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Yep, that’s right, I’m already dreaming of spring and all the wonderful things that come with it. Must be the two seed catalogues I got in the mail yesterday. Can’t wait to get out there and dig in the dirt!

Or maybe it’s the weather; in the 60’s today with lots and lots of sunshine. Sure does feel like spring to me!

Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time online looking at the Red Sox home page, checking out the Spring Training schedule and counting down the days till the first Grapefruit League game. March 3rd! That’s only 61 days away!

Happy New Year everybody–and here’s to a better year for the Sox!

 

 

1.  My sister and I finished the manuscript for Whistling Woman, the book we’ve been working on for two years about our great aunt’s life growing up in the small town of Hot Springs, NC.  We took a few days, rented a cabin in Hot Springs, and worked on the first edit.  Now we’re in the process of editing it again–this time by email–and are hoping we’ll have it polished by the end of the year.  After that, beta readers!

2.  Although I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo–or whatever it’s called–I’ve been working on the third book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Last Monday, I set a goal of writing a thousand words a day and so far, so good.  A little over 9,000 words and counting!

3.  Edits, edits, and more edits on Whistling Woman.

4.  Working on getting the blog for the Writers’ Guild of Western North Carolina up and running.  Had a minor problem with WordPress–for some reason it wouldn’t let me add widgets to the blog–but that was solved by going to the forum and posting a question which was answered fairly quickly.

5.  The contract with Red Rose Publishing for my novella, Unwilling Angel, expires on the 18th of this month and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with the book when I have the rights back.  Numerous people have advised putting it on Kindle and thanks to one of the members of the Writers’ Guild, who is currently working to get his books on Kindle, I have a pretty good idea of what that entails.  It won’t be easy but I think I’ll probably try. 

Of course, first I have to get the rights back.  As per the contract, I sent two certified letters to Red Rose Publishing 60 days before the expiration date telling them I did not want to renew the contract, but haven’t heard a word back yet.  Which isn’t really a surprise given the problems other authors are having with this publisher.  I’m doing my best to keep an open mind until the 18th then I’m going to send an email to the owner and inform her that per the contract, the rights have reverted back to me and she needs to quit selling my book.  We’ll see what happens…

6.  After a blast of cold weather to start the month, we’ve had a string of perfect fall days here in the mountains.  I’ve been working to get my gardens put to bed while it lasts.   I wanted to plant bulbs but haven’t been able to find the time and I know I’ll be kicking myself next spring.  Oh well…

7.  Still more edits!

8.  Updating my website and this blog with the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards finalist button.  Yep, that’s right, Storm Shadows made it to the finals.  Yippee!  EPICon is in Williamsburg, VA next year and since my sister, Christy Tillery French, also has a book in the finals we’re seriously considering making the drive up there and attending.  I don’t have much hope that Storm will win, it’s in one of the categories that has the most finalists, but who knows what will happen.

9.  Edits, edits, and more edits with a little research thrown in on the side!

10.  More great news on Storm–The Long and the Short of It gave it a fabulous review last week which means it’s up for Book of the Week.  Woo-hoo!  If you’re so inclined, you can vote by clicking here.  That page also gives you access to Xeranthemum’s excellent review, if you’d like to read it.   Here’s a little taste of what the she had to say:

Storm Shadows is a well written and beautiful romance filled with charm, humor, vivid and lively descriptions and a well earned happily ever after sure to make a reader sigh in satisfaction. Despite the conflict, Ms. Hunter wrote a story that is uplifting and optimistic and just plain fun to read.

So, there you have it, the top ten reasons I haven’t posted anything here for almost a month.  As you can see, Whistling Woman is taking up the majority of my time with the Eternal Shadows series running a close second.  Next week it’s going to be all about Storm since I have an interview and a chat scheduled with LASR.  Which reminds me, I need to come up with a contest for the chat.  Better get busy…

I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to do much of anything except revisions on the book I’m writing with my sister, Whistling Woman, about our great aunt Bessie’s life growing up in Hot Springs, NC, at the turn of the 20th century.  It’s finished.  Yay!  But now comes the hard part; editing and revising.  I usually don’t like that part but with this one, I’m really looking forward to doing the final edits because Christy and I are planning on meeting in Hot Springs when we get to that point.  Another yay!

