The Garden Report (Mother’s Day edition)

Nora sent photos from this weekend’s forays into the garden, including an update on growth in that well-loved face pot.  When I’m up at her house, it’s always fun to find the fanciful figures tucked in among the flowers.  There are so many that I’ve completely missed the face table (that’s missing it over more than five years, y’all)!  So she kindly sent a photo of that as well.

nr garden md 15 The goddess of the garden oversees all.

nr garden md 14 Look how the flowers have filled in.

nr garden md 13 Broken flowerpot?  Plant it!

nr garden md 12Barrel of flowers and grow bags at the ready.

nr garden md 11The higher planter holds Nora’s prized Meyer Lemon Tree.  The lemons she’s harvested have been wonderful!

nr garden md 7 Hidden in the garden…

nr garden md 3 See the face???

nr garden md 2 Garden wellies.

 

 

A Friday question

At Turn the Page events, we meet a lot moms and daughters who share the love of Nora’s books.  With Mother’s Day (US) on Sunday, I wondered a couple of things:  do you share your books with your mother?  How much influence did your mom have on your reading choices?

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and for all those moms out there — hope a wonderful book is part of your Mother’s Day.  ~Laura

Nora’s Kentucky Derby recap

We love Derby! We’re so grateful to be asked to come, and to support a wonderful cause like Blessings In A Backpack. For one wonderful weekend in May I can support that cause, enjoy an amazing tradition, and have nothing but fun doing both.

Bruce, our daughter-in-law Kat and I arrived in Louisville on Thursday afternoon to glorious weather–and our traditional stop for lunch at the Dizzy Whiz with our pal and escort–the delightful Kathy Conway, and our cop for the weekend, the fabulous Brian.

Then it’s off to the hotel, to unpack, to unwind before suiting up for Club Night. This is our ninth Derby, so it’s a lot like a family reunion, catching up with friends we only see once a year. A poker tournament is a big part of Club Night, but since we’re lousy at Texas Hold ‘Em, we opt to just hang out, reconnect with those friends, enjoy the spread.

Friday is Oaks Day–for the guys in our group. Our son Jason arrives bright and early (he had work on Thursday). He and Bruce dress up for a day at the track–and looked pretty spiffy! Kat and I head out with our Kathy for a girl day. Manis and pedis–and I opt for bright green toes to match my Derby dress. More fun! And fun, too, as we’ve been going to this salon for several years, and can catch up with everyone there.

Off to a pretty ladies lunch–champagne for me!–relaxing, talking, then to the big part of the afternoon. Shopping. I know when I spot a bag I HAVE to have the minute I walk into my favorite store in Louisville, it’s going to be a good day. Following tradition, I find a cool pair of shoes for Bruce, and Father’s Day is now taken care of.

Back to the hotel where the talented Sarah will give us gala hair. The men come back–my filly didn’t come in–but they had as good a time as we did.

Now it’s get glam time for Unbridled Eve’s fabulous gala. The men look so handsome–but I have to say my Kat is just awesome. Kathy and her equally handsome son–in his ROTC uniform–are joining us for the evening.

BW and I walk the Red Carpet–also fun but always just a little odd for me considering I spend most of my time in pjs or sweats in front of a keyboard. But tonight’s special, and again for a wonderful cause. It’s fun to see what everyone’s wearing, too see the beautifully decorated venue. It’s such a happy weekend, and it pumps you up to be around such good, positive energy.

The silent auction benefits Blessings In A Backpack, and I’m happy to bid on items that catch my eye. Even happier when my bids hold up on several. We don’t stay too late–tomorrow’s the big day!

And it dawns chilly, rainy, windy. But we’re not going to let that dampen our spirits. It’s time for hats! Mine is made–as it is most years–by Hats By Penny–and this year is the best yet. I’m in love with it. I’m also glad I have a reasonably warm jacket to go over my spring green dress. I needed it.

There’s really nothing like seeing the Downs, each and every year. Nothing like the look and feel of it, the sounds of it, and all those happy people braving the rain to be a part of this first Saturday in May.

More familiar faces, more hugs–a challenge with big hats–and the incredible sight of the track, the sound of the horses, the pageantry.

The betting!

My luck is down. Race after race I can’t pick a horse to save me. I’ve had some tips on the Derby race, and consider all of them. I put a little on Goldencents–a local favorite, and some on Rosie, the female jockey. But Orb catches my eye, so I decide to put a chunk on him across the board.

You can actually feel the sizzle as the big race approaches. And the rain stops; the sky lightens a little. Everyone’s buzzing now, and piling out onto the terrace to wait and watch. The minute the gates open I forget–as I always do–the bet. It’s all about the horses, the incredible beauty of them, the speed–even on the sloppy track–the thunderous sound. Everyone cheers, shouts, whistles–it’s a wall of noise, and in that moment I don’t care who wins. I just want to watch the majesty of the moment.

But I do see a horse coming in from behind. Who is that? Just look at him, he’s glorious. I don’t realize until right before the finish it’s Orb. I pull for him then as much, probably more, due to his magnificent run than the bet.

Even when it’s done, the buzz continues. Cheers and more cheers–from winning bets and losing ones. I go inside to watch the race again on the TV, hear the announcers as that wall of sound during the race blocks everything else.

