Thursday, January 31, 2013

A little sneak peek at Whimsey

The folks who live on The Island of Whimsey love to eat, so I've included a few recipes in WHIMSEY: A NOVEL. 

Here's a sneak peek at one of them that you coffee lovers might enjoy - - -

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 31

Topic of the Day
Photo by Don Barley

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 29

Topic of the Day
Photo by Don Barley

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Keeping up with news about Whimsey?  Well, we have a back cover!  Check it out -

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 24

Topic of the Day


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 23

Topic of the Day
 One electric moment of many at the Country Music Awards Show in Nashville this past November.  Watching Blake Shelton accept his award for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A little more about President Obama's Inauguration

Yesterday's inauguration moved me greatly.

After some trepidation four years ago, I have become quite proud of our president.  A loyal supporter.  And I think his speech during the inauguration yesterday was brilliant.  I think it was honest and from the heart.  I believe Barack Obama to be a good man and a decent man.  A man of "true" family values.  A man who lives those values and doesn't preach them falsely.  I also think he wants what's best for this country and if not for a congress determined to make it look as though the president failed, would move us forward.

While I was watching I felt the stirrings of "oh my - gotta write about this!" begin and I realized how much I've missed writing pieces from my heart for Meanderings and Muses.  It's not that I haven't felt them - I just haven't had the time while writing "Whimsey." 

Whimsey is now out of my hands for a while.  I shipped it off to the Ebook formatting company "" which I've heard wonderful things about.  I'm waiting for an estimate now.  After the estimate, I don't know how long the turn-around time is for the Ebook formatted file to be sent back to me, but not too long, I don't think.  Then I'll take it to Kindle Direct Publishing.  So - in the very near future I'll get to see my book in print.  my book.  whew.  That is powerful.  Even more powerful, to me, is that my mother will get to see it. 


Back to "this" piece.

I couldn't get started.  I was stuck.  "Where do I start?"  How do I put all the feelings I have about this inauguration, this man - our president, into the words I'm feeling. 

Stumped.  I was stumped.

So I got in my car and went to The Gym (that's the name of it - that's why you always see it capitalized.  Don't you love that?).  Immediately, while driving, the words started falling into place.  While doing my work-out it just wrote itself.  And here it is, starting with the piece I posted yesterday.  It's not earth shattering.  It's a small, small thing in the big scheme of things.  But important in my scheme of things.  And I'll be doing some short pieces sharing my feelings here this week.

I find the irony of the inauguration falling on the day we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. chillingly appropriate.  I cannot even begin to imagine how the Obama family feels, or for that matter, every black family in these United States.  I like to think Dr. King has been looking down and smiling on the Obama family, proud to see this beautiful family together and happy.  And wishing them well.

As am I.  As am I.


January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 22

Topic of the Day


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Inauguration

I didn't start out an "Obama Girl," or "Obama Bunny" as a friend of a one-time friend referred to me.  I was, and remain, a huge and very loyal "Hillary Girl."  I didn't think Barack Obama had the experience needed to do the job.

I felt as though some people who had been supporters of Hillary Clinton were being swayed by a charming, charismatic man who had captured the world's attention with the first speech many of us watched him give in 2004 when he did the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.  I felt like we were being courted.  And while I saw the things others saw in this young man, truthfully, I resented him - I felt like it was Hillary's turn.  I felt as though she had earned the right to be the person nominated as the Democrat's choice.  I thought it was her turn to win.  I believed in my heart she would be our next president after eight years under a president who I felt was a puppet to the vice president, along with special interest groups, and who, in my always humble opinion, just wasn't quite up to the job.  I think Hillary Clinton would have been a good president. I still do.  I hope she'll take another run at it.

But. Barack Obama won.  Pretty soon my Democrat friends were saying, "he's more Republican than Democrat!" 

My Republican friends hated him from Day One. 

Congress?  We're not even gonna go there.  It's too embarrassing.

Me?  I came to admire him and support him.

I watched the inauguration and was moved.  (and fell in love with Aretha's Hat!).

I watched him dance at the inaugural balls with his beautiful wife and fell in love with him.  What's sexier than a man who is over the moon in love with his wife and can show her and the rest of world during a slow dance?

Four years later I watched him during his second inauguration.  This time, firmly in his camp.  I think he's a decent man - proably too decent to be in the bed of vipers we call our nation's capital.  I think, given some support from congress, he could turn this country around and put us back on track.  Time will tell.

In the meantime, there was no Aretha's Hat for me to fall in love with.  But, oh man, those red coats with the fur collars and cuffs the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir wore?  sigh.  Yeah, I could enjoy the heck out of wearing one of those.

