Saturday, January 24, 2015

Louise Penny






Sometimes when I say the words "my friend" when referring to someone who many people know of through their accomplishments, I realize it comes across to many as a name dropping kind of thing. I think though, that people who *really* know me know that I enjoy using those words about people I sincerely care about whether they're a famous author or someone I've known since my childhood and am equally as proud to call friend.


I cherish people I call "friend" and always feel a certain pride when I'm able to say "this is my friend so and so" as I introduce them. Therefore, I'm sure I overuse the phrase. Oh, well. If that's the worst of it, so what?

Louise Penny is a woman I am proud to call my friend.

She's a woman I started getting to know when she had a debut novel, STILL LIFE, hit the scene and made a bit of a splash. I'm not completely sure of the year - 2005, maybe?

I may not remember the exact year, but I very clearly remember telling people she was someone to watch. I very clearly remember telling her she was someone to watch.

So now when I read the winners of major awards and see her name I feel the same sense of pride I felt when I was lucky enough to meet her the first time and just knew that we would become friends. Of course, I had no idea then that she would become quite as famous as she has, but I did know we would be friends.

She is as gracious and as down to earth today as she was back then.

She is amazing in ways most of us would hope to be in the face of tremendously terrifying circumstances.

And, I admire her while I hold her in my heart while she and Michael walk this long road together.

Here's an interview she's graciously shared with us regarding Michael's diagnosis and their life since receiving it.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/louise-penny-speaks-out-about-life-after-her-husband-s-dementia-diagnosis-1.2929638



Friday, January 23, 2015

FMS Photo a Day - Day 23



Jan. 23 -

"Something Far Away"


This is a shot taken by Donald while hiking on Elk Knob near where we live.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

FMS Photo a Day



Jan. 20 - Window


This was written on a storefront window in Nashville, TN




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do you know what today is?

January 18 - - - 

It's Winnie the Pooh Day!




Thursday, January 15, 2015

National Hat Day



Did you know January 15th
 is 
National Hat Day?!  

Yay!!!


The perfect excuse to play with old (and not so old) photos of me and Harley wearing hats.  

I came by my love of hats honestly, it would seem.  The two lovely women in the center photo are my Great Aunt Sadie and my paternal grandmother, Laura.  I do not know who the handsome gentleman between them is, but the gentleman with the mustache is my grandfather, Irvin Wilkinson (better known as Pop-Pop).

A toast to hats!





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

FMS Photo a Day Challenge - Day 14


Jan. 14 - "New"

Starting the new year off with the cleanest house possible (even if it kills me!)  



Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Sunday of the Month



And today's my day to play at Jungle Red as "Oh, Kaye!"  http://www.jungleredwriters.com/

I hope you'll stop by to say "Hey!" as I share some of Neil Gaiman's magical words.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Another Day in Asheville

One of our favorite "get-aways" is Asheville.  It's only about a two hour trip and the drive is part of the joy.

It's a quiet, peaceful drive with rivers, mountain vistas, national forests and small towns.

With some fun things to warrant a stop along the way.

Sometimes it might be cool barns with beautiful hand painted barn quilts on them that beg to be photographed.
















Photography was actually the reason behind this spur of the moment jaunt.

Any excuse to spend some time at Ball Photo Supply is okay by me, and it just so happens Donald is on the hunt for a tripod for his new camera.




While he looked and asked a lot of questions, I looked also.

Ball Photography fascinates me.

It's like a camera museum/store filled with knowledgeable, creative people who embrace the art of photography.  They still maintain a lab for developing film, still sell film and if you're really lucky you can also happen up on some pretty wonderful old cameras in working order for sale.
















And - even cooler - you can play with them!




Or, step back and admire some old pieces that have been a part of a magical history.





Once we pulled ourselves away from Ball's, we went to visit one of the very best bookstores on God's green earth - Malaprop's Books,  

I cannot walk in the door of Malaprop's without taking a picture of the Shopping Daze sculpture that stands out front.