Then I cash in. Thank you, Orb!

We stay for the last two races–for the fun and to give traffic a chance to calm. The Surrounding games have loads to offer the gambler, it seems I’m solicitated just as much as online, things like “ CompareTheBets’ List of Promo Codes” can be heard from well dressed young men and such… But I remain focused on my current luck, and I hit the next two races as well. It’s fun to win, but the real thrill is Derby, and everything surrounding it.

Weekend’s results

Did anyone see Nora’s post in the Weekend, weekend (http://fallintothestory.com/weekend-weekend/) thread?   Well I’ve got the proof of her weekend’s work here!  (Nora’s still working on her mag photo skills so I told her I’d post the photos).

photo (36)  Cleaned up beds.

photo (37) More beds.

photo (38) Nora goes for the unusual in her flower pots.

Driveway photo Cleared out and ready for blooming!

So, did you accomplish all you wanted to this weekend?  Or did you end up doing something completely unplanned?

Laura

 

Teasers and such

If you don’t want to read anything about Thankless in Death, please back out of this post!  I’ve covered up the information, but just in case, you need to know.

Thank you to everyone who shared their opinions on spoilers in such fun and upbeat ways.  I deliberately left out my opinion on the subject other than to say it’s sort of a moot point for me because I read the books early.

So how do I feel about them?  I think it’s fun to find out some elements before reading a book but not how they are written into the story.   I feel, strongly, that plot elements like a killer shouldn’t be in spoilers.  I think every reader deserves to find out life-changing events in an ongoing series (such as Eve becoming pregnant or a captain) on their own.

Case in point:  I honestly believed that New York to Dallas was a book that would be undermined by spoilers.  That to know some of the big plot points going in would make the actual reveals anticlimactic.

So I’m stating in advance that if information that rocks an In Death character’s world comes into my hands, I’m not going to post it here.

Perhaps it’s far more correct to say I lean toward teasers about a book — the first chapter, the cover — rather than outright spoilers.  And in the case of Thankless in Death, it’s a nice one.

I’ll share it below,  If you want to read it, you’ll need to highlight it with your mouse.  And then, I’m going to disallow comments.  Just let the little bit of news simmer for now:

The Irish are coming back for Thanksgiving dinner along with Nixie, Kevin, Elizabeth and Richard DeBlass.  Readers have been clamoring to see Nixie again so this should make everyone happy.  Haven’t read the scene yet, but I keep imagining Nixie and Kevin teaming up with Sean to bedevil Eve. 

Laura

How do you feel about…

spoilers?  

It’s so interesting to see how readers react to spoilers — even the idea of them.  Some people actively search them out, avidly piecing together a book before they have it in their hands.  Some people don’t even read jacket copy on a book in order to preserve the surprise and let the book open up to them naturally.

It appears to me that readers seek spoilers more when they deal with a series like the In Deaths, rather than stand alone books like Whiskey Beach.  Is that because a reader is more familiar with the In Death world and wants to know what’s going on as soon as possible?  And I noticed that a lot of people were avid for details of the last book in The Bride Quartet and The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy because they wanted to know about the last happy ending. Whereas nobody really knows Eli and Abra in Whiskey Beach and therefore they may be more willing to let the book surprise them.  I’m not sure. 

A small perk in this job is that I read the books a little early so I already know the spoilers.  And I don’t normally share them because it seems a little like teasing, but I do have a little insider information about Thankless in Death (September) that will please a lot of people.  

As we figure out the ins and and outs of a blog about Nora’s books it seems to me that there can be a place for spoilers, carefully concealed from easy view.  But I thought I’d gather some opinions and then see where we go.

Thoughts?  ~Laura

 

 

 

Thanks! (and an In Death question)

Thanks to everyone who visited, lurked and/or commented on our very first blog post yesterday!  It was so much fun to read all the stories about how readers found Nora’s books whether they were written as Nora Roberts or JD Robb.

I was a reader before I ever even thought about working with Nora.  The first book for me was The Law is a Lady — when it was abridged for Good Housekeeping Magazine ages and ages ago.  I don’t have the original, but I do have a Language of Love edition that I still pick up for a re-read every once in a while.

In the middle of all the comments yesterday Becky posted: “I have not read JD Robb. Are they as good as all the rest?”

It’s a question that deserves an answer from all of the In Death readers so I thought I’d repost it.

I’ve read the In Deaths since the first book came out in June 1995.  I actually anticipated it greatly,  because even though her name wasn’t on it I knew Naked in Death was by Nora Roberts.  For me, the visuals of the book were nearly overwhelming — I could see that New York of the not too far future and I loved it.  And when I met Nora at the RWA conference that summer, I believe I stammered that out in a nervous rush.

I keep reading the series for Eve, first and foremost.  But the beauty of the In Deaths is watching her change from an aloof loner to a woman who (to her regular amazement and periodic dismay) has a family that starts with Roarke, Summerset and Galahad and encompasses an amazing cast of characters.

So Becky, my answer is yes — they are as good as all the rest.

What are your thoughts about the In Death books?  And how do you describe them to people who haven’t read them yet?  ~Laura

 

The official blog for Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb readers