than fried. Start here for the recipe. I used all butter instead of butter and oil, and cut way back on the nutmeg—the merest soupçon of nutmeg is fine with me. And I glazed them with Alton Brown’s doughnut glaze instead of rolling them in butter and cinnamon sugar. Incredibly good.

Meanwhile, the medical community is still trying to figure out why my wrist is hurting so much. This week, had a new series of x-rays. Should have results next week.

Have been reading Mary Anna Evans’ Strangers (an advance copy of which I won on the DorothyL mailing list) and Deanna Raybourn’s luscious Dark Road to Darjeeling. I have a lovely new-bought extra copy of Dark Road to Darjeeling and signed bookmarks on the way from Deanna, and I will be giving it all away next week. Watch this space!

Cooler weather seems to be tiptoeing into north Texas, thank goodness. This morning it brought some rain with it, and we’re grateful for every drop.

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15 Sep Beagles vs. Squirrel

There’s a squirrel in this tree, Mama!

Really! There is!

Come on, Boo, look! Don’t you see it?

By golly, you’re right, Cressie! There is a squirrel up there! It’s just a little one, though…

Please come down, little squirrel. I’m begging you. Boo and I will play nice, I promise…

(Be grateful that you can’t hear the soundtrack to all this. We expect the neighbors to swarm us with pitchforks and torches after all the howling.)

The squirrel turned out to be a terrified baby, mostly tail. We managed to catch the dogs (no small feat) and put them in the house, then The Broadcasting Legend™ sprayed the tree (with plain old water) until the squirrel jumped down and ran away. Whew. Poor little thing. I’ve never seen one that tiny—I wonder if it got separated from its mother somehow. We’ll hope they found each other again, somewhere safe from marauding beagles!

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10 Sep Playacting on Paper

Most writers will tell you they started writing stories as children, always knew they wanted to be writers, and identified with Jo in Little Women. My path to the writing life was a little more circuitous. (As is the story of my life in general. Heh. But anyway.)

I playacted as a child. I sewed endless outfits for my Ginny doll (this was pre-Barbie, thank God, when dolls for little girls still looked like little girls) and played out stories with her. I acted out endless stories with paper dolls, plastic horses, and my poor hapless sister and friends. I loved wonderful adventurous and romantic stories (usually in some historical setting) and imagined them vividly, but didn’t think so much about writing them down. I did draw pictures. Most of my family was musical, and so I proudly proclaimed myself to be “artical.” It didn’t occur to me to imagine myself as “writical.”

For a while I actually thought I wanted to be an actress. (See evidence, right.) Then I got sidetracked into radio and started acting out stories with voices and sound effects in endless “slice-of-life” commercials. It was only much later that it seriously occurred to me to actually write down a story. And when I did, it came out as—well, playacting on paper. And that is what I’m doing, to this day. I act out the parts as I write, much to the amusement of the Broadcasting Legend™ and the puzzlement of the beagles.

And I wanted to be Beth in Little Women. Everybody loved her! I wanted everybody to love me! And anyway, what actress can resist a good death scene?

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08 Sep Fun with Hermine

It’s pouring rain this morning, as the remnants of Hurricane Tropical Storm Tropical Depression Hermine blow through the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I let the doggies out as usual and Boudin, sensible beagle that he is, did what he needed to do and came straight back in the house. Not so our Cress. She caught a scent (the second generation of 2010 bunnies is presently running rampant through the neighborhood) and tracked it from one end of the yard to the other for a good hour. Eventually, this little tri-color drowned rat showed up at the door:

Look at her eyes! Bunny-scent is like crack to beagles, I swear. Anyway, she was soaked through and had to have a good toweling (three towels’ worth).

Meanwhile, our poor parched yard is gratefully soaking up the rain that Cressie left outdoors. Hermine should be here for the rest of today and tonight, and taper off tomorrow. I do love writing on rainy days and sleeping on rainy nights.

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04 Sep Symmetrical Beagle

I was just walking through our little breakfast room (which is actually a plant room) and saw this. Boo had chosen to recline at a perfect right angle to the sofa table (which is actually a plant table–are you sensing a pattern here?), exactly in the middle between the two large plants (mmm-hmmm, pattern, definitely). You’ll notice that he was not in his favorite place, which is the patch of sunlight.

Don’t you just wonder what was going on in his little beagley head?