He plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed

No yardwork today, just rewriting/revising/and so forth on Princess X. I've made a pretty good dent, and ought to have it finished up (and back on its editor's desk) by Wednesday afternoon, if all goes well. I hope all goes well. This thing is eating my life, at the moment.

I want this wrapped by Wednesday in part because (a). I'm ready to be done with this draft in general, and (b). on Thursday I'm driving down to Birmingham as a guest for PlayOn Con - where you can catch me all weekend! This is going to be a hoot, I swear. But I'd like a clean writing plate before I go, you know?

When I get back, it's a return to Chapelwood - which needs a Draft Zero by the end of July. It's totally doable, but I have to, you know, do it. And there are always things in the way...things like production issues on other books, conventions, out-of-town friends, and so forth. And so on.

I'll get it done. And come August, I'll begin on Godbothering, which needs a Draft One by New Year's.

* * *


Only FIVE DAYS LEFT on the big Maplecroft ARC giveaway over at Goodreads.

* * *


I was going to natter on a bit longer, but there's a big-ass thunderstorm rolling in and the power might or might not hold. So I'll just sign off, make myself a drink, and see about catching up on Penny Dreadful. It will be a good evening, I believe.

Have yourselves a good one, too.

Life is beautiful but you don't have a clue

a barrel of laughs
The Yard of Sisyphus continues to overwhelm us, but such is summer around here.

I went to the nursery yesterday and picked up some awesome new plants (and a couple of new containers), but by the time I got home it was approximately a thousand degrees outside with probably, like, 300% humidity. You might as well be breathing bathwater, so I said, "To hell with it - it'll wait."

But then a storm blew up, and took its own sweet time getting underway - so during the lull of windy, overcast weather, I got everything planted and sorted after all. I installed a couple of new container gardens, and shuffled around the existing containers, for starters - because the shade/sun issue in our backyard is kind of complicated, and some of the plants needed to find a different place to camp. Next, I planted a row of "mona lavender" in a back bed that was ruined by last year's harsh winter, weeded the original foundation plants against the house, pruned up the bird corner, added a new hummingbird feeder and filled it up, and replaced some of the failing annuals in the pots out front by the stairs.

And then the bottom dropped out, so, you know.

Today I nabbed some more annuals, to fill in the spots in the flower box which were destroyed by birds/bugs/whatever - but I'm waiting for it to cool off a bit before I install them.

When I do, I'll probably take half an hour or so and go around the corner to pull some vines. I think I mentioned it here: We cleared out a massive tangle of briars/pokeweed/vines to reveal three ancient rose bushes, which might actually be as old as the house itself (not that we could ever prove it). We took everything back to ground level, and stripped out all the bad stuff we could ... but vines are vines, and they don't just "go away." Not really.

They're creeping back up again, but I SHALL SLAY THEM. I must, for the roses are growing back - much to my glee. We figured they'd be all right if they could just get some breathing room, and we were correct, thank heavens. Little green and red sprouts are shooting up from the stumps like gangbusters, and I will protect them with my life.

Or with my loppers and weeding tools, anyway.

* * *


Much to my astonishment, Greyson let me trim up his raggedy-ass feet the other night. He was napping in the den, and I was sitting next to him...playing with his toes...and he didn't seem to care, so...I went and got the scissors. He's often unsettled by electronic equipment like clippers, so I figured the analog option would work out better; and I was right!

Before and after, below.






He let me snip his nails, too - though he was less mellow about it, partly because the cat was starting to get jealous of all the attention I was paying him. She kept sneaking up on him to sniff at his butt, and she managed to startle him at the precise moment I was trying to trim his tiniest nail (on one of his extra toes).

It wasn't exactly TORMENT, WOE, and BLOOD EVERYWHERE, but it wasn't his favorite part of the amateur grooming, either. Still, he let me finish up - and the too-close-cut nail didn't really seem to hurt him any. When we were done, he got up and followed me to the kitchen, where some cheese and peanut butter made everything cool again.

* * *


Yesterday it came to my attention that unscrupulous-type persons can purportedly download Maplecroft's audiobook already. But since the audio edition doesn't actually exist yet, I'd be wary of clicking that link, if I were you.

Or knock yourself out, whatever.

(Yes, there will be an audiobook - produced by this fine company, later this year.)

And when she saw what she had done...

On this date in 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe, and it's not like I can let an anniversary like that just...slide by unmentioned, you know? Not when Maplecroft comes out in a couple of months! (September 2, to be precise.)

