A foray into fiction . . .

While promoting Bonsai and Penjing, Ambassadors of Peace & Beauty is claiming most of my attention right now, my fiction life continues on a parallel track.  You could even say it is in what might be called a parallel universe, because my historic novel-in-progress is set in Renaissance France.  When I’m asked about this, because it seems strange to some that I have this intense interest in things French as well as in things Japanese, I say that my non-fiction world is Japanese and my fiction world is French.

Where I am with the novel is at an awkward stage.  It’s too big!  I have about 120,000 words and need to cut it to 80,000, which will equate to about 300 pages.  So, I was thrilled to be able to go to the Historic Novel Society Conference in Oxford, England earlier this month and learn some tricks and tips from experts.  In essence, I plan to start over — fairly typical for first-time novelists, I gather. Guess what I’ll be doing this November when it’s National Novel Writing Month!  In the meantime, here’s a link about the conference from the Times Literary Supplement for you to enjoy:   https://www.the-tls.co.uk/making-history/

More Events In the Works

National Bonsai & Penjing Museum Entrance

National Bonsai & Penjing Museum Entrance

Please join me at any of these events celebrating the October 11, 2016 launch of Bonsai and Penjing, Ambassadors of Peace & Beauty.

Saturday, October 15, Aki Matsuri at the U.S. National Arboretum from 10 am to 5 pm, Free. For more information: www.usna.usda.gov/Education/events
Saturday, October 15, Otsukimi or Moon Viewing sponsored by the Japan-America Society of DC at the U.S. National Arboretum from 6 to 9 pm, children under 15 free. For more information: www.jaswdc.org, check upcoming events.
Saturday, November 5, DC Author Festival hosted by the DC Public Library at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, from 10 am to 5 pm, Free. For more information: www.dclibrary.org/dcauthorfest
Friday, November 18, National Press Club Bookfair, 529 14th Street, NW, 5:30 -8:30 pm. Tickets are $5 for National Press Club and Politics & Prose members, $10 for the public. For more information: www.press.org/bookfair
Wednesday, November 30, University Club of DC Meet the Author Night and Book Fair, 1135 16th Streets, NW, 5:30 -8:00 pm, Free. For more information, www.universityclubdc.com
Thursday, December 8, DC Public Library, Tenleytown, Joint Talk and Signing with Stephen Voss and Sandra Moore, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, 7 pm, Free.
Looking ahead to 2017, Stephen Voss, Sandra Moore and I will be speaking and signing books at a lunch meeting of the Association of Oldest Inhabitants on March 17, 2017 and at the Library of Congress on April 11, 2017. Other events are in the works, so stay tuned,
See you at a Bonsai and Penjing book signing or book talk very soon!

First Bonsai Book Public Event!

Aki matsuri 11 BB (card size)
Come to the first-ever Aki Matsuri at the U.S. National Arboretum on October 15 from 10 am to 5 pm. I will be there, signing books!
The theme is “Celebrating Japanese Plants and Culture at the U.S. National Arboretum” and there will be tours of the Japanese Woodland, Japanese Maple Collection,and the National Bonsai Collection. Cultural activities include kimono modeling, music, visiting the koi pool, a bonsai demonstration, plus hands-on children’s activities. Japanese food and drink will be available to buy. That evening, there will be an Otsukimi or Moon Viewing at the Arboretum, held in the meadow with Japanese food, drink, music and haiku-writing.
The U.S. National Arboretum is at 3501 New York Avenue, N.E. in Washington, D.C. Its website is www.usna.usda.gov.
See you there!

Back from Japan!

Delighted to discover bonsai growing in front of a house in Tokoname, Japan, where there are ancient kilns.

Delighted to discover bonsai growing in front of a house in Tokoname, Japan, where there are ancient kilns.

As you might imagine, I have wanted to visit Japan since I have learned so much more about it through writing my cherry blossom books and the new one about bonsai. I was last there in the 1980s when I was a buyer for the Smithsonian Institution’s catalogue. It was thrilling to find cherry blossom trees and their symbols everywhere–I could spot the trees, even though they were not in bloom–and a highlight was a visit to Omiya where there is a bonsai museum, which I highly recommend. By the way, my new book about the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum will be released on October 11!

Watch This Space!

There’s been a paucity of news on my website lately because I have been working on a new book to be published in 2016. Its particulars are still under wraps, but I can say now that it will be about trees . . . very special trees! Watch this space for more news.Courtyard with koi flags
And if you have a few minutes and love trees as much as I do, check out this video: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/23/the-silent-friends-trees-film/

French Festival at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

It might come as a surprise, but I do have other interests beyond cherry blossom trees: all things French and gardens anywhere. This year, I was lucky enough to be accepted for the Garden Docent Training Program at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. I was thrilled when my tour passed the test and I joined the ranks of Hillwood’s Garden Docents in May.

Hillwood’s moniker is “Where Fabulous Lives,” a fitting tribute to its benefactor, Marjorie Merriweather Post and an apt descriptor of the collections inside the mansion and of the gardens that surround it. If you choose to visit, I hope I’ll be lucky enough to be your Garden Docent!

The visitors' French hats were made by them as a special French Festival activity enjoyed by all ages on July 11, 2015.

The visitors’ French hats were made by them as a special French Festival activity enjoyed by all ages on July 11, 2015.

Working on a new book . . .

But it’s still under wraps so stay tuned. In the meantime, I found this note from Peterborough, NH where I was delighted to give a talk this past April: ” . . .she is the best speaker we ever had here. Full sentences, no notes.” Wow!

In Washington, DC, it is hot and humid today, so here’s a photo of one of my favorite places– the US National Arboretum– on a snowy day. Makes me feel cooler just to think about it. Hope it will do the same for you!

A Yoshino Cherry Tree at the US National Arboretum in the snow.

A Yoshino Cherry Tree at the US National Arboretum in the snow.