Category Archives: Drama Box

urban forest

My house is situated in an urban forest. It’s an old forest, most of the trees ten to twenty decades on either side of the 100 year mark. The majority of the old ones are sugar maples, and the greater part of them have twin trunks, meaning they’re vulnerable to wind. And when one goes, it leaves a gap for the wind to get in.

The forest is starting to unzip, and yesterday, I listened to the sound of buzz saws again as the latest storm took down two more tall ones on our street. “Treeman” is coming out next week to top off my street tree that took out a pole last month to prevent the remaining trunk from taking out the pole again, but now I’m eying the four other megaliths surrounding my property, wondering when they will be going.  Guy and I already took down the one tree that threatened our house. Two of the remaining are structured well and are of a different wood, but the others . . . It’s only a matter of time.

I studied this in school. I knew this was going to happen when we bought the house. I have been planting replacements the last couple of years. I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

 

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Got a smart phone? Want an e-book?

Happy Monday! I’ve got a new way for you to get the ebook of Black Magic Sanction for 1.99 if you already have the paper version. It’s a new app called BitLit, and I’m eager to see how it works. The theory is that once you have the paper version, you can get the e-book through your  smart phone without needing a receipt. (Which is great if you bought your books more than a year ago, because really, who keeps their receipts that long?)

Here’s what Shelf Aware said about BitLit last week:Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 9.05.45 AM

And here is Harper’s promotion:

Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 1.58.55 PM

[ download BitLit ]

[ hc.com ]

So if you know someone with a smartphone who’s been thinking about trying the Hollows, here’s another way to do it for less than the cost of a sweet coffee. :-) Oh! And apparently it will work on Nook or Kindle, too.

Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 2.16.11 PM

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I’m liking this year’s tour

It’s July, which means in the Harrison Household, we’re watching the Tour de France every night for the better part of three weeks. That’s right, three hours of cycling every night, for 21 days. (And before you judge me, check out the required uniform.)

Medcar2

These guys are impressive for a lot of reasons. When you crash, you don’t go to the locker room and sit the rest of the game out. You get back on the bike, ride next to the med car, get your skin stuck back together, and finish riding the 100 miles left. Then you get back on the bike again in the morning and do it again.

It’s not a job that you can do as a hobby, but one you have to be totally invested in to compete. You have to monitor your food intake for possible accidental steroid ingestion, there is constant attention in regards to your physical state just so you can compeate. And it’s not like you can go into the gym for a couple of hours, and call it good. You have to get on the bike and do it, for hours at a lonely time. It’s a lot like writing in that respect, but whereas authors get chair butt, cyclists get to wear spandex–and look good in it.

I like the balance of the team and individual that cycling has where there is a goal, but it’s the individual sacrifice and skill that makes it happen. It’s a game of strategy, not just a bunch of guys out in a group. Each team has a leader, who’s generally strong all around, but can give a good sprint at the end and win the stage. He’s helped up to the front by the rest of the team, who draft off each other, the front guy pealing off when he gets fatigued to let the next guy pull until they reach the end, and the leaders of every other team fight it out for the last 100 or so meters.

Stacked

That’s the theory.

This year, a series of crashes have pulled out many of the leaders of the teams that were expected to win, and in some teams, the leader backup. The result? There are no more expectations. Let me say that again. There are no more expectations–and as a result, EVERYONE thinks they might have a shot at a piece of glory. Everyone is doing things outside of their normal responsibilities of the team. Everyone is pushing themselves, having the chance in this short span of time to show that they can do more than shunt bottles from the car to other team members or ride 150 miles just so they can pull the rest of the team for a scant hundred yards.

UnknownThey are riding. They are doing what they love. And they are crashing. They are failing. They are getting their hopes snatched out from under them. But this year . . . they are trying beyond what everyone expects of them. And every now and then they cross that line first–because they saw a chance to shine and they took it, ran with it, made it their moment.

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2014The best part? Even when it doesn’t work, they are getting the chance to show they have what’s needed to get the job done.

Don’t buy into the lie that just because others can do it better than you that you can’t do it as well.

Do.

Shine.

Fail? The med car will stitch you up.

 

 

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Must be summer

It must be summer. My yard is so full, I’m down to moving plants around. Some of it is my fault, though. I’ve only been in this yard for about four years, and it’s hard to know how much sun a spot gets when you not only move yards, but latitudes. The sun crosses the sky in different arcs in Michigan as compared to South Carolina, and I was really off in my estimation in a few areas.

IMG_1318So I’ve moved a few things over the years. Some took buckets, some took wheelbarrows. And just when I thought I had it all set, the wind took down one of our mature trees. (This happened about a month ago.) The top that is remaining is chancy, so it’s coming down as well, hopefully sooner as apposed to later–which means the light under it is shifting several hours brighter. (sigh) Which means I’m moving plants yet again.

I shifted a huge, heirloom hosta last night. It’s one of those amazingly fragrant  varieties, and it was already having trouble with the increased light, its leaves pale instead of a deep green. It won’t be truly happy until next year, but at least it’s a start. I already know what I want to plant in its stead, but I’m taking some time to think about how big it’s going to get. I think it will be okay. . .

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 10.02.20 AM

Work is going good. Yesterday, I found a new chunk of music by chance investigating Solfeggio frequencies. The tones themselves are annoying (Guy liked them) but if they are put to some light tonal shifts, it makes for a very meditative, thought promoting environment. This is the album that I picked up, and its circulating on my ipod. All. Day. Long.

If you missed yesterday’s link to Harper’s 1.99-2.99 sale on my back titles, it’s still going on.

spot-light-072114-harrison

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Missing out on the deals at San Diego Comic Con?

There’s not much sadder than a reader pinning away, knowing that cool stuff is happening and not being able to be a part of it. And it doesn’t help that they keep tweeting about it, either! (pout)

So to help ease the pain of missing out on the swag and freebies, I’ve got a special discount on most of my back list titles that I want to share with you.

Wanting to round out your collection? Here you go.
Want to make your library portable? Here you go.
Got a friend you’ve been trying to read the Hollows so you can share the love? Here you go.

It’s likely going to be the only way to get a “boxed” set since you can get them as a paperback OR an e-book. It doesn’t matter! But don’t let it sit in on your phone all alone. Retweet! Share! Get this out there! And we’ll all mourn the loss of three fabulous days of no comic con together. (You have to go to Harper and use the promo codes to get the special 1.99 to 2.99 price.)

hcPromo

 

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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.

SmallFrog

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.

IMG_1322IMG_1327

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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.

Amazon

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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