This was an especially fun trip.

I met a very nice family and had a fun visit.  The lovely Noelle is an avid reader and a writer, so we had a lot to chat about, AND - she asked me to sign a copy of Whimsey for her.  She had no idea, I don't think, that she had me walking on a cloud the rest of the day.





Then I did a little shopping with some Santa money I received from Christmas.  What could be any more fun than shopping in a delightful bookstore that knows exactly what to stock for book lovers?!





Then to top off a perfect day, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants on our way home. 

The Italian Restaurant in Pineola.







And then, well, we get home to find my next month's supply of food from Nutrisystem on the door step.  

We wondered if they had perhaps spied me eating a wonderful dish of lasagna just a bit earlier?

And then, oh the irony.

Guess what was tucked into the box?

This adorable little bear to congratulate me on losing my first 10 pounds.





Happy New Year, everyone - it's back on Nutrisystem for me.  I can't bear to disappoint this little bear, after all.

Cheers!









Thursday, January 1, 2015

A One Word New Year's Resolution for 2015



Laura Lippman does a one word resolution every year, and invites us to share ours. 

My one word resolution for 2015 is "Do." 

And I think I need to have this quote scrolling across my laptop screen.




Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read in 2014 (Revised)






This is a list of the books I've read in 2014.

Since this is the time of year we start seeing all the "Best Of" lists, I decided to post my own "Best Of" list.  But, it's hard!  So, instead, I'm posting the entire list like I do the end of each year.  If you're interested in past lists, here are the links: 





You can see my 2010 list here -







And, you can see my 2011 list here -










And, my 2013 list -







If a book is on my list, it means I liked it.  

A lot.  

I am not one to finish a book I don't care for, or am even feeling lukewarm about.  I know there are people out there who feel like they can't put a book down once they've invested some time in it, and that's fine.  That's just not me.  

If you look at this list closely, you'll see a pattern.  A pattern of "binge reading."




If I discover a "new to me" author and fall in love with the first of their books I find, I'm going to then gobble up the rest of the series. In order, of course!  

There were several of those this year.

Some will surprise some of you because you were lucky enough to discover their work earlier than I did.  I'm just tickled pink to have finally found them.




My biggest and happiest surprise was Julia Spencer-Fleming.  Can you believe it?!  WHAT took me so long?  One of the best series being written right now, and that's the truth.

I'm a big fan of Mark de Castrique's Sam Blackman series, but was late to the party for his Buryin' Barry series.  Probably because something about "Buryin' Barry" is kind of jarring to me.  I'm glad I got past that, 'cause the series is terrific. 

Other new discoveries were Terence Faherty and Carla Neggers.  Very different from one another.  Both wonderful.




And then there's Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Special Agent Pendergast series.  I am SO hooked.  I'm going to be a mess when I finish the books in this series knowing I'll have to wait a year or more for the next one.

You might notice a lot of Margaret Maron titles on the list.  Her DESIGNATED DAUGHTERS came out earlier this year and is the latest in her Deborah Knott series - a series not to be missed in my most humble of opinions.  Every once in awhile, I want to revisit her Sigrid Harald series, so I've been reading them in order.  I took a little break there, but plan on getting back to it by reading CORPUS CHRISTMAS this month.  Actually, this is one I try to read every year during the holiday season because it's one of my favorite Christmas books.





So - here's my own version of "Best Of."  

My "Very Favorites of the Best Of," have been entered in bold letters.  

I'm not highlighting the binge reads because the very fact that I'm reading them all in order boom boom boom should speak loudly about how much I like them.  

And, those very few you see in red.  They're my "wow" reads.  

And, because it's only the 6th of December, there will be more added right up until the end of the year, so check back from time to time to see what's new (and what's good).




For those who aren't familiar with the "(ARC)" you see on some of these titles, it means "Advance Reading Copy."  Some of those titles were "ARCs" when I read them, but have now been released.  Some, however, are not due to be released until next year, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait.  

