Thursday, October 16, 2014

Run Free, Little Girl

We lost Scout last night.

She managed to hang on for four months after Banjo had his final, fatal seizure. We knew she was deteriorating, but her slide has always been more gradual than his. When we first rescued them, Scout could scamper around (sort of) and eat and drink on her own. But she'd lost that ability shortly before Banjo died, so we knew it was only a matter of time.
Still, losing her last night was unexpected and a bit of a shock. I went in to check on her before dinner and knew as soon as I saw her that she was in trouble. She died in Steve's arms shortly before midnight.
We rescued our "shaky kitties" just over a year ago, on my birthday. It's been a very tough, very draining, and very emotional twelve months, and now it's over.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Advance Readers Copies!


My small box of Who Buries the Dead ARCs (advanced readers copies) has arrived. These are bound versions of the uncorrected page proofs that are given away for promotion. And I will be giving a copy away here (and another on Facebook) once I figure out how to do it.

It's always nice to see the ARCs because it means the book is that much closer to going on sale. And once again they've given me a full color ARC (as opposed to the horrible brown paper wrapper things I used to get). But the best part of all is this, from the back cover:

This is the Marketing Campaign information, which tells booksellers how well the publisher is going to support a book's release. And see what it says right up there at the top? Author tour! That's right; it looks as if they're actually, really going to send me on a book tour. They're finalizing the schedule.

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

A Life in Small Boxes

From the time I was seventeen until I was in my late thirties, I never lived anyplace longer than 18 months. After that, I started staying longer. But I always knew I'd be pulling up stakes again sooner or later. Sometimes my moves were simply across town. But often I was relocating across continents and oceans. And because I'm a sentimentalist (which is a nice way of saying I'm inordinately attached to my Stuff), I was always careful to keep the small boxes things came in so I could safely pack them for my next move or stash them in my parents' basement until I was in a position to retrieve them.
And so, long after I'd inadvertently lost contact with my high school friend Sue, I kept the box for the silver chamberstick she gave me as a graduation present. I kept the random box that nicely fit the two old blue-plate specials my grandmother gave me when I was eighteen (along with a lecture on the evils of gambling, for the plates were all that remained of a restaurant my grandfather lost at the turn of a card in 1928). I kept the box for the Wedgwood Peter Rabbit cereal bowl I bought my daughter in England her first Christmas; the box for the alabaster cat my mother sent for my thirty-fifth birthday when I was in Jordan.... You get the idea.
When I moved to New Orleans, I fully expected to relocate again in a couple of years. I put all those little boxes inside big dish packs and stuck them up in my attic. And this past weekend, as we were getting the attic ready for the A/C overhaul we're having done, I found them.

As I went through each and every little box to be certain they were all empty, I realized that here, in small boxes, was the story of my life: flimsy, half-crushed boxes for treasures from China and Egypt and Spain nestled next to little Brio train boxes and boxes for porcelain dollhouse sets with torn bits of Christmas paper still adhering to them. Then, a bit misty eyed, I hauled all those boxes out to the curb for the trash.
Yes, I will move at least one more time, probably in the next 3-5 years when Steve retires. But I don't need all those small boxes anymore. And while I know it says volumes about my stage in life, I'm not sure I'm ready to admit yet what that is.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The London of Sebastian St. Cyr: St. Helen's, Bishopsgate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St_Helens_Bishopsgate.jpg
As longtime readers of the Sebastian St. Cyr series know, Jamie Knox's tavern, the Black Devil, backs onto the churchyard of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. 

St. Helen's still exists today, having come through both the Great Fire and the Blitz. In fact, it is the largest surviving church in the City of London. Built in the 13th century as part of a priory of Benedictine nuns, it contains twin naves once separated by a wall (the northern nave was for the nuns, with the adjoining nave for parishioners). After the Dissolution, the central wall was torn down and the other priory buildings repurposed rather than destroyed. It wasn't until 1799 that most of the other old monastic buildings disappeared.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Helen_Bishopsgate#mediaviewer/File:St_helens_bishopsgate.JPG
Unfortunately, the church was badly damaged by IRA bombs in the 1990, when many of its famous interior monuments were lost and its huge medieval stained glass window shattered. It has since been repaired, but you can compare the above image of the interior with an old photograph, below.
Interestingly, St. Helen's was also the parish church of William Shakespeare when he lived in the area. Today, the old church is overshadowed by the looming modern skyscrapers around it. But a tiny part of its ancient churchyard remains.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bugsy. Again.

Bugsy's back, and all grown up now. Unfortunately, the parents of his little owner have decided they don't want him any more, so they gave him the boot.

He knew right where to come.

I've sent emails to two Louisiana no-kill rescue groups, which of course are all full. But both have promised to put him at the top of their waiting list, so I am hopeful. I'd be more hopeful if I didn't still have this little cutie (now four months old and bad, bad, BAD).

Can I just say, I really didn't need a rabbit?