The Sunday Salon: Life This Week and A Summer Gift for You’s here at last. (Although today's pouring rain and chilly breezes don’t fit the picture I have in my head of summertime.) The good news? It’s a perfect day to stay in and start my summer reading in earnest. 

The other good news? Thanks to the expertise of Kerstin Martin, my wonderful web designer, we’ve ironed out the problems with subscriptions to my blog posts. SO, to jump start your summer reading, I’m offering a free copy of my book, Life In General, to the first five new subscribers to this blog. So sign up in the box on the right sidebar to get your copy. 

For my Sunday Salon posts this summer, I’ll trying out a compendium post - a short wrap up of what’s been going on in various aspects of Life In General, e.g., Reading Life, Writing Life, Home Life, Family Life, Writing Life - all those important categories that form my little world. It’s a way for me to keep track of what happens in this season, and an opportunity for us to connect our daily lives together.

Here’s today’s Edition.

Reading Life: I just finished Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult. This is the first one her books I’ve read as a book in quite some time. I’ve listened to several as audio books, but my neighbor loaned the print version to me. The backstory -about the plight of African elephants - was well researched, and heartbreaking to this animal lover. The accompanying character story - about a young girl searching for her mother who disappeared mysteriously after a death in the elephant sanctuary where she worked - didn’t grab my attention until almost 3/4 of the way through the book, when it became clear that things were not quite as they seemed on the surface. The ending was a huge surprise, and moved me with it’s poignancy. I just started an ARC of (Shelly Noble) for upcoming review for the TLC Book Tours. This seems like it will be one of those perfect summer reading books, an “ensemble novel” set in a seaside resort town. 

Home Life: I channeled my inner child this week - the one that liked to play in the dirt - by planting over 50 annuals around the border of my house. Pink impatiens, white petunias, purple and white dianthus, plus a clematis vine, some hostas to fill in, and a couple of new Stella d’oro day lilies. We have a ton of deep shade around our house, and I love the splash of bright pinks that light up the dark green garden around the house.

Writing Life: I’m working on a brand new project, and starting to get very excited about it. I’m not ready yet to share too many details, but it’s something quite different than I expected to be doing, and it’s really charging up my creative battery. Also, I’m thrilled to be part Summer Love Notes, an email series sponsored by my friend Debra Smouse. Each day beginning June 16 through August 13, you’ll receive a short love note from a different writer, artist, thinker, and dreamer, with an invitation to connect to your inner kid, a quote about the gloriousness of summer living, a summertime recipe, or photographs of exquisite vistas inviting you to celebrate the art of living. It’s all free! Read more about it and sign up here. 

Life In General: Next week I’ll be working at a summer music camp, and while there is much about this to enjoy, it means my normal schedule will be totally upside down. Most of you know I can get a little cranky when my routines are awry. So I spent last week taking extra care to cross things off the To-Do list (like the aforementioned gardening). I’ve set myself up pretty well for the week ahead, but I also know I need to take extra care of myself during this time. Which means eating regularly and well, trying to get some exercise time in every day, finding a balance between being as productive as possible with writing, reading, and other work, and being obsessive about not getting enough done. 

Now it’s your turn. What’s going on in your corner of the world this summer Sunday?