Jane Graves returns to the Lair!


Bandit Buddies, it’s always fun to invite an old friend back to visit. This time my friend, author Jane Graves is back to spend the day and she’s got a new book out, BABY, IT’S YOU. So pull up a barstool and a cold drink.

Take it away, Jane!

Writing has been a challenge lately. See, we sold our home of twenty-three years and bought a new one. It’s a cool house. Or it’s going to be once we bring 1984 into 2014. Unfortunately, our contractor screwed up here and there, and our house that was supposed to be finished by the time we moved in wasn’t. We were living on concrete floors with a microwave and a coffee maker in the master bathroom because we had no kitchen countertops. And from there, everything that could go wrong did, which meant that concentrating on my current book has been an exercise in futility.baby-its-you-225

In the past month, I’ve dealt with three Time Warner guys, two plumbers, two electricians, two air conditioning guys, an incompetent team of landscapers, an amazing team of hardwood floor installers, and a sprinkler system repairman I swear I know better than my own relatives by now. Still to come is a brick repairman, another plumber to install a gas line, a pest control guy to rid our attic of roof rats, quartz countertop installers, and a landscape guy to take out a tree that’s one good gust of wind away from crashing into our house. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but I bet I’ll remember when something leaks, falls, or explodes.

cowboy-take-me-away-225As you can see, I’ve been a bit distracted lately. Just when I think I have everything under control, something else goes wrong, so writing has been nearly impossible. But book releases stop for nothing. BABY, IT’S YOU, the second book in my Rainbow Valley series, came out May 27 in the midst of all the chaos. It’s the story of a runaway bride who lands on the doorstep of a winery owner in the Texas Hill Country one stormy night, complicating his life in ways he could never have imagined. Early reviews have been amazing, including a Starred Review on Booklist, the review publication of the American Library Association.

Have you ever done any home renovation that didn’t turn out quite like you expected? Some of you are bound to have a few horror stories. Tell me what’s happened to you!

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  • Amy Conley says:

    Is he coming with me?

  • Amy Conley says:

    I have a very handy husband and father-in-law and I also know a thing or two. The one and only time we hired someone they screwed up. That was almost 20 years ago and hubby still complains.

    • Isn’t it great to have someone so handy in the family, Amy? My dad was a construction plumber and until the day I moved away, I never had to deal with plumbers or the cost of fixing plumbing!!

    • Jane says:

      Amy, the crew of one of the contractors we hired did a really lousy job on one part of the renovation. It took them days to fix the problem, so we had to move into a house that was still a mess. No fun at all!

  • Alyn says:

    I just bought my home not even a year ago and I have yet to do my own home renovation. So no blunders here yet! I’m sure there will be though once I get it into my head that I need to change some things around the house. I’ve already started searching for a spot to put in some shelves.

    • Alyn, it took Jazzman and I years, and one small kitchen fire, to get things that needed fixing done here. Shelves sound like a nice simple project to start with.

  • flchen1 says:

    We’ve had some home renovating done and thanks to a great contractor, we’ve mostly avoided any remodeling induced horrors. We did have him discover all kinds of craziness when he was taking things apart to repair though–apparently the previous contractors hadn’t really been nearly as diligent… hope you get to relax and enjoy the fruits of the work now, Jane!

    • Hey Fedora!

      That’s what I was scared of when we did our bath and kitchen recently, finding horrors behind the walls. Not so much in the bathroom, but we did have to fix some electrical in the kitchen. Glad you fixes went pretty smooth!

    • Jane says:

      We had many surprises, termites being one of them. What is the point of a termite inspection before you buy a house if they can’t see the termites? Start ripping out walls, and you find all kinds of things.

  • Helen says:

    Hi jane

    Congrats on the release sounds like a great one 🙂

    I have had a new bathroom and extesion done and they went well but when we had the kitechen re done well that was another story although not as bad as you have been through when they bought the new cupboards in one didn’t fit then he nearly forgot to tuen the eater off when fixing up the sink it was not a fun day

    Have Fun

    • Oh no, Helen! Even Jazzman knows how to turn the water off and not flood the kitchen for small repairs!! Hope it all got fixed with little trauma to the wallet!

  • Laurie G says:

    We went through an extensive remodel 1 year after we bought our house. I had a 4 yo and a
    1 1/2yo old at that time. We added a master bathroom, enclosed two porches, took out a wall to enlarge and open up our family room, updated the kitchen with appliances and counter tops, added built cabinets to the family room and one bedroom, redid the basement which had been damaged in a flood and finally we added two sky lights.

    Everything took longer than anticipated. One weekend when the carpenters were working on our upstairs bathroom they left the job unfinished for a long weekend, we ended up with bats flying through our house. Unbeknownst to us we had some bats in our attic ! The skylights leaked after they were installed . The security system and the lights in our new master bathroom got knocked out by lightning when lightning struck our neighbors tree and bounced into our house. Finally the electrician who hooked up our built -in oven did something wrong and the wires burned. Luckily we were home and prevented a large fire.

    I know there were other problems too. The dust and dirt, lack of privacy, curious children..It’s not an experience I remember fondly.

    • ACK! Laurie!!!