Happy Reading, Everyone!!






Right now I'm reading Lisa Goldstein's WALKING THE LABYRINTH



A TOUCH OF STARDUST by Kate Alcott (ARC)

CORPUS CHRISTMAS by Margaret Maron

WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamunde Pilcher

THE DUCHESS OF BLOOMSBURY STREET by Helene Hanff

84, CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff

ECHO by Pam Muñoz Ryan (ARC)

WHITE FIRE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

COLD VENGEANCE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

FEVER DREAM by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

CEMETERY DANCE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

A BOWL OF OLIVES: ON FOOD AND MEMORY by Sara Midda

THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

DIE AGAIN by Tess Gerritsen

DANCE OF DEATH by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

BRIMSTONE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

STILL LIFE WITH CROWS by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

RELIQUARY by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

RELIC by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

FIVE FIRES by Laura Lippman (ARC)

THE UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE by Jill Mansell (ARC)

LETHAL LETTERS by Ellery Adams

BENNINGTON GIRLS ARE EASY by Charlotte Silver (ARC)

THE SWAN HOUSE by Elizabeth Musser

THE GIVEN WORLD by Marian Palaia (ARC)

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen (ARC)

TRUE LOVE by Jude Deveraux

THE BLUE LABYRINTH by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (ARC)

ESCAPE THE NIGHT by Richard North Patterson (ARC)

THE ART FAIR by David Lipsky

MONDAY'S LIE by Jamie Mason (ARC)

PARNASSUS ON WHEELS by Christopher Morley

THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP by Christopher Morley

RUN by Andrew Grant (ARC)

A THING OF BEAUTY by Lisa Samson (ARC)

THE WEDDING BEES by Sarah-Kate Lynch

BABY DOLL GAMES by Margaret Maron

THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt

A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE by Dana Bate (ARC)

THE ROSIE EFFECT by Graeme Simsion (ARC)

THE RIGHT JACK by Margaret Maron

HIDDEN IN PARIS by Corine Gantz

DEATH IN BLUE FOLDERS by Margaret Maron

DEATH OF A BUTTERFLY by Margaret Maron

ONE COFFEE WITH by Margaret Maron

BITTERSWEET by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

REUNION by Hannah Pittard (ARC)

TO DWELL IN DARKNESS by Deborah Crombie

INDISCRETION by Charles Dubow

THE MOMENT OF EVERYTHING by Shelly King

HARBOR ISLAND by Carla Neggers

ROCK POINT by Carla Neggers

DECLAN'S CROSS by Carla Neggers

HERON'S COVE by Carla Neggers

SAINT'S GATE by Carla Neggers

THE RETURNING TIDE by Julia Sokota (ARC)

BROADCHURCH by Erin Kelly

SWEET DAMAGE by Rebecca James (ARC)

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

THE DRESS SHOP OF DREAMS by Menna van Praag (ARC)

WINDIGO ISLAND by William Kent Krueger

THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French (ARC)

SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD by Jan Karon (ARC)

DESIGNATED DAUGHTERS by Margaret Maron

MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE by Ellery Adams

CANCEL THE WEDDING by Carolyn T. Dingman (ARC)

COMING UP FOR AIR by Patti Callahan Henry

THE MAGNOLIA LEAGUE by Katie Crouch

THE INTERESTINGS: A NOVEL by Meg Wolitzer

THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub

THE FEVER by Megan Abbott

SMALL BLESSINGS by Martha Woodroof (ARC)

STORM FRONT (THE DRESDEN FILES, BOOK 1) by Jim Butcher

THE MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR: LIFE WITH HARPER LEE by Marja Mills

THE GOVERNOR'S LADY by Robert Inman

CROSSOVER by Judith Eubank (ARC)

THE NIGHT GARDEN by Lisa Van Allen (ARC)

