Author Webpage

Be sure to stop by my author page from time to time

In the meantime, while you're here, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cuppa tea, have a piece of pie and always feel free to speak your mind, and your heart, here at Meanderings and Muses.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Government Shuts Down - Again . . .

You, know. 

I really miss a government that does what's right for its citizens instead of constantly and consistently engaging in a never-ending pissing contest and a battle of "mine's bigger than yours - nyah nyah nyah." 

Get to work you whiny bastards. 

NEVER has there been a dumber, more childish, do-nothing White House than right now. 

Perhaps if someone living there looked out the window yesterday, or watched something on TV other than their usual news source, they might have noticed that there are a few people pretty unhappy with the state of things as they are right now. 

See all those people marching? 

Change is coming - not as quickly as most of us would like.

But, oh honey - it's coming.

The White House
Yesterday at 12:35am ·

Senate Democrats own the #SchumerShutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform. During this politically manufactured Schumer Shutdown, the President and his Administration will fight for and protect the American people.

- A Statement by the Press Secretary

Friday, January 19, 2018

James Anderson

Two years ago, I happened across a book by an author I'd never heard of.

The book was "The Never-Open Desert Diner," and the author was James Anderson.

I talked about it endlessly (including right here),  because it hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Powerful" is, I think, a much over-used term when it comes to books.  And that's sad because it's the word that continues to come to mind whenever I think about "The Never-Open Desert Diner."

Powerful.  Lyrical.  Poetic.  Compelling.  Passionate.  Beautiful.

I wanted to share it with everyone I know.

And, I waited rather impatiently for the next Ben Jones novel by James Anderson.

Well, it's here and it was worth waiting for.

The title is "Lullaby Road."

Through the generosity and graciousness of my good friend, Lesa Holstine aka "Book Angel," I was able to interview Mr. Anderson for Poisoned Pen prior to his upcoming book signing.  You can read the interview here -

It's an interview I'm proud of and James gave us a little more of himself than I anticipated.

Read the interview, please, and then, if you haven't already, treat yourself to "The Never Open Desert Diner" and "Lullaby Road."

Here's the trailer for Lullaby Road.  Once you watch, you're never going to be able to resist reading the book -

Friday, January 12, 2018

Quilts and Memories

One of our gifts this past Christmas was a quilt from Donald's parents.

When we opened it, I cried.

And later I started thinking about all the quilts we've been gifted (or that we've gifted ourselves), and how many of them have made me cry.

Sounds silly.

Donald and I are both fond of "old stuff."

Digging around in old boxes looking for antique locks and keys makes Don Barley a happy boy.

Finding a reasonably priced piece of old white ironstone makes me a happy girl.

Old oak furniture graces our home and makes it feel warm.  We've had a lot of fun over the years searching out the pieces that we both have fallen in love with and felt would be "just right."

Donald inherited his love of old tools and old butter molds from his dad. 

He inherited his love of old quilts from his mom.

And I inherited my love of old quilts from my mom.

Each quilt has a memory or a story.  Each has comforted in the past, and comforts still - in a variety of ways other than keeping us warm and toasty on cold snowy days.

These quilts that hang over our bed bring me joy every single day.

The red Grandmother's Flower Garden was given to us by my mom.

It was originally a gift to her from me and my dad. 

Mother's friend, Iona Wheeler in Cambridge, MD helped us get this work of art.  

Iona's mother-in-law hand stitched quilts to sell, and my mom had always admired them, but the waiting list was long (and the quilts were more than my mom felt she could afford).  Daddy and Iona worked things out and when I was about 10, we gave her this for Christmas.  I will always remember the joy on her face.

When she decided it was my turn to have it, I cried.  And I cherish it.  I will always cherish it.

The Cathedral Window quilt hanging next to it is the quilt Don's mom gave us this past Christmas.  (yes, yes, I cried).  

This quilt has been with the Barley family for a long, long time.  I remember oh, so gently removing it from the bed when Donald and I would stay the night with them for fear of somehow damaging it.  It is,however, still as sturdy as it could possibly be, even after all these years.

The women making these quilts made them to be used - not just admired.

They made them to bring us warmth.

The quilts do that.  And they fill my heart thinking of the hands working those tiny stitches while private thoughts filled their minds.

These quilts hang on the wall downstairs on a quilt hanger Donald made for me.

The Wedding Ring quilt was a gift to us from my mom when we got married. 

Don's mother, Pearl, took Mother to see the woman who made it (the former wife of a former mayor of Roswell, GA) so she could choose the one she thought we'd love.

The one hanging next to it was a gift from Donald's folks one Christmas several years back.  They found it in an antique shop in the North Carolina mountains.  I don't remember the name of the pattern - - anyone know what it might be?

And this is a quilt we found on one our trips in the North Georgia Mountains.  It's not an old quilt, but the hand done embroidery in some of the quilting squares seemed to speak to us both.

