Keeping on and keeping up

I imagine that’s what we’re all trying to do as we move into COVID fall.

Around here, we’ve got a routine going, and routines always keep me steadier. I’m writing away, and that always keeps me sane and steady. I recently finished next fall’s In Death—and no! We’re not telling you anything about it yet.

Now I’m working on Book Two of The Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy. Fantasy’s a fun place to go when reality is particularly hard.

Weekends are for cleaning, cooking, baking. Not much gardening recently as herds—and I mean herds—of deer gobbled up at last half my gardens. Nothing stopped them this year—not repellant, not dogs, not whirligigs, not nothing, not no how. Twice I went out and chased about ten away. And we have a good-sized fawn—still spotted—who has come right up to my kitchen window—three times—still chewing on one of my shrubs.

Despite them, I have some bright spots out there.

I’ve harvested, chopped and frozen in ice cube trays my oregano and my basil. I now have a couple of big freezer bags of both for all those soups, sauces and stews I’ll make through fall and winter. Rosemary yet to deal with.

Laura’s branch vase

Snipped a few flowers for the pretty vase Laura made me. The ones with the tiny orange flowers attract hummingbirds so I plant a good flow of them every spring. We have a couple of feeders which they frequent, but I watched one spend at least five full minutes going from one of these tiny flowers to the next the other day. He actually had to fly up to a tree branch to rest for a minute, then came back and did it all again.

They’ll migrate soon, and I’ll miss them over the winter.

We brought in my lemon tree—we’ve had a couple of very cool nights—and I picked the last three lemons of this crop. Sweet!

Lemon harvest

I also had some coleus volunteer in the river rock beside the pot where I plant it every spring. These volunteers must have popped up from seeds blown out from last year. I managed to dig them up and pot them. Am happy to report after a week in the pool house, they’re doing well. Nice houseplants, and a nice reminder of spring and summer.

Coleus ready to winter

And every couple weeks, Jason and Kat and Griffin visit. That’s the real bright spot. He’s such a little boy now, and full of energy and toddler babbling. One of his favorite games is to set up some barrier—a box, a laundry basket, whatever, then chase of be chased around it by one or both of his parents until he just flops down exhausted.

This little man is nearly 2!

Kayla is staying safe in college, and it’s clear from our Face Times (at least once a week) and texting, college agrees with her.

BW stays busy, and this week finished a project I so much wanted. He added lights to the built-ins he built years and years ago. It’s exactly what I wanted, and makes me ridiculously happy.

Cabinets aglow. (And yes that’s a portrait of Nora and BW as Rick and Ilsa.)

Today, heavy sigh, it’s back to the dentist (other than the magical week at The Greenbrier, the only place I’ve gone since March) for two more crowns. My teeth are the nemesis in my mouth. I’ll stop on the way home for a flu shot, then expect to hunker in, once again, likely until spring.

We’ll vote by mail. And here’s your PSA for the day. Vote. Vote safely in person or by mail, vote early if you can, but VOTE. It’s both your right and your responsibility.

That’s really about it from my home front. I’m going to relax in my clean house for awhile!

As always, stay safe.


Just a little fall from Laura’s neck of the woods.

58 thoughts on “Keeping on and keeping up”

  1. Loved reading your update this morning. The picture of Griffin certainly brightened my morning along with a visual of what it must be like seeing all those deer in your years😊😊😊

  2. I love your books. I love listening to you speak (fabulous evening at the Boonsboro Inn) and I love getting a glimpse of you and your real world. Thanks for sharing beautiful photos of your home and family. And yay to the lights in the cabinets! And thanks for your patience and generosity.

  3. Thank you for sharing what is happening in your life. Thank you specially for the picture of Griffin….right now his enthusiasm for living is the best tonic going!!!

    Major Kudos to BD..those shelves rock!!! The lights just create this joyful glow!