      Not only a potentially life-threatening mistake in the wiring, but letting bats into my house? Yeah, I’d be getting a new contractor ASAP! So glad you got it fixed the right way and no one was hurt!

    • Jane says:

      Bats? Oh, my. And electrical issues are never fun. As for living through it all, we once did a total kitchen renovation when our daughter was eight months old. We spent a month doing dishes in the bathtub.

  • Welcome back to the Lair, Jane! And congrats on the starred review. Looking forward to reading the book! 🙂

    Years ago, we needed a new shower pan so our contractor took the whole shower apart and put in a new pan. And then we waited until his favorite tile man was available to re-tile everything. It took FOUR months until the guy was available and our contractor refused to use anyone else. So … yeah … no showers. Eww!!!

    • Kate, please tell me the shower is tiled like something out of House Beautiful. I mean, if I’m going 4 MONTHS without a shower, it better be a shower I never want to leave when they’re done! (BTW, I do seem to take longer showers now in my beautiful new bathroom!!)

    • Jane says:

      Kate, we’re dealing with low water pressure issues. 1984 was a really lousy year for plumbing. That’s about the time they started building flow restrictors into shower heads and creating faucets that can’t be replaced unless you tear into the wall behind them. That stuff is going to be part of Renovation, Part Deux.

  • CateS says:

    My grandfather, after they remodeled an old brick farmshouse, plan on everything taking twice as long and costing half again the estimate..

    • Hey, Cate!

      You know, that’s the thing I can’t figure out when watching the remodeling shows on TV, (yes, I’m addicted to them). How can you budget for a remodel and NOT have a contingency budget for “crap you can’t see behind the walls and beneath the floor”?

    • Jane says:

      I hear you on the cost of things. For a while there, it seemed as if every contractor in town had his hand out, waiting for us to put a large amount of money into it.


    As you can tell from Jane’s post, she’s been crazy busy with the remodel and unfortunately it makes internet usage a bit sketchy. I’m hoping she’ll pop on a bit later today.

    If you haven’t had a chance, check out her new RAINBOW VALLEY series. You’ll love how Jane tells a story and what a fun series this is!

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the new release, Jane. No horror stories from me, but my cousin and her husband decided to do some of the renovations themselves. They also spent a lot of time, energy and money building their deck and arbor. It didn’t go smoothly, but they did eventually get it done after two years.

  • Jane, welcome back to the lair! Lovely to see you here again. And congratulations on all those amazing reviews for COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY. I feel your pain – I’m selling this house at the end of the year. I’m currently in the clear out years of clutter phase – which has been an up and down experience. Nice to get rid of the junk, quite emotional finding all these bits and pieces from my late parents. Hope things settle down for you soon.

  • Becke says:

    Congratulations on the fabulous reviews. AT least those should soften the fallout from the house repair of horrors.

    My cousin renovated a bath to add a hot tub–upstairs. Yep, you guessed it. That sucker ended up downstairs.

  • Shannon says:

    I usually redecorated than remodeled. I had to replace a fridge and the cheapest one was black. So when the stove (actually the oven) died the day I was making turkey for the Christmas party, I then bought a black stove. These really didn’t match the wallpaper, so I bought a lovey pattern of multicolored birds with black bows on a creamy white background. At that time my mother was active and loved to wall-paper, so she did the papering, and I painted the lower half. I then replaced the dishwasher with a black model. For the breakfast nook, we found an old wooden table and two chairs at friend’s consignment store. We took the swatch of the paper into the paint store and walked out with a lovely light teal shade. We then took the swatch to the fabric store and bought cream and teal fabric for the seats. It was a lot of mother-daughter bonding time.

    • Okay Shannon, I love how that kitchen sounds.

      I also replaced appliance a few at a time, then we had the little kitchen fire and I got the rest of the kitchen done. 🙂

  • About 8 years ago I came home from work one night climbed the steps to my back deck with a 25 pound bag of dog food on my shoulder and I found myself in an Indiana Jones movie. The deck pulled away from the house, tilted and I ran to make it to the door just as the entire thing collapsed. Not. Fun.

    A week later my brothers and my nephews arrived to build a new, smaller deck and most important – steps to replace the pile of rubble I had been climbing up and down for a week. I had to work that day. Surely I could trust my male relatives to perform this task without supervision. Right? WRONG!

    When I got home I had a new deck and steps. I also had a broken living room window (They used a four wheeler to pull the old deck posts down. One of said posts crashed through my window.) In addition a beautiful cedar tree I had planted 15 years before had been chopped down to make room for them to drag the old deck out of the way. (They thought it was just a tree. Sigh.) What I didn’t have was any sign of my brothers and nephews. One of the nephews squealed and told me he’d never seen his uncle or dad move so fast. They built and put up the deck and steps in record time and then raced to pack up and leave before I got home. Good to know after all those years I could still put a scare in them. Now if I can just get them to repair something without destroying the house. Or my trees!

    • LOL Louisa! Never leave a group of men related to each other alone to accomplish anything! 9 times out of 10 hijinks will ensue!!

      Glad you weren’t injured from the porch collapse though!

  • Jane, welcome back! I feel for you. Moving is bad enough all by itself. Adding in renovations is just…awful.

    We’ve had good luck with our renovations, so no horror stories.

    Congratulations on your great reviews!