Thursday, April 13, 2017

Despite the caterpillars ....

Monarch-18140_1920First of all, I don't like bugs. But even I can't dislike Monarch butterflies. They're just so pretty. Nice Halloween colors, and look pretty so pretty when they visit my garden.

But the Monarchs are endangered, so I'm going to do my part to try to keep the species alive. How will I do that? By adding milkweed plants to my yard.

I can remember seeing milkweed plants as a kid, and people didn't like them seeding up their yards and yanked them out, maybe not knowing how important they were to the Monarchs. I also remember seeing the (icky) Monarch caterpillars as a kid, but I haven't seen one in probably thirty years.

But where do you get milkweed?  Finding seeds was just a google search away. So I ordered some--150 seeds for $1.95 and no shipping. That's way too many seeds for just me, so I'm going to share them with my neighbor's children. They raise preying mantis, so I figured if they like bugs, they probably would like to help out the Monarchs.

I probably will be grossed out by the caterpillars, but ... I want to see more monarchs. So -- milkweed is in my future.

Are you interested in helping the Monarchs?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

There's some of me in everything I write

One of the fun things about writing is you can incorporate tiny pieces of your life into your stories.

There was a time when I hated to shop. (Yeah, sounds weird now.) Of course, I still hate to shop for certain things. (Like clothes. No matter what I buy, I always look like a barrel. Yeah, hate clothes shopping.) One of the reason I became a vendor at an antiques and crafts arcade was because I loved to shop there. I was furnishing our home and they had the best stuff! That's about the time I also started to go junking (which sounds a lot cooler than saying I went to yard sales).

You can get all kinds of GOOD stuff at yard sales.  I was recently in Florida, and they have yard sales ALL YEAR LONG! (Imagine that!!!!!) Mr. L collects cocktail shakers. I found these three shakers for $2 -- TWO BUCKS!!! (Love that the left and middle one are etched. I figure the one on the left is from the 1950s; the other two are much newer, but were unique enough that he wanted to add them to his collection.)

But (as usual) I digress.

I'm working on my second Life on Victoria Square story (A companion series to go with The Victoria Square Mysteries) featuring a minor character who has shown up in a couple of the Victoria Square Mysteries. We're talking a walk-on character who never even had a line of dialogue. But she stuck in my mind and I knew she had a story to tell ... I just didn't know what it was until this week, that is. She didn't even have a name. They just referred to her as "the woman who never pays more than a buck for anything." And what's her claim to fame?  A rose made of crepe paper. I'm having fun describing all the treasures she's picked up while shopping at Artisans Alley and I hope my readers will enjoy getting to know her, too.

The first Life on Victoria Square story goes on sale on today. It's called CARVING OUT A PATH, and features Ray Davenport, the cranky police detective who clashed with Katie in the first three novels.

A young shoplifter not only swipes a couple of hand-carved figurines from Ray Davenport, owner of Victoria Square’s Wood U gift shop, but barrels into and injures Katie Bonner, manager of Artisans Alley. Upon his escape, the police are called, but before the ink is dry on the report, the boy’s grandmother drags the would-be thief back to return the purloined items. She’s got an agenda and great expectations. Can Ray come through in a pinch?

Kindle US | Kindle Worldwide | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

I have plans to write about all the merchants on Victoria Square.

(P.S. So happy my cover designer could add three of my Dad's carvings to the cover.  Aren't the Santas adorable?  At the end of the story, I added the Story BEHIND the Story to tell readers about those carvings.)

I hope you'll give Ray (and later Iris) a chance!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Coming Attractions: Gladiolas

Yesterday, Mr. L and I got our taxes done. Not fun. (Especially since we owe.) So, to cheer ourselves up, we went to the garden store.

Oh, it was WONDERFUL! The big greenhouse doors were open and you walked in and all the spring flowers were in bloom. It smelled heavenly.

On my list to get was gladiola bulbs. My mother always grew gladiolas and I came to love them as much as her. The lady at the store said, "We don't have many. Nobody wants them anymore." I felt so sad for the gladiolas that I bought three bags. She said to wait until Memorial Day to plant them, but with global warming, I don't think I need to wait that long. I can't wait to get really going in the garden.

I know a lot of you in warmer climates have your gardens up and going. Tell us what's blooming!