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 21

Topic of the Day
"What I Do"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Good Stuff

Remember those "Good Stuff" jars we talked about making for ourselves the beginning of the year? Well, I did it (did you?). And today was one of those special, magical days and I dropped not one, but two, "Good Stuff Notes" into my jar. 

And, here's how it's looking - - -

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 17

Topic of the Day

"Put me in Coach, I'm ready to play"


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Some of you know we've gone on a "Let's Toss This!" kick at our house.

We've been throwing away and giving away a LOT of stuff - linens, sit-abouts, "stuff!"

I've taken a lot of clothes  -  mine AND Donald's to some local organizations around town.

I do have some things I'm going to try to sell before I take them to some of these same organizations.  Right now I have tops, pants, skirts, a red suit and several pairs of shoes listed here - .  Coming soon will be more of the same plus boots and sweaters.  So, if you're interested do check from time to time - and spread the word, please!

Thanks, much!


Whimsey:A Novel

The novel's not quite ready, but the cover art is.

Take a look!

squeeeeeeee . . . .

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 15

Topic of the day


Monday, January 14, 2013

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 14

Topic of the Day
This is an example of "unintentional parking" - otherwise known as "stuck"
(taken on our road a couple years ago)


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I've Decided to Self-Publish

For those of you who have asked about my decision to publish my novel myself rather than attempting to go the traditional route.  This is why I think self-publishing is for ME - not for everyone, of course, but for me.

I'm in the midst of making a few final revisions which I should have done by the end of this week or next. After a LOT of soul searching and pondering I've decided to forego the agent querying thing and go for self-publishing.

Had it not been for Celia Miles, Judy Greber and Earl Staggs I doubt I ever would have even thought about writing a novel - and I thank them for having the faith in me that I didn't have.  They're my angels walking the earth disguised as just plain ol' regular human beings.  and I love 'em to bits.

 I learned a lot about myself during the novel writing. I loved writing it. Loved it! I hate rewriting and revisions. I know a lot of people love it. Not me. And the more I do it, the more I tend to not want to do it, which has shown me in bright brilliant lights that I am not one of those "I HAVE to write every single day!" writers.

You all know how I feel about writers - they're my rock stars.  I admire and respect them greatly.  I'm not one of them.  I'm just not and I know it.   I don't possess the talent or the pure need and stamina to write as well as my friends Louise Penny, Margaret Maron, Judy Greber, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Deborah Crombie and so many others. 

That's not meant as false modesty - I do think I'm a fairly decent writer.

My decision has nothing to do with what others do or want to do, and it certainly doesn't reflect how I feel about traditional publishing.  These are, to me, all separate issues.

I have no desire to be a career writer. And if I were, my choice would not be fiction - as much as I dearly love it.  And you all know how very much I love a good novel.

I, myself, am at my happiest writing memoir pieces for my blog.  And the pieces I wrote which were accepted for two anthologies edited by Celia Miles and Nan Dillingham which I remain immensely proud of. That seems to be the type of work that fills my heart and soothes my soul.

What I decided during the holidays while we were busy driving here and there for Christmas festivites and a lovely wedding in Meridian is that truthfully, even if I were one of the lucky ones to find a good agent who was able to sell my work, I don't want to wait two or three years to 'see' my novel. I want to see it now. I feel like I've worked hard and now I want to see the end result out there. 

The feeling isn't based on impatience - I've never had any illusions about making a big splash and making a lot of money - I just wanted to write a novel. Now I'm done and honestly - just want to move on. I don't want to write a book every year, I don't want to have to travel around doing promotion, and I don't want to lose control of my own writing - the writing I've done or the writing I might still do. I just want to do it for "me." Just for me. 

I've written the novel I wanted to write. It's not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. It has magic and best girlfriends. There's pretty clothes and great food. There's laughter and love. Art and a perfect gallery on a lovely little idyllic island in the Lowcountry. There's a ghost or two and a pixie named Earlene who happens to be partial to Christian Louboutins.  It's impossible to put a tag on - kinda like the most interesting people I know who refuse to be placed in a single category. Eccentric and flawed. and fun.

The next novel, when and if it happens, may be a sequel or it may be something a bit more serious concerning the Freedom Riders who came to my hometown of Cambridge, Maryland in 1962 when I was a teenager. That was a time that helped mold me to be who I am today. My 64 year old self who now just wants (as I've said so many times) to spread my wings and try a whole world of new things.

