“pot·pour·ri n. pl. pot·pour·ris – 1. A combination of incongruous things: “In the minds of many, the real and imagined causes for Russia’s defeats quickly mingled into a potpourri of terrible fears” (W. Bruce Lincoln). 2. A miscellaneous anthology or collection: a potpourri of short stories and humorous verse. 3. A mixture of dried flower petals and spices used to scent the air.” – The Free Dictionary
- I’ve about finished reading An Uncertain Age by Ulrica Hume. That means you’ll be seeing a review of the novel here soon. According to the publisher (Blue Circle Press), Justine’s life is uncertain when she meets Miles Peabody on the Eurostar. She has lost her job, her fiance, everything except her dream of becoming an artist. Miles Peabody, a retired librarian and beekeeper, has always led a cautious, philosophical life. Now, faced with his mortality, he needs a miracle. Drawn inexplicably to each other, their relationship is tested when Miles invites Justine to join him on a Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. But before she can answer, Miles goes missing. Desperate to find him, and nudged by the French police, Justine slips into a dark night of the soul. A fascinating theme!
- I you keep up with publishing news, you know that the Independent Publishers Group and Amazon could not agree on Amazon’s slice of the pie. Consequently, Amazon turned off the buy buttons for the 4,000 e-books from the author’s IPG represents. In a post called “What Should an E-book Cost?,” IPG compares print and e-book pricing. Not being one to keep quiet about such issues, I posted “The low prices of e-books are bad for writers” on my Sun Singer’s Travels blog.
- While I’m happy that The Artist, Meryl Streep and Christopher Plummer won Oscars last night, I’m also happy that I only watched the last 15-20 minutes of the event on TV. It was long, ending a little after 11:30 p.m. (Eastern), but not as long as it has been before. Had I watched all of it, I think I would have agreed with Andrew O’Hehir’s assessment in a piece he wrote for Salon: “From Billy Crystal’s cringe-worthy act to the obvious winners, the Academy Awards felt old, tired and out-of-touch.”
- My brother Douglas has entered the world of fiction writing with a fantasy/allegory called Parktails. The novel tells the story of a massive forest fire in a national park from the animals’ point of view. In many ways, Parktails is a quest story; the animals are seeking answers and inspiration and must travel many miles to learn how to keep their community together. Doug teaches art at George Fox University in Oregon. He is also the author of Seeing: When Art and Faith Intersect, published in 2002.
- I have been updating my website to better display my books. Among other things, I needed to add my recently-released free e-book Celebrate Glacier National Park. The 48-page PDF about Glacier’s history, personalities, facilities, plants and animals can be downloaded from the Vanilla Heart Publishing page at Payloadz. In addition to the website, you can learn more about my 2011 contemporary fantasy novel Sarabande on my Sarabande’s Journey weblog where my most recent post was “Check your imagination at the door.” If your book group or class is planning to read and discuss the novel, you”ll find a list of sample discussion questions here.
- If you’re an author and/or an avid reader, I invite you to stop by my daily list of links for book reviews, book news, contests and writing tips called Book Bits. It’s usually posted in time for your lunch-time web surfing. Tomorrow’s edition will include a feature for writers called “Know Your Competition” and a review of Kate Alcott’s The Dressmaker.
- You can still download Vanilla Heart Publishing’s free, Valentine’s Day e-book called A Gift for You. The book, which features fiction, nonfiction and poetry focused on love, includes my short story “Those Women” as well as work from authors S.R.Claridge, Janet Lane Walters, Anne K. Albert, Chelle Cordero, Marilyn Celeste Morris, Collin Kelley, Melinda Clayton, Charmaine Gordon, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel and Joice Overton.
- Even though it’s not yet spring, I’ve already had the lawn mower out once to trim the front yard. I’m always somewhat surprised when it starts right up without a lot of tinkering, oil changes, or a trip over to the auto parts store for a new spark plug. The yard looks better now and even somewhat green due to our recent thunderstorms. We’ll have to decide soon whether to clean out the garden in the back yard and then fight with the deer all spring and summer over our vegetables. Oddly enough, they seem to be drawn to the hot peppers–I thought they would leave those alone.
Wherever you live, I hope you’re seeing signs of spring.