Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Gray Lace, Part Three


Page 11 – where our hero fights a nervous stomach and why

In the late afternoon a dozen men gathered in the handsome, but smoky, interior of the hunting lodge. The great room displayed several badges of past hunts. Trevor thought the local taxidermist must be busy as well as accomplished. The heads appeared truly alive. There were varying sizes of black bear staring back at him as if they knew he was a novice. Foxhunts, of which he had only tolerated as a host on his estate in Kent, would be on his resume, if he had ever need of one. He had unwillingly killed those tiny creatures, nothing like these monsters.

All types of weapons were stored in the numerous tall wooden glass-door cases lining the east and west walls. The knives, pistols, shotguns, and rifles stood at attention waiting for the owner to release their fury and ugliness.

Edgar Cranfield led Trevor toward one of the cases and asked, “Are you ready to let this city-boy show you how to hunt in the American swamps?” He laughed at his guest, “You’re a bit green. No worries. I won’t tell sister.” He nudged him with his elbow none too gently. “The females of Cranfield clan think we’re researching investments, not spending them.” He turned to include a bull of a man dressed as a country gentleman. “Coffman, I’d like you to meet Quinlan Mercer of Standard Oil, New Orleans. He’s the fortunate owner of this camp. Mercer, this is my soon-to-be-brother-in-law, Trevor Coffman, Earl of Warrenwood.”

At the mention of Eloise Cranfield, Trevor’s stomach muscles twisted in guilty anxiousness. Their trip south from Boston would have been smoother if Edgar had not talked about his sister, the nasty negatives of marriage, and how to avoid them, quite so often. The final marital decision had been a reoccurring theme. Calendars and financial statements flashed and his stomach would twist yet again.

Edgar pushed him with his usual sarcasm, “Coffman, why so tense? Remember, why do today, what you can avoid until tomorrow??” He swallowed the golden liquid in his glass.

“What’s he avoiding? Marriage?” Mercer’s cigar smoke made Trevor’s eyes water. “Can’t say I blame him, unless he’s after your Bostonian money.” He belched out a mean laugh that shook his frame. “Although, I think we have a temporary remedy,” He nodded at someone standing outside their conversation.

The double doors opened and several giggling females turned all the make heads. “Ah, your Lordship, enter our other type of hunting. We Americans can provide a variety of prey.” His wicked laughter stopped when he stuffed his mouth with his cigar and surveyed the dispersal of imported prostitutes.

Enough! (but more later)

Isn’t technology fun !?! I have no idea where that bird flew in, but at least the swamp fits the story.

Enough !!!

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Last week I introduced Lord Coffman, who hunts for an heiress bride to save his neglected estate in England. Trevor travels by train from Boston to the swamps of the Carolinas with his future brother-in-law to an elitist hunting camp.

To Continue…

Trevor glanced back at the vision offering him a needed cup of warmth. He took the small tin and savored the liquid gliding down his throat. He smiled at her over the lip of the cup and would have missed her surprise, if he’d been his usual self-absorbed gentleman. Returning the cup, he thanked her and hesitated. He wanted to hear her voice again.

Instead loud and irritating American manners ran ragged fingernails down his spine. “Let’s go and impress some of these swamp people with your title.” Edgar Cranfield jauntily walked ahead, ordering the staff out of his way, using his walking stick and his worst arrogant style.

“Please excuse him,” he begged of the vision. “He slept through our Oxford manners class.”

She gave him a short-crisped bow of acknowledgement that could have meant absolutely nothing, but Trevor found he wanted it to mean something. He slightly shrugged his shoulders to shake off his suffocating loneliness and started to follow his traveling companion into the fog and steam.

He surprised himself by stopping and turning. “Miss, I’ve changed my mind. May I have the muffin too?” He offered a friendly smile when she handed it to him. The muffin reminded him of those he would steal from Cook when he was a small lad. “This is delicious. Did you bake it?” He wanted to hear her voice again and to talk to her about anything. This was indeed a morning of surprises. He had never liked idle chatter.

“Yes, I did. Thank you for the compliment, sir.”

Her speech was clear, but not loud, not gaudy, but educated. Was this beautiful woman truly a servant? Through the fog in his mind and spirit, his loneliness and confusion, he heard, “Come on now, Coffman, don’t worry about the likes of her. Mercer provides plenty of enticing entertainment .” Edgar had returned with an irritating laugh.

He wanted to apologize to her. Why? She’s a servant. Was she also entertainment? He nearly blushed at the thought. Good God. That will not do.

