So many beautiful flowers this spring--but this is one of my very favorites, a New Dawn heirloom rose, blooming on the trellis on our deck. We've had lovely rains all spring, and (thankfully) escaped the flooding that has plagued so many. I'm grateful, and grateful for every beautiful day, sunny or cloudy, rain or shine. The bluebonnets have been especially gorgeous, and the paintbrush, blackfoot daisy, huisach daisy, and more. Simply heaven.
Garden report. We'll be digging the early spring potatoes in a couple of weeks, the later bed toward the end of May. The beans (Kentucky Wonder) are climbing their trellis, the peas are blooming, and the tomatoes (the early Porters) have begun to set fruit. We're a couple of weeks early this year, thanks to the warm temps (March was the warmest ever) and the El Nino rains. The Highland Lakes are full and the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) is opening floodgates. Our lake is full and our creek is running sweet and clear, bank to bank. (Much less happily, atmospheric CO2 is off the charts. Not good news for the residents of our planet on Earth Day 2016.)
Book report. I'm delighted to tell you that Loving Eleanor (available in print, ebook, large print, and audio) has won an IPPY silver medal--and plenty of praise from readers. Those Amazon reviews will make a difference in the long-term future of this book, so if you've read it, please go over to Amazon and leave a comment. If you haven't, well, now's a pretty good time.
On the bookshelf: I'm collecting material and doing research on another Roosevelt-related project, the life of FDR's cousin and friend, Daisy Suckley. Daisy was charmingly played by Laura Linney in Hyde Park on the Hudson, but that movie was far more fiction than fact and full of historical errors, to boot. Unnecessary errors, that weren't even in the service of the dramatization. I know it's Hollywood, but can't they do better?
On the desk: "The General's Women" is still in the works: Eisenhower, his driver Kay Summersby, and his wife Mamie--a wartime romantic triangle. I took several weeks out to work on the Story Circle conference, but I'm now about 70% done with a first draft and plan to have a finished manuscript by the end of the year. Then it's on to the next mystery, China Bayles' 26th outing, Queen Anne's Lace. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work on a book and look forward to another project or two at the same time. Doing what I want to do and choose to do and loving it, with no end in sight...
Meanwhile, Blood Orange was just published this month, in ebook, print, large-print, and audio. And the Robin Paige Victorian/Edwardian mysteries (yes, the entire series) is being reprinted by a British publisher. It's nice to see that older series given a new lease on life.
Teaching, Talking, Traveling. Lots of other things going on in the next few months, too. If you're in the Houston area, please join me for a book talk/signing at Murder by the Book on May 1. I'm speaking to the Austin Herb Society on May 3 and to the Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of America on June 9. And I'm teaching an online class on dialogue for Story Circle. It's a busy spring!
Reading note. The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly, light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding. Finally, the lessons of impermanence taught me this: loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair empties out into an unquenchable appetite for life.--Gretel Ehrlich