Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Check below for the fabulous Botanical Interests give-away of sunflowers!

Dear Friends,

After a journey of many decades and four years of on and off writing, I am finally finished with my new novel Running Out of Night with Random House/Delacorte Press. Yesterday I spent nine long, hard hours on my third draft revisions. Then, Jeff worked until 11 p.m. formatting and tagging the manuscript.

Whoosh, off it went. And this morning, when my amazing editor said that she "accepted all revisions and changes," it was over. Silently over. Period. Over.

I can only quote Julia Child to give you a full picture of how it feels:

"What a strange feeling to be done with The Book. It had weighed so like a stone these many years, you'd think I'd be tripping about in ecstatic jubilation. But I felt rootless. Empty. Lost. I sunk into a slough of discombobulation."

From My Life in France

I am not comparing myself to the amazing Julia in any way, shape, or form, but those words ring so true. Here I am, finished with the book and just waiting to do the glossary, bibliography, suggested reading, dedication, thanks, map, and illustrations. I feel like empty days are looming over me now.

Looks like my garden is finally going to get the attention it deserves.

The little kitchen garden filled with herbs, lettuces, artichokes, rhubarb, and edible flowers

Tomorrow members of Kiddie Writers will arrive at my little house for a meeting and to help me celebrate. Friday some of my very best friends (from grammar school through high school) in the world will arrive for a Fab Femmes weekend. I'm ready! (is poor Jeff?).

So now I leave you with a short video of my garden as it was about ten days ago when I wandered around and filmed it. It is waaaaaay more bountiful now. (Don't gardeners ALWAYS say that) I love that I can share artichokes, fruit, lettuces, and herbs with so many friends.

I planted over 200 sunflowers in the "Sunflower Courtyard" in front of our living room. Mind you, it has only been the "Sunflower Courtyard" for a month, but as soon as it comes into its glory, I'll take some photos.

My new babies (the red pots vinyl and are held together by Velcro tabs, which you can open easily so your new seedlings are not at all disturbed. They're from Gardener's Supply in Vermont).

To celebrate the vast array of sunflowers that are now available, I am SO HAPPY to offer this rainbow of sunflowers that were donated to me by Botanical Interests seed company. I planted six of their offerings in the courtyard and can't wait to see them in their glory.


Our lucky winner of the drawing for This Old House magazine's give-away of their Kitchens book is dear Pat of Thoughts from Taylorsoutback. Congratulations Pat! Pat is a Grimy Hand's Girls Club member and will receive a bonus gift of her choosing from my last blog posting.

Look for the upcoming August 2013 issue of This Old House magazine for a fabulous article on my little herb shed, Sprig. This article focuses on the interior and exterior, and the fun and collectible things inside it. Also a bit of our container garden. Hope you enjoy it.

I won't promise a date for the upcoming drawing since I seem to be far behind on posting, but it will be within the next ten days. After all, you'll need to get your seeds into the ground soon.

Sending love across the miles,


p.s. Those wishing to leave a comment as "Anonymous," please start your comment with "Sharon" or it will be deleted automatically. Too many "Anonymous" spammers asking me to visit their site or with recommendations for the unmentionable.


Nellie said...

Congratulations to Pat! She is in for a treat!

What a tremendous accomplishment to have that book submitted! Surely that calls for some kind of celebration!

I will look for the recent issue of This Old House.

I'm anxious to see your sunflower garden! That would really be a lovely thing to have!

Sending happy spring wishes to you!


Julie Marie said...

Hello dear cousin... congratulations on finishing your book... yay!... I cannot wait until it is available... and I am happy your girlfriends are all coming over to celebrate (wish I was there!)... your garden tour was lovely!... your voice is so soft and soothing... also cannot wait to see all of your sunflowers, my favorites!... (please do exempt me from your giveaway)... so happy you will have plenty of time now to relax and enjoy Summer and your gardens... I am just about living in mine!... much love, xoxo Cousin Julie Marie

peg said...

Ooooooooo! Sharon!!!! Who wouldn't love to plant a jungle of sunflowers? Or a multi-room Sunflower House???? It is because of you that sunflowers are a must here at our home!!! Loved you blog post, too....always inspiring and....causing me to wish for more garden space!!!! ♥ peg

PattyMara Gourley said...

