New Mexico Star. No, it's not finished yet, just getting started! This is my new needlepoint project, from Laura Perin's wonderful American Quilt Collection. I love the rhythms and repetitions of Laura's designs--just the thing to settle me down in the evenings, after a day's writing. Especially these days, with so much email traffic related to A Wilder Rose. Tonight, I'll set up the canvas and the thread and start stitching.
A Wilder Rose is just a week away from publication and has been getting some important recognition. Earlier, Kirkus gave the book a starred review. This week, it earned another starred review from Publishers Weekly. And the Independent Book Publishers Association chose the book for the cover of the August 26 indie special issue of Publishers Weekly. It will be available in eBook format from B&N, Amazon, iBook, and Kobi next week, and in print from Amazon. Next month, libraries and bookstores will be able to order it in hardcover and trade paper via their usual distributors (Baker & Taylor and Ingram).
What a remarkable learning adventure this has been--from doing the research and the writing, to deciding to author-publish. I couldn't have done it without my team: Kerry Sparks, at Levine/Greenberg (Jim Levine is a grad school friend from Berkeley days); Sally Ferguson, sharp-eyed copyeditor; Peggy Moody, my webmistress and assistant in almost everything I do; Sherry Wachter, creative cover artist; and Jeanette Larson, who has been helping me bring the book to the attention of librarians. And Bill, of course, who reads and marks up every manuscript before it leaves my desk. It would have been much easier to have turned all this work over to a publisher--but just think of all the excitement I would have missed!
Oh, and something I need to ask you: if you've been one of the beta readers or early reviewers and have enjoyed the book, please be sure to leave a note on the Amazon and B&N reader-review pages, as well as Goodreads and LibraryThing. It's important to get those early reader reviews out there, to help other people decide whether the book is worth reading. Please and thank you.
The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star comes out next week, too--published through my usual legacy publisher: Berkley Prime Crime. I got my author copies Friday, and they're beautiful. I'm finishing up the fifth book in that series right now, with a due date at the end of the week. With luck, I'll make it.
A new standalone project. I'm not ready to tell you about this yet, but I have a good start on the research and plan to do some writing this fall. It's another work of biographical/historical fiction, set in the twentieth century. I love this stage of a new writing project: digging into the research, accumulating facts and ideas and watching them assemble themselves into patterns, learning what the story is and how to tell it. A lovely time--if there were only another 24 hours in the day.
The drought persists, and Lake Travis is down to 33% of full--bad news for Austin's water supply. The Austin temps have dropped below 100, but our digital thermometer topped that mark every day last week. I've lost track of how many 100+ degree days it's measured, and it no longer seems to mattermuch whether it's 103 or 108. I planted beans for the fall garden, but will likely have to replant--the soil is just too hot. The squash, however, has popped up undaunted. I'll have to watch for squash bugs and try to catch them early. I've kept the chard going through the summer for the hens, who also enjoy sweet potato leaves and wild purslane/portulaca. The girls get a couple of hours under the mister in the afternoons, to cool them off a little.
I'll try to post again in another week or so, to update you on the progress of Rose.
Reading Note. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” --Lemony Snicket