Friday, April 30, 2010

May 2010 -- XXXV

May already! I'm this close (holding thumb and forefinger very close, indeed) to being ready to send Under the Skin to my long-suffering editor. About four short chapters to go on what seems to have been an endless journey. 

Undoubtedly there'll be revisions -- there always are. And they always make the work stronger.  But I shall heave such a sigh of relief when this one is done!

And  then I have some reading to do.  Actually, I'm already reading -- at breakfast and lunch, a few minutes before dinner, just before bed . . .

I'm one of a committee of eight to choose five nominees for best novel (in the mystery field) of 2010.  The eventual winner will be voted by the members of Mystery Writers of America -- kind of like the Motion Picture Academy and the Oscars.

So far I've received over a hundred books -- by the end of the year there'll probably be over 500.

But the sad thing is, I'm not allowed to tell you all about them. All the members of the committee signed pledges not to discuss the books they read (except among themselves) -- not now, not ever.

So for the rest of this year, I'm not posting about what I'm reading.


After the long winter, Spring has been gorgeous. So far (fingers crossed) there's not been a killing freeze. Peas and lettuce are up; potatoes are planted; chickens are laying; and the pastures are growing lush and green. 

There's a lot of pruning and cleanup to be done around the yard -- the winter was hard on the shrubbery. Places that used to be shady are sunny -- and vice versa. A garden is always a work in progress and I'm looking forward to seizing some slim margin of control over bits of it. There's been a lot of benign neglect on my part while Mother Nature moves ahead with her own plans. 

The whole idea of a garden is Man (or Woman) trying to impose order on freedom-loving Nature -- one may win a battle but the war is never over and those same battles must constantly be re-fought.

Once more into the breach, dear friends!

Here's a walk through our April -- complete with Easter party and pre-party pictures.

Notes and Queries
Pat in East TN writes:

I just finished reading LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani.  I really enjoyed her Big Stone Gap series ... this was quite a change from that, but a really good story.  Now I'm ready to start THE STORYTELLER by Margaret Coel.  I've heard a lot about her books, and, as it goes, this has been sitting on my shelves for quite some time!    
Eleanor says:
  I loved The Irresistible Henry House, just out, by Lisa Grunwald. 
Barb says:
I've been a fan since reading Signs In The Blood and Arts Blood. I am currently reading Old Wounds. I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVED the part where Elizabeth was trying to use the cell phone that she had recently acquired and was having so much trouble with it.I could definitely relate to her experience!
   Also,I do have one question.I was wondering why Laurel and Rosemary refer to Elizabeth as Mum and not Mom. Just curious as to why you chose a British reference to their mother.
Re cell phone -- I wrote that, as you might guess, shortly after getting my first cell phone. I still don't use one much -- it stays in the car for emergencies.

Why Mum?  Well, I guess because my older son ( who is, like me, an Anglophile) started calling me Mum at some time and I liked the sound of it. He'd begun with Ma when he was very young  and then switched to Mom at some point. It became Mum when he was in his teens. (My younger son still calls me Mom. ) 

Janie in Morganton sent me this picture and 'recipe.' --Our associate pastor, Betty Henson, grew up in the mountains north of Boone, and she dyed the Easter egg in this photograph with onion skins. 
Here are her directions: Take the thin brown skin off onions and soak them in water for a couple of hours. Then wrap them around an uncooked egg and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a 250 oven for hour. Eggs used to be colored this way in the ashes of a fireplace and the  skins tied on with string. Each egg is an one of a kind creation and is colored in shades and designs of brown.
Too late for Easter this year -- but still sounds fun!

Even though I can't discuss my reading, I hope that you'll share your favorites! Or questions, recipes, household hints, love potions, funny stories . . .


Lise said...

I have to admit that I prefer the original is much more appealing to me. But I still look forward to reading it!

Vicki Lane said...

As I've told several others, Lise -- that was an April Fool's joke. I mentioned it at the very end of that post. But I appreciate your wanting to read it anyway!

Unknown said...

Oh! To HAVE to read 500 books. I'd love that challenge, but then finding time... And having to evaluate them; good and bad, eh? I hope you find some great ones and that at some time we'll be introduced to the winners.

Love all the photos you post. Here in the desert SW we are almost into summer. Am enjoying the first ripe tomatoes. Bragging now, but come really hot weather I'll be wishing I could share your beautiful weather.

Victoria said...

Oooooh, you lucky girl, you! Getting to read 500 books, and for FREE! I wish you could talk about them but I understand why that wouldn't be a good idea. Maybe you could keep a list of the ones you really like and post it for us on here in January of 2011?

Vicki Lane said...

Ripe tomatoes! I AM jealous! I haven't dared even set out any yet -- not till mid-May.

Vicki Lane said...

Alas, Victoria, I signed an agreement saying that I will not review or express a public opinion on any of the books considered by my panel during the deliberations or at any time after the awards have been announced.

I'll be able next year to speak in a general way about authors I've particularly enjoyed...

Anonymous said...

I've recently read a heap of the Hamish McBeth mystery series by M.C. Beaton. They're very light, but give some glimpses into the world of the Scottish Highlands and have good characters.

Deana the Queena

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Deana! I'll add this to the recommendations next month!

maría cecilia said...

Dear Vicki, I so admire your huge energy to do so many things, my gosh! a thounsand books to review, your novel, the garden, the chickens, the walks... I wonder how you do them all!!!
You are my heroine!!!
Maria Cecilia