Puppy Countdown

Auggie Practices Terrorizing

Tomorrow is Meet the Puppy Day. Neither he nor our dogs at home have any idea what’s about to happen.

My husband keeps telling Pete and Moses that The Black Terror is coming. Auggie looks pretty laid back for a Terror, but I will admit that I am in denial.

Let the puppy destruction commence.

Learning to Love Again

To the both of you who follow my blog: by now you are probably used to the reality that when I am writing a book, I don’t post many blogs. It’s a husbanding your resources thing.

Nevertheless, I interrupt this novel for a brief announcement:

We are in the queue again for a puppy. He has been born. He will be two weeks old tomorrow. We hope to pick him up and fly him home (on our laps) on May 6th. He is a cousin, of some sort, of Moses.

My husband insists that his name will be St. Augustine the Younger. He gets to pick, since I picked Moses, but I am still lobbying for St. George, the Dragon Slayer.

He will win.

So, watch this space for puppy pictures. Because my life needs a complication, albeit a delightful one.

Here is one of the puppies from the litter. Who knows? We may become friends.

 

Praise from an Islander

Two book series

Some fan letters are particularly meaningful.

I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your first book, although have not yet read the second. It’s always interesting to read something set in a beloved location….although one runs the risk of feeling betrayed. That isn’t the case, here!

I just wanted to tell you that Fiona’s house was owned for a time by my husband’s family, and his Aunt Helen, who was disabled, stayed there for a summer…. 

I, too, am in exile, south of you in Racine. My family is from the Island, as is my husband’s. The lighthouse on Rock is restored to the time of my great grandfather’s tenure there. My grandmother taught in the Detroit Harbor school and ran Central switchboard for a time. My grandfather was a ferry captain, and my son is the 4th generation in our family to work for the Richters. My mom lives in the home my great grandparents bought after retiring from the lighthouse service, and our cottage is on my husband’s family’s land…over 125 years…. 

Thank you for bringing the Island to life for others to see, in a way that preserves the spirit and respects the people who live there…and tells a fabulous story. It’s not easy to do all three.

Thank you.
Kari Gordon

Thank you, Kari.

The Vagaries of Writing

I have been procrastinating. It is a well-known, but little understood phenomenon of the writing process.

Every writer procrastinates differently. My method is cleaning and de-cluttering my work space, and finishing up little tasks that distract me. Having a clear, open space, and no little worries helps to clear my mind, and then the ideas that are spinning around my head in an inchoate mess suddenly coalesce into plot lines and sometimes into complete scenes. I know this process, but it is very hard to accept that I need to do it when I feel a deadline looming, and time slipping away from me.

The other night I was driving home from some evening event and suddenly an entire sequence for the new book entered my mind, and I couldn’t get my coat off fast enough to write it all down. It is an odd sequence–a departure from my usual style–and after a few days of musing over it I put it down. It was risky, and it didn’t fit the book. Maybe another book.

Then everything stopped. I couldn’t write much. I couldn’t catch the wind that sails me through my writing. I sat at my desk, restlessly, unproductively, staring out the window, looking at YouTube videos, researching mammals and explosives (not together), and periodically going downstairs to see if I could alleviate my boredom by eating.  Spring snowFortunately, knowing myself, I have purged my kitchen of these kinds of foods, and even though I am a novelist, drinking in the middle of the day does not normally appeal to me. I consumed a lot of tea, and far too much coffee.

So, finally, I gave up. I stopped worrying about it and just got on with other tasks. I cleaned out a closet in the kitchen. I rearranged my office, and made plans for new bookcases. I dusted under beds. I threw a small dinner party, and took the dogs for walks.

This morning I began my day pre-dawn standing barefoot on the patio, loudly and frantically calling my dogs in–no doubt to the amusement of my neighbors who were recovering from their New Year’s Eve revelries–while a fairly large contingent of coyotes barked and yipped and howled somewhere very nearby.

Dogs safe, I sat drinking coffee and watching the turkeys begin their new year from their treetop berths, their big bulbous shapes silhouetted against the pink and orange sky.

All at once, the spinning stopped, and the words began again in my head. My refusal to accept the strange sequence as part of the novel had shut me down. I suddenly knew that it did belong, and that it had to be the beginning of the book. And then everything began to fall in place in my mind, like the tumblers in a lock falling into place.

There it is. Not all of it. But the main points of it.

Time to write.

 

Moving toward the Sun

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I love winter. This past week of snow and bitter cold delighted and invigorated me. I can’t quite explain why. Maybe it has something to do with the light and the transformation of the world into a different place.

But getting up in the dark is very, very hard. This morning as I awoke, the great horned owls were still singing to one another deep in the woods, and the dogs startled the deer who like to browse in the darkness.

Today, however, even though the sunrises will keep getting later and and later, the hours of light begin to lengthen. In deepest winter we find ourselves thinking about the path we are beginning to the longest day in summer. In summer, the joy of that long day is tinged with sadness that the days will begin to shorten. Now, the darkness is enlivened by the hope of spring.

Two of our friends have lost parents this week. They are deeply religious people, so I imagine their grief is filled with this same mixture of despair and promise: the paradox of faith. As they gaze out on this new and alien landscape of their lives, may they find the consolation of light and hope.

 

Edgerton Sterling North Book and Film Festival: Saturday November 5th

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9am – 5pm

Edgerton High School
200 Elm High Dr.
Edgerton, WI 53534
Free Admission

My official schedule is as follows, and books will be available for purchase:

11:30-Noon     Meet and Greet in Gymnasium

12:15-12:45      The Audacity of Goats-Confessions of a Book Club Drop Out. Room 349

1:30-2:00          Meet and Greet in Gymnasium

2:15-2:45         The Audacity of Goats-Confessions of a Book Club Drop Out. Room 349

 

I will have just left the Island, so come and cheer me up. A raccoon would help.

 

 

News From North of the Tension Line

Greetings from Washington Island:

Life has been moving at a screaming pace, and I have not been keeping up. We (Pete, Moses, and I) are on the Island this week, cloistered for the purposes of writing Book Three in the North of the Tension Line series. I do the writing. They take me for walks and keep me from sitting for twelve hours straight. Meanwhile, the books have been gaining quite a bit of media attention, and if you haven’t heard about it here first, I apologize.

Now that we are here on the Island, there have been a few setbacks, including some extremely nasty chigger bites (I am not used to coming here when the temperatures are above freezing), but I am otherwise making progress. This is the fast part of writing, when everything is fresh, and the ideas are pushing themselves out onto paper (computer). The slow part comes later, when the plot needs to be knit together, and the loose ends keep popping out.

But I interrupt this time of retreat to mention that I do have a new website, www.jfriordan.com. This blog will continue to exist here, but you will also be able to access it from the website.

You will be able to find details about my next public appearances, to read, watch, and listen to media events, to hear interviews and readings from the books, and to buy the books, as well. In a day or two, my half hour television interview will become public, and you will be able to see it there. (As an aside, if you want incentive to stick to your weight loss plans, watch yourself on television. It’s a kind of horrifying reality check.)

The stats here at North of the Tension Line: Reflections on a Life in Exile have been rising steadily, and I am deeply grateful to my readers. Thank you, and I hope you will stay with me as the story continues.

Please take a moment to check out the website, and, if you would be so kind, to pass it on.