Of frogs and trees

Summer is clearly back after that week of cold, and I’m loving it! The dogs are splayed out on the cool tile, and the windows of my office are open. It’s like I’m working outside–except no bugs. Everyone that walks on four feet got baths last night. Another sign that summer is here. Oh! And Mrs. Joe Hanson the frog has a friend, as yet unnamed. Little guy. I hope she doesn’t eat him. He’s very sensitive, jumping even if you look at him. Mrs. Joe Hanson, on the other hand, will let you pick her up. Go figure.


The tree guy came out yesterday and gave us the verdict on our snapped maple. As we thought, it needs to be topped off. We might get only five years out of it, or it might recover. Time will tell. I wanted that little maple I planted under it to get a little more light, but this wasn’t my original thought. . .


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Summer color

I found a bare spot in my yard last week. Actually it was me watching Guy mow the yard, and I realized there was a place where I put in the edging that made it difficult to mow, and when I moved the rocks/border to make it easier, I found a little extra space to put a plant.

No, I lie again. I really wanted a bright spot of color up against the green junipers I put in a few years ago. They had grown up the last couple of years, and the space was begging for some color. Hence a trip to Lowes and their three dollar plant rack. My timing was good, and I got about six of the cheepies, and a handful at full price to round it out. A few bags of mulch, and I was set. I can’t wait to see what they look like next year.

ColorGardenAhhh, summer.


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Milkweed–It should be called Monarch Milkflower

IMG_1321Not last night, but the night before, when we had that gorgeous full moon, I was pleasantly surprised to find these little moths on my milkweed plant. I know it’s a weed, but it’s an important one, so much so that many gardeners are starting to not only let this weed grow, but encourage it. It’s the food plant of the Monarch butterfly larva, which is near and dear to a lot of people, probably because they are easy to make into summer pets that, with a little care, put on a spectacular transformation that’s easy to anticipate and be right there for.

Their migration from Mexico takes all summer, spanning generations to reach their northernmost reach here where I live. How the final ones know to go back to Mexico to overwinter is amazing. But their numbers are dwindling in part due to the pesticides that have been genetically engineered INTO THE CORN WE EAT. Yep, our corn is genetically engineered to be toxic to insects, and has been for a while. So instead of having to apply poison to the field, the plant produces it itself. Even the pollen is toxic, and when the wind blows, it goes everywhere and has been proven to kill Monarch larva. (The corn has been labeled safe to eat, but I’m left wondering about the long-term effects, especially on the unborn who are still developing their neural systems. Even if the corn is safe, the pollen is still blowing around, right?) http://news.cornell.edu/stories/1999/04/toxic-pollen-bt-corn-can-kill-monarch-butterflies

So I let my milkweed grow. I’m not the only one, and patches of it are popping up in gardens everywhere in my little town where the sun hits hot and strong. This is the first year that my plants have flowered, and though I’ve not seen any Monarchs, I did see these little white moths on a night with a huge, full moon. I’ve not seen a Monarch for a few years now. Maybe someday I’ll have Monarchs again. I’ll be ready.



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Home again, home again, jiggity jig

I was pleasantly shocked with the state of my garden when I got home from my week away. No weeds to speak of, but the perennials that had been threatening to bloom had gone from bud to blossom. The Farmer’s Market the next morning was even better. Guy and I try to go every weekend, and I like watching the sparse offerings shift from maple syrup and butter, to raspberries, and then lettuce, followed by early squash, and then root crops. There was even some corn as one of the growers has a farm down in Ohio, and they will send up a truck until our own corn comes in.  It’s a pleasant pattern that you can eat. What more can you ask for?

PeanutBusterMaybe a peanut buster parfait! you say. Isn’t that a nice segue? Cause that’s what we did yesterday. I’d been saving my calories all day week–my treat for when I got back home from NY. It’s not just ice cream and peanuts with fudge, but a summer tradition that goes back a decade. (I can have one a year, and that’s it!) I used to go to that same store for a Mr. Misty after my brother’s Little League games, ice cream headaches and all. I never learned.

Today, though, is all about Peri, and I can’t wait. My week in NY was the first time I’d talked to anyone about her and Jack, and even though I didn’t say much, (actually, I hardly said anything at all about the story, just what my goals were with her) it got my thoughts focused on streamlining a few threads. Mmmm. This is the fun part.

Oh! and I have some times now to go along with the stores/cities. If you need to plan out a ways, this will help. There might still be some changes, so check back occasionally, but this feels pretty solid to me.

[ Final Hollows Tour ]


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Travel day means links!