    Right now, here in Western NY, we have been given a gift of 80 degree weather which means morning coffee on the porch, and leisurely walks with the dog which help my sanity! Night times find me taking refuge in Nora Land …thank you for those incredible stories and people you have created!

    Be well…and yes VOTE!!

  4. Nora you have saved my sanity through this craziness. I’ve reread so many of your books as they are the only ones that have held my interest & calmed me down during this time. So thank you for all you do. And as another person who has only seen the dentist throughout lockdown, I really feel your pain.

  5. It’s so nice to hear from you. You have demon deer to contend with, I have demon squirrels. So irritating.

    It’s always soothing to hear even the smallest mention of whatever you’re writing. When I read you’ve finished another In Death book, I breathe a sigh of relief. That constant is important to me, and so many others.

    I know you’re staying safe at home because of the pandemic, I am as well. But, I am quite envious of the idea you offered of staying at home until spring. Love it!

    Thank you again for the visit.

  6. Quote (emphasis added):

    The ones with the tiny orange flowers ATTACK HUMMINGBIRDS so I plant a good flow of them every spring.

    Why would you do that? We don’t have enough hummingbirds!

      1. Again, when Nora sent it over it said Attack, but I didn’t catch it until Richard brought it to my attention. So I fixed it.


        1. Wow!
          I need to: A. ) rein in my humor. & B. ) apologize to Laura!

          I am so sorry that my attack flowers comment has caused so much trouble.


  7. So nice to read the update. My granddaughter was finally able to start nursing school, yay, and we all have been ok through this trying time. I’ve worried because most of my family have essential jobs. So far, so good. Griffin is growing up too. Your husband is a handy man to have around! Lights make it complete.
    I’m just waiting for your next book, I seem to read them in one sitting then hate myself because I have to wait that much longer for your next one. Thanks to you and your crew for giving us something to look forward to.

  8. I know I’m being a smartass because it is obviously a typo, but not only do I love your updates, I got an extra boost today out of imagining the flowers attacking the hummingbirds. Although, in some of your fantastical universes, I supposed it COULD be true! Love your books!

  9. He’s gotten so big. What a cutie. How do you freeze your herbs. I have a bumper crop & usually just leave them in the pots

  10. Our deer stay in our hayfields. We have squirrels and this year a black bear!!! we are dealing with. I used to think squirrels were cute little creatures. No longer since they’ve infiltrated our attic, and are driving our dogs insane. The bear has gotten into our horse feed and destroyed our bird feed station.

    But despite the challenges, I wouldn’t give living in the boonies of Northern Michigan up for anything!

  11. I love reading your updates – your stories and pictures bring a smile to my face. A visit to Boonsboro Inn (and hopefully a “meet Nora” opportunity!) has been on my bucket list for way too long, and once we’ve defeated COVID, and the borders re-open, I’m committed to making it happen!

  12. I love reading about your garden, plants, cooking, and especially family. Griffin is getting so big and such a cutie. I’m glad Kayla is safe. This is such a scary time. My daughter and her family live next door to us so our “ bubble “ has been the 6 of us from the beginning. I can totally relate to your Dental Woes. I have finally finished my dental visits which have gone on for months.
    Thank you for writing your wonderful stories. I loved SHADOWS IN DEATH and HIDEAWAY. Looking forward to what comes next.
    Stay safe. Oh, and Laura’s vase is lovely.

  13. Just tuned in to your blog. I’ve been reading your books for years.
    As an author, my dream is to fill someone’s book shelves as you’ve done mine. Big dream, but dreams are the things stories are made of, right? Sorta. So far I have 7 to my credit.
    My husband passed away a bit over a year ago and he was a collector of “STUFF”. I’ve been using my writing time to go through sheds and storage in order to eliminate the clutter and make my life simpler. Hoping to return to the keyboard when the weather cools some, which is happening way too fast in the mountains of Eastern Arizona.
    I just finished listening to “Under Currents.” I can listen to audio books and still get my work done. Loved the book.
    Thank you for the look into your daily life. Your grandson is adorable.
    All my grands are past the toddler stage, but the great grands are shooting up to take their place. Problem is, they live so far away.
    Again, thank you. Bless you.