And this one is one we stumbled upon in an antique shop, but I walked away because it was during the time we had just moved from Atlanta to Boone and didn't have two extra pennies to rub together.  Don Barley did a little bargaining and next thing I knew, we were owners of this proud piece, which I dearly love, and it hangs (when it's not wrapped over someone's legs) over the back of his Great Aunt Glady's old rocking chair.

And this one!

oh, my.

I do love this one.

It's a true Memory Quilt.

It's made from old Tshirts from concerts we've attended, and few other special memories.  

And made for us by my much loved, admired and respected, sister-in-law, LeeAnn Barley.

Did I cry?  Pfftttt.

Even though I knew she was making this for us, actually seeing it done, only guessing at how many hours she had spent doing this for us touched me deeply.


They're all about memories.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Paris Reading List


Because so many of you have sent me titles of Paris books you've read, or know about, the list grows.  It's no longer "my" list, but it is becoming a more comprehensive Paris Reading List - Yay!  Keep those suggestions coming, please - and Thank You!!

Some of you have asked me to let you know what my favorites are on this list.  Hmmm . . .  that's hard for me.  I often forget the stories based only on titles and authors and have to actually read a page or so to jog my memory.  But - I'm going to highlight a few in red that jump out at me.  And if it's red and BOLD, then you know I really love it.


Even though this list keeps growing, there's no way every single book about Paris will ever be included.

For that reason, here are a few suggestons for your further reading pleasure, 

a list of mysteries set in France can be found at the wonderful Stop, You're Killing Me webpage

Wikipedia has an entire list of novels set in Paris -

There are many (MANY) lists out there of "best" books set in Paris.  Have fun finding them and coming up with your own.  Here's one from The Guardian   -

Another list of books (fiction and non-fiction) set in or relating to Paris can be found here

Elle has a list of their favorite 10 books about Paris  -

Buzzfeed has a list of 40 books they believe will make you want to visit France  -

I have always been fascinated by the Paris of the 1920's.  Here's a list for you if that's something that interests you also -

You get the idea.  

Do your research and find a hundred beezillion books to keep you happy until you finally get to The City of Lights.  But be prepared, 'cause once you go and return, you'll want more Paris books.  Once you're hooked on all things Paris (especially books) - you're hooked.  
In the meantime - 
Have Fun!

* * * * * 

The following started out as a list of books I would read over the years while dreaming of a trip to Paris.  It was started a very long time ago.

My "obsession" with Paris isn't anything new, it's just one of those dreams I've had for as long as I can remember.  

Knowing the dream was finally coming true when Vickie and Lisa and Lesa and I started finalizing our plans did I finally allow myself to start talking about it.  It only seems like a recent thing to many.

When I knew the dream really was finally coming true and a date was set to leave, I started looking for more and more "Paris Books."  I discovered an amazing number of newer novels, along with memoirs, guide books, architecture books, photo journals, etc etc etc

As my trip got closer and I published some of this list at my blog, some of you asked if I'd furnish the entire list.

The list contains fiction and non-fiction. Classics and women's lit, romance and mysteries - it's a total hodge-podge, which is exactly what I read.

(Since returning, I am continuing the hunt, friends continue to suggest or give me Paris books and writers love to write about Paris, so I think I can safely say the list will continue to grow)

If you love Paris, been there or not been there, think of this as a great place for you to start your Paris reading 😍  and discover more as your go along.  

These two books?  
Don't go to Paris without them!

Don't Be a Tourist in Paris by Vanessa Grall
(I ordered mine through Book Depository before it was released in the US (free shipping!).  Actually, I don't know if it has been released in the US yet.

Little Black Book of Paris (from Peter Pauper Press, but can also be found in many indy bookstores)

and it's tons of fun to keep with you to scribble notes in

Caution    Caution   Caution

Some (many??) of these books are not going to appeal to you.  Not my fault.  Which is why I'm encouraging you to make your own list.  

😈 😇 😈 😇  😊  😈 😇 😈 😇



The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau

One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Madeline by  Ludwig Bemelmans

Aimée Leduc Series by Cara Black

LETTERS FROM PARIS by Juliet Blackwell

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

A FRENCH PIROUETTE by Jennifer Bohnet

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

Paris Still Life by Rosalind Brackenbury

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

THE LIGHT OF PARIS by Eleanor Brown 


PARIS BY THE BOOK by Liam Callanan


The House by the Lake by Ella Carey 

From a Paris Balcony by Ella Carey

Paris, Rue des Martyrs, Adria J. Cimino

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

In the Merde for Love by Stephen Clarke

THE RACE TO PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

IT'S NOT LOVE, IT'S JUST PARIS by Patricia Engel

THE DRESS THIEF by Natalie Meg Evans

A Gown of Thornes by Natalie Meg Evans

The Milliner's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans


A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable

I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

THE DESIGNER by Maurius Gabriel

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz

The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris by Evie Gaughan



Paris Out of Hand by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Paris by Julian Green

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

The Ambassadors by Henry James


Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson

Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King

P.S. FROM PARIS by Marc Levy

French Short Stories 1 / Nouvelles Francaises 1: Parallel Text (Penguin Parallel Text) (French and English Edition) edited by Pamela Lyon

