The pictures of one of my rose beds are meant to cheer me up. Tomorrow it's back to the real world, and by noon, Marc and Sophie will be far from my thoughts. April is probably the busiest month at the paper, together with August, so my plate will be full.

    And how far did I get? I needed to write ten chapters and edit them by tonight.

    Instead, I finished Chapter 21, wrote 22, 23, and 24 and am about to finish 25. So that leaves 26-30, plus the epilogue, unwritten. And then all 400 pages have to be edited.

    I wish I wrote faster, but I just don't. I'm trying not to be angry with myself for being late and later and later with these books. I just can't slap words on the page in order to have words on the page. They have to feel right to me.

    So thank you everyone for your support during this big push. With your encouragement, I got what is about a month's writing for me done this week because of my time off. Now I need to somehow keep up at least a chapter a week until I'm done in order to get this to New York by the end of April.

    I will definitely keep the excerpts coming.

    As for the roses, a large part of my yard is flower garden. I call this one my fairy garden because when the giant delphiniums and roses bloom at the same time, as in these photos, it really looks magical. I've never spotted an actual fairy, though the garden is redolent with aphids. Every year, we unleash ravenous hoards of lady bugs on the plants, and that helps us keep pesticides out of the garden.

    I love spring and early summer. By early June when all of my roses bloom, the yard will smell like roses. It's heavenly!

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