“Thank you again,” he nodded and reluctantly walked away.

Enough! for now.

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Gray Lace


Please allow me to introduce a friend, an antique, Gray Lace, an historic fiction.

I wrote her. I can call her whatever I please.

She was published in 2015 and , yes, she is copyrighted, copyrighten?, copywrote? I have the Right!

Speaking of copying, I’m revising her, but decided to at least partially, if not in full, but not today, self-publish now. The term self-publish makes me anxious, not nervous. That is another story. Is it self-publishing if Word Press has to come to my rescue? Possibly. I really do need the security of the agent/editor/publisher package. Someday. Again.

Gray Lace is an important non-human character in my story. Most folks call this plant Spanish Moss. My friends, the characters, travel among her lacey fingers. Today, Trevor Coffman, feeling none too courageous, will be the first to appear in this Word Press production of Gray Lace.

Enjoy my 1908 adventure set in an expensive hunting camp found in the swamps of southeastern Carolinas.

Trevor caught the forceful smack square on his forehead. The thirty-ton engine spit out moisture, a heat that smelled of mold, settling itself above the natural fog, thicker that any he had endured in London. The train, from semi-civilized Boston, had dumped him into a foreign land of strange sounds and smells.

A vendor’s tender song caught his attention before he could find her. “May I serve you a cup of morning coffee and a warm muffin, sir?” She didn’t sound foreign. She sounded smooth and soothing. Almost anyone would after that night on the train from Richmond then Wilmington.

He stopped his progress down the wooden train station platform, allowing the mist to swirl around him. Slowly the fog opened a lovely American gift. Her light brown curls had frizzed into a halo worthy of her warm smile and her green eyes. This green was different. He hadn’t seen a green that wouldn’t let him go. The worn clothing covered the curves he enjoyed imagining. She was unusually tall, nearly his six-three. Her captivating eyes stared bravely in polite deviance, in spite of the subservient body language.

A friendly slap on his back jolted his vision. “Trevor, the camp provides refreshments,” his soon-to-be brother-in-law nodded to the lady and rudely analyzed her appearance. “There’s more entertainment to be had besides this one. Come on now. Our elaborate hunting camp awaits.” He flourished his arm and bowed as his own servant back home in Boston might have done after far too many whiskeys. “Let’s impress everyone with your British title.”

Enough! for now.

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Definition: a person greatly admired, loved, revered, or appreciated


My pandemic idols listed today are all younger than me. That’s fine. There are several more, but these happen to be authors.

I read, really I do read.

All titles were published this year. All helped to save my limited sanity.

Tasha Alexander: The Dark Heart of Florence

C.S. Harris: What the Devil Knows

Deanna Reaborn: The Unexpected Peril

M.J. Ross: The Last Tiara

I have read other titles since 2021 made an appearance, but I’m quite fond of historical mysteries, so I’m highlighting these. They offered escapism, knowledge, and lessons to equate to our problems today…persistence, perseverance, and self-control. Their characters taught, the settings awed, and the plots entertained. One individual compliment goes to C.S. Harris. Her details of smells, sounds, sights of early nineteenth century London make me appreciate the now. I find myself counting my many blessings far more often.


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“Staying healthy” assumes one is already healthy. “Staying healthy” during a pandemic assumes one is planning to escape This Mess! “Staying healthy” is the subject of many authors’ blogs, podcasts, and newsletters. So, I’ll assume you can read one more since I assume that’s why you’re here. You’re ready to escape from This Mess.

Body, soul, and mind are the assumed categories of staying healthy. Yes, I walk daily with The Hubs around an assumed track. I pray daily for my soul, which I assume is where my spirit is hiding from the craziness of This Mess.

Now, on to my assumed mind. On my phone, my pocket computer, there are three mind fitness apps. No, not Face Book nor Twitter. No, not CNN nor NPR. No, not Instagram nor Linked In. For numbers, I like Sudoku. For shapes and logic, I like Ubongo.

For vocabulary strengthening, I enjoy (believe it or not) Words with Friends. I have two. Friends. During This Mess.

We play four or five games silmultaneously. I am always embarrassed. I never win. Yet… I assume that I will win before the end of This Mess.


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My Coming Out


Please understand Mr. Covid and I have been avoiding each other like the plague. Sorry.