For what it's worth, Maplecroft opens in 1894, after the trial - and although the deaths and subsequent courtroom drama may launch the events in the story, those things are well in the past by the time the tale gets underway.

So did she do it? That's not the mystery. The mystery is why they died at all...and what will happen next.

In short, Maplecroft is all about Lizzie Borden fighting Cthulhu with an axe.



In somewhat longer form, it's a Victorian-style gothic novel, a love-letter to Dracula via Lovecraft. It's the story of a woman chasing down arcane science for answers – struggling to save a town that shuns her. It’s also the tale of her older sister, Emma – a brilliant invalid who masquerades as a man in order to publish in scientific journals; Doctor Seabury, the physician who defended Lizzie during her trial, and now sees all too clearly that the creeping threat is hideously unnatural; and Lizzie's young lover Nance O’Neil, a stunning stage actress whose stubborn devotion could take her closer to the truth than she ever ought to come.

And all the while, haunting the background entirely by accident...is a villain who doesn’t know he’s a villain. Of course, by the time he reaches Fall River, he doesn’t even know he’s human...

So hey, a few preorder links never hurt anyone, am I right?

Cashmere, cologne and hot sunshine

Today I reached the halfway point (approximately) on the Princess X revisions. I'm finished with all the easy stuff, so nothing remains but the hard questions and new material. [:: sigh ::]

When I'd had just about all of the revising I could stand, I went outside to address the rapidly accumulating yardwork needs. It's been overcast and thundering all afternoon, but it never did rain; so it was dry enough and breezy enough that the temperature stayed down long enough for me to manage the entirety of the HedgeHenge bed and its accompanying roses.

I didn't actually get around to trimming the hedge, but I pruned the worst bits of it - and yanked out two buckets worth of choking vines. Everything else, I weeded within an inch of its life, and then I dead-headed the roses, and got those shrub-sized bad-boys under control.

Not so much glamorous, but it needed to be done. It was a good project for me and my tumbler full of rum and ginger ale, some sunglasses, and a big floppy hat, anyway.

* * *


Invigorated by my productivity, I roped the husband into another long-overdue project: We bathed Greyson for the first time. (As opposed to sending him off to the groomer.) He reeked of...well, of dog. Badly.

[Note: And we're not terribly happy with his groomers. We're in search of an alternative, and if that alternative turns out to be us, personally...then so be it. We are grown ups. We can do this. I bet.]

We took him outside to his new purple kiddie-pool, which he mostly drinks out of - and occasionally splashes in. We figured the cool water would do him good in the summer warmth, and if we were going to make a mess...we should make it outside.

We did, in fact, make a mess. A wet mess. A sudsy mess. A mess of everyone and everything getting soaked - but a mess of one dog getting more or less clean and sweet-smelling, if deeply indignant.



All things being equal, he took it pretty well. The husband had to hold him on a leash, and once or twice we had to man-haul him back into the pool - which is less fun/easy than it sounds when you're talking about 90 pounds of stubbornness. But generally, he stood there and took it like a champ. A pissed-off, unhappy champ.

Tomorrow, we will attend to his shaggy-ass feet and nails. I'm sure that will go equally well.

* * *


Why no, I am NOT finished reminding you about the ARC giveaway for Maplecroft over at Goodreads. You still have another nine days to enter!

* * *


In wholly superficial and pointless fashion news, my fifteen-year-old self would be so damn proud of me.



Those are black spiderweb/rosebud jelly sandals. I found them for about fifteen bucks online someplace, and though it took them forever to ship, I am delighted to have them now.

Summer elder goth: Not as hard as you might expect.
Not as expensive, either - if you're patient and flexible.
KermitOMGYAY
I promise I won't be a pain-in-the-ass shill about this, but I have GOT to tell you guys about the big Rogues anthology - because it drops today! And I'm in it! So are a bunch of other people you might have heard of! Including, but not limited to, such diverse folks as GRRM himself, Neil Gaiman, Pat Rothfuss, Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, and Connie Willis.

I recommend you click the image below, and find yourself transported to a Suvudu article for more details.



As for me and my participation, my story is called "Heavy Metal" - for a couple of reasons. One, it features my giant Tennessean monster hunter, Kilgore Jones (as featured in a previous short story, "The Heavy"). Two, it's set out in Ducktown, site of the defunct/collapsed Burra Burra Mine.

(If you want to read about something truly weirder than anything I can make up, do a little googling about the old Burra Burra. Gaze upon Tennessee's red desert, ye mighty, and scratch your heads.)

