Since I last blogged - and I'm not prolific - something has changed. I'm writing this without my glasses. Two weeks ago, my right eye was operated on for cataracts. Yesterday, my left eye ditto. Although that left eye is still a bit dilated, I'm okay. I've worn glasses or contacts since I was eight years old, and now it's just me and my bionic lenses.
My daughter Sarah was my best cheerleader. She's an ocular diagnostician and worked for Doctors Hansen and Byers in Price, Utah. When I flunked an eye exam in November, she was so pleased, because the next step was cataract surgery.
I'll admit to some apprehension two weeks ago, but it was slam dunk. They don't knock you out for cataract surgery, but they do numb the eyeball, then sedate you with what I call "I'm-not-out-but-I-don't-care" drugs. I could hear indistinct voices and see some odd flashes of light, but that was it. For yesterday's surgery, I was less sedated, so the voices were more distinct and I could see better out of my previously corrected eye. Interesting.
So here I am, and I'm happy. Two things: 1) don't be afraid of cataract surgery 2) don't put it off.
Busy times. I made my changes on the copy edited manuscript of The Double Cross, my first in the continuing adventures of Marco and Paloma Mondragon in 1780s New Mexico. The first book will be out August 1, and I'm happy with it. Marco and Paloma will be around for at least four books, and maybe more, if they do well.
I've received a copy of the ARC (advanced readers copy) for Stop Me If You've Read This One. It's a collection of some of my Prairie Lite columns from the Valley City [ND] Times-Record, a daily newspaper where I labored for four years, before we moved to Utah. Writing for a daily is a total grind, but the carrot was the opportunity to write - among other things - a weekly column on anything I wanted. For a writer, that is dangerous, indeed. I made the most of it. "Stop Me" will be out in April.
Harlequin Historicals sent me the cover for Her Hesitant Heart, which stunned me. It's a beautiful cover, and has everything to do with what happens in the novel. I sent an email to my editor, Bryony Green, and the Big Cheese, Linda Fildew, telling them how delighted I was. (After not being delighted for quite a while.) But it's a great cover. Her Hesitant Heart will be out in late April/early May. That book, set at Fort Laramie in 1876, turned into huge fun for me, because it's a subject I know well. There's nothing nicer for a historical fiction writer than to be able to turn around and look at shelves and shelves of research books on the Indian Wars, Napoleonic War, and medical history.
I've been speaking at a number of book clubs lately. At one last week in Carbon County (where My Loving Vigil Keeping is set), one of the readers said she is a great-granddaughter of Richard T. Evans, who is the choirmaster and good friend of the fictitious Owen Davis. At another book club in Utah County, a lady told me that years ago when her husband was in graduate school at BYU, they lived in an apartment in the Knight-Allen House. In "Vigil Keeping," that's where Jesse and Amanda Knight live. Other readers have told me of their relationships to some of the real people in the book, which pleases me greatly. The challenge to putting real people in fiction is to get it just right. It matters.
Onward. Now I'm writing the outline for the first of two Regencies I owe to Harlequin. It's either going to be set during the Treaty of Amiens in 1802-03, or just after Napoleon is exiled to Elba in 1814. Involves a Scottish lass, Mary Charleson, who goes on an adventure to locate a Christmas cake in which a valuable ring was baked by mistake. And fruitcakes being fruitcakes, the doggoned thing has been passed to other folks, and passed on...
So it's off to the living room, where my European history is shelved. And I'll look at it through "new" eyes.