  14. As always your updates cheer me and I love the photos! It’s still in the low 100’s in Phoenix but the nights are in the 70’s so I know we’re closing in on completing another summer…hottest one on record. Now I can get excited about planting as I lost all my pots to the heat and the Saguaro cactus have been falling over, in all parts of town. Sad, given how old they are.
    Thanks for sharing Mr. Short Stuff…little ones are the best! And yes, VOTE! Blessings to all. 🙂

  15. Thank you for a glimpse into your world. Griffin is such a cutie! I can imagine him running around asking to be chased. Stay safe and thank you for all the joy your books bring to so many.

  16. Despite your tribulations with the deer, your positivity and hope shine through your words. Thanks for making me smile as I start the week. ❤

  17. Griffin is adorable and your table, wow!
    Love everything about your update.
    You’ve made me a better person through your writing. Thank you.
    Stay safe and hope all goes well at the dentist.
    Bless you, your family and your talent 💝

  18. I think my hummingbirds have headed south here in SW Ohio-I’ve not seen any at the feeder since last Weds. I’ll take the feeder down, clean & store it shortly–another Fall step. I’m also starting to move the outside pots inside–the dreaded “frost” word has been spoken–maybe this coming weekend! Hello, October!

    And well said: Vote! It’s our right & our responsibility–many people died to preserve it for us. Don’t make their deaths meaningless!

  19. Loved reading your updates. Griffin is adorable and glad to hear that Kayla is enjoying college. I love your books. Both the In Death Series and the rest of your books.

  20. I love all your various series, especially “In Death” with Dallas and Rourke. We mostly see opposums, raccoons, and brown rabbits, ducks, cardinals, blue jays, mocking birds, robins, and doves in North TX /DFW suburbs and are now seeing bobcats and coyotes as well. Yes, we all need to vote this year! Have a fantastic fall!!

  21. Thanks for the update Nora. It’s always nice to hear how life is going for you and the family. We have deer visitors in our yard too. A huge 4 point buck who likes to nap and rub his horns on our cedar trees. I actually caught him on our deck recently eating my carnations and potted plants. Now I know why they’ve all been shy of producing flowers. I mistakenly thought the deck was too close to the house. Boy was I wrong.

    Thanks again for the great reads this past year. Stay safe and happy writing. All the best…💜

  22. Cayenne pepper seemed to ward the deer away for us this year. They are ravaging little beasts sometimes.

  23. Thank you so much for the latest news of your family. I enjoy hearing about your life so much. Take care and God bless.

  24. Love the lighted cabinets! It just makes the room. Sorry you have 2 more crowns scheduled. I have 8 crowns. As a youngster I didn’t take the best care of my teeth…but I do now! Since I’m coming off my 14 day quarantine ( long story, I tested positive for Covid) I have been reading Night shift and of course Shadows in death (twice!) thanks for sharing your gardens and a picture of Griffin. Stay safe!

  25. I always enjoy reading your blogs and having a glimpse into the world from your view of it! Your view of nature sounds so peaceful, even if frustrating at times. The lights look great and I love the portrait! Thank you for sharing these pieces of you. Stay healthy, safe and Blessed be!

  26. Do you know the name of those tiny red flowers? I got one of them this year, but it didn’t have an identifier tag. My one and only hummingbird loved it! One day I was watering my pots (it was in the group) and the hummingbird came in to tell me I was in her way! Got so close to my nose, my eyes crossed! Fiesty little buggers! I had critter problems, too, but my little backyard garden probably only supported one marauder. It liked my entire tomato plant (down to the dirt!), my okra and container corn. I’ve seen both raccoon and deer, even living in town, so I don’t know who to blame. They left my marigolds and geraniums strictly alone, so I did get some color! Glad you’re getting some time with Griffin, what a sweetie. I often joke my entire social life is going to the doctor, but it’s true. Staying safe and healthy is the plan.

