eBook News first! I'm delighted (believe me) to tell you that Amazon and Penguin (my publisher) have finally buried the hatchet in their long and ongoing agree-to-disagree negotiations on Kindle ebook publication. HOLLY BLUES is now available for download. I'm sorry that the book got caught in the two-month death grip of this argument but relieved that it's finally been released at last.
There are so many things going on in eBooks, reading online, and so on. I'm interested in hearing from you what you think about this medium, what kind of devices you use to read, and how your reading habits and preferences have changed over the past few years--if they have. Some of us are print people, and that's all there is to it! But online publication opens up so many interesting new possibilities and potentials, and I've been thinking about experimenting, once my current writing obligations have been met. I'll welcome your comments. So please, weigh in.
Books aren't the only thing blooming around here. I always plant sweet peas in the fall, but most years, they don't make much of a show. This El Nino year was different, with plenty of rain and cool temperatures for most of the spring. I've been enjoying a spectacular display of sweet peas, and their fragrance has perfumed that corner of the garden.
The spring garden is just about finished, though. I've dug the potatoes (reds and whites), picked the last of the peas for the freezer, and harvested the carrots, beets, and spring onions. The green beans and zucchini are coming on now, fast and furious, and the tomatoes are beginning to ripen. What's on the vines will be the last until fall, though, because the daytime temps are already in the 90s, too hot to set fruit. I'm filling in the empty spaces, as usual, with sweet potatoes, squash, and melons.
Writing report. This is the year of the back-to-back book deadlines, because of the new series. I'm writing the second Dahlias book now: THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE NAKED LADIES, due at the end of June. After that (due at the end of October), the final book in the Cottage Tales series. So I've had to be seriously focused on writing. My challenge, as it always is, is writing a book that is both realistic and a "mystery." Not that there aren't mysteries in all our lives--there are, and often far too many of them! But the conventions of "the mystery" are fairly . . . well, conventional. It's hard to lay out a "mystery plot" that engages complex characters in a realistic, serious, and complex way--without seeming silly, contrived, and artificial. And given the time period of the Dahlias books (this one is set in late 1930), there's also the challenge of writing about a difficult period in American life. Lots to think about here.
Knitting, reading. Writing all day (with occasional sidetrips to Facebook and Twitter) means that I'm pretty much brain-dead by the end of the day and not fit for much besides knitting and reading. Mostly socks, easy with self-striping yarn. Here's one of the projects. Reading right now: Bill McKibben's EAARTH and Eudora Welty's novel LOSING BATTLES. Listening to the audiobook edition of SUPREME POWER: FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT VS THE SUPREME COURT, by Jeff Shesol--an enlightening study of the problems a progressive president confronts when faced by the power of a conservative court, the legacy of presidents past.
And of course I am saddened by the situation in the Gulf. You may not agree with me on this, but I believe that we're all implicated in this disaster. We're the ones who demand so much of this toxic fossil fuel that we have to reach to the ends of the earth and deep under the sea to get it. And now that the easy oil is all but gone (yes, Virginia, there is a Peak Oil), and unless we can find some other sources to satisfy our enormous appetite for energy, we will see many more of these ecological, economic, and social disasters. Not a cheerful thought, especially with a hyperactive hurricane season on the horizon. It's going to be a challenging summer, a time for learning what we're made of, all of us.Reading note. That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.-- Doris Lessing