When I read your words here I feel like I have known you all of my life, at least, maybe more than just one life. I will read everything you write from now on, just to feel this odd familiar connection. And, velcro tabs on seedling pots, what a great idea. And, now I'm going to watch your wee video and enjoy your garden.

Carla Jean said...

I was just contemplating this morning about planting sunflowers for my future honeybees. Your lovely assortment of seeds would secure the plan!

Patty said...

I loved the morning garden. I laughed when you said you have a hollyhock forest as that was just as I have always pictured your garden as having after having read your books. The Sunflower Courtyard idea is fabulous. The perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and watch the bees on the flowers.

Your confession about the Fuji apple gave me a chuckle...I'm a sucker too. Thank you again for the lovely tour and for hosting the seed giveaway. (Good luck everyone!)

Vee said...

Congrats on finishing your book! You shall fill your days beautifully. Hope that that includes some time just for you and not necessarily in the garden.

camp and cottage living said...

I can only imagine how one pour themselves into the writing of a books.
It sounds like hard work to me!

Mim said...

congrads on finishing the book - what a journey that must have been. I can understand feeling a bit un-anchored when something that large in your life is done. Enjoy the garden

Rebecca Sweet said...

Oh Sharon - I'm sending you the heartiest of congratulations!! And you, too, Jeff! I can't wait to read the novel and savor every word! XOXO

Pondside said...

Yay for Pat - she deserves to receive a gift as she prepares for the Big Day!
Congratulations on finishing all the changes and revisions - what an accomplishment! I know two young girls for whom I will be purchasing it when it's released.

Liz Kellett said...

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely garden! I love it all - the fountains, the flowers, the fruit trees (a little jealous about this...), and all the gorgeous potted plants! Maine weather is just beginning to warm and you've inspired me (again!) to plant more sunflowers. Thanks and much love from my Maine garden to yours. Oh, and congratulations on the book!!!

Lorrie said...

Congratulations on a huge accomplishment! Take time to just be.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the garden tour! I love nothing better than to walk with someone around their cherished garden. I love the sound of walking on the pathways, the water, and the creaking of the gate in the video.

All the fruits you can grow there are amazing! We have had record late frost here (in May! our frost free date is April 15 and often our last frost is in early March), so my garden has dealt with some heavy set backs - especially the fig and peach tree. But our strawberries are ripening now, and it looks like a good set of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Anonymous said...

Sharon, i can't wait to see your sunflower photos. 200! I'm also looking forward to reading your new book. Maybe it's be a good read for my book club!
Take care.
Jennie Brooks

Anonymous said...

Dear Sharon, congratulations! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for your new book :) I think my children will enjoy it as much as I will!
Your garden is a treasure - I always imagined you had acres and acres of garden but it's intimate and absolutely jammers! My own garden is not much bigger than a postage stamp :) and I've been shoe-horning plants into every bit of bare soil over the last 6 years. Its untidy and overcrowded and I often have to go hunting for smaller plants under the bigger ones to move them :) I love it. Actually your 200 sunflowers has given me an idea for the naked bank at the back of the garden! thank you ;)
Ever since reading Sarah Addison Allen's 'Garden Spells' I have been looking for a book on edible flowers and traditional recipes. I would love to see your magic woven into a book like that ;)
Enjoy your garden and down-time Sharon.
Much love

Darla said...


What a lovely way to start my day. I was checking the daily news this morning and toured your garden in my jammies. Congratulations on finishing your novel and please celebrate with your kiddie writers group (and anyone else you can enjoy the accomplishment with!). Now I'm off to start my day on a much brighter note. And I'll make sure I tuck in some gardening today and over the weekend. Would love some sunflowers to brighten my space!


Happy@Home said...

Congratulations to you on finishing your book. Let the celebrations begin :).
Thanks so much for sharing the garden video. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So interesting to see what's growing in your area. The artichokes are amazing! I'm looking forward to seeing the sunflower courtyard again.
I'd love the chance to be entered in your giveaway.

Lori said...

Sharon, Congratulations on your book! I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the tour of your gardent too. Blessings <3

Rachel - Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon, lovely post as always...I guess you are feeling a little like Sue now, with no book to write after all that time of concentrated creativity! I wanted you to know that Paul & I were in Paris last weekend...I took a walk in the Jardins du Luxembourg on Saturday morning and they had a special exhibition in the gardens on the history of slavery...sculptures & written exhibits that you stood in front of and they would speak to you ( en francais, but it all came back to me from school!) one was on the underground network, one woman in particular who saved over 300 people. I thought of you and the new book! Sending much love xoxo

Pat said...