At the same time, I’m still polishing my older woman/younger man contemporary romance novella, Strict Policies.  And when all that editing gets to be too much, I’m working on the next book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Really hope I get this one finished quicker than I did the second one!

Other than that, I’ve been canning quite a bit–my pantry is overflowing!–and putting the garden to bed for the winter–just in time, we had our first frost last night.  Des and I are still walking every day and we’re really enjoying it…for the most part.  Had an encounter with the wicked witch of the neighborhood yesterday but more on that later.  That little event deserves an entire blog post all its own!

I got a great review for Storm Shadows the other day from Amelia Richard at Cata Romance.  4.5 stars!  Yippee!  Here’s Amelia’s teaser:  STORM SHADOWS makes the supernatural seem genuinely real with clever writing and an innovative premise.

Finally, I have an interview up on Susan Whitfield’s blog today.  Lots of fun to do–and believe me I didn’t think I’d ever say that about an interview!  Hope you’ll drop by and check it out!

Back to the edits…

A derogatory term for sure…except if you’re a gardener.  I’m talking about saving seeds from the flowers, herbs, or vegetables you grow this year so you can plant them again next year.  I’ve been doing this for a long time now, ever since I started my first vegetable garden up in Maine.  Some people call these heirloom seeds and have even made a business of collecting them and selling them.  Me, I do it for my own enjoyment…and to save a little money, of course.

If you garden, harvesting seeds is one of the few good things about fall.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fall but I hate seeing my garden die; the vibrant green of summer fading away and finally changing into the dull brown of winter.  One of the ways I get through that time of year is to gather the dying flowers, dry them, and then harvest the seeds.  And all the while I’m dreaming of those inconspicuous little flecks burrowing into a warm ground, drinking in the moisture from the spring rains, and swelling until the new plant pops free and unfurls its tiny green leaves.

marigoldsEver since I planted my first vegetable garden up in Maine, I’ve  planted a row of marigolds along the garden fence.  That first year, I bought a packet of seeds for ten cents at Walmart and every fall I dried a few of the blooms and kept the seed over the winter until I could plant them in the spring.  So for the meager investment of a dime, I’ve had years of beauty and pleasure.

This year, after two years of not being able to plant a garden because I was living in an apartment, I planted seed I’d saved from my last garden in Maine.  I wasn’t sure they would germinate and if they did, if they would produce flowers but they did.  I had masses of gorgeous marigolds along one side of my garden fence.  So now I’m back to gathering seed for next year’s garden.  And I’ve branched out this year…I’m also saving seed from the zinnias and the four o’clocks I planted.  Total cost of the seeds?  $1.20. 

4o'clocksFour o’clocks are an amazing flower that blooms in a wide range of bright colors.  The blooms stay closed during the day but open in late afternoon, hence the name, and they have a scent to rival the best-smelling old-fashioned roses of your grandmother’s garden.  The vivid colors and trumpet shaped blooms also attract hummingbirds.

zinniasAs for zinnias, they’re super easy to grow and they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.  The ones I planted this year are called Lilliput, a dwarf variety that isn’t dwarf on the flowers they produced.  They’re great for cut flower arrangements and my favorite thing–zinnias always make me smile when I see their happy blooms.  It’s as simple as that.  Of course, most flowers make me smile, but zinnias were the first flowers I ever grew from seed and like marigolds, they’re incredibly easy to grow, even for a novice gardener.

Hopefully the four 0’clock and zinnia seeds I’ve saved will do as well as the marigold seeds, but I guess only time will tell.   Meanwhile, I’ll be dreaming of next year’s garden and anticipating the joy they might bring.