Hey all! Still here, and still busy. Still no new writing done, but such is life. I’ll get back on that particular pony later this week, or early next. There’s still some paperwork and other assorted whatnot in the way. That’s all.
But while I remain cryptic on business matters, I can be joyful with regards to recent releases! I Am Princess X is still being well received (thank God) and it is my solemn duty to round up a highlight reel of links. Ahem.
- Teen Reads … named it one of their Summer Buzz books, saying that, “Priest’s story is a touching account of friendship situated in a world of fast-paced technology.”
- The Irresponsible Reader … gives it 4-1/2 stars!
- Mermaid Vision Books – “After years and years of reading YA, one tends to develop a wishlist of things one desperately wants to see in novels. At the top of my wishlist is a female friendship that is given the same weight and importance as romantic relationships. Platonic soulmates, if you will, and a story that challenges and inspires the girls involved. I Am Princess X is that book.”
- The Nashville Book Worm … calls it, “[A] breath of fresh air to find a young adult novel that doesn’t include sparkly vampires or a love triangle with our heroine torn between two brooding guys.”
- Jack of All Books … declares it, “A Nancy Drew-like Mystery with a Twist for Today’s Teens.”
- The National Book Examiner … really dug it, adding that “The book is not only fascinating, it’s fun to read with the alternating text and graphics.”
- BlogLovin … gives it 4 stars! And says, “I Am Princess X took my completely by surprise, this fast pace fairy tale meets superhero book is a refreshingly different kind read!”
- The Booklist Reader … calls it out as a great example of a book about “sheroes.” (Female superheroes)
- Geeks of Doom … chimes in, “This little book/comic mystery surprised me, delightfully so. I read it straight through, as eager to get through the comic mystery as May was. The comic inside the novel, with both carrying equally interesting connected stories, were so incredible. I shared May’s frustration when her Dad didn’t believe her, and her anxiety when faced with a real Princess X adventure.”
SPEAKING OF. In a general sense. I’ve long-since given away all of my I Am Princess X stickers, but that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t have one. Click here to enter a big IAPX sticker giveaway!
And that’s the last I’ll say about it for now, I promise.
* * * * *
Since you survived that links roundup, your reward shall be … a pair of dog pictures! The first one shows the face he makes when I meow at him. The second one is the smile he gives me when I stop.
* * * * *
In other news, I drove down to Georgia last week to meet the marvelous James R. Tuck…who hooked me up with an early 40th birthday present to myself.
I’ve been dying for the new ink – ever since I stumbled across some gorgeous Victorian wallpaper that hasn’t been manufactured in 100 years. Can’t have it in my house, so I stuck it on my skin! I’m thrilled with the result – so thrilled, in fact, that I’m driving back down to see Tuck at Arsenal Ink again on Monday, to freshen up a faded old tattoo.
So…more pics to come, I expect!
* * * * *
I believe I subjected you to yardwork before-and-after shots in the last post. This post will do likewise, because I’ve spent the last week on a final push to reboot the back nine. (So to speak.) I ended up hiring a lovely landscaping lady for a couple of days, because I don’t have a pickup truck (for one thing) and I needed help with the manual labor (for another). It’s been hot as hell, and if I’d tried to do everything myself it would’ve taken a month. And a rental truck.
But in the end, we cleared out the one big bed and created a second one by the gate’s entrance – adding three trees, two lilacs, a smattering of Red Rum day lilies, and a hydrangea. And lots of rocks, which were heavy as shit, I assure you.
So allow me to remind you of the original “before.”
And now regale you with the after!
We removed the ratty beautyberry bush, a straggly old lilac, and an overeager quince (though we left the one near the fence on the far right, to shade Greyson’s preferred dirt hole) … and replaced them with a couple of Japanese maples (different varieties) and the lilies (folded into a patch of irises and tiger lilies). The large ceiling medallion is a reproduction; I hosed it down with Rustoleum before hanging it, and I’m keeping an eye on it. I hope it holds up, because I think it looks great there.
You can also see the two heirloom roses I’m protecting – a creamy peach tea rose (center) and a red variety that isn’t blooming right now (on the trellis). All in all, this is now a MUCH easier bed to maintain – and that was the primary goal. The fact that it’s way pretty is a hell of a bonus :)
Our other big goal was to do something about the entrance at the gate. This whole chunk of the yard is parched and crazy, because it gets full sun most of the day. But once we got around to fixing the cement landing, I decided it was time to do something nicer with the adjacent square footage.
Again, the original “before.”
And now the after!
And I also added an awning to the entrance, to cut down on the afternoon glare and offer a little protection from the elements. Let me tell you how much fun it was, trying to wrestle that door open in a thunderstorm while managing a 90-pound dog. Or how much not-fun. You get the gist. We needed a little cover.
What we did here: Removed the epic blue salvia that was always such a mess – and replaced it with a pair of purple lilacs (between the roses, at the Francis statue; they’re still fairly small, and not yet blooming); added a Butterfly magnolia tree (won’t get too huge, which is important due to the fence and power lines to the garage); and added a large lavender hydrangea (since it can take some shade).
[Don’t worry about the dirt covering the creeping Jenny. The groundcover will come back just fine – that stuff’s indestructible. Likewise, be advised that this will all grow in a bit, over the next few months. The hydrangea will fluff out. The lilacs will mature. The magnolia will settle in. This will all look a little fuller, next year.]
Anyway, now it looks like civilized adults live here, and actually care about the place! [:: throws confetti ::] Except that we need to mow the lawn and trim it up and the hedges are getting crazy again and the front yard needs to be weeded like crazy and…and…and…
* * * * *
Right! So! That’s a preposterously long blog post, eh? Well, it was a week in coming, and you know how it goes – lots of short ones, or intermittent long ones. It’s the nature of my internet availability, these days.
I am, however, a little more prolific over on my Twitter feed because it’s quicker and easier and I can just bop in and out without parking myself for a couple of hours to organize my thoughts and present them here.
But I’ll try to be better in the future. There’s just a lot going on, personally and professionally, right now. That’s all. So thanks for reading, and please stick with me. Awesome news, announcements, and tasty, tasty word metrics are on the horizon – I promise!