At any rate! If you'd like to pick up Rogues, then by all means, let me help:
* * *


Still playing catch-up today, running the last of my errands and getting ready to launch back into the Princess X revisions tonight or tomorrow. I ran to grab lunch, went to DSW because I had a coupon and there's no such thing as too many summer flats, picked up a plastic kiddie pool for Greyson to wallow in, caught up on email, fixed/lacquered/installed a neighborhood sign (long story), responded to assorted invitations and requests, and swung by Southeastern Salvage to pick up a new welcome mat and some knockout roses.

Our welcome mat was so welcoming that it had turned a merry shade of dark green and featured sprouts growing out of it, plus squishy bugs living inside it. It had become the kind of welcome mat that you step over, for fear that you might get some of it on your shoes.

Yeah, well. That's what happens when it storms for a couple of weeks and nothing gets a chance to dry out.

And as for the roses, it's far too hot to plant them right this moment, but in the wake of all the landscaping/yardwork, we have a new sight-line to the front street - and it's basically a blind spot, so far as the house goes. I'm not super-worried about anyone jumping into the yard and wreaking havoc, but I'll still feel happier when we have something pokey and pretty planted along that section of fence.

Later. Closer to sundown, perhaps. Or maybe tomorrow morning before the day warms up. I don't know. Not right this moment, anyway.

* * *


Goodreads Maplecroft giveaway: Still going on! You have another 11 days to throw your hat in the ring, so by all means, give it a go! You never know, you might get lucky...

* * *


So. PENNY DREADFUL.

The husband and I caught up on the most recent episode last night, and I'll grant you, I might've had a drink or two while we watched ... but something occurred to me after the fact: I don't think that episode passed the Bechdel Test - OR the gender-flip-version of the Bechdel Test.

[Disclaimer: I'll be the first to admit that the BT is highly imperfect, but it's still an interesting metric.]

What I mean is this - by my recollection, the episode did not feature 2 female characters having a conversation period, much less a conversation about something other than a man. But that said, I likewise don't remember any of the dudes talking about anything other than Vanessa/Mina/Croft/bride-of-Frankenstein/Mrs. VanHelsing.

That takes some doing, right there, to duck the BT metric coming and going.

To be clear, I'm not passing any value judgment. I just thought it was fascinating, primarily because I see BT fails all the time; but I don't believe I've seen the reverse before. Ever.

All my life you're haunting me

super model 1979
Started the day by packing up Stina and all her stuff, heading to the post office, and then getting lunch with Mary - plus the inimitable David and outstanding K. Tempest. It was marvelous to get one last round of shenanigans in before we all went our separate ways, in the wake of the workshop.

Then I dropped off Stina at the airport shuttle, alas.

So now everyone is gone, headed home (or there already). The house is empty of guests, and things are QUIET. I scarcely know what to do with myself.

* * *


Today has been a day of catching up, given that I've done almost zero Real World Work in the last week - given all the comings and goings of all the awesome out-of-towners. I answered emails, filed receipts, picked up my contacts (they were waiting at the eye doctor's office), ran to Ace to pick up a couple of things, filled up the gas tank, and tackled the recycling.

When I went to bring the recycling bins inside the garage, I found a small brown wood rat chilling in the bird seed, chowing down. He gave me a hello-nod, belched, and kept on nomming - before sauntering away when I shooed him off.

We call him "Squeak." Squeak and I have an agreement: He can kick around under the house, or out in the garage - and I won't bother him so long as he and his kinfolk make no effort to enter the house proper. I live on a mountain covered in woods, and we have rats here. It's a fact of life, and I'm at peace with it - and furthermore, I'm not going to poison a population that's preyed upon by hawks, foxes, snakes, and the like ... never mind the neighborhood feline population.

Anyway. I went back to ACE and bought a heavy-duty tub to hold the next batch of birdseed, and yes, I've treated it with un-tasty goo to keep Squeak out of it. We will see how it goes.

* * *


Speaking of the neighborhood feline population, Greyson's pal "Mr. Stubbs" spent the afternoon lounging on the patio, beneath the big umbrella. Greyson was delighted to see him, though it meant that there was no sign of Squeak or any of our feathered friends for awhile.

Click here for visuals, as LJ won't do the embed, for some reason.


(Stubbs is one of those cats who belongs to everyone, and no one. But everyone loves him, and everyone looks after him. Yes, he's neutered and vaccinated. This is a neighborhood that loves its critters.)

