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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Waters of March a talk with Laurel Bradley

The Waters of March

Laurel Bradley author of A Wish in Time and Crème Brûlée Upset takes time from writing to enjoy spring.

Sunday was a beautiful March day in central Wisconsin—sun shine and forty-two degrees.

My husband Tom and I headed for our land in Ackley by way of Fleet Farm where we purchased knee-high rubber boots. I slipped mine on my feet. The scent reminded me of childhood days and brightly colored galoshes straddling street gutter rivers as pop-cycle stick boats raced to the sewer-grate at the corner.

At the farm field, the snow proved too deep for boots alone so we strapped on the snowshoes as well.

The snow was the old heavy spring snow that looked like granulated sugar on apple fritters, shiny with grease and sticky juice or snow-cone snow coarse and moist. You could see it melt.

Looking down at it, I was surprised by the amount of things living and walking in what I’d inaccurately assumed was barren coldness. Bugs, black spiders, fleas and such.

Mouse tunnels that used to run beneath the snow were exposed, showing a network I’d never suspected earlier this winter.

We followed an old snowmobile path with Tom in the lead.

“That’s skin,” he said, stopping. “And bone.”

“What?” I hurried to stand next to him, looking at the length of slightly furry hide that stuck out of the snow.

Tom put on a glove and picked up the upper jaw of what remained of a canine-type animal (dog, wolf, fox, coyote?). Whatever it had been, something, or perhaps several somethings, had made short work of it. One half of an upper jaw, some random curved skull pieces, and a few strips of hide with most of the fur—a dirty gray that reminded me of worn felt more than fur—were all that was left.

Tom and I stood in the bright sun shine for some time looking at the remains. Was it the wolf/dog/coyote whose tracks we’d followed on several other outings? What had killed it? What had eaten it? Why hadn’t we seen its remains earlier?

Tom set the bone where he’d found it. Carrying only our thoughts of what might have been, we left the remains where they were.

We’d come to check the stream.

Black Brook is a small creek whose tendrils wind through the northeast corner of our land like roots through soil. All winter long we’d listened to it burble under the snow, marveling at the volume of sound. Today, we could see the brook. Long stretches of old ice pushed against the maze of banks in a thick mixture of dirty yellow, white and green that was broken by deep patches of clear water running over blackened leaves. The brook flowed. Tiny suspended bubbles showed its path as it swirled above, below, beside, and through layers of ice.

We stood still, barely breathing, trying to catch the sound of flowing water. My heart beat loudly.

No birds chirped.

No breeze blew.

No sound.

The sun beat down making us glad of sunglasses. Warmed by exercise and weather, Tom took off his shirt.

We bent, heads cocked, listening to the silence, amazed.

All this melting and not a sound.


Speaking of amazing: I just received notification that A Wish in Time is a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year Awards!

I am so thrilled!

ForeWord Magazine writes, “These finalists represent some of the best work coming from today’s independent press community.”

The winners will be announced at BEA (BookExpo America), May 28, in New York.

Wish me luck.

A Wish in Time Crème Brûlée Upset

AWIT Excerpt CBU Excerpt

I’d love to hear from you.

Right now there is a rabble of robins in my back yard. Okay, I don’t know correct name for a flock of robins. Until five minutes ago, I didn’t know they flocked. But they must because there have to be a hundred of them hopping, pecking, fluttering and chirping in my back yard.

Did you know robins flock?

What is your favorite part of spring?

Do certain scents bring back memories for you?

Laurel Bradley

A Wish in Time

Crème Brûlée Upset



Laurel Bradley said...

If you live in Wisconsin, you may have noticed this blog doesn't describe this past weekend.
I submitted the blog last week.
You know what they say this time of the year...if you don't like the weather, just wait.

I hope today is warm and sunny wherever you are.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Laurel, hahaha, that's what we say about Chicago where I live. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it'll change. We say that year round.

I can't imagine a hundred robins in one place. Living in the city, I rarely see them, but it's always exciting. I grew up in a small town in Iowa, so we saw more wildlife there. I remember worms crawling across the sidewalk after a rain. Always. Every time. Here in the city, I see a skinny twig on the sidewalk after a rain and automatically step over it. I still, after blah blah number of years here, figuratively shake my head in amusement.