To emphasize by the way of a review of my 2020. Isolation. Mr. Amazon feed us. We were Fortunate enough (yet another pun) to afford him. Mr. USPS allowed us to rent a huge box and I drove into his backyard once a week, popped the trunk and a lovely postal employee (no names, here, I love them all) came out and placed our mail in the back. No doctor appointments, no hair cuts, no nails jobs, no visits, no entertaining.

Ahhhh. No hugs.

In other words, what most of us did or didn’t.

Now, slowly I am emerging.

I got my shots! I went to my first doctor’s appointment. The mask thing is difficult, not impossible. Picked up an order from the grocery store and one from my favorite chef. Plans have been made for the grand daughter hugs in the near future. There are questions: may we hug maskless? Will we need to stay outside? May I pay their tuition to Harvard? They are ages five and three and nearly ready.

Although, Mr. Amazon has most of my money.

My writing productivity has increased for a few different reasons. One I’ll mention here. I’ve reduced my media time allowance. Less Stress. Trying to stay safe and smile a bit.


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My brother died. No, not COVID. See, life happens during this mess. Ok, my 78 year-young brother was riding a bike. He and I tried our best not to grow up. He did his immaturity with humility and kindness and intelligence. I am still working on those which is why I am now empty. He was my “Egad!” and my “Enough!”

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Holiday Gift

Some gifts stay in my memory. Some are gone and since they are I cannot report. Some stay and I wish they’d go, but that’s a tale for a different day.

Today’s tale is about a gift that excites and baffles. Excites because I am a writer. The hubs unexpectedly gave me a journal; a leather bound, unlined, pewter hinged journal with magical etchings and a mysterious stone planted front and center.

Other oddities of note: it’s origin … it’s from Amazon! Yes! I knew it was coming since we share an account. However, there are no hints of mass production. No markings. No “made in China” or anywhere else for that matter.

I love it!

This is not my daily report or diary. This one will not track my quarantine days. BTW: 320.

This one is truly magical. If I see a ghost, I might sketch her. If a verse should hit my soul, I might copy it. If an Otter should waddle out of my swamp, I might interview him.


I knew you’d like it!

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An Alert on Day 287


While enjoying some Face Time with my perfect grands and their nearly perfect mother, an obnoxious blaring alarm burst forth.

I thought my phone was preparing to explode.

Across my daughters lovely face popped a short white box announcing the precautionary steps to prevent COVID. It did not mention my 287 days of quarantine. It demanded that the reader Mask!, Distance!, and Wash!

In the background, under the box, I could see and hear my older Grand scream, “Grammy, are you OK?”

I’m fine. They’re fine. The alarm has died and the box has flitted away. So, is this another sign of the times? Are there really so many of us who do Not Mask, Distance, and Wash that our public health departments must blare out alarms that knock your socks off?

There must be! Look at our airports this holiday week. The self-centered flying home to make Grandma so sick she has to die alone.

I am angry. Can you tell?


Mask! Distance! Wash!

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Day 275 of NHG

Not Hugging Grands

If it wasn’t for Face Time, I would be loonier than “normal”. When my family gathers inside my phone I feel a slight bit calmer in my bones. Then the younger grand says, “Papa, Grammy, come see me.”

I crack…after I hang up.

“Hang Up”. There’s a phrase that’s met its demise, or soon will, when the WWII baby boomers pass on. My daughters probably remember using our yellow kitchen wall phone with the extra long cord. They’d drag that cord, close the laundry room door for parental privacy, and communicate and compare their lives with similar beings. They would “hang up” that phone eventually. Their generation grew into cell phones gracefully and appreciatively.

I did not. Yet, I survived and our land-line is now an antique.

Speaking of Antiques…if you read my last post…

Mathilde Eiker wrote, Growing Into Authorship”. I will have to “Google Her” ( as opposed to Hang Up) because the antique magazine claims she wrote a detective novel or two. I wonder if they are still in print. A mystery, if you don’t hang up.

Her main theme challenges the widely acknowledged fact that writers are readers. She lists several titles that should be read if someone is to be known as a reader: Euripides to a textbook on crop rotation. She claims writers should grow into their authorship by reading far more widely than most. I do agree with her premise, “the more a writer knows, the less likely he/she (the slash added 77 years later) is to make mistakes.”

I have recently been stung by this wicked truth. In my own novel set in the 1920’s, my character used a quill instead of a fountain pen.

Mathilde scares me from her grave (an assumption), “I am an editor. After I find one discrepancy in a writer’s manuscript , I never feel quite confident about his work again. Writers can get details right.”

Ouch! There are mistakes in all my novels. The most infamous is the serving of she-crap soup.


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