Two weekends past, I went to the bluegrass party and book celebration of Deborah Hining’s A Sinner in Paradise.

Author Deborah Hining signing copies of her debut inspirational romance, A Sinner in Paradise.

Author Deborah Hining signing copies of her debut inspirational romance, A Sinner in Paradise.

The next day, I had a blast talking with readers at the NC Bookmarks festival in Winston-Salem. With various people, I discussed practical spirituality, lucha libre, the new domesticity, Wuthering Heights, and how we read books differently as we age. I even met a lady who bought my book as the Kindle Daily Deal in July!

Here I am at the Bookmarks festival, ready to talk about my book, books, and miscellany. I loved meeting readers!

Here I am at the Bookmarks festival, ready to talk about my book, books, and miscellany. I loved meeting readers!

Last weekend, I had a day of accidental book research. At the farmer’s market, I happened across Marcia Herman selling her book, Sipping My Garden, on teas one can make from locally grown herbs. Meeting Ms. Herman was the height of serendipity, because my current manuscript, Tea and Crumples, is set in a teashop of the same name! I think I’m writing Ms. Herman into the book, since I’m learning so much from her herbal guide.

The book, Sipping My Garden, which came with a free bag of locally grown herbs. I got applemint, an herb that's new to me. Hoping to grow it in the herb bed next season!

The book, Sipping My Garden, which came with a free bag of locally grown herbs. I got applemint, an herb that’s new to me. Hoping to grow it in the herb bed next season!

Then, at my critique group meeting for my local RWA chapter, I happened upon a table of men playing chess! Chess also plays a role in Tea and Crumples, and the gentlemen directed me to a website for local chess enthusiasts.

I happened across these chess players in a cafe. A chess table anchors the space in my fictional tearoom, Tea and Crumples, as well.

I happened across these chess players in a cafe. A chess table anchors the space in my fictional tearoom, Tea and Crumples, as well.

This weekend, alas, has been devoted to music, not writing. I had a lovely dress rehearsal this afternoon for tomorrow’s Save Our Steinways fundraiser for Durham School of the Arts. (I’m singing Dove Sono, by the way.) Lucky me, I got to hear Christine Weidinger sing Vissi d’arte today! (Link is to Christine singing Quando m’en vo, the only Puccini I could find of hers on Youtube). If you’re local, you should try to come out to Durham School of the Arts Sunday at 2pm. We’re singing with a truly atrocious 9 foot Steinway grand, badly in need of repairs. It’s my first experience raising funds by demonstrating the need so obviously. But the singers all rose to the occasion brilliantly. You should come for the curiosity of hearing Mozart sung along with diminished 5th arpeggios, if nothing else. šŸ™‚ Seriously, the singing is good, and we have an excellent (and no doubt long-suffering) accompanist.