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Paris for One by JoJo Moyes

Paris Spring by James Naughtie

Down and Out in Paris by George Orwell

Hugo Marston Series by Mark Pryor 


The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin

Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


PARIS, HE SAID by Christine Sneed

FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman 

The Paris Secret by Karen Swann



ELEGANCE by Kathleen Tessaro

Letter from Paris by Therésè

Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson

We'll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson


Paris Peasant by Louis Aragon & Simon Watson Taylor

Walking Paris Streets with Eugene Atget

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter

Montparnasse by John Baxter

Paris Brassai

A Paris All Your Own - Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light edited by Eleanor Brown

Contributing authors include Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Melissa Shapiro, Jennifer Coburn, Maggie Shipstead, Lauren Willig, Cathy Kelly, Rachel Hore, Meg Waite Clayton, Ellen Sussman, M. J. Rose, Susan Vreeland , Megan Crane, Michelle Gable, J. Courtney Sullivan, Julie Powell, Jennifer Scott, AND our very own Cara Black. Edited by Eleanor Brown.

Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach 

The Madeleine Project by Clara Beaudoux

My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

Five Hundred Buildings of Paris by Kathy Borrus and Jorg Brockmann

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Paris Years by Paul Brody

Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks

Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light by Susan Cahill

Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi by Jamie Cat Callan

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier by Thad Carhart

Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

Flâneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris by Federico Castigliano

My Life in France by Julia Child

Permanent Parisians: An Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris by Judi Culbertson & Tom Randall

100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis

Old-Fashioned Corners of Paris by Christophe Destournelles

Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, and More by Christina Henry de Tessan

City Walks: Paris, Revised Edition: 50 Adventures on Foot City Walks by Christina Henry de Tessan

The Best of Doisneau: Paris by Robert Doisneau

Paris Pop-Up by Ehrhard Dominiq

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light by David Downie

Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light by David Downie and Allison Harris

UN, Deux, Trois: First French Poems Selected by Opal Dunn

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris by Marie Farman

The Little Book of Paris by Dominique Foufelle

Secret Paris by Jacque Garnce & Maude Ratton

Eugene Atget: Paris by Jean Claude Gautrad

Paris Mansions and Apartments 1893 by Pierre Gelis-Didot

Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology by Adam Gopnik

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

City Trails - Paris by Helen Greathead

Shakespeare and Company: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart edited by Krista Halverson

EVERY FRENCHMAN HAS ONE by Olivia de Havilland

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Renee Herrington

Paris: Through a Fashion by Megan Hess

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Taste of France by Carol Hlker

La Vie en Rosé: A Very French Adventure Continues by Jamie Ivey

Paris in Love by Eloisa James

The Little Pleasure of Paris by Leslie Jonath & Lizzie Stewart 

A Day with Picasso by Billy Kluver

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Karl Lagerfeld: Paris Photo by Karl Lagerfeld

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Home in Paris by David Lebovitz

That's Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light edited by Vicki Lesage

Man Ray's Montparnasse by Herbert R. Lottman

A PARIS YEAR by Janice MacLeod

PARIS LETTERS by Janice MacLeod

A Writer's Paris A Guided Journey for the Creative Soul by Eric Maisel

Pop-Up Paris (Lonely Planet Kids) by Andy Mansfield

BEMELMANS The Life and Art of Madeline's Creator by John Bemelmans Marciano

Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle 

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France by Peter Mayle

Provence by Peter Mayle

Provence from the Air by Peter Mayle

Provence A-Z by Peter Mayle

The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Paris: Panarama Pops by Sarah McMenemy


ROOFTOPS OF PARIS by Fabrice Moireau and Carl Norac

Quiet Corners of Paris Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens by Jean-Christophe Napias

Paris: Beautiful Designs on the Street Cornery by PIE Books

American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment by Donald Pizer

FRANCE IS A FEAST: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child by Alex Prud'homme & Katie Pratt

Gail Albert Halaban: Paris Views by Gail Albert Halaban and Cathy Rémy

Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet by Ruth Reichl

Spectacular Paris - Rizzoli Classics

Paris in Love by Nichole Robertson

Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson

The Paris Journal by Nichole Robertson and Evan Robertson

French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French by Harriet Welty Rochefort

How to Read Paris: A Crash Course in Parisian Architecture by Chris Rogers  

Paris by John Russell

Hats by Madame Paulette: Paris Milliner Extraordinaire by Annie Schneider


Impressions of Paris: An Artists's Sketchbook by Cat Seto

Paris Flea Market Style by Claudia Strasser

Paris in 500 photos 500 Photos by Maurice Subervie

Paris: An Architectural History An Architectural History by Anthony Sutcliffe


Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Almost French: Love and A New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir by Samantha Vérant

Quiet Paris by Siobhan Wall

Atget: Postcards of a Lost Paris by Benjamin Weiss

The Guide to the Architecture of Paris by Norval White