* * *


In other animal-related news, Greyson had a play-date/walk-date with Cujo again this afternoon. Cujo (the wildly mis-named) is an older gentleman who lost a leg to bone cancer; he's recovering nicely, but needs a little exercise, and a little time out of the house.

A short walk around the neighborhood with a buddy was just what the doctor ordered.



(Note: I only noticed the "handicapped" sign after I posted this picture. Wasn't trying to be funny; it's just a coincidence.)

We might be hollow but we're brave

It's been a busy week, but a good one - with a visit from my Dad and stepmom x 2; they passed through on the way to Florida to see my sister, then swung back and stayed a few days before heading back to Kentucky. While they were here, we mostly hung around and lazily watched TV, sought out new restaurants, or trolled through antique malls. We also did the now-traditional "Drive out to the local animal shelter to hand over an unexpected four-footed interloper."

(Last time, it was the cemetery kittens, if you'll recall.)



This lovely senior lady joined us on Greyson's walk. She was calm, sweet, well-cared-for, and absolutely darling. But with a full house of guests, it's not like we could hang onto her - so we drove her out to McKamey's and handed her over, though I asked to be notified when she was out of holding and ready for adoption (in the event that no one claimed her).

Then I posted her information to the neighborhood email list, and within an hour, her family had been tracked down. She'd hopped out of a truck at a stoplight, and no one realized she was missing until they'd made it all the way home to Georgia. Three cheers for the email list, eh? "Izzy" was retrieved before the afternoon was out.

* * *


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...or back at Woodthrush, where the Writing the Other Workshop was going down...I might've dropped by once or twice, for funsies - and for the awesome company. (Left to right: Nene Ormes, Mary Robinette Kowal, Yours Truly.)

I might have hypothetically been holding a bite of BBQ.



Today I went back again to retrieve Stina once more - and tomorrow, I'll send her off...back to Texas. Ah, well. It's been fabulous, and I'm glad to have had such marvelous social time this week. As has been noted before, sometimes it seems like I spend too much time alone between conventions.

* * *


The big fat Maplecroft ARC giveaway is still going on, over at Goodreads. Click here to enter the drawing! It would be pretty kick-ass if we could crest 2000 entrants...

* * *


So...I've been dodging the local news for the last couple of days, due to a big puppy mill/hoarding situation that was raided out in McDonald. I can't stand to read that stuff or watch stories about it either, so I'm not going to link to it here.

No, I'll link to something else instead: The Pet Placement Center.

That's the shelter from which both Spain the Cat and Greyson originated - the kitty back in 2002, and Greyson in 2012. It's the oldest no-kill shelter in the region, fighting the good fight ever since nobody thought it was a fight worth fighting.

At any rate, the PPC has taken in 20 of the dogs seized in the raid, including a blind momma with three puppies, and a heavily pregnant dog on the verge of motherhood any day now. The shelter is always stretched to the limits, as you might expect - and now they're all but pushed beyond it, so the message went out via Facebook that they were seeking donations of goods, supplies, volunteers, money, and what have you. So today, the husband and I went shopping from their wishlist, and drove out to see if we could make ourselves useful.

The dogs were in quarantine for now, but the cats? The cats were fair snuggling game.



You guys, the PPC is SWIMMING in cats right now. It's kitten season, you see, and the adult cats are piling up too - so for the moment, if you ask real nice and prove yourself a responsible, loving adult, you can adopt two for the price of one! They all come spayed/neutered/vetted - with a voucher for a first vet getting-to-know-you visit from any participating office.

Just sayin'.



* * *


My husband has been hosting a D&D game tonight, while Stina and I have been lounging in the den, watching trashy TV and farting about on the internet. But I think the players have all gone home now, so I might wrap this up and make myself a drink.

Greyson, however, will lurk in the dining room and look wistfully at the leftover pizza scraps.



Now I'm fixing to make a scene

Yesterday I took two naps and called it an early night, and I still barely dragged myself out of bed this morning - almost two hours after my usual rising. For one thing, it's been a crazy-busy week; and for another, I think I might've been a tiny bit sick. For that matter, I might still be a tiny bit sick. I won't bore you with the details, not least of all because I'm not fishing for the ubiquitous Internet Diagnosis Comments.

I'm fine now, that's the long and short of it. I'm just kind of tired. But I'm NOT so tired that I didn't squeeze out a spot of yardwork between today's thunderstorms.