TIBETAN PEACH PIE by Tom Robbins

THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS by Chloe Benjamin (ARC)

PERSONAL by Lee Child (ARC)

THE STORIES WE TELL by Patti Callahan Henry

THE YEAR SHE FELL by Alicia Rasley

DELICIOUS: A NOVEL by Ruth Reichl

A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein (ARC)

THE SILENT SISTER by Diane Chamberlain (ARC)

THE HATMAKER'S HEART by Carla Stewart (ARC)

TERMINAL CITY by Linda Fairstein (ARC)

TRUTH BE TOLD by Hank Phillippi Ryan (ARC)

DOLLBABY by Laura Lane McNeal (ARC)

BEST TO LAUGH by Lorna Landvik (ARC)

THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD by Chrysler Szarlan (ARC)

THE GIRLS OF AUGUST by Anne Rivers Siddons (ARC)

THE HURRICANE SISTERS by Dorothea Benton Frank

A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable

DEPT. OF SPECULATION by Jennie Offill (ARC)

LISETTE'S LIST BY Susan Vreeland

THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS by Julia Spencer-Fleming

ONE WAS A SOLDIER by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I SHALL NOT WANT by Julia Spencer-Fleming

ALL MORTAL FLESH by Julia Spencer-Fleming
TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH by Julia Spencer-Fleming

OUT OF THE DEEP I CRY by Julia Spencer-Fleming

A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD by Julia Spencer-Fleming

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER by Julia Spencer-Fleming

THE LAST OF SOMETHING by Susan Kelly

WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG by Elizabeth Gaffney (ARC)

LUCKY US by Amy Bloom (ARC)

RUIN FALLS by Jenny Milchman

THE BEEKEEPER'S BALL by Susan Wiggs (ARC)

STONE MATTRESS by Margaret Atwood (ARC)

THE LATE SCHOLAR by Jill Paton Walsh (ARC)

THE SUMMER WIND by Mary Alice Monroe (ARC)

MURDER IN MERINO by Sally Goldenbaum

THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee (ARC)

CLAMMED UP by Barbara Ross

DRIZZLED WITH DEATH by Jessie Crockett

INHERIT THE WORD by Daryl Wood Gerber

THE PICKLED PIPER by Mary Ellen Hughes (ARC)

A ROUX OF REVENGE by Connie Archer (ARC)

ANY OTHER NAME by Craig Johnson (ARC)

THE LONG WAY HOME by Louise Penny (ARC)

THE BUTTERFLY SISTER by Amy Gail Hansen

SILVER BAY by Jojo Moyes

DATING CARY GRANT by Emelle Gamble (ARC)

WHAT STRANGE CREATURES by Emily Arsenault (ARC)

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

THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin

THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ by Kim Wright (ARC)

SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE by Santa Montefiore (ARC)

SUSPICION by Joseph Finder (ARC)

VERTIGO 42 by Martha Grimes (ARC)

A SNICKER OF MAGIC by Natalie Lloyd

THEN AND ALWAYS by Dani Atkins (ARC)

NORA BONESTEEL'S CHRISTMAS PAST by Sharyn McCrumb (ARC)

IF YOU WERE HERE by Alafair Burke

CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION by Peter Robinson

THE EDGE OF WATER by Elizabeth George

THE EDGE OF NOWHERE by Ellizabeth George

AN UNSPOKEN SUSPICION by Francoise Bourdin

THE BLESSINGS by Elise Juska (ARC)

MISSING YOU by Harlan Coben

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS by Lisa Verge Higgins (ARC)

THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN by Lisa Jewell (ARC)

A WEDDING IN PROVENCE by Ellen Sussman (ARC)

SCARLETT SAYS by Julie L. Cannon

EASTWARD IN EDEN by Terence Faherty (ARC)

THE ORDAINED by Terence Faherty

MURDER AND MENDELSSOHN by Kerry Greenwood (ARC)

