We're having a giveaway this week, over at Goodreads. I'll be mailing three autographed ARCs (advance reading copies) of the upcoming China Bayles mystery, Bittersweet, to three lucky winners. You can't win unless you enter, and now is a really good time to do that, before you forget.
Garden/weather report. Gosh, what a winter. It was so unseasonably warm through January that I put the potatoes (Yukon Gold, Reddale) out early and planted spinach, kale, and a couple of rows of peas. The veggies are up now and looking pretty, but late February has brought us stretches of freezing weather, so I've had to cover almost everything. The spinach is hardy, though, and we've been enjoying salad and spinach chips. The cabbage plants I started under the grow lights are ready to go into the garden as soon as we get a decent stretch of weather, and a tray of tomato seeds has taken the place of the cabbage under the lights, on a heat mat.
There are signs of spring all around. The daffodils are blooming in a wide swath of white and gold and sunshine yellow along the edge of the woods and in the garden border. The Mexican plum is in bloom (despite the ice and sleet!) beside the creek. In the woods, I can hear the lovely song of the redwing blackbirds, and the shrill piping of the tufted titmouse. So I know that spring is on the way.
Book report. Lots of book stuff going on. Bittersweet got a starred review from Booklist and strong reviews from Kirkus and PW. If you're a Mystery Guild member, watch for it as a featured alternate in your March catalog.
The Lake Union reprint edition of A Wilder Rose comes out this month, along with the Brilliance production of the audio book, read by Mary Robinette Kowal. Hick and Eleanor is out for editorial review; I'll have more information about that in a few weeks. My current work-in-progress, Blood Orange (China's 24th mystery) will be finished by the end of the month.
Story Circle. Many of you know that I'm the founder of the Story Circle Network, a nonprofit organization of women writers. One of my favorite activities in that organization is the Sarton Literary Award. We've just announced the winner and finalists in the 2014 competition and have opened the 2015 competition. This year, we're expanding the program to women's fiction (contemporary and historical) as well. For details, go here. I'm honored to be asked to serve as president of Story Circle in 2016-2017, for the 20th anniversary of this important organization.
Looking at the weather map, I can see that it's not spring for many of you. But it will be, before long. And always in the spring, there are new ideas, new thoughts, and new hopes and dreams. Just hold onto that while you wait for the snow to melt.
Reading note. Spring is the time of plans and projects.--Leo Tolstoy