We've always had this awful dark corner of the yard - the "bird corner" as I've come to think of it, because I strung up some bird feeders and a bird bath, and just let the critters have it. The grade is steep, and the terrain is shady, rocky, rooty, and utterly impossible to clear by hand. We've tried. A lot. We'd need a bulldozer, so forget it.

Anyway, a friend here in the neighborhood suggested I throw down some containers full of hostas or the like, and I finally found a series of cheap black planters that fit the bill. But I went for coleus rather than hosta, because I liked the extra bit of color.



Then I filled in the background with the leftover mulch (from last week's landscaping marathon), blocked off the ends with some decorative black iron fencing (about a foot tall), and adjusted the stakes on the camellias (yes, those are camellias at back corner). No, one does not ordinarily stake camellias. But one does not ordinarily have a 90-pound dog who likes to stomp through them in order to swear at squirrels, so we'll see how they do now that they're surrounded by other stuff.

Maybe Greyson will turn the whole thing into a war zone in under a week. Maybe not.

While I was at it, I took the pruners to the trees growing along/through/over the chain link fence, and cleared out some of the useless shade back there. There's still quite a lot, but it looks cleaner now - and the coleus won't mind either way.

Please pardon the chain link fence. I know it's awful, but it's what came with the house - and you guys should all go and preorder the living daylights out of Maplecroft so I can afford to replace it with something nicer. [:: sigh ::]

Maplecroft at Amazon.
Maplecroft at B&N.
Maplecroft via Indiebound.


* * *


In other news, today I fixed a toilet.
I think.

* * *


I missed Phoenix Comic Con this past weekend, and that was sad; but I got to hang out with Stina Leicht for a couple of days, and that was awesome.



We visited the Chickamauga battlefield and Lookout Point both, rode the Incline, and generally got ourselves sunburned like dorky tourists all over the damn place. Stina is a big ol' nerd for the same kind of history and decrepit architecture that I am, so you may safely bet that we did indeed have one hell of a time.

Sunday after lunch, I sent her off to Woodthrush for the Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat. Then I dashed home and beat my dad and stepmom's arrival by about fifteen minutes.

(Alas, they did not bring the Great Danes for this visit. I told them that next time they head to Florida, they should tote the pooches to our place - and leave them here for a little vacay of their own. I vowed to spoil them stupid, just like Greyson.)

The dad/stepmom combo are headed to my sister's place in Jacksonville, and they stopped over for the night as part of their trip. They'll be back again on Thursday, to stay a little longer before heading back to Kentucky.

* * *


Speaking of Maplecroft - which I totally did, up there someplace - the Goodreads giveaway of a bright, shiny ARC is still going on. Click here to enter the drawing, and thanks a million to everyone who's entered so far.

And thanks a trillion to those of you who've told me you won't enter the drawing, because you've already preordered the book. You folks light up my life, I swear.

* * *


Ordinarily I don't shill for Kickstarter projects, partly because there aren't enough hours in the day - and partly because I'm tired of Kickstarter projects in general. BUT. Once in awhile, something comes along and I sit here and make ridiculous grabby-hand gestures at the screen, because the project in question is just THAT DAMN COOL.

Behold - AVGhost: A Board Game Played in the Dark.
I mean come ON. I would play the SHIT out of that.

* * *


On another note, sort of - Penny Dreadful is killing it. I'm frankly surprised I see so little chatter about this show (relatively speaking) online; it's a wonderful example of gothic storytelling - stylish, dark, sexy ... and okay fine, hella-cheesy at times.

But this most recent episode absolutely nailed the balance of form and content. My husband thinks it was supposed to be the pilot, but I'm not so sure. Maybe he's right, but I was just fine with getting the slow-burn epistolary backstory right where it was; I understand why they opened with the introduction of the American "heavy" - it gives the audience a vehicle character to ride as a point of entry, but the origin piece re: the families Ives and Murray was a positively divine gothic mini-drama, and all but self-contained.

Five out of five stars. Will watch again.
Just try and stop me.

For this could be the biggest sky

a barrel of laughs
I should probably be quick with this entry, as the weather is growing positively dire out there. So here goes, we'll see how fast I can type.

FIRST. Patio is DONE and furniture is HERE.
And I am PROUD OF IT.



Got the biggest damn umbrella they had because there's no shelter whatsoever in that yard, and I wanted some proper shade. The table seats six - which might give you some frame of reference for the sheer scope of that thing. I'm a little in love with it, which is perfectly ridiculous, I know.

(It tilts automatically, and everything. <3 )

Of course, right now I've got the umbrella closed up and secured against the coming storms - and the furniture itself is all heavy cast aluminum, so it probably won't be going anywhere. Knock on wood.