    And yes!! Vote!!

    1. When something was eating my tomato plants my brother suggested that it was probably rabbits, with their complicated digestive systems. Most animals find tomato plants toxic except for the fruit. (If the leaves rub against my skin I have to wash immediately to avoid an allergic reaction. It is a member of the Nightshade family.) We do have cute little cottontails in the yard that also enjoy tree leaves and blackberry leaves. Plus, rabbits can climb! They’ve climbed my apricot tree to nibble on the leaves. My cats stay inside so the bunnies love my predator-free yard. When I planted my next tomato plant I protected it with hardware cloth until the plant was well-established, and they couldn’t get past it! No deer in my yard; too well fenced and we don’t see deer often in the neighborhood.

  27. Thank you, Nora and Laura, for this update. Great to hear you’ve finished the Fall In Death book – 2 to which to look forward! I absolutely agree that fantasy is a great place to go during these trying times. Griffin looks like a little Moondoggie! Glad Kayla is enjoying college. Annoying about your garden and the deer invaders. Your books and those of my Other favorite aThor’s are keeping me sane. Fanacht sábháilte agus sláintiúl.

  28. Thank you for all the updates! I love reading your blogs and enjoy the updates and glimpses into your world. While I understand the frustrations that come with pests ( the deer), it must be so peaceful with the wilderness so close. Good to know you and yours are safe and healthy. Like the lights in the cabinets, and love the portrait in the back ground! Stay safe, healthy and Blessed be!

  29. Great update. Griffin is so cute.
    Guess the deer think you planted for them.
    Good luck with the crowns, not fun.
    Enjoying your books. Looking forward to the next.
    Thank you

  30. So love hearing about your beautiful home and property. My daughter and I are hunkering down as well. She, because she’s on the liver transplant list and unfortunately was exposed to COVID at college and her liver team recommended she do online classes, and me because I teach third and fourth graders and I’m trying to limit my extra exposure. I am proud of myself this year for not killing my ferns, which grew quite large! I do not seem to be able to keep houseplants alive! I can barely contain my excitement as I wait for the first book in the new trilogy. Everyone stay safe and please, please vote!

  31. Thank you! Griffin is delightful. Continue to be well. Appreciate all your good work, thanks for my endless hours of reading pleasure.


  32. Griffin is getting so big and, man, are those cheeks still super pinchable! (Something I would never actually do to another human as cheek pinching was very common in my childhood and actually hurts a lot!)

    Have you ever considered a little green house? It might not save your flowers but you could put your fruits and veggies in there and grow through winter AND keep the deer out of them. We have rabbits by us who love to eat our tomatoes so a green house is on my wishlist!

  33. As everyone else has said, I really appreciate your updates. How I wish I could cook, bake, plant, clean, and especially, write as well as you do! Your talents seem endless! So happy that you give us insights into your day to day life. It displays that there are other ways to live besides just dodging a virus.
    While always awaiting your next creation eagerly, it is still great to revisit previous stories and pick out something that was missed in other readings.
    Poster-boy Griffin seems to grow faster than your gorgeous garden! He is probably already breaking little girls’ hearts wherever he goes.
    All of you please keep safe and healthy! And vote, vote, vote!

  34. Thanks for the update and Griffin is a cutie.

    Stay healthy and yes, vote is the word.

  35. We’re in NW Georgia & just went to Ashville, NC last week. First vacation for us in years. We were careful and had a great time. We work for home improvement and are deemed essential. We decided if we can work 40 + hrs a week with the public we can take a vacation. On the way home we did our yearly pilgrimage to the apple farms and stocked up on cinnamon maple syrup & scuppernong jelly. Enough to last till next fall! My water lilies are still blooming and I took advantage of the cool weather we had & ordered Japanese trapdoor snails for my raised pond. The poor UPS guy rang the doorbell to make sure he put the box marked “LIVE FISH” in my hands rather than risk them on my shaded doorstep.

