In The Writer's World

The State of the State

Damn, it’s hot.

I’m not complaining. I love summer, particularly those long luscious days when sunset doesn’t come until after 9 p.m. Summer is about heat. My lovely daughter and I plan to enjoy it. We have a pool date set for Tuesday that may involve lunch and some Salt & Straw ice cream. You never know.

July so far has been devoted to house-dog sitting for friends. It’s about the dogs. Since my Sadie left me, I can’t go through the sadness of losing another dog of my own. So I get my kicks with other people’s dogs. It’s how I imagine grandkids. You love them and spoil them, and then you get to go home. Each dog is fabulous in his or her own way.


The State of the Novel

Dog sitting in no way impedes the progress of Blackthorn. With modern technology, writing is so much easier than it was a few decades ago. I take my old laptop with me everywhere.

Currently I am working my way through a third draft. When I get tired of that, I go through the comments and observations of my First Readers, taking into account the variety of input I’ve received to date. Some of it I will use, some I won’t. Some is still under consideration. I greatly appreciate the hours these friends spend on each batch of pages.

This time around, I’ve brought readers into the process earlier in the game. It’s risky. These readers see a manuscript when it’s half-baked. It puts the author in a vulnerable position, but overall I think it’s a step forward. The readers point out the things I don’t see a bit earlier in the process, and I like that.

My next Emma Golden novel, now just a few jottings on paper, will be set in Emma’s beloved wine country during the month of November. It involves the death of a character introduced in An Unholy Alliance, the first book in the series. You will be surprised. Very surprised.

Everything else 

Off to Mitchell, Oregon, in a couple weeks!

Where to start?

Road trip to Spokane in late June found my friends Linda and Jerry in good stead. I love going to the Inland Empire. It takes me back to my early childhood in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Spokane is a city filled with incredible homes built 100 years ago by mining, railroad, and timber tycoons. It’s a city with lots of civic pride, a lovely and lively downtown, great architecture, and, most important, wonderful friends.

July garden.

The garden is about to give us our first broccoli. I did a netting project once I returned from my trip, to keep those white moths out of the vegetables. We’re getting squash, blueberries, kale (also netted), snap peas, arugula. A few blackberries have ripened. The tomatoes are going to be ripe in a couple of weeks, while tomatillos and pickling cucumbers duke it out in one of the raised beds. Wynne has almost completed her fence-building project, which is more work than someone like me can even imagine.

Broadway Rose’s wonderful production of Mamma Mia is onstage now through July 22. Also featuring the music of ABBA greats Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus is Chess at Lakewood Theatre. Kate Hamill’s take on Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility runs at Clackamas Repertory Theatre through July 22. Summer theatre at its best.

Like a little couture with your crime? I got totally caught up in Angela Sanders’s just-off-the-press Head Case. A Portland mystery author with a great sense of fun, Sanders knows vintage clothing like the back of her hand. Her heroine, Joanna Hayworth owns a vintage clothing store in Portland, and has a talent for getting into trouble. I often find cozy mysteries too tame for my tastes, but I love this series! It is SOOOO Portland. The landmarks are everywhere, the characters genuine and fun. The old mansion in this one is a Portland landmark. Too much fun! Sanders is a kick too. You can spot her around the city wearing classic 1940s ensembles. Smashing!

On to more adventures.


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