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"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Sep 27, 2020

Celebrating Autumn

The hours, days, weeks, and months flow by--differently than they did before the pandemic, yet also much the same. As in prior years, the roses continue to bloom into autumn, the lake cottage provides a chance of scene when needed, the dogs still love their daily walks, research on a new project keeps me occupied, and I participate in zoom meetings related to volunteer activities or book events.

I study the changing leaves, and realise that 2020 won't last much longer.

Usually I'm in England or Wales and sometimes Europe at exactly this time of year. I'm missing the people I spend time with there, and look forward to reunion whenever it becomes possible.

I also look forward to being ready to blog regularly about the next book. Not quite time yet. So for now, some photos!

Ruth & Dot arrive at the lake cottage

Sunset Driveway Concerts continue

Sometimes we dine in style while listening to the music

The roses still brighten the garden

One week I had a lot of Zoom meetings. One day, as many as 3!

May your autumn be filled with colour!

Jul 4, 2020

July 2020

Half of this highly unusual year has passed, and the blog suffered from neglect as I focused on other aspects of writing life and life in general.

The winter was devoted to some continued work on my completed manuscript, with the assistance and expertise of my developmental editor. Just as I was beginning to emerge from winter hibernation, COVID-19 interrupted all plans for spring travel--to the UK for research and some truly exciting social activities (including a royal event), for family gatherings, and just generally getting out and about. I went into quarantine prior to official lockdown, due to a possible two-degrees-of-separation virus contact--which fortunately had no effect on me or the friend with whom I was spending time.

In addition to editing, I participated in a quarantine recreation of a classical work of art with objects found within the home. Because Nell Gwyn appears in A Pledge of Better Times, as the mother of my male protagonist, I chose to impersonate her.

During the stay-at-home period, I've been able to enjoy my gardens to the max. In June we hosted our annual Open Garden and Rose Party--socially distanced, of course. The combination of a mild winter  and the maturity of my 155 rose bushes and a deep need of beauty in the midst of difficult times must have combined to make this the best year for roses--ever.

I've had the advantage of socially distanced (that word again!) gatherings with neighbours and a close writer friend and her family. Best of all, and most spirit-lifting was a nightly sunset jazz concert on the driveway next door. Local professional musicians and vocalists, unable to perform at their usual venues, gathered for 100 consecutive nights to delight us. Local and national media attention ensued.

In the final week before a temporary break in the concerts, on night #98, it was my great pleasure and honour to host "Fred and Ginger Night." I wore my own roses in my hair, and a 1930s lace jacket, to present info and fun facts about the music from their films. The set consisted of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Gershwin Brothers, and Irving Berlin. The songs performed were: A Fine Romance, Night and Day, They Can’t Take That Away from Me, A Foggy Day (in London Town), The Way You Look Tonight, and Cheek to Cheek. I had the best seat of all, the musicians were "swell," as Ginger would say, and the dancers were fantastic. What a lovely way to celebrate my novel...Ginger has a big presence in The Limits of Limelight.

The lake cottage is a welcome retreat and one of the places where my muse is happiest. I look forward to spending more time there, listening to the loons in our bay and walking our dogs and watching the sunsets and nurturing my next novel.

It's impossible to know what that remainder of 2020 has in store. I'm hopeful that everyone is able to adjust to the new normality, whatever that means for each individual and community. And most importantly, that people can keep safe and well.

There won't be as long a break until the next blog installment. I've got a planned interview with somebody who has been so helpful in my research into Golden Age Hollywood. Consider that a Coming Attraction, as they say in the movies!