We've seeded grass around the patio, and I'm sure it'll all come back one of these days. (Never mind the ridiculous little stepping stones - I added them as an afterthought.) We kept the foundation shrubbery and natural stone wall installed last year as a drainage/erosion stopgap measure (off to the left - you can barely see that part), and I planted some charming spillover plants that will eventually green-up the whole area. Assuming they survive.

I was right, and the furniture makes for a somewhat tight fit - but it's not half so tight as I feared, and we planned ahead by choosing swivel chairs that don't require much scooting around to access. The chairs bounce, too.

I am also in love with the chairs.

* * *


Tomorrow (not today, as reported yesterday - my mistake) we have our first round of guests arriving, so tonight I'll do some laundry and start the general housework stuff.

Today I ran the trimmer around the lawn and the husband mowed it; I did a little weeding; and I gave up on removing the pea gravel from the former herb garden because Jesus, there are only so many hours in the day - and lately, those hours have been punctuated by storms and they've been really, really hot.

Oh well. I'll get to it later.

* * *


The ARCs of Maplecroft have started making the rounds, and that's always a stressful sort of thing to know about. The very first readers (apart from editors/etc.) are getting their very first look ... and I'm not saying that those early responses set the tone for everything to come, because that's not necessarily the case. But when this is the first nugget of reader response you see - it feels pretty good, that's all I'm saying.

* * *


Hey! My superstitious plea paid off! The Goodreads ARC giveaway for Maplecroft officially has 1000 interested parties! I'll throw it into the "good signs" column, and hope that more of you will consider throwing your names into the ring.

I love this book, you guys. I am stupidly happy with how it turned out, and I really want to share it with the world. SEPTEMBER CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH, I swear.

Let me steal this moment from you now

super model 1979
The weekend - and the last couple of days - have amounted to the Big Push to get the yard ready for summer, which is to say, manageable between now and fall. I've hired a little help - the same woman who came to our rescue last year: a neighbor of mine who I'd link if she had a website, for she's very good. Seriously, she gets more yard-shit done in a day (in 90-degree heat) than I could get done in a week.

Anyway. She was here today, and she'll be here tomorrow, but that's all. It should be enough to get this place kicked into shape before we have several rounds of out-of-towners coming and going from the homestead. (The first arrives on Thursday.)

And in related news, we have a patio! A complete one!

We also have a new set of retaining walls, but that's not half so sexy. More's the pity, really, because it took three times the effort to manage the wall at the side of the house alone. That one took three days to secure, for it was a true and epic wreck of circumstance and poor engineering. Approximately 17 feet by 14 inches, it had broken, been badly patched, broken again, washed partly down the side of the hill, grabbed by an enormous tree's roots - and basically this meant we had several square yards of...well...yard that was a grassless wasteland of jagged, jutting cement and dirt. Our options were few: (1). take down part of the fence to let in a bulldozer and remove all the debris (probably killing the tree in the process), or (2). move the wall down the hill a few feet, then level and back-fill the rest.

We went with option #2. And now we just have a few square yards of yard that is pleasantly dull and level dirt, at least until the grass grows in. 'Tis a relief. Except...now we have to figure out what to do with this new patch of ground.

I'm sure we'll come up with something.

* * *


For the last few days, I've been picking around at the salvage and discount stores in search of glazed pots for container gardens; and today, I hit up a big local nursery for some goodies to fill them. Now they await the new patio furniture, because once that's arrived and set up, we'll decide where everything goes.



Yes, we splurged on a new set of patio furniture. It was a gift to ourselves, courtesy of my recent royalty statement - and it'd damn well better last forever. I'm half afraid the set-up will prove too big for the space; we measured everything, but it'll be a tight fit - and worst case scenario, the store's return policy is a generous one. (It's not the world's biggest patio, but the husband insisted upon extra seating.) I guess we'll find out when it finally arrives.

It was supposed to show up today, but there was some random problem. Now they're telling me Thursday.

Once everything is in place, I'll post a photo of the whole shebang.

* * *


Hey, you know what's going on for another three weeks? This Goodreads give-away - where you can enter to win an ARC of Maplecroft. They're giving away 50 of them, so you might as well enter. Your odds aren't half bad; it's not like Powerball or anything.

Besides, I'm feeling a little finger-crossy and superstitious - so I'd love to see that tally of interested parties crest a thousand. Arbitrary nonsense? Yes, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like it'd be a good omen.

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