I’m traveling today, which means my internet time is kind of tight. But I did want to share a few links for those of you who might have missed them over the last few weeks.

Chapters! We have sneak-peek chapters of The Witch With No Name. I’ll be releasing more, so don’t feel like you’re going to have to wait forever. I mean, seriously, summer is going to go by so fast. Read them now so you have something to ponder while you’re on the beach. ;-)WWNNhcCoverIS

Chapter One and Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

City list for the tour has gone up. It’s going to be a huge tour with lots of special events at the beginning, end, and everywhere in between with a long-running give-away that you have to go to an event to get in on. I can’t go to every spot that I’ve hit over the years, but my publicist and I have tried to get within a drive of everywhere. And I’ll be appearing with other authors in a few cases, so you get twice the bang for your buck.  [ city list ]

If your’e going to an even, or even if you aren’t, Guy has begun taking orders for the last Hollows Tour T. We usually offer these for a few months, but because of the early release, it has been shortened. If you want one of these bad boys, don’t wait too long. They will also get you into the family photo I try to take at every store. [ order Hollows Tour T ]

Pre-order buttons are live now for the major outlets.


B&N has a limited supply of signed copies. I signed twice as many as I did last year, but they won’t last forever. If you want one, again, don’t wait too long. They will be first edition, because that’s all I signed. [ order signed copy from B and N ]

Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor also has signed books, but these I can personalize to you if you ask when you order. International is okay, but email them at nicolasbooks@tds.net  for a shipping quote before you buy. [ order signed copy from Nicola's ]

I think that’s it for now. Have a great weekend!



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Serious buildings

I’ve gotten my country-bumpkin self  to NY a couple of times now, and I have to say that this is the trip I’m enjoying the most, even though I’m taking the least amount of time to do the “tourist” thing, and I think it’s because I’m spending more time seeing some of the older, unique buildings that NY has. This is the Flatiron building, named because it looks like an old fashioned iron. I saw a few pictures of when it was new, and it was the highest thing around and the time, making an impressive display that took up the tiny bit of space left by the roads coming together.


It’s still impressive, the prow looking out over the nearby park, and the line of sight from the top reaching a breathtaking, unexpected horizon. It gave me the feeling of space and light that’s hard to come by in the canyons the buildings make, sort of a set-apart feeling where you just have to reach out to be back in the thick of it. The city planners were smart to keep the surrounding buildings from encroaching too close, because to lose that impression would have been almost criminal–even if only a bare fraction of the people walking by notice.


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A New Yorker for the week

I’m a New Yorker for the week! Okay. Not really, but having a Metro Card and riding the subway (with my real New Yorker agent) lets me pretend. I won’t be throwing the card away when I head home on Friday. My agent says I’ve got the knack for running it through the reader . . . so I’ve got that going for me. (grin)

NYerBut my big news today is the city list for The Witch With No Name has been finalized to the point where I’m reasonably sure it’s not going to change much. Can I just say Wow? I’ve got four timezones to cover, and I think the stops are pretty well spaced. We added one more in CA, which I’m pleased about. I’ve got them listed here below, but go to the website for the details.

·         9/8/14: Joseph Beth Cincinnati / midnight launch
·         9/9/14: Schuler’s Grand Rapids, MI
·         9/10/14: BN Carmel, Indiana
·         9/11/14: BAM Arundel Mills, Annapolis, MD
·         9/12/14: Quail Ridge, Raleigh, NC
·         9/14/14: BN Orlando, FL
·         9/15/14: BN Tampa/Carrolwood, FL
·         9/16/14: Joseph Beth Lexington – (unconfirmed but close)
.         9/16/14: Warren Public Library, Bowling Green (Louisville/Lexington market)
·         9/17/14: BAM Birmingham, AL
·         9/25/14: Powell’s Portland, OR (with Richard Kadrey)
·         9/26/14: Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch (Denver, CO) – (with Richard Kadrey)
·          9/27/14- Copperfields Bookstore, Petaluma, CA (with Richard Kadrey)
·         9/29/14: Poisoned Pen, Phoenix, AZ (with Richard Kadrey)
·         9/30/14: GRRM Theater, Santa Fe, NM
·         10/9 – 10/10/14: New York ComicCon (Guest of Honor)
·         10/11 – 10/12/14: Friends of the Plano, TX Library “Buns and Roses” charity fundraiser – keynote speaker
·         10/13/14 – BAM Tulsa, OK
·         10/28/14: Murder by the Book, Houston, TX (with Ilona Andrews)
·         10/30/14: Devil’s Night Tour Finale – Ann Arbor, MI



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