I love your books. Both are superbly written and completely unique.


Donna Marie Rogers said...

A delightful (and slightly morbid *G*) blog, Laurel, loved it!

My husband and I grew up just south of Chicago, then moved up to Northeast Wisconsin about 15 years ago, so I can relate to both of you. Jane, 'stepping over the worms' really brought me back! After every rain the streets and sidewalks filled with worms. We'd grab coffee cans, jars, old margarine tubs, and fill 'em up with grass and worms...LOL Twin Lakes was just across the street, so we'd head over to do some fishing. We also had tons of squirrels back in Illinois, but where I live it's mostly chipmunks.

My favorite spring scents are when my lilac bush blooms, and when my chives shoot up. I can never resist picking a couple just to hold to my nose (and that's when the first cheeseball gets made LOL). The bleeding hearts also bloom early, as do my grape hyacinths. Spring and fall are by far my favorite seasons. :-)

Laurel, I finished CBU the night before last and really enjoyed it!

Sandy said...


We say the same thing about the weather in Missouri, and when I lived in Kansas we always said if you don't like the weather now, it'll change soon. Do people all across the country say it? Good question.

I read Creme Brule Upset and laughed myself silly. Can't wait to read A Wish in Time.


Laurel Bradley said...

The robins would have loved the worms. I have no idead what they were eating, but it was obviously very plentiful.

Thank you for your kind words about A Wish in Time and Creme Brulee Upset. I just finished writing a suspense I hope sells. I know, pick a genre. :-)


Laurel Bradley said...

I'm laughing at the "slightly morbid" comment. With four sons, a non-squeamish daughter, a history of resident rodents (in cages and, unfortunately, out) and a cat, I'm used to dead things. It didn't smell and it wasn't decorating my front step, so it didn't bother me.

I love the collecting worms and fishing story. We did that as well. We always caught bullheads. Why is that?

I'm glad to hear (read) you enjoyed Creme Brulee Upset.


Laurel Bradley said...


I'm beginning to think the "wait a moment" comment about the weather is universal. Which makes it universally true, too.

I hope you enjoy A Wish in Time, too. It's a different genre than Creme Brulee Upset, but I only write the genres I read. I'm very eclectic.


Donna Marie Rogers said...

Laurel, trust me, I love the morbid. It runs in my family. My grandpa and I videotaped my grandma in her casket at her funeral. LOL Talk about morbid. I'm not sqeamish about much. I grew up a tomboy with two brothers, no sisters, and still ask to hold the snakes when we go to the zoo. But I've never been able to shake my fear of spiders. *G*

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Hey Laurel! You know I really enjoyed Creme Brule Upset, so I definitely wish you best of luck at BEA. You going to NY?

What do I like about spring? Brushing the winter coats off the horses until they're sleek and shiny again instead of fuzzy. :) And I like a day of raking, but only one day, and I hate the way my back hurt afterward. But we do it as a family, crank up the all 80's weekend radio station, and the yard looks so nice after.

Laurel Bradley said...

I'd like to go to BEA, but I don't know if I can swing it. We have two kids in college and one about to enter. Now, if I knew I was going to win it would be a different stroy.

I like the look of horses after they've been brushed. They look happy and act frisky. The closest thing I have to that at my house is my cat. I brush him. He sheds less, but still looks disgruntled.

It snowed again last night. I understand disgruntled.

Laurel Bradley said...

You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how many families take pictures of a loved one in the casket. Often they take family pictures with everyone gathered around the casket.

I agree with you on spiders. I can do snakes as long as I'm not surprised by them. Surprise me and it's an entirely different story. Eeek!

Christie Craig said...

Wow! This sounds great.


Laurel Bradley said...

Thanks, Christie.
I look out my kitchen window to see snow.
I think God is pulling an April Fools Day joke.
Real funny. :-)

Tami said...

I know all about not having the same weather two days in a row. Saturday we were on the roof taking broken tree limbs off and sweating at 65 degrees and then Sunday it was snowing. I don't get it.

Congrats on being a finalist. That's terrific!

And thank you so much for blogging with us!


Laurel Bradley said...

Thank you so much for having me.
I had a great time.