Deadline Friday!

Book 3 in the Scandalous Summerfield Series–Genna’s Story–is due on my editor’s desk (well, in her email) tomorrow, Friday, at about noon. It is crunch time for me! So I’m going to post a few random photos from my England trips, just because I miss being there.

The big news is I’m going to be in England the first two weeks in May!! More on that later….

Statue of Beau Brummell on Jermyn Street in London
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Street scene in Bath
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Bowood
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Lacock Village
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What are you dreaming about these days?

Diane and Snowzilla2016

I’m sure you all heard on the news about the record-breaking blizzard that hit Washington, DC, last Friday and Saturday, heaping over two feet of snow on the area in a little over 24 hours.

I was in it.

Yes, the storm social media named Snowzilla2016 came to my house, too

It takes only an inch or so of snow to bring this area to a screeching halt. The proof came only a few days before the storm when an unexpected inch of snow falling at rush hour on untreated roads caused commuter nightmares from Maryland to DC to Virginia. It took a friend four hours to make what is usually a ten minute drive. Another friend didn’t make it home at all, instead spent the night at a nearby relative’s house.

For Snowzilla, though, the local jurisdictions were as prepared as they have ever been for a storm. We had plenty of warning to stock up on toilet paper, milk and bread, and, for us, the ever important cat food and kitty litter. People knew not to go out on Friday afternoon after the snow began and all day Saturday when we hit blizzard conditions. Everything was closed, but it didn’t matter because most people had already stocked up on what they needed.

Here’s what it looked like:

Looking on to our street Saturday morning after about 12 inches fell
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We shoveled our driveway and sidewalk, but the snow kept falling. Here’s the same scene Sunday morning
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Here’s a cat’s eye view of our deck Sunday morning
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To give you an idea of the depth, here’s a view of our sidewalk after shoveling was complete.
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I know my relatives in Buffalo, NY, would laugh at me. This would seem normal to them, but THIS IS VIRGINIA!!! We’re in the South!!

We’ve been out and around a little since Sunday but things are not back to normal. It is going to take ages to get back to normal. There are huge piles of snow everywhere, often blocking whole lanes of streets. Parking lots have mountains of snow covering lots of spaces. Some cars that were parked on the street are still encased in snow, and it must have been a nightmare digging out the ones that were freed.

Were you in the storm? Do you have any storm stories to tell?

Kitten Update

Last summer I blogged about the new kittens in our family, Cleo and Pepper. They have been such a joy!

Here they are now:
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I mentioned last week that we were taking them to be spayed. That went without a hitch and I want to give Prevent-A-Litter of Richmond, Virginia, a big thank-you for their excellent care and service.

I should also tell you that I finally made the decision to have The-Cat-Who-Lives-On-The-Kitchen-Table put to sleep. It was a hard decision because she really wasn’t suffering–she just needed total care. We took her to the vet right before Thanksgiving and she purred until the very end.

The kittens have helped us not miss her so much.

Now the hard part is that my daughter is almost ready to move out. Will we be able to give up her kitten? I really hate to separate them.

What earth-shattering decisions are facing you these days?

What A Week!

night_450x2First, I received my latest book cover for Bound By One Scandalous Night, Book 2 in the Scandalous Summerfields series, or, as I call it, Edmund’s story.

Then – zoom! – my fabulous Waxcreative Web people put up the new book information and added a new contest.

All the while I’m hard at work finishing Book 3 in the series, as yet unnamed. This is the story of the youngest sister, Genna, whom you’ve glimpsed in Bound By Duty and will see more of in Bound By One Scandalous Night.

To write this book, here are some of the items I’ve researched:

Regency Christmas (during Christmas time! How lucky is that?)
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Burghley House, Elizabethan home to the Earls of Exeter
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J. M. W. Turner, the artist
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Don Giovanni, Mozart’s opera
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Part of the fun of writing historical romance is doing the research and using little bits of detail discovered by chance, so I am having fun!

Tomorrow I take my kittens in to be spayed. I’m taking them to a spay clinic near where the Cutest Grandson Ever lives, so that’s a little bonus. I’ll get to spend the day with him!
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How’s your week going?

Happy New Year

Image taken from a scrapbook compiled by Francis Parker, presented by J.F. Parker of Tickenhill Manor, Bewdley in November 1960. EFP/Parker Collection item number 698218
Image taken from a scrapbook compiled by Francis Parker, presented by J.F. Parker of Tickenhill Manor, Bewdley in November 1960. EFP/Parker Collection item number 698218

This year instead of telling about my usual New Year’s Resolutions (which tend to be the same every year, as you can see here and here) I want to make some New Year’s wishes. Not just for me, though. For all of us.

PEACE
I wish for peace on earth, of course. An end to war and hate and any kind of violence, but I also wish for peace in our hearts. I hope we all can find that quiet, calm place inside ourselves that frees us from fear, that lets us know that we are safe and don’t need to fight.

LOVE
It would be so nice for each of us to have that romantic love that I write about in my books, but, even more important, I wish that we can all come to love ourselves. May we learn to appreciate our specialness and our ordinariness. May we forgive ourselves for our mistakes and imperfections. May we always always always see ourselves as being worthy of love.

HOPE
In this next year, let’s believe, truly believe, that good things will happen to us. Every day let’s look for those good things–they will be there, I promise. Make note them. Also, let’s look for the good things in the world. Those, too, are happening every day. We can see them if we try. Knowing good things are there or are right around the corner is the essence of hope.

Happy New Year, everyone!

A Tale of Two Cemeteries

In the last week I’ve been to the two most-visited cemeteries in the nation–Arlington National Cemetery and Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

I attended a friend’s father’s burial at Arlington Cemetery, always a moving experience, especially for an army brat like me. This is the 6th one I’ve attended over the years.
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On a happier note, the dh and I visited Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, just because it was a beautiful day and the cemetery is a lovely and historic place. It is the second most visited cemetery in the nation next to Arlington Cemetery and has the most unusual headstones, kinda like Woodlawn in New York.

Hollywood, named after the holly trees on the site, has the graves of three presidents including John Tyler
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It is in a beautiful setting on the James River
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And has some very unusual monuments
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And graves of Civil War soldiers–the Rebels, of course.
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It is a really beautiful and interesting place. I recommend a visit there if you are ever in Richmond.

What did you do over the Thanksgiving weekend?

Happy Thanksgiving

Does your Thanksgiving table look like this?
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I think this is a little Regency-esque, don’t you? Not Thanksgiving at all, then. But sometimes a Thanksgiving table can feel like this, a crowd of people all talking at once.

Let us be thankful for all those friends and family seated at our table this year, noisy as they may be!

Happy Thanksgiving!