I’ve been informed by WordPress that it is the two-year anniversary of my blog
Around ZuZu’s Barn and it brought back many memories from the early days when I was even more clueless about this social media stuff than I am today. If it wasn’t for my Rhode Island friends, Rob Bentley and Peg Goter, I’d still be flailing around with no published posts to show for it. But, to date, this will be my 98th published piece, not including the five drafts that I thought the better of before pushing the button and the three I actually trashed for the greater good of all.
My first two entries in April, 2014 (which only a few people read because I only had seven followers – three of which were spammers) were filled with happy memories of Charley and me traveling to the Berkshires on my 66th birthday to collect my first book, A Berkshire Tale from Shirespress. I sang along with the radio all the way up to Manchester and Charley turned his hearing aids off. We went into Lenox and Stockbridge to the settings in the book and each place we visited wanted to put it into their gift shops: Tanglewood, where ZuZu first hears the summer music of the Boston Symphoney Orchestra in the air; The Red Lion Inn where the little Tabby meets Simon Treadway Gato, the Lobby Ambassador who introduces her to Santa Claus; The Berkshire Botanical Garden where ZuZu and her friend Nick learn about saving monarch butterflies; and the Hancock Shaker Village filled with history and stories of a long-ago past.
(For those who are not bloggers and don’t know about links, if you missed any of the posts about these places, just click on any word in the colorful array and you will find yourself transported by a link to that post.)
Soon, we’ll be returning to the Berkshires to visit these places and bring them more books for the summer season. And I’ll be snapping photos to be used in future tales from the ZuZu series. The next book will be set in Stockbridge during Norman Rockwell Weekend and I’m also thinking of doing another about Baby Animals at the Hancock Shaker. I’ll take lots of pictures of the little ones to share with you in a future post.
As I reread posts from the last two years, I realized how much has changed. Blog themes have progressed from reading with young children to much broader topics including: interesting places from our travels, baseball, music, art, photography, health and lately even politics. With those topic changes came new readers, although my original three spammers have stayed quite loyal and multiplied according to Akismet statistics. And many of those new readers have become old friends.
Russ, a children’s author in California, has given me good advice from the first. Osyth takes me on journeys through France with her sidekick, Bean. Andy brings China into my little house in the woods of West Kingston. Clive offers humor from Great Britain. Ann shares her life in the Ukrain with her lovely videos. Melinda in Florida makes me laugh about her trials with staying organized. Joanne and I rant together about the Buffoon who is temporarily ensconced in the White House. Herb and I commiserate about the role of being advocates for our loved ones. Mary, in Scotland, understands this well, as she writes her book about her Dad’s dementia. Dennis, Thom, and ArtieQ bring music into my life. From Australia and New Zealand I’ve learn about nature from Robyn, bicycling from Gail, public speaking from Yvette. Jaqueline and Bernadette have shared space on their blogs every week for others to meet. Sharon takes us through the alphabet of the most interesting books to read, Martha gives us Broadway musicals from A-Z and Lynn gives us recipes and lessons on how to move from a frightening past to a hopeful future. And there are hundreds more bloggers who’ve spent many pleasant hours together with me in my Rhode Island home..
In the past two years, my own followers have grown from the original four friends and the three very loyal and persistent spammers to hundreds of people visiting me and leaving comments every week. People from all over the United Sates and 96 countries have come into my home and in return, I’ve traveled to their sites and learned so much by spending time with them. I’m truly grateful for everything they’ve added to my life and I thank them today and hope to spend more time with them in the future.
During the New Year I have been quite remiss in keeping up with happenings in the blogosphere. They are an understanding group and know I’ve been working diligently to get my first mystery published by this June. Fellow bloggers who are authors and musicians, themselves, are most empathetic. They’ve been through those last few months of re-writes and edits needed before the launch into public view.
So, now I will spend my afternoon editing additional information to be included in the mystery about the historic sites used as settings in Last Train to Kingston. And then, I’ll write another thousand words for the Last Rose on the Vine. Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment – I’ve already started the second mystery in the series. In the first book, the body is found on the bike path next to the local railway station. This time the body is found in the rose garden at the nearby college. So many bodies, so little time!
Yesterday, I spent the morning with my friend Zack, who has done a great job designing the covers for Last Train and Carnivore Conundrum, the little verse book about the baby pitcher plant who decides to become a vegetarian. He is now working diligently on the illustrations for Carnivore and we’ll be launching that in the near future. Roxie loves Zack and has convinced him that his next job should be illustrating a book about her. I’m sure those of you who are members of the Roxie Dammit Fan Club are very happy to hear this.
Roxie, ZuZu, Charley and I wish you all a lovely spring season and a very peaceful holiday. Take care and remember to stop and smell the roses. Be careful, though. There may be a dead body in the mulch and a killer lurking somewhere close at hand!