Given this heat, I’m spending a great deal of my time on our front porch. Alas, we don’t have air-conditioning, just two noisy fans that at least keep the warm air moving inside the house. So, out of necessity and comfort, it has become my new writing and research space as well as our living and dining room. Yes, I am writing this post out here. I have my first cup of coffee with me. I’m still in my night clothes, but it’s early, so nobody’s around except the cat and me.
I sincerely thank the people who built this bungalow in 1900 for creating a front porch that is large and situated so it channels the breezes from the tree-filled hill to the right of it. I’m glad the owners before us didn’t glass or screen it in.
Hank built its four comfy Adirondack chairs with wide enough arms to accommodate my laptop and piles of paper, so handy as I come to the end of editing my most recent book — more later. There are two rockers, tables, and houseplants that are summering outside. We have mellow chimes and bells collected over the years hanging from the light blue ceiling.
To the right of our property, ancient trees separate us from the village’s Catholic church. (During the height of COVID, they celebrated Mass in the parking lot so it was like we were there with the parishioners.)
Here, I have a good view of our neighbors’ homes, old like ours, and what the people who live there do and grow in their yards. Nothing outrageous I might add. I’d say we are lucky to have such good, friendly people living near us. We converse and even play cribbage or scrabble. The woman who lives to the left always shouts “Howdy, neighbor!” when she sees us. Way beyond this part of our village is a large wooded hill with a fire tower. We can watch the leaves change — greening in the spring and reddening in the fall.
Hank and I will sit out here talking or not talking, often with a hot or cold beverage, as we watch and listen to the birds, especially the cardinals and blue birds, but even they are staying put during this heat. The bugs surprisingly are minimal. There are small wild mammals and lots of cats. The other day Hank was startled from meditating — yes, it is a great spot for that — when a groundhog walked onto the porch. I heard the laughter when he was startled by the animal walking toward him although it eventually left.
Right now, our cat, Stella sits on the porch railing as she overlooks her realm. While I was editing my book Saturday, she came toward the porch, making a sound that means she is damn proud she has an animal in her mouth. She dumped the rather large mouse, close to death, near my footstool, played with it a bit, and then moments later proceeded to eat it. I could hear her teeth crunching bones. She left behind the head, heart and guts, which I had to clean up. Thanks a lot cat.
So here’s the part about the book. Following the Lead is no. 6 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, which I began in February, is done, well, sort of. Yes, I reached the 75,000 word mark. The next step was to print the manuscript and get out a red flare, my weapon of choice. Every day last week, including a rainy one, I sat on the porch, marking up my manuscript before I loaded the edits into the computer.
I feel happy about what I accomplished with Following the Lead, so today I will used my computer’s read-aloud function to listen to my book. It’s part of the editing process. I bet the neighbors won’t mind.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the manuscript for Following the Lead on my outstretched legs on our front porch. Yes, I do have long feet. You can read about them in this post from 2013 when we lived in Taos: https://www.joanlivingston.net/uncategorized/big-feet/
MY BOOKS: I’ve started rereading my Isabel Long Mystery Series from the beginning. I want to make sure I’m maintaining the same quality throughout, especially as I mentioned above that I am near the finish line for no. 6. I’m on the first, Chasing the Case and enjoying what I wrote, which frankly is a huge relief. Here’s the link to the my books, including the series: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Livingston/e/B01E1HKIDG