Sixth Newsletter: Digging in for Fall

I send out a monthly-ish newsletter (more like bi-monthly-ish). This is the the sixth one, sans photos that accompany it when it goes straight to your inbox (apparently copying them from the original newsletter is technologically beyond me). If you’d like to see the whole thing, pictures and all, sign up here!

Getting Busy
That’s the idea, anyway

The Kid went back to preschool almost a month ago. There he is on the first day. You probably can’t read the sign, but I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said, “I haven’t decided yet.” Then he added, “I’m going to have a LEGO stand with Paw Patrol toys and nerf guns.” And that, my friends, pretty much sums up this kid right now.

I had visions of the amazing productivity I’d have working in the parking lot during the three days I’m not working in The Kid’s classroom. For various reasons I haven’t made the lightning fast progress I thought I would. One factor is that I’ve been really trying to slow down and do the hard work on the manuscript. Sometimes I find myself rushing because I really want to be able to say “I’ve got a new draft!” but I ought to know by now that fixing the tricky stuff now means I’ll be so much closer to a draft I can’t wait to share.

An Invitation or Two
and: A Cry for Help!

I have a couple events coming up that I’d love to invite you to take part in.

On Saturday, October 17, I’ll be reading as part of San Francisco’s LitQuake. If you’re in the city, I’d love to see you!

Then, on Tuesday, October 20 from 5:30-6:30 PM PST, I’ll be hosting another #HistoricalFix TwitterChat. It’s a great chance to add one million books (okay, maybe one hundred) to your “To-Read” list as historical fiction readers, bloggers, and authors come together to chit-chat about our favorite genre.

So now, the cry for help: My San Francisco reading will be in a bar and I’ve been told that in a bar it’s a good idea to read something funny… I’m stumped! What’s your favorite funny scene from I Shall Be Near To You?

Meeting a kindred spirit

Back when I was drafting I Shall Be Near To You, my professor Rosemary Graham mentioned how much she thought I would enjoy Mary Volmer‘s work. I read Mary’s first novel Crown of Dust[” target=”_blank”>Crown of Dust and loved it. I’m convinced that if her protagonist Alex and Rosetta ever met, they’d have so much to discuss. When I finally got to meet Mary, it was one of those experiences where I felt as though I’d known her for ages, that’s how easy it was to talk to her (and I love medium and large talk so much better than small talk). In any case, I had a similar experience reading this interview with Mary. So much of what she says about why her second novel felt more difficult to write feels so very familiar. And I love this idea she mentions: “Richard Bausch says to ask yourself, ‘Have you worked today?’ And if the answer is, ‘Yes,’ then you have been productive.” What a deceptively simple question to encourage really digging in.

(I can’t stop talking about seeds)

Speaking of digging, there are our baby pumpkin plants, limping along. When The Kid and I pulled out the pumpkin seeds we’d saved last year to plant this year (a month too late for even Thanksgiving– I don’t know why I find it so hard to just put seeds in the ground! We’ll see if we get any pumpkins before the frost kills them), I discovered some hollyhock seeds my mom gave me last year. They’re from a historic home named Glenwood, built in 1877. I thought I’d planted them already, but turns out I hadn’t (see above re. actually planting seeds). Even though we’ve already sprinkled one million hollyhock seeds about the yard, I’m going to find a special spot for these (I swear it). I want to see how they might be different from the ones we already have. It’ll also be a nice homage to Josie, because Glenwood makes an appearance in the pages of the new novel. Isn’t it a gorgeous place? Ever since I was a kid, driving past on the way to 4-H
meetings and the tack shop, I’ve spent many a moment daydreaming over this place and its oak trees. I still want to live there.

Oh, and that reminds me. Do you want to plant some hollyhocks too? Fall (right before the first frost) is the perfect time. I still have TONS of seeds saved and I’d love to share them if you’d like them. Just reply to this email (it goes straight to my inbox) with your address and I’ll send them right over!

The days are getting shorter
(which I really don’t like)

But here’s to my favorite parts of Fall– pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, and just recently, apple pie (which I made for research purposes, of course). If you need it, Mark Bittner’s pie crust recipe is the only one I’ve ever made that was actually worth the effort (every time!). For the record, I don’t have a food processor, and his best tip, which isn’t included in the link but is in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian: roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. Seriously, it’s like magic!

All my best,

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