Superstorm Sandy, which devastated so much of the Jersey Shore and the South Shore of Long Island the end of last October, by comparison dealt the East End only a glancing blow. The biggest damage incurred was to our beaches (which, with the advent of the spring ocean currents that return sand taken away in winter, have begun to rebuild themselves) and to the trees. Like an airbrush tanning session, the wind-driven salt-laden air coated the leaves. As it was late Fall, the deciduous trees shed their leaves as usual. But the evergreen trees retained their spray tan…and because we had almost no rain in the months that followed, many pine and fir trees in fact have turned rather bronze. Unlike on humans, on a tree, bronze does not look healthy.
All the harbingers of Spring are present: fat red robins out on the grass, the first daffodils in the garden, buds on the forsythia just showing a hint of their brilliant yellow flowers to come. Yesterday Chris reveled in his first sunny Saturday spent in the garden, turning over the vegetable beds and starting seeds for lettuce, peppers, and both edible and ornamental sweet peas among other horticultural delights.
Many of you know that I write books in my spare time; that in addition to A Butler’s Life and our cookbook, I’ve written two novels of psychological suspense and, most recently, one of women’s fiction. Alas, if there’s something harder for me to do than to find time to write, it’s to market the books to a potential agent (who in turn hopefully sells the novel to a publisher). Nonfiction, such as the memoir A Butler’s Life is sold by proposal and, on request, an outline and sample chapters, meaning you needn’t necessarily have the book completed before you query. Fiction, on the other hand, is sold only when the book is completed, editied and polished to within an inch of its life. But you don’t send that polished manuscript in unless you’re invited to do so. Before that, you send a query and if the book interests the agent you’re targeting, he or she may ask to see more of it.
I’ve been committed to trying to find a home (besides mine) for this new book, and last week I queried a particular agent. Her name was familiar, but with the research I’ve done on agents, after awhile names DO look familiar, and besides, I knew from my records that I had previously (unsuccessfully) pitched a book to her. A day or so later I received an email saying that she would be happy to look at a few chapters, especially as she remembered me and had such a nice experience while staying at A Butler’s Manor last fall. Eeeeek, no wonder her name had sounded so familiar! Since Chris and I rarely learn what most of our guests do for a living, I’d never connected the dots. Still, whether or not it pans out, I’m still grateful that a happy association with our inn afforded this opportunity!
Wish me luck!
Quote of the day: The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own. –Benjamin Disraeli
Guests who visit A Butler’s Manor during the warmer months know that weather permitting, we serve breakfast in Chris’s stunning garden, on the patio beside the fountain. But it isn’t often we have the opportunity to do such in early Spring, yet this week Nature smiled upon us and gave us a couple of gorgeous days where temps rose into the mid-70’s. So for the first time all year, breakfast was served outside, and everyone agreed that with the magnolia in full bloom and all the birds busy tending their nests in the birdhouses, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
One of the things we enjoy most about innkeeping is seeing our guests enjoy themselves, and each other. And on an unexpectedly warm day in April, the laughter and chatter over breakfast was especially happy. Heartwarming indeed!
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. -Walt Whitman