Second Newsletter: Incubating

Here’s my second email newsletter. One of the perks of signing up for the newsletter is the pictures that originally came with it are actually included! You can sign up here, if you’re so inclined.


This hen just kept trying.

Even though, as Rosetta would say, it’s too late for getting broody, my little red hen just wouldn’t quit sitting on eggs. I’d collect her clutch when she got off the nest to go eat, but she’d just move to a different nesting box and start over (or else “borrow” someone else’s eggs). Finally she broke me, and under the cover of night two weeks ago, I moved her and the eggs into the safety of the coop and let her go into zen mode. For 14 days, she barely moved off the nest, and now, here she is with the results of her determined incubating:

If only my husband were as happy about the new baby chick surprise. His goal for this year? A chicken enclosure. As pastoral as completely free range chickens are, they’re also rather messy.

All of which is kind of a nice metaphor for the work I’ve been doing.

Just before the New Year, I wrote to you about how I was so close to reaching my goal of a New Novel for the New Year. I managed to do it! So this month I’ve been incubating my little baby novel, letting it sit, undisturbed, while I kept it warm and meditated over it. Come February, I’m going to read it through and see how well my story has hatched. I know it’s messy. There will be lots of work to do–scenes I already know I want to change or add (see below)– but I also hope there will be lots of happy surprises too– lines I read and think, “I wrote that?!”

This coming week there will be more birthdays. On the same day the kid turns four, I Shall Be Near To You turns one (the 28th is an auspicious day). Both the boy and the book are marvels to me. Just the other day, the kid figured out how to take off and put on his own shirt. He looked at me and said, “Mama, I don’t need you any more!” Oh, my heart! But that is the goal, for both him and the book.

Since the book and the boy are getting so grown up, it’s good I get to begin again, then, with the new draft of the new story and new goals. Goal number one? A complete revision by 4/1– there! I wrote it down! (Eep!) Hold me to it!

Another goal? To have photos to share with you, taken with my “new” camera. I never would have guessed when I started this new novel that my research would lead me to purchasing a 100+ year old camera off eBay (for only $8!). I just wanted to find out about the Kodak Brownie camera for this one little scene, but now I’m walking around town with a little black box (it gets all kinds of attention!). I’m having so much fun that I’m thinking the Brownie might need a bigger role in the story. Of course, maybe my opinion will change once I get the photos back. Meanwhile, I’m amazed that this simple, mostly cardboard box just keeps taking pictures.

Whatever your goals are for this New Year (want to share? here’s to keeping on and finding happy surprises, marvels, and amazements along the way.

Happy 2015!

First Newsletter: Planning Ahead

Some of you have signed up for my newsletter, but for those of you who haven’t (or for those curious about what you may have missed), here’s my very first newsletter. The original version has photos, which I haven’t quite figured out how to get to show up here. I guess for now that’s one of the perks of actually getting the newsletter delivered right to your inbox (psssst! You can sign up here). Ready? Here it is!


So, I’ve never written a newsletter before, but I thought I’d like to give it a try. I’m thinking of it as a little letter from me to you. It’ll be fun, like penpal letters back when I was 13. You can write me back if you’d like.

One of the great things about December is I start making things. I love being able to start and finish a little project, all in one day (so unlike writing a book!). Yesterday I made candied pecans (yum) and mixed up some loose leaf Chai Tea as gifts for our neighbors (they are so nice–they never complain about our chickens wandering over to forage in their yard). Today I might make some goat’s milk fudge, if I can overcome memories of last year’s fudge-tastrophe. Earlier this week I embroidered three hankies, two for the wonderful women who play with and teach and comfort and entertain my kid while I’m writing. Here’s one of the hankies. I love how it turned out!

I’m not sure I *love* embroidering, but Josie, the main character in the new novel I’m working on does (she makes really pretty stuff). Sitting down to stitch helps me connect with her in a deeper way. There’s just something about physically doing that binds me to my characters and helps me find images that express how they see their world. With Rosetta, I milked and made soap and marched battlefields. With Josie, I’m embroidering and riding bareback.

I’ve also been squeezing in time to work on that new novel. My goal, which seemed daunting (impossible, actually) when I set it at the end of the summer, was to finish a draft of the novel this year. But now the New Year is 12 (!!) days away, and the great thing is I’m fewer than 2000 words away from my goal. I kind of can’t believe it. Something about setting a goal, writing it down, and telling people about it (eep!), really motivates and focuses me. It always has (have you seen my list from 1987?).

The third great thing about December (this week!), was we started planning for spring baby goaties! I’m so excited about hopefully having two mama goats this year. The kids are just too much fun– the ones below are two of ours from spring 2014.

I hope you are able to spend cozy time with your loved ones as 2014 brings itself to a close. Come the New Year, I’ll be choosing some dreams to write down. Do you have any burning desires that you might want to put to paper and make official?

With Warmest Wishes and Gratitude,