New Author Webpage



Meanderings and Muses isn't going anywhere.

BUT -

I do have a new webpage which will focus mostly on my writing.

If you're interested in reading more about my books, anthologies, and events, please click over to

There are a few videos of me reading from "Whimsey: A Novel," and from other favorite authors' work.

With more videos still to come.

The new page is a work in progress with plans for still more to come
- I'm just still trying to figure out exactly what that might be -
so check back from time to time, please.

See you there!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Today - Celebrate the Week.



An old and tired symbol of hate finally finding its place in our society (in the trash), Affordable Care Act upheld, and marriage equality finally finding its rightful place in our society. What a week. Are we on the cusp of a restoration of American sanity, compassion and dignity?












"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered."


                                                                   Justice Kennedy






Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Father's Day Post

originally posted in 2009


Daughters and their daddies.

There's a special bond between the two, and if you grew up with a dad like mine it makes for fun and lovely memories. And some terrific stories when you're all grown up. All grown up maybe, but at times miss your dad so badly you feel as small and unprotected as you did when you were 4 and wanted him to chase away the monsters living in your bedroom closet.

Here are a few of my memories of my dad . . .

From the time I was 3 months old until I was 16 we lived in a wonderful old apartment in Cambridge, Md. The Arcade Apartments. I loved that place. All the rooms were big and spacious and the living room and the dining room had big bay windows with window seats. The kitchen was huge and our stove was an old one that sat up on legs. Remember those old stoves? Anyone else have one of those?

A friend of my mother's, Clara Rook, kept bringing me little chicks one Easter. Those pitiful little chicks that people would dye pink and blue and green at Easter time? AWFUL! and, of course, they usually died fairly quickly, bless their hearts. Well, my sweetie pies didn't. They just kept getting bigger and bigger. In an apartment! Daddy knew I loved those chicks. Every time the subject came up about them being too big to live in an apartment, I would start crying. Finally my dad put some chicken wire around the legs of that old stove and put the chickies in there. You just know how much my mother loved this, right? The chicks just kept growing and one morning I woke up hearing my dad yelling some pretty bad words. The chicks had knocked down the chicken wire and they were all hopping on Mom & Dad's bed. For real.

The chicks went to granny's that day. I was told they were going there so they'd have a big yard to "play" in. uh huh. Sunday Dinner. I'll never get over it. We went to my grandmother's for dinner and the minute I walked into the dining room I spied the fried chicken on platters on the table. Mother tells me I just squalled "My Sweetie Pies! Oh Nooooooo - You've cooked my Sweetie Pies!" and cried and cried and cried. Heartbroken. And nobody ate fried chicken that day.

I have a million memories of that apartment. But let me set the record straight - it wasn't a fancy big city type apartment. This was small town living. And we were not wealthy people; not by any stretch of the imagination. There was no private entrance into our apartment. There was a downstairs lobby, and in the lobby was the entrance to the Arcade Movie Theater. If we were out and arrived home before the movie started, it meant mingling with the line of people buying tickets to see a movie before we would get upstairs and into our apartment. Since it was a small town and everyone knew everyone, it sometimes took awhile to get through all the "Hi, How are You's?" and get up the stairs to home. And, since neither of us had a key to the apartment, which meant it was never locked, we also never knew who might be there waiting for us when we did get home. But it seemed there was always someone. It might have been one of my many aunts or uncle or cousins - there was a gracious plenty of them. Or it might be one of dad's cronies, or one of mother's girlfriends, or friends of mine from school. Amazingly enough now as it might sound, it was never cause for concern back then. It was just an accepted thing. That apartment was, as my mom often said, "Grand Central Station." (There are enough of these stories to keep this little blog of mine going for the next several years.)

There was also a jewelry store owned by Mr. & Mrs. Henry DeVoe in the lobby of the Arcade. Sometimes on Saturdays they would babysit me while Mother did the grocery shopping if Dad had to work. It was the beginning of my love affair with jewelry. Mr. DeVoe was my buddy - he opened my first charge account. Remember the silver bands we called "Friendship Rings?" They were $1.00. Sterling silver bands for $1.00. Can you imagine? Well, I loved those, but would lose them often. He would let me charge one and pay him on installments out of my allowance. About the time I'd have one paid off, I'd lose it and he would let me charge another one.

There was also a beauty shop, and an insurance company and I was in and out of those places like I owned them. I don't know why those people put up with it. If some poor woman was having her hair washed, I'd just march right over while she had her head in the sink and strike up a conversation.

I don't think I'd trade my growing up years in Cambridge for a beezillion dollars.

My dad played basketball, and was apparently quite good. While growing up, I would hear stories about his basketball career. Many times in school my teachers and parents of my friends seemed stunned when realizing who I was - that I could be Alan Wilkinson's daughter and not have any more athletic ability than Adam's house cat was just not understood.

I had been gone from Cambridge for many, many years, and my dad had been gone for many years when Donald and I were home for a visit. We had gone out to the High Spot for dinner with our friends Pam and R.T., who I grew up with and graduated from Cambridge High with. Pam said there was someone in the restaurant she wanted me to meet - he had been a friend of my dad's. When she introduced me, he said he had played ball with my dad and besides my dad being quite talented, he had a trait which he admired even more and that was the simple fact that my dad was also a gentleman - off and on the court. "A good, clean playing ballplayer," he said. and I promptly burst into tears.

It's a lovely thing to have someone remember your dad in such a sweet and simple, exceptionally special way.

He was a very good man, my dad.

