And I am covered in scratches and scrapes from two days of long-delayed gardening.
Last weekend I had my nephews over to try and wrangle the jungle that is my backyard into order. It's not that my garden is neglected--we have gardeners (though I don't let them cut anything but the lawn)--so it's been almost two years since I really, really gardened--as in untangled and sorted out all the lights, seriously pruned everything back, and did a bunch of replanting and repotting.
So we made great headway, but there was still a ton of stuff to do AND it turns out that my nephews have zero aptitude for untangling lights. Under their peculiar ministrations, five somewhat tangled strands became ONE GIGANTIC KNOT that took me three hours to undo.
Anyway, other than learning they are not very good at undoing knots (this is the danger of Velcro shoe fastenings) we had a great time. I fed them all day long on hors d'oeuvres hidden deep in my freezer since Christmas. See, this is the thing. This is the first time in 15 months I was able to get together with the boys and work in the yard like we used to do. (Not that I used to feed them Christmas hors d'oeuvres on a regular basis, but you know.) When we finally wrapped up about six, the SO barbecued and we watched the first three episodes of the Mandalorian, so it was really a terrific day and evening--and being fully vaccinated is a wonderful thing.
BUT THERE IS STILL SO MUCH TO DO IN THE GARDEN.
So for the past couple of days I've been tackling some of that on my own as my "break" during the writing work day. The problem is, I'm a little...obsessive. You might have noticed this. So I go out to straighten lights on a rose bush and thirty minutes later, I'm still out there hacking away at the thorny dead wood that hasn't been chopped out in years. Which is where a lot of the cuts and scrapes (and tears in my T-shirt) came from.
After a weird little cold spell this week, the weather is once again classic sunny So Cal. Blue skies, bright sunshine, everything in bloom. It's gorgeous--and soon to be hot as hell.
OH! Update--in case you hadn't heard--Marlowe the Mutt has bronchitis! The vet reassured me that his trachea is absolutely fine; heart, lungs, everything in great shape. He is a "young and healthy dog" but he has bronchitis. Yikes. So the vet put him on meds and he's back to his normal, nutty little self.
I can't tell you what a relief it is (although I'm sure you know). I love those two little dogs with all my heart.
BOOKS. Oh yeah. THAT.
So here's what's happening. Tomorrow I start Body at Buccaneer Bay (Secrets and Scrabble 5), and that will come out in mid-July.
Then comes The 12.2 Per-Cent Solution (Holmes & Moriarity 5--the final book) and that comes out the end of August.
The last book of the year is The Movie-Town Murders, which I'm still hoping to finish by the end of September. It might slip into the first week of October, but not by much.
And that's it for 2021. YOU SHALL NOT SEE MY LIKES AGAIN.
No. Wrong. If you're on Patreon, you'll get Hide and Seek in November/December, which kind of works out because it takes place at Christmas.
But yes, that will be it for the year. Murder is Served is definitely getting pushed back to February (which is going to be the perfect time for something utterly nuts). In 2022, there will be eight weeks between writing each and every project, so no more of this crazy teetering on burnout, frantic juggling of deadlines. I have acknowledged and accepted that I can't write the way I used to. I can't rely on summoning turbo boosts of creative energy and/or panic in the home stretch. That's not in me anymore. It was never a healthy way to work. It's one reason why I suffered through two bouts of burnout (although the second bout...I don't know because that was as much anxiety and depression over politics and pandemic as creative funk). Anyway. I can't do it anymore.
So that's that. I have to keep struggling with myself not to list books for preorder too close together, but so far, so good. It is ALL good. Being realistic with yourself (and readers) is good. Allowing yourself room to breathe--and mess around in the garden--is good. :-D
What are you up to? What have you got planned for the summer? Are you fully vaccinated yet?