I love winter mornings in the Hill Country. The riot of summer color (all that green!) is subdued, the bird calls are muted (saving their energy to stay warm), and the air is crisp and fresh. There's a calming quietness to the landscape, a welcome retreat from the hurly-burly and noise of the human world. I seem to need that more and more these days. Is it because I'm growing older (celebrated my 78th birthday this month), or because the human clamor is louder, or just because? I don't know. I'm just glad to have this retreat, and to live in a place that daily renews itself and renews me. The spider that built the web left died in the first hard freeze. But her work remains, reminding me that spring will bring spiders and webs once again, and vivid green and bird songs and new energies for going out and about.
In the meantime, there's the writing. I'm about to finish the second novella in the Ruby trilogy (to be published in ebook only). Next up: the third in that series--and then I'll go back and rework all three. Things have happened in the second book that required changes in the first, and I'm sure the third will mean even more changes. Each of these is about half the length of a full novel, so when it's done, it'll be a book-and-a-half. I've used paranormal themes in earlier books in the China Bayles series, but this is the first time those themes have dominated the plots. I've had a lot to learn, like a spider teaching herself a new web. But that's the fun of it--and that's what keeps me writing. New webs . . .
And more new webs. Two books coming out in the next two months: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover in March and Queen Anne's Lace in April. Looks like Clover is close to selling out its first printing, and I'll have to go to a second (I'm also the publisher of that book). Nice problem to have! Tell your librarians and local bookstores that the book is available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor and on Overdrive. Look for it on a table display at Barnes & Noble through the month of March. You'll also be able to find it in audio.
Giveaway! I'm giving away 100 free Kindle copies of Clover on Goodreads this week (through Feb 2). With that many copies, your chances of winning are pretty high, so give it a try. Winners will get their digital copies a full month ahead of everybody else. Don't you just love the worldwide web?
Reading note. You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.--E.B. White, Charlotte's Web