Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye to a Faithful Companion

Eons ago, when I was still an unpublished author, I sprang for what at the time felt like a really expensive desk chair for someone who'd yet to sell a book. I suffer from a bad back thanks to a serious tobogganing accident in my misspent youth, and so I ordered a chair that was custom built to give me the support I needed. It didn't look like much, but it was a wonderful chair.  Every single book I ever published--and a few I didn't--I typed in that chair. When I moved from Australia to New Orleans, it came with me.

Eventually the fabric began to fray. I thought about recovering the seat, but there always seemed to be something else to do. When it went through Katrina, I refused to set it out on the huge trash pile that lined our street and simply scrubbed it down with bleach. My family said, "Don't you think you ought to get a new chair? That thing is embarrassing." I said, "I know. But it's so comfortable. And it's been with me through so much."

But eventually, the foam seat started to disintegrate. The adjustment mechanisms quit adjusting. Even my cleaning lady (tired of sweeping up bits of crumbling foam) said, "I think you need a new chair." And so, last Mother's Day, we trooped down to Ethan Allen and ordered a replacement. Today, it arrived. Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, it's comfortable. I guess after twenty years and twenty-two books, the time had come.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Said That?--UPDATE

Like most authors, I periodically amuse myself by plugging my name into Google Images. It's how I find reissues of foreign editions of my books, such as the French one above, which is a new cover they've given Night in Eden ( can you say, misleading?!). But I occasionally come across surprises, such as this nice boxed quote:
I don't even remember which book that's from. It sounds rather like Night in Eden. But then, women discovering they are stronger than they thought they were is one of the themes that runs through all my books.The same site had another boxed quote from me, and with this one I am absolutely clueless about the origins:

Anyone know? When you've written over two million words, they do tend to blur.

UPDATE: So Google is my friend; I plugged the quotes in and it took me to another site that not only had the quotes, but the books they came from. The first is indeed Night in Eden, while the second is from Whispers of Heaven. They also had a third quote, also from Whispers of Heaven“She had discovered early that what we want out of life can change; that the important thing is to learn to recognize or even simply just admit what we really want, and then to have the courage to reach for it.” Interesting.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Letting the Good Times Roll

It's official: according to researchers at Harvard and British Columbia, the five happiest cities in the United States are all in Louisiana. They are, in order: Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria. A sixth Louisiana city, Lake Charles, made it into the top ten. (New Orleans, I'm afraid, wasn't very high up on the list).

So why is a place bedeviled by deadly hurricanes and oil spills and poverty so happy? Who knows. But I suspect it has something to do with strong family ties and deep roots, a devotion to good eating and good music, a love of outdoor activities and eating and festivals and eating and... You get the idea.
The unhappiest city in the country was identified as New York City, followed by St. Joseph, Missouri and South Bend, Indiana. Anyone know why?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oops, I Did It Again--UPDATE

He just showed up at my door the other night, a little eight week old kitten. Who dumps a tiny kitten?

I tried to say no. Oh, I gave him some food and fixed up a sheltered box for him to sleep in, but I have no room in my house for any more cats.

He's as cute and sweet as can be. I walk out the house and call him, and he comes on the run, meowing all the way. We've named him Indiana Jones because he's intrepid and adventuresome. He has a vet appointment in the morning, but he really, really needs a proper home. Anyone?
UPDATE: So he went to the vet this morning. Passed his AIDS and leukemia tests, but there is no test for distemper so he's going to be in quarantine in the big crate in the garage for the next 2 weeks (no more climbing trees, poor guy). He has ear mites, fleas, and worms, which we will be treating while he's in isolation. Otherwise the vet says he's strong and healthy and just 8 weeks old. He loves to be petted and purrs his heart out. He's a real sweetheart.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

The London Crowd

This is a wonderful overview of many of the places Sebastian visits in London. And it's especially interesting because we see both the way it was and the way it is now--everything from Smithfield and Newgate to Covent Garden, Bow Street, and St. Giles. The focus is the 18th century, but it hadn't really changed that much by 1812.

Has anyone seen this entire series? I'm going to have to track it down,