Monday, March 7, 2011

Daylight Saving and Small Beginnings (3/13/11)

The calendar turns, the sun rises earlier and sets later, and suddenly here we are back on Daylight Saving Time. I, for one, wish we’d stay on it. I resent the twice-yearly resetting of my internal clock and I recently read somewhere that efficiency and mental acuity both drop off during this period of readjustment. Why can’t we just move the clocks a half-hour ahead once and for all and leave it there?

Or we could emulate the ancient Romans and divide the daylight hours into 12 equal parts. Our daytime hours would be 75 minutes long in summer and only 44 minutes long in winter, which seems fair to me.

In the meantime, a dozen green seedlings sit here in the east window of my office with their promise of ripe red tomatoes to come as the daylight hours turn from spring to summer.

Hard to think that each spindly plant is going to turn into a four- or five-foot tall bushy vine.

On the other hand, I’ve just written the first 500 words of the 79,500 words that should come before we turn the clocks back again. Deborah’s nephew Reese has just scooped up a dead squirrel from the highway and put it in a Tupperware bin in the back of his truck. I’m not totally clear on what he plans to do with it, but knowing Reese, you can be sure it’s not quite what you might expect. I just hope that these 500 words produce as much fruit as those seedlings will.

Come over to my Facebook page and tell me what you think of Daylight Saving Time.

Death of a Butterfly (3/7/11)

Death of a Butterfly is the second in my Sigrid Harald series. Out of print for years, it is now available as an eBook from Nook and, by the time you read this I hope, from Kindle. The new cover was designed by Paper Moon Graphics in Raleigh. Although it can be read as a standalone, it does follow on the heels of One Coffee With and uses characters introduced there.


Artist Oscar Nauman continues to insinuate himself into Sigrid Harald’s personal life but their idyllic Saturday morning outing is cut short when she is called to a homicide scene. A beautiful young mother has been struck down in her sunny upscale apartment and lies on the tiled kitchen floor like a crumpled butterfly pinned for display. Sigrid soon discovers that Julie Redmond’s fragile beauty hid an amoral character and that there were many who will not mourn her, including her toddler’s surrogate grandparents, her ex-husband, her thieving brother, and a former lover that she was blackmailing.

Although Sigrid tries to keep it professional, she finds herself emotionally pulled by those whom the dead woman had hurt. To her absolute dismay, she is also asked to assist in a home birth and to provide shelter for a temporary roommate. To cap her discomfort, her building is going condo and she’ll have to buy or move.

For someone who has always kept her personal life on the back burner and totally separate from her work, Sigrid is suddenly plunged deeper and deeper into relationships that threaten her equilibrium.

Halfway through the book, one of my writer friends shook her head in amusement. “Poor Sigrid,” she said. “You put her up a tree and then you throw rocks at her.”

First time around, most people didn’t see the humor in these books. This time, I’m getting delightful comments as my readers catch on and realize that Sigrid’s prickly nature is a not very protective armor when it comes to life and love.

Even though she’s quite different from Judge Deborah Knott, my North Carolina protagonist, this New Yorker has slowly gained a partisan readership. Hope you’ll try one of the books to see why.

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