Dear Sharon - was so absorbed in reading your blog and seeing that your book is wrapped up and will soon be published! And making a mental note to get the next issue of This Old House with your potting shed feature.... Oh my gosh-up pops my name as a winner! What a treat amidst all the many wedding preparations. When the Ktchens. Book arrives I will find a quiet spot & a little glass of wine and savor each page...thank you so much!

PS - our winter has finally departed and it is a good feeling to have "Grimy Hands" again!!

Elizabeth Ann said...

I love sunflowers - I even named my little business after them! Congratulations on your new book! I love seeing pictures of your garden too, I'm starting a brand new garden, they give me good ideas, Congratulations again,

Kay's flowers said...

Oh Sharon,
thank you so much for the tour of your garden. I love that there are distinctive rooms and that you are written all over it. Can't wait to see the Sunflower court yard. Congrats that you have finished your book. Can't wait to read it.


Judy said...

200 sunflowers - wow, that's a lot of sunflowers! I would love to have that many...

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Sharon, there have been projects I've worked on about which I've felt that same way. I hear you loud and clear.

BTW, I meant to answer a question you had for me. I don't have any photos of the little cottage we saved from the wrecking ball aside from a newspaper article that featured it sans furnishings. I never took pictures of projects with the exception of one paint job. Not sure why, but t never enjoyed the process of renovation. I much preferred the process of making it cute inside. Sounds crazy, I know, but documenting torture was not my idea of fun. That being said, I am documenting what might fall under the category of torture with our residence. We have some brick masons doing work, and I love them but not their mess. I have started documenting it on our blog.

I had to escape to St. Augustine for two days, and then I came home for the weekend. I think, though, we are about to go out and have fun! I've been trying to catch up with blogging.

Now, back to you, I can't wait to see the sunflowers AND want to get a copy of the mag with your potting shed. Congrats on that, Sharon, and on finishing the book!



Patti said...

What a fun and beautiful array of sunflowers... I'm looking forward to seeing your sunflower courtyard!
Congratulations on finishing your book!

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon--congrats on the completion of your book-- what an amazing journey this has been for you-- a travel through both history and time. We're all so very anxious to see it in print!

I understand that empty feeling-- I have it too after a project FINALLY comes to fruition. But-- I'm not worried- you'll be busy with another great project before you can say "who me?"

Your garden is glorious-- I can't wait to see the sunflowers-- they are MY favorite summertime flower.

Sending you a hug--

Hindsfeet said...

thrilled for you, Sharon, and cannot wait to add your read to my library.....

happy gardening my dear,

Carol said...

Big Congrats on the completion of your latest book!! The sunflower garden sound heavenly and I can't wait to see it in bloom. We always plant lots of sunflowers here and this years we made sunflower seed bombs and threw them onto the back slope at the edge of the wooded area. Can't wait to see what blooms back there :) More sunflowers are always welcome here ♥

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Sharon, Aren't we lucky another book!You are so talented. I started some sunflower seeds and silly me thought I had enough.I love your idea. It would be nice to have some varieties to add to my seed starting adventure,Cheri

Kristina said...

Congratulations on finishing your new book! I so enjoyed the tour of your garden. I planted 6 packets of sunflowers this weekend in my back garden and under our windmill...just in time for the rain that came late in the afternoon. Perfect timing! Happy summer!


Yes there is a sense of relief when the edits are finished but no rest for the weary, I'm afraid. I've got all the publicity type stuff now. But I love it.

Congratulations! Do you have a synopsis of your novel that you can share or must we wait for the publisher's okay?

Your garden looks wonderful. Hugs.

Roper said...

I just love the sunflowers. Would be FUN to build a sunflower house!

Bill said...

Congratulations on finishing. And thanks for inspiring me to 1) finish my thesis (so I can have that great feeling of relief you describe) and 2) get our sunflowers planted. :)

Lynn Hunt said...

My sunflowers didn't grow last year but I'm willing to try again!

Kathryn/ said...

Hearty congratulations on the completion of your book which I will be wanting to read. And am looking forward to pics of your 200 sunflowers! Wow!