  36. Great update news. Luck for you (however painful) that you have access and coverage for dental crowns. I need some myself, (I blame the lack of good dental coverage plans) but I refuse to pay for a dental plan that decides that what coverage they will pay for, ensuring that what I need is all out of pocket. I partially blame the dentists who only just recently agreed to dental plan coverage under healthcare, but they did so because they found a way to profit doing it. Sorry to rant about this, but I have an inside view since my daughter works in a dental office and she has to explain to patients exactly what is covered and what is billed to the customers. Dental crowns are never covered unless you pay for them under a special payment plan because they fall under a cosmetic surgery agenda. Most of us wouldn’t need dental crowns if we really got proper dental preventive care that eliminated cavity development.
    A nice little garden you got, I gather you live in an area that has 4 seasons, and part of your fall activities involve taking in plants from the outside back indoors for the cold months. I would love to grow a small lemon tree but my area isn’t conducive to lemon trees even if I kept it inside all year. So anything I plant outside stays outside, so I decided that I would limit plantings to perennials that come up every year.
    I enjoy reading your fantasy trilogies and am looking forward to the next edition of the Dragon Heart Legacy. Stay safe.

  37. You have finished the next IN DEATH for next fall…none for early 2021?????? No birthday present for me????? So sad!!!!!!!
    Loved Shadows in Death…oh heck…have loved them all!!!!

    Stay safe !!

    Janice Turner

      1. And I one-click pre-ordered just about that same time! I’ve said for years; if the budget ever gets that tight (heaven forbid!) ordering this series will come before food! And I’ve not said that about any other titles!

  38. I agree with kc!!!! And Thanks Laura! I have no idea how I missed the 52nd book! So…pre-ordered!!!!!!!!!! YIPPIE! i’m now into the audio…accidental ordered the MP3 having no idea that I need something different than my kid’s old boombox!

  39. I heard, and I hope it’s not true, that “Shadow in Death” # 52 will be the last of the “Dallas and Roark” In Death Series.
    Please tell me this is not true! I have read EVERY ONE of your books, including the anthologies, and that Series is my absolute FAVORATE ! i will truly be heartbroken if there are no more stories of Eve and Roark….. Please let me know.

    1. I’m not sure where you’ve heard this. We announced Faithless in Death (Feb 2021) about six months ago. Nora just finished the second for next year. No end in sight.


  40. I’m late in reading this post, but I just wanted to say that your books have brought me so much joy during these difficult months. And as we get deeper into fall, I’ve been trying to read new authors and series, but a part of my mind is always with Eve and Roarke. I’m reading through the In Death books for the first time, and they’ve become such comfort reads for me (even with all of the murders). Just bought Purity for my Kindle, and I can’t wait to begin. Thank you for the countless hours of entertainment, Nora! I also can’t wait for your new fantasy release in November! I read the Chronicles of the One trilogy last fall, and I’m still thinking about the characters. That trilogy is incredibly eerie/chilling in hindsight, but so amazing and worth it.

  41. Nora, I’m so excited to have discovered the fantasy genre that you so eloquently write!! Fantasy is my reading genre of choice – I just love being transported to far off fantasy lands, where anything can and does happen. I’ve really enjoyed so many of your novels since first reading the Born In Trilogy quite a few years ago. You’re able to capture and hold my attention throughout the books, which is what I now look for when choosing new books. I’m currently reading the third novel in Chronicles of The One Trilogy, and I don’t care to finish the book too quickly, because I know that Fallon’s story will soon end. However, I’m excited to read The Dragonheart Legacy upon finishing my current read.

  42. I was poking around on YouTube and I saw several videos where people had rigged electric fence wiring to bird feeders to keep squirrels and raccoons from decimating the bird food. Maybe you (Nora) could have something similar rigged up around your “don’t want the deer to use as a buffet” areas of your garden. Just a thought .


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