Monday Update

Okay! So, results of the sale (so far) have been interesting, but I guess I’ll hold off on describing full results until the sale is over, which means Wednesday morning. Today is Fussy Librarian’s day, only Fussy Librarian is promoting today, and depending on results either I’m done using Fussy Librarian for at least a year or else otherwise. It’s been a highly inconsistent promotion service for me.

I can say already that TANO has not quite paid for its cover, but nearly. Probably by the end of the sale, it will have done so.

More importantly, I’m really happy with first reviews and with the scattered personal emails and messages! These great reviews and comments make writing the book SO SATISFYING.


It’s spring! I pulled out seeds, looked at what I have available, realized in dismay that I have almost no flower seeds, and immediately ordered some. Annuals are so pricy if you buy flats that I never get as many as I really want that way, plus I know what I want and those are not generally exactly what nurseries carry.

I want single or semi-double low-growing zinnias and marigolds for a big strip of earth beside the driveway. The soil there is gravelly and dry, it gets full sun, and I want plants that require minimal care. I like the small singles and doubles better than the big poofy flowers. I want annual vinca in some tangerine type color, not pink or white, because I want them to blend with the zinnias and marigolds. I need strong, sunny colors because the area is very sunny and pale colors get washed out. Also, verbena bonariensis always volunteers in that area and that lavender color looks good with sunny colors.

I love petunias, but the deer and/or bunnies also love petunias. Ditto for the black-leaved sweet potatoes. Marigolds, zinnias, and vinca are tough, don’t need a lot of extra water, and the wildlife leaves them alone. I admit I was seduced by a new poppy called ‘Amazing Grey.’ I haven’t been super happy with poppies as a rule, but I couldn’t help myself. We’ll see how it does in that area.

I also have two butterfly weed (Asclepias) right there. Such a stunningly pure orange, I really like it. Took me some time to get one established and I cheered when it produced the second. Plus a few butterfly bushes, which I am not thrilled with. I got a couple with apricot-colored flowers, but the color turned out to be too pale. The wild lavender butterfly bush that volunteered is actually better right there.

I’ll start all the annuals under lights. Eggplants too. I like fancy types that aren’t available in the stores here. I mean, I like the ordinary big black-skinned eggplants too, but I want long lavender-skinned Japanese types as well. I’ll start a few peppers, maybe a couple tomatoes — too early to start those, however. It may be 70 F today, but it’s supposed to get down to freezing shortly and stay there for a good long time. If you start tomatoes too early, they wind up banging their heads on the lights and getting leggy and weak. I might start tomatoes about the beginning of April, even mid-April. I only want a couple.

Probably the upcoming cold will zap most of the magnolias, though the Yulan turned out to have a fine display this year. The saucer and ‘Ann’ have cracked most of their buds and ‘Jane’ and ‘Angelica’ are thinking about opening. They may all have their displays ruined. Well, some years that happens. ‘Ann’ is significantly more cold tolerant than the saucer magnolia, so we’ll see.


I FINALLY opened up No Foreign Sky and the bulleted list I made from larger-scale comments, and made really solid progress. I didn’t put a lot of hours into this over the weekend because the weather was too nice and I was out doing stuff with dogs and plants. But the hours I put into this were good, focused hours. I checked off a lot of items on the bulleted list. I think I should be through the larger scale revision, again, this time for the final time, by Monday of next week. Then I will take a look at the more detailed comments and run through the whole manuscript from the top ONE MORE TIME, hopefully before the middle of the month, and get it finished.

I should therefore get a lot done this week, which is good because I would really like to send No Foreign Sky out to proofreaders around March 15th. That’s because the back half of March may disappear in a blur. A lot will probably be going on in my personal life for a few weeks at that point. Hopefully all that will be more or less resolved by early April.

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4 thoughts on “Monday Update”

  1. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of plans for your yard and garden! After a weekend storm that left us buried under another foot of snow, I am more than ready for spring . . . as evidenced by the amount of peppers and brassicas I have planted over the last few weeks. I
    always plant extra to plan for casualties, because I’m really good at killing seedlings.
    This year I’m going to try my hand at grafting, because a bunch of our ancient orchard trees are starting to rot from the inside. I want to preserve the varieties, as some of them are quite pricey, being hard-to-find heirlooms.
    I like snow, especially since we’ve been in a bad drought, but mostly, I just want to be able to see the soil (and play in it).

  2. Ooh, grafting! I’ve read about it, but I’ve never tried it. Good luck with that! What’s a cool variety you have? We have a handful of apple trees, but not ancient and not especially startling varieties. One is Hokuto, a somewhat unusual Japanese variety. It doesn’t do as well as some.

  3. I have read Tano in one night. Couldn’t stop. Excellent moving story. I loved the main four in this so much. Thank you so much for writing it. I shared a detailed review on Goodreads, Amazon won’t let me I’m afraid.

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