Anonymous said...

I have such a lovely sunny spot to plant that beautiful collection of sunflowers-for the birds-for the beauty-for the love of sunflowers! Love reading your blog and sharing the love of getting lost in our gardens. Thank you Sharon for the constant inspiration.

Teri said...

Sharon...reading here of all that has happened to you with your book being published and the tour of your garden has uplifted me in a way that I cannot adequately describe except to say that it has "taken me away" for a short period of time to a place where I am not worrying about my Mom's health and I am able to just wander with you here. It seems like we are experiencing a bit of a chill the last couple of nights so my garden has stalled a bit. Soon, we will have more than enough warm weather to compensate and maybe, just maybe if I win the seeds, I will have a glorious garden like yours. Thanks for helping me take a mini-vacation Sharon.

Teri said...

One more question: do you water lots of your garden by hand or is everything on drip? I don't see many lines going to plants and this seems like such a huge job.

Susan Ernst said...

Congratulations Sharon on getting your novel finished. I look forward to reading it!! I love the seed packets that Botanical Interests create - so informative as well as works of art! I haven't planted my sunflower seeds yet, but have quite a few "volunteers" growing from black sunflower seeds missed or dropped by the birds and squirrels this past winter.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Lynn,

Isn't it funny that the volunteers, or the ones planted by the Jays, do so well in the garden.

Cross your fingers and maybe you'll win the seeds.



Anonymous said...

Sharon, Love the seeds and the packets are beautiful! Love your blogs. This is a great give away.
Happy Gardening!

Sharon said...

Sharon, from one Sharon to another, I appreciate your comment about feeling "discombobulated" upon finishing a project. Then too, I'm right-brained, and that condition seems to foster some discombobulation! ha Hoping you'll enter my name for the sunflower seeds as I love them....such 'happy' faces!

schmorga said...

I can't wait to see pics of your courtyard sunflower garden. If I am the winner of the beautifully illustrated sunflower seeds I will send
you pics of my sunflower garden. Fun! Fun! Fun!
Can't wait!

Dani said...

Congratulations, Sharon. Such an achievement and can't wait to see that sunflower garden!

ElenaW said...

I had no idea there were so many kinds of sunflowers! Very cool. Elena

ElenaW said...

I had no idea there weresomanytypes ofsunflowers! Verycool

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

How very dear to hear your voice. We'll compare our beautiful sunflowers soon. You make me want to plant a pomegranate. We can get them now. I could put it in the garage garden I think. I planted Lifeberry, goji berry bushes. Gonna give them a try. Love you.~~Dee

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Teri dear,

I DO water lots of things by hand. Over a hundred pots, some large, and plots of ground too. But I find that I get in touch with the plants when I work with them every day. Yes, it is lots of attention, but it heals me to be out there with them. Even when I am on a tight deadline I take time to just be...

We also have some drip lines and some overhead sprayers, which come on early in the a.m. so as to prevent evaporation.

My newly planted sunflowers are on drip, but it is clogged somewhere and we're working on it. Also, the courtyard where I planted the sunflowers is as hot as an oven when the weather heats up here. We've found that it is ten degrees hotter than the rest of the garden, so things suffer there unless I pay attention to them.

Good luck!


Donna OShaughnessy said...

I get busy with our organic farm, our piglets, my own secret garden and then I find this blog again and am always SO HAPPY I found you once again. Love how I feel like I am having tea with you each time I drop by. Never stop blogging...please.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi dear Donna,

Thanks for stopping by! Funny you should say that. I often think that my posts are so few and far between that I should just stop doing them, but then I get a letter or an e-mail like yours, and I keep going.

Thank you dear!


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi dear Donna,

Thanks for stopping by! Funny you should say that. I often think that my posts are so few and far between that I should just stop doing them, but then I get a letter or an e-mail like yours, and I keep going.

Thank you dear!


Dawn said...

I am so happy for you Sharon, and can't wait to read your novel!
Your garden is so lush and gorgeous. Your plants are so fortunate to have you tending to them. :-)
Love, Dawn

Terra said...

Your novel sounds interesting, and a big accomplishment to do such different types of writing, fiction and nonfiction. I recently began writing poems as a change of pace. Your sunflower courtyard will be glorious.

Glynis Peters said...

Congratulations upon the finished book!