Wow is all I can say about the heat all of you in 35 states are experiencing this summer. My coolest sympathy! If I could, I'd have you all come out and stay in my guest room. We've been lucky so far here in SoCal (as the weather people on TV call us). No heat wave so far, but I have a feeling we're not out of the woods. Our time is coming (usually in September along with the wild fires).
It's been the end of May since I last wrote. I looked at the calendar today and realized that July was on its way to being over! Honestly, I haven't been just laying around eating grapes and reading (doesn't that sound lovely? though I'd make it chocolate-dipped grapes) After spending most of May and some of June promoting Spider Web, I had to get ready for vacation. Normally, Allen and I take winter vacations. We like not having to make hotel reservations, the cooler weather (different for us and I occasionally get to wear my red and brown wool Pendleton jacket I bought at the Seattle Airport in 1995) and we like saving his vacations for the end of the year to give us something to look forward to. Also, since 1994 I've always been on book tour during late spring and early summer.
But, this year was special. In June, I finally kept my promise to long time fan and friend, Sally Parker, in Burlington, Colorado, and drove out to visit her. She's a rancher who came to one of my Denver signings years ago (her daughter, Robbie, was about 7 or 8 when they made the long drive from Idalia to Denver...Robbie is now a sophomore in college). Sally and I started corresponding and after many invitations, I decided to visit her in Eastern Colorado. Had a wonderful time seeing how ranchers and work in eastern Colorado live. I spoke and signed at the Wray Quilt Festival, did a presentation at the Burlington Library, rode the Burlington Carousel (twice!), worked some cattle, saw all the family's ranches, and spent a lot of time laughing with Sally and Brett and their kids, Robbie and Reed. We drove home through Amarillo and caught a little of that heat that you all are feeling. Then when I got home, had to ready my house for new carpeting and flooring that we ordered before we left. It was put in last week and now my baby sister from Connecticut is coming for ten days! (It's Debra's 30th anniversary and I'm actually taking charge of her 15 year old youngest daughter while Debra and hubby go on 2nd honeymoon).
Once that's done, yes, I'll finally get back to writing on The Cattle Singer! That January deadline looms. Though I love all the visiting and traveling, I'm kind of like my dog, Boo. I miss having a regular schedule and I miss writing. I've left Lucas in a precarious scene and I need to get back and see what will happen! This book is very clear in my head. I have been doing a lot of background reading, which is fun research. I recently read a biography of Tammy Wynette (yes, it's kind of research, you'll see why when you read the book). Her life was interesting and troubling. And, there's a bit of a mystery about how she died which made her life particularly tragic. I've not been reading much fiction this last month, mostly non-fiction. I tend to go in phases. Right now I'm reading a book called "The Ride of our Lives" by Mike Leonard. He took his kids and his elderly parents on a cross country trip in two RV's. It's funny and easy to read. And I happened to buy it in big print...which I love!
So, I'm fine, Allen's fine and Boo is fine (skin problems finally resolved--it was food allergies to corn and wheat). Daddy is holding steady. We'll all go visit him when my sister is here, but he doesn't know any of us so we don't bring him to family dinners any more. We've discovered they agitate him because he thinks he's in a group of strangers. All he can think about is "going home." I've often wondered what is "home" in his head. With dementia, you just never know.
One last thing: Crowdsourcing. It's a new word (told to me by my agent) and it means asking a crowd, usually digital, for help with a problem. I received notice from my publisher that the corrections for Spider Web paperback edition need to be in by September 15th. So, if any of you are so inclined, please send me any mistakes you found so the paperback can be as close to perfect as possible! Thanks so much!
Drink lots of liquids, stay in the shade (reading a good book!) and remember that during heat extreme times like these, ice cream is considered a Necessary Food Group! Autumn is just around the corner.
Happy and (Hopefully) Cooler Trails, Earlene