PROVE THE NAMELESS by Terence Faherty

DIE DREAMING by Terence Faherty

TRUE BELIEVERS by Kurt Andersen

STRONG SPIRITS by Alice Duncan

FATAL UNDERTAKING by Mark de Castrique

FINAL UNDERTAKING by Mark de Castrique

FOOLISH UNDERTAKING by Mark de 
Castrique

GRAVE UNDERTAKING by Mark de Castrique

THE DAY SHE DIED by Catriona McPherson (ARC)

NORTHANGER ABBEY by Val McDermid (ARC)

THE TASTE OF APPLE SEEDS by Katharina Hagena (ARC)

FATAL ENQUIRY by Will Thomas (ARC)

REEL STUFF by Don Bruns

MURDER BY SYLLABUB by Kathleen Delaney

LYDIA'S PARTY by Margaret Hawkins (ARC)

THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON 
CAKE by Aimee Bender

SOMETHING BLUE by Ann Hood

LOST LAKE by Sarah Addison Allen

THE LOST HUSBAND by Katherine Center

THE BOOK OF SECRETS by Elizabeth Joy 
Arnold

SIX YEARS by Harlan Coben

THE LOST SISTERHOOD by Anne Fortier (ARC)

THE HOLLOW GIRL by Reed Farrel Coleman (ARC)

THE MOON SISTERS by Therese Walsh (ARC)

PECAN PIES AND HOMICIDE by Ellery Adams

DANGEROUS UNDERTAKING by Mark de Castrique

THE YELLOW EYES OF CROCODILES by Katherine Pancol (ARC)

SNAPSHOT by Lis Wiehl (ARC)

A READER'S BOOK OF DAYS by Tom Nissley




Happy New Year's Eve






I have much to be thankful for, and I always try to take some time on New Year's Eve to reflect and say a quiet thank you for my blessings.


Although Donald and I had to make several midnight trips to the ER this past year for kidney stone attacks, it all turned out okay. If that's the worst we ever have to go through, it would be okay fine by us.


2014 has been a pretty good year for Whimsey, proving to me that dreams do come true. It continues to collect some good reviews at amazon.com, and still selling better than I had ever expected.



My thanks to all the indy bookstores who took a chance on Whimsey, and stocked in on your shelves - Mystery Loves Company Booksellers- Oxford MDMalaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Quarter Moon Bookstore, Laurel Bookstore, Black Bear Books, Park Road Books (and some I know I'm forgetting) and those of you who agreed to carry it in your on-line stores. You helped make my year one of the best. AND, my thanks for showing support by allowing me to visit your store for events and signings. I didn't get to Oxford or to Oakland, but ONE of these days . . . .




Icing on this great big wonderful cake was learning that it was also honored by librarian/book blogger extraordinaire, Miss Susie, who listed it on her favorites for 2014.  It's in some pretty awesome company, I must say!  Take a peek  -  http://www.misssusiesreading.blogspot.com/2014/12/my-favorite-books-of-2014.html 


Thanks everyone, for taking the tine to drop by this year, and I hope to see you next year.  


Wishing you a peaceful and magical 2015.











Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FMS Photo a Day Challenge - Day 29



Dec. 29 - "I Need Less of This . . ."







Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Neighborhood Christmas Party


When Donald and I moved to Boone, we had no idea we would end up in THE most wonderful neighborhood on God's green earth.

And our annual Christmas party is an event we both look forward to every year.

One of the fun things about a party, is talking about it and sharing some of the moments that made us laugh, talking about how great the food was, and how much we enjoy spending with people we care about.

Many of the gifts given and received during our Santa party are things we've all made. We have a talented group, I must say.

So come along and virtually enjoy this year's Christmas party in Meat Camp, North Carolina 





































And this is what I brought home from the party - I am thrilled!
A signed piece of Jak Brewer art glass and a Jill Harman Smith original.
Life is grand


Wishing you all the most magical of holidays!