I want to continue practicing and improving my photography, I have bags of needlepoint and knitting which I've missed working on the past couple years while I've been writing "Whimsey" - there's just a whole wealth of things I want to do. Pottery. I really want to try my hand (again) at pottery. Maybe paint a little.

There are still lots of experiences I want to have along my road to Ithaca (and my thanks to my friend Hank Phillippi Ryan for introducing me to this perfect poem).


When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 8

Topic of the Day
"Something Beginning With 'T' "


Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 6

Topic of the Day

If you've followed Meanderings and Muses for any length of time, you know what a huge fan I am of Eugene Walters. If you're not familiar with him, I urge you to seek him out, and you can start right here - 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings by Margaret Maron

New Year, New Beginnings

By Margaret Maron

Except for when the date changed from 1999 to 2000, I have never paid the first of January much notice. In all our years together, my husband and I have neither held nor attended any parties on December 31. We prefer to open a bottle of champagne here at home alone. We reread the Christmas cards and look back over the year that’s passing, to the births and deaths, the weddings and funerals, the events in our private life together. We lift a glass to those who have gone, we smile to think of those new babies or new friends who have entered our lives and then, on the stroke of midnight, we go out into the frosty air to ring the old iron farm bell that has stood in the same approximate spot for over a hundred years.

Thirty minutes later, we’re in bed.

No balloons, no confetti, no shiny hats or tin horns, and certainly no New Year’s Resolutions.

And yet, there’s no denying that sense of a new beginning. A clean slate. Another chance to try to do it better.

After the excesses of Christmas, it’s a relief to sit down to the traditional Southern New Year’s fare of black-eyed peas and collards or turnip greens. Whether served plain with simple corn pone or gussied up with rice and ham into Hoppin’ John, the cook always drops a dime into the bowl before bringing the peas to the table. Whoever finds the dime on his or her plate is guaranteed good fortune in the new year, but every pea eaten promises an extra coin in one’s pocket and a healthy serving of greens is supposed to ensure plenty of folding money, too.


New Year’s day is also when I start a fresh record book. I bought my first one in 1980 to note any day-by-day expenses connected with writing. I had just sold my first novel and thought it was time to begin acting like a professional. And because there was more space for each day than was needed for mileage figures and expenditures, I got in the habit of jotting down who had come to dinner, phone conversations with other writers, accounts of talks I’d given, conferences attended, etc. etc. I stapled in concert ticket stubs, newspaper clippings when the Berlin Wall came down, election results, menus, and cartoons that joked about the writing life. Over the years, these books have become part business ledger, part scrapbook, part diary and after 30 years, they are a memory crutch as well. When I can’t recall my first Bouchercon or when it was that I signed at Kate Mattes’ store or even how I first met Kaye, the journals not only pinpoint the dates but remind me who else was there, or where we went to dinner.

The journals start out crisp and flat, the pages blank and waiting. By the end of the year, when it joins the earlier ones on my bookshelves, my 2013 journal will be bulging at the spine. Scraps of paper will slip out, as will loose photos of Edgars in the spring and Bouchercon in the fall. So wait a minute while I turn to the second Saturday in this new year: “Composed a post for Kaye’s blog this morning, then wrote another 2,000 words of the new book . . .”

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 5

Topic of the Day


Photo by Don Barley


Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 2

Topic of the Day
"Something New"
My "Something New" is a set of 4 plates Donald's folks gave me for Christmas, which I love!

And Donald's "Something New," also from his folks for Christmas.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Tradition

I love love love my photo group.

These past few months of being involved with this spectacular group of smart, funny, creative people has brought a great deal of joy into my life.

We may have started out being all about photography, but we've grown to become so much more.  The photos are still there, of course, and getting better and better.  And I'm getting better and better just by being a part of the group.

And I learn new things every day.

One of the things I learned recently was about a tradition some people have for putting out an empty jar on the first day of the year.  Each day something good happens, you're to write that down on a small piece of paper and drop it into the jar.  I love this!

And I've got just the jar!

It's going to be fun and interesting to take a look at "The Good Stuff" at the end of this year.

Happy New Year, Everyone!  Wishing you lots and lots of good stuff in 2013!

January Photo A Day Challenge - Day 1

Topic of the Day

Bonne Année, Everyone!

Books Read in 2012

I'm a lover of lists. 

We have lists for everything, even trying to pack a suitcase in preparation for a trip without a list is an impossibility.

For years I had started off the new year with plans for keeping a list of books read during the year, but the plan would always go astray.  One of the benefits of having this blog is that it has been a terrific tool for keeping this list, and it's turned into a fun thing for me.

So, here they are -

Books I Read in 2012