Friday, March 21, 2014

Gardening, Deer, and Writing

Once we had a beautiful little garden. It produced more tomatoes than we could eat; I canned enough beans to feed us until the next crop, and the cucumbers and okra grew faster than we could pick.

We had poor luck with black-eyed peas, but finally managed to have a nice crop almost ready to pick. Baskets in hand, we went out early one morning, ready to pick and freeze our first successful crop.
They were gone––all that remained were deer tracks and a crushed fence.
We were not strangers to the habits of deer. They had found a garden, and would be constant visitors forever more. We ate the tomatoes they left for us and although they stripped the leaves from the okra stalks, the pods were left for us. The garden turned to grass, the deer continued to feast on what had become their favorite neighborhood hangout, and we visited the farmers' market.

Last year, the pictures of container gardening featured in every magazine, called forth my love of fresh veggies.What great idea. Grow a garden on  your patio; no weeds, convenient, and decorative. It was  too late in the growing season to start from scratch and really develop this container gardening, so I was happy with a gift of three large plants already in bloom. Soon the blooms became vegetables, and I had a producing garden. No prize winning beauties, but tasty, nevertheless. One morning I looked out, and my garden was nothing but bare stalks. A nearby summer-blooming phlox had suffered the same fate. Deer had visited during the night.

It's spring again, and again I want to grow something. Hanging baskets of veggies? Nope. Anything I can reach, the deer can. Thoughts of growing herbs and a bit of leafy lettuce inside, by a sunny window, crossed my mind. Visions of a broken window and frightened deer leaping over my furniture trying to escape from a yapping dog, nixed that idea.

Maybe a cage––I'll think about it.

Writing fiction……How it started:

 Years ago, a friend had an idea for a wonderful story ––but she wanted me to write it. My reaction was   quick and positive. No way was I going to write a story. Absolutely not. The thought of turning my imagination loose was petrifying. Although, I'd been writing and publishing newsletter for over twenty years, it was based on facts gleaned from research.

The idea  nagged at me until I finally gave in, and had my first experience with fictitious characters going their way instead of mine. I became a follower––my characters took me to unfamiliar places and dicy situations. The original idea changed course and became the Burying Ground, a 80,000 word into manuscript with  a mixture of crime, adventure, and romance. Writing this was so much fun, I wrote another novel––and another. Plus a few short stories and a history of the first 140 years of life in Parker County. No thoughts of publishing, just writing, day after day

If you're going to do something, you should do it well, so writing classes seemed to be a good idea. Through these, groups of writers learn the difference between writing and skilled writing, and  the value of having others critique your work. I took part in several large critique groups that were helpful but very time consuming. When Gina Salamon, a writer from Colorado, invited me to join her and Kate Reid, from Canada, as a threesome to critique our writing, I found my niche.

Kate has just published her first book, Lost in Time, set in a little Scottish village with several inhabitants older than they appeared––two hundred older, in fact. A second in a series of life in Loch na Rhune, is complete, and a third is well on its way. More details later. Find her book on Kobo,

I read the first example if Gina's writing in a long-ago class. After months of work and  many changes it has been developed into an attention holding  romantic mystery, Heaven Help Me, with an unique twist on guardian angels. This has been followed by an even more exciting one, Sleepless, the first in her Cold Case Series. As romantic chillers, they are indeed chilling, especially, when reading only a few completed chapters at a time, and having to wait weeks to learn what came next!

We three are different in subject matter and style: Kate's a bit of time travel and Scottish lore, Gina's set in Colorado, slightly paranormal, and full of chilling suspense––then mine, a trilogy starting with Sarah, a historical novel of the 1870s, followed by the Burying Ground, and the half finished Maggie. All set in the piney woods of East Texas.

For several years, I have enjoyed Karen Rutherford's occasional posts. Her recently published book, Diary of s Post-single Mom, shares her thoughts and experiences in finding a new purpose in life after the one of child raising is finished, The book is obviously directed toward a specific group of readers, but could become a little classic for others facing the same situation. Her occasional flashes of humor are an added bonus.

Updates on all these writings…and writers…will continue in this space, along with notes on recently read books, publishing problems––and successes, and remarks from other writers are welcome. Familiar names of several aspiring writers appear regularly on FaceBook, and I often wonder how their writing is proceeding.Writers and readers, join in.

Hoping to hear from you,


PS: this blog is a hurried replacement for the one Blogger and/or Google caused to disappear yesterday.
Maybe a glitch in the Word program as I closed down the computer caused the problem. It's disconcerting to find the blog site and be told the contents do not exist.