It's deer season here in Texas. We haven't seen any guys with guns this year (yet), but we have seen several nice bucks, including this splendid twelve-point whitetail buck we photographed from our front porch. This is the time of year when a buck has s-e-x on his mind and the does are either receptive or resigned, so we've been seeing plenty of deer hanky-panky. Molly Maguire (our Australian cattle dog) thinks it's her job to do the play-by-play, so there's plenty of excited barking, too. The veggie garden is fenced and there's enough open land around us that the deer aren't a problem, and we love to watch them. We saw a bobcat a couple of weeks ago, a rare sighting, only the second one we've seen in the nearly thirty years we've lived here.
Garden report. There's not much going on in the garden except for this spectacular kale, a hold-over from the spring garden. It's tasty, sauteed with a bit of onion and sausage. We may have fall potatoes if the hard freezes hold off for a couple of weeks. I planted them in August, using seed potatoes from the spring crop. This would be first time I've raised my own seed potatoes, a landmark achievement that's only possible in an El Nino year, I suspect. And it's a record El Nino: October was one of the warmest and wettest ever recorded here in Central Texas. Our lake is full and Pecan Creek is running for the first time in nearly four years: a lovely hiatus from the drought.
Book report. I'm delighted to let you know that Loving Eleanor--my novel about the friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok--has earned a starred review from Kirkus, another landmark achievement. The story of the intensely loving friendship of these two women (one of them the "First Lady of the World," as Harry Truman called ER) is a risky story, and untold. It's appearing February 1--but if you're a NetGalley reviewer you can read it now. I'm publishing it under my own imprint (Persevero Press), as I originally published A Wilder Rose.
Speaking of which, I've signed the film option deal for Rose, for a possible cable network mini-series. This is a "live" project (meaning that it's not sitting on the producer's shelf, waiting for studio interest), and when it moves to the script stage, I'll share details. It's been fun and interesting to watch this process going forward--a whole new adventure for me.
Bill and I have also signed the contract for the UK publication of the Robin Paige Victorian/Edwardian mysteries, in print, ebook, and audio. It will be nice to have those books available for our friends who shop in British bookstores.
Works in progress. On the writing desk right now and nearly finished: the 2017 China Bayles mystery (The Last Chance Olive Ranch), for my Berkley/Penguin publisher. In research: another biographical/historical fiction, this one set during WW2. It's also a great story--can't wait to get started on the writing (as soon as Olive Ranch is finished). I'm planning to publish it via Persevero Press, as well. These days, I'm impatient with the long, slow process of traditional publication. I'm hoping to see it in print by Fall, 2017.
Reading note. There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story . . . don't be like the book-snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.--Stephen King