Happy Halloween!


Leave it to Edgar Allan Poe to write a poem about the Ultimate Haunted House!

The Haunted Palace

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago),
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tunëd law,
Bound about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate !)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh—but smile no more.

–Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Alive in October…


It’s the sound no Mac user ever wants to hear when she presses the Power button.

Dead silence.

To be followed by escalating panic and repeated efforts to reboot by painstakingly disconnecting and then reconnecting all the cables before powering up again, step by step. To no avail.

To be followed by a pilgrimage to the closest Mac serviceperson, who also fails to revive your silent machine and regretfully informs you that the cost of repair would be more than the computer is currently worth.

At which point, you grit your teeth, approve the retrieval and transfer of your files to an external drive, wincing at the cost, and then, still wincing, set out to replace your venerable desktop with something more up to date.

Which is the position I found myself in about three weeks ago. Fortunately, the process of getting everything set up and running again was easier than expected–if not entirely painless. Best of all, my data appears to be intact, which was my main concern.

My computer crisis was just one in a string of difficulties last month, most of which revolved around Broken Stuff. I’m crossing my fingers that October will be easier in that respect, at least!

AWIC WEB PROMO smallOn the up side, I can make the announcement that, barring further disaster (knocking repeatedly on wood), A Wedding In Cornwall–my companion novella to A Song At Twilight–will be released this month! I had a lot of fun revisiting Cornwall and writing about Sophie and Robin’s big day, as well as offering a hint about what lies in store for other characters.

Plus, I’m including a sneak preview of my next series, The Lyons Pride, about a contentious ducal family–inspired by an even more contentious royal family–and their efforts to find love, healing, and lasting happiness!

For more information on future works, just watch this space. Or sign up for my new release letter, over at this website’s sidebar.

Hoping that autumn brings good times and good reads to all of you!

To Market, To Market

P08-01-13_11.41I’ve never been sure whether to consider August mid-summer, late summer, or even early fall, though stores sounding the dreaded “Back to School” alarm seem to believe the latter. And I have friends and relatives who teach, and thus find themselves a bit disgruntled at the way their summer vacations have been curtailed in recent years, as an increasing number of them get summoned back to work before Labor Day. And long before they or their restless pupils are ready to return!

Whatever August is called, though, I always feel that summer as a season is very much present. The beaches are crowded with surfers and sunbathers, and public swimming pools are still open, the chlorinated waters shining like aquamarines under the sun–a somewhat milder sun than we saw last year, and believe me, I am not complaining about that! People are still planning and embarking upon vacations, the ice cream truck can be heard trundling along the neighborhood streets, and the smoky smell of barbecues fills the evening air.

One of summer’s simple but enduring pleasures for me is exploring the numerous open-air farmer’s markets held throughout the city. Some are quite small, just a handful of stalls devoted to fresh produce, flowers, and the occasional baked treat. P08-01-13_11.43Others are much more extensive, offering not only beautiful flowers and gorgeous-looking fruits and vegetables, but ice-blended drinks, savory soups and stews, fluffy omelets and fancy crepes, grilled and barbecued meats–just about anything you can imagine wanting to eat on a bright summer day!


And that’s just the food. The larger farmer’s markets can also sell clothes–wide-brimmed straw hats, gauzy cotton blouses, and full, flowery skirts–and sometimes paintings and sketches by local artists, and offer live entertainment. Last weekend, I walked past a stall where a man was playing Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” . . . on a set of panpipes!

That same market also featured a petting zoo, complete with chickens, geese, rabbits, goats, one stubborn-looking little donkey, and a couple of ponies, who were there to give rides to the kids. P07-28-13_10.27When I walk through the farmers’ markets, I keep my eyes and ears open, enjoying all the sights and sounds. And tastes! Ripe red strawberries, golden slices of peaches or nectarines, tiny exquisite champagne grapes, segments P08-01-13_12.14[1]of bright orange satsumas or purplish-red blood orange are generously provided for sampling. (Vendors are usually eager to provide you with tastes of their goods, in hopes that you’ll come back for more–and spend money this time!).

I admire the agua frescas, bright as jewels in their huge glass jars. P08-01-13_11.45I inhale the aromas of roasted corn and grilled sausages. And I observe with wonder the lunchtime crowds all lining up for Hawaiian barbecued chicken or lobster rolls.P08-01-13_11.46But finally, I get down to business and purchase what I came for, whether it’s fresh herbs, succulent corn on the cob, strawberries, or stone fruit.  Right now it’s the latter, and a few days hence, when the fruit is sufficiently ripe, there will be this.P08-01-13_09.33[1]A pie made with the best ingredients to be found that will, one hopes, live up to its potential! (This one did, by the way–all but one slice is now gone. But more will follow.)

To the joys of summer! May they yet reign–at least until Labor Day!