I've been on the paperback book tour for The Map of True Places. Or rather, I should call it the culinary tour of Connecticut and Vermont. Great stores, great people, and great food and wine at about nine PM every night. I tried, Weight Watchers, I really tried! But it's just not hospitable to refuse these local favorites. Local Vermont Cheeses and maple cured sausages? Okay, so maybe that was breakfast, but you get the idea. I'm back home for a few days, hitting the treadmill and the bike and eating my five point Think Thin bars. More tour to come, but I'm determined. Thank God I'm not going south this time. On my last tour, I went to Charleston and New Orleans. Weight Watchers didn't stand a chance.
I'm spending this weekend in my hometown, St. Louis, at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference, where I'll get to see Nancy Pickard, another featured speaker. I hope I didn't disgrace myself giving the keynote speech at the banquet last night. I promised the conference organizers my talk would be mercifully short. Sunday morning, I teach a three-hour master's class on creating characters. Then I fly home to Fort Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines. That's the airline that had a plane with a huge hole in the fuselage. Don assures me the flight will be perfectly safe. I told him if I die in a plane crash, I will haunt him for the rest of his days. At night, he will hear me whispering "I told you so."
I am cooking for zillions, cleaning my house because it hasn't really been cleaned since I went underground to finish the current book two months ago. (It is not finished, BTW.) There is a wedding this week. My son and his smart, tough, beautiful fiance, whose mother referred to her as "ours." Doesn't get any better than this, I promise you. Next week, I'll get back to finishing the book. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some bacon jam that needs to go in the crockpot.....
[Yet she had time to look up the recipe for Barbara’s Bacon Jam to post on Facebook.][Sarah's link broke, but this is another recipe.]
I'm hunkered down with the windows closed, praying for rain, waiting out pine pollen season. Another week should do it. These pine trees are way oversexed. No wonder they're the first trees to grow in a barren field.
Tomorrow, I'm off to a week-long retreat with some of my writer friends, so I'm packing the car with computer, notebooks, bedlinens, a 12-pack of Pepsis,a bottle of bourbon and a frozen casserole for the night when it's my turn to cook supper. (No Cheetos though. Gave them up for Lent.) I hope to come home with 5000 more words on my 2012 book and a good sense of where the book's going.
[When I asked the Tarts to write these, I sent a reply to Margaret that I had problems with alder tree pollen and had in Washington State, Vermont and California. To which Diane chimed in…]
No no, Holly, you don't understand what Margaret is talking about. The pine pollen isn't the make-you-sneeze type. it's the takes-over-the-entire-world type. I made the mistake of opening my office window yesterday and by evening a layer of yellow dust was on every sheet of paper and piece of equipment and ME in my office. I’d covered all the porch furniture with green sheets that are now completely yellow. I've lived lots of places but never experienced anything like this till moving to NC. So this time of year, when you long to open the windows, you must fight the urge and keep them closed.
So that's what I'm up to, along with being chained to my desk, 2 weeks from deadline with the book from hell (oh wait...they all are) that still has no title. It's this deadline that's preventing me from going away with Margaret and the gang for a week of writing and balderdash. :(
Harley Jane Kozak
I'm rehearsing this week for the Romantic Times Convention -- I'm the M.C./Joan Rivers-type person for the Mr. Romance Contest (male cover models), as well as singing, dancing and performing Shakespeare at the Vampire Ball, in a show entitled "Zombie Dancers from Planet 9."
Kathy Reschini Sweeney
Today, I am in shock. My baby boy is 16. He was a bit of a surprise - one that has turned out to be the greatest delight of my life. But don't tell him I said that. He already gets away with too much. How did all these years go by? I need cake. Stat.
Today my husband and I are engaged in an EPIC SCRABBLE BATTLE. The loser must give Mentally Ill Grudge-Holding Cat his Kitty-Prozac all month. Mentally-Ill Grudge-Holding Cat needs his meds, but he hates to be touched only slightly less than he hates to be pilled. The person who loses this battle gains Mentally Ill Grudge-Holding Cat’s considerable, baleful, and long-memoried ire. OH, this cat. You shouldn’t make him angry. You wouldn’t LIKE him when he is angry. And since I work from home, I am available to be ired at all hours of the day. So. I am not going to lose. I have a pocket full of blank tiles and a fistful of illegal tranqs. I LOVE my husband, but if first skill and then luck and finally cheating all fail me, I will have no choice but to roofie my beloved and swear up and down I was victorious.
PS Margaret! I read this and immediately thought
Margaret are you grieving over all your pines unleaving?
But pines don’t have leaves. And un-needling does not rhyme.
Margaret are you feeding, needing, bleeding, pleading, BAH!
I actually get a grant from the state of Georgia to NOT write poetry.
Yes yes it is a SPECIAL pollen bowl kind. We have it. For a month the purple car is yellow and the orange car is yellow and my cream trimmed rosey-bricked house is yellow and the green grass is yellow and THE VERY FREAKING AIR IS GOT’DAMNABLY YELLOW.
I'm hitting the campaign trail to sell Sticky Fingers. (In the Philadelphia area? Come to the Borders store in Springfield on Friday, April 15th at 6pm or at the Philadelphia Book Fest on Saturday from 11am to 1pm.) I'm also finishing up the 8th Blackbird book--which should be published early in 2012. And . . . my iPad arrived! Now I have to learn how to use it. Any suggestions for good apps?
I’m busy distracting myself from my book that keeps saying it doesn’t care if I need to make a living, it still has percolating to do. Have I ever mentioned that I think commerce and art are TERRIBLE bedfellows? Of course, that’s not what my favorite Kansas playwright thought about it. William Inge, who wrote Picnic, Splendor in the Grass, Bus Stop, Come Back Little Sheba, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, (wow, right?) said that forcing art through the commerce sieve and vice versa was hunky-dory. His actual quote is: “Literature flourishes best when it is half trade and half an art.” I agree, but only when my book actually gets finished and then published and I get paid. Until those moments, the bedfellows continue to kick each other and bellow and be total nightmares. And let’s not overlook the fact that Bill Inge killed himself. Damn, I just made myself feel like sitting in this coffee shop and crying. He was so brilliant, and he suffered so from depression and from hiding his sexuality from the pigs and bigots of his day. Well, you’d never know it from what I just wrote here, but I’m actually feeling happy and springy, in spite of sieves and stubborn books and tragic playwrights. Here, everybody, have a double latte and a chocolate truffle.
The ducks are back! But you know that..Flo and Eddy have been baffled by the ice on their backyard pond, but other than that, it's a sure sign it's spring. My tulips and crocuses are pushing their way out of the still-frozen earth, and I saw a whole flock of robins in our neighbor's yard. (It was almost scary, you know? Cue Tippi Hendren.) Right now I am somewhere in the air between Boston and Indianapolis, gave a speech in Indy to a wonderful group who wanted to know all about e-publishing. (Gee, I wish I knew. Don't we all?) Yes, there's a new book (cross fingers please, everyone) which I am editing now. (It's easier to cut than add, right?) Looking forward to the MWA symposium in two weeks, then the gala Malice Domestic convention where DRIVE TIME is up for an Agatha for Best Mystery of 2010. (Yes, our NancyP is up for one, too, sigh, but she's sold more books than I have, I bet, so don't I need the teapot?) Is it time to send my winter clothes to the dry cleaners? Ah, I'll think about that later.