"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
Clarence B. Kelland


1. Lewis, 2. Irvin, 3. Roy, 4. Ethel, 5. Alan (my dad), 6. Pop Pop (Irvin), 7. Belle, 8. Grandmother Laura Mae. Picture taken by older brother Ed












Dad taught me to ride a bike - and I vividly remember when he was trying to teach me how to drive a car he made a comment or two about how the bike learning experience had been a whole lot more fun and less traumatic for both of us.




We were all three HUGE Oriole fans and it was a very big deal and very special occasion for us to go to Baltimore for a game. Not as big a deal as going there for a Colt's game, but still a big deal.





And pretty special to get to Ocean City too. (Think he's wondering "What's with the HAT?!)




Pop Pop's 90th Birthday - July 18, 1965
In front - Aunt Belle, Dad
In back - Uncle Lewis, Pop-Pop, Uncle Irv, Uncle Roy, Aunt Ethel, Uncle Ed





Deep sea fishing - Morehead City, NC




"It's sad when our daddies die. It makes one less person inside."
Pamela Ribon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Guns in this country and Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C

I grew up in a part of the world where a lot of people owned guns.

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a hunter's paradise.

I didn't really give guns much of a thought back then.

I do remember once being at a relative's farm and shooting at tin cans set up on hay bales.  I think the gun I was using was a 22?

Obviously, I was not bitten by the gun bug, or I'd probably remember what kind of gun it was.

I don't think any of the people I knew who hunted back then owned, or felt the need to own, an assault rifle.

I guess they felt as though their skill, along with their non-assault rifle type gun, was going to be all they needed to kill the deer they wanted so they could maybe then cut its head off and have it stuffed so they could hang it over their sofa.

Whatever.

Obviously, I'm not a fan of guns.  But, truly, other than being confused by the killing of animals for sport and disgusted by deer heads hanging on a wall, I just didn't give it much thought.

However.

I've become less a fan as the NRA has moved from being a voice of reasonable gun ownership to a dangerous association much less concerned about lives than the profits of gun manufacturers, now showing not one iota of plain damn common sense in regard to gun ownership.

The very fact that this country continues to allow our own citizens to be killed at a scary, crazy alarming rate while spending trillions and trillions of dollars fighting wars in other countries is beyond madness.

The war on terrorism should, in my opinion, be moved right here to the United States and focused on homegrown US citizen terrorists.

Because, yes, of course, widespread terrorism is here alright and you may not have to look too far.


It doesn't come dressed differently from you and I.


It doesn't wear a hijab or a burka.


It walks amongst us looking just like we do.



And the laws of this country allow these terrorists to walk amongst us, guns proudly slung over their shoulders.


Don't tell me I need a gun with which to protect myself.


Bullshit.


I should not need a gun to protect myself in my daily life in this country.

This is not, or it shouldn't be, the wild west of Wyatt Earp's day.

And, IF I did have a gun, would I have carried it with me to church for a bible study class?

No.

So, had I been with State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Tywanza Sanders, Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr. and DePayne Doctor, I would most likely now be dead.

Let us always remember those names, and these faces -




Let us remember how they innocently went into a church for bible study.

Unarmed.

And were murdered by a terrorist.


But.

I will not name the evil and deranged suspected terrorist who has been arrested. He does not need our words, our attention. He's scum, that's all anyone really needs to hear about him.


(sorry, but we're not taking comments on this piece today.  post if you want, but the "monitor comments" feature is engaged.  I'll read your comment, but it will not be posted and I will not respond to it).



Non-Violence" (also known as "The Knotted Gun") was designed by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. It was inspired by the shooting death on December 8, 1980 of his friend, John Lennon. It was given to the UN by the government of Luxembourg in 1988. There are currently 16 copies of the sculpture around the world, nine of them in Sweden, one at the United Nations in NYC




Thursday, June 18, 2015

Southern Writers Magazine

Are y'all familiar with Southern Writers Magazine?

It's a very, very cool magazine I only just discovered, but have quickly fallen in love with - check it out!


This from their webpage:


Southern Writersa community for writers and readers everywhere.
In our community, you'll find the exclusive online Southern Writers Bookstore, showcasing releases of all the authors who are in our magazine. Authors offer their newest book--autographed--in our signed book giveaways. 



Each  month you'll find articles written by and about some of your favorite authors.

Additionally, there are writing contests, ways to promote your work, writing conferences, books about writing and so much more.

But - it's not just for writers, AND it's not just for southerners.  

Here's some of what you can find in 
This month's edition:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Patti Callahan Henry's THE IDEA OF LOVE






From Patti Callahan Henry's website:

"As we like to say in the south,

'Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.'

Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love--until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she'll have everyone believe. 

Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the look-out for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy - the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what's a little white lie between strangers? But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?"



I have been a Patti Callahan Henry fan for an awfully long time.  She's an author who lives in one of the top spots of my "auto-buy" list.  Her stories remain fresh and surprising and leave me smiling.  Ms. Henry knows the south and brings it to her readers with a believable beauty and honesty, never falling into that stereotypical south that some writers expect readers to accept.  And she "gets" relationships.  Husband/wife, parent/child, best friends.  She gets them and delivers them to us with perception and clarity in heartbreaking and inspirational words that touch our hearts and stay there.

A tag line for her newest, "The Idea of Love," reads - "As we like to say in the south, 'Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.'

When Ella and Hunter meet in the tranquil coastal town of Watersend, South Carolina, things start off with two good stories.  What happens next kept me happy, frustrated, sad, and all over the emotional map.  Just like a good story is supposed to!  In case you missed it - I loved this book to the moon and back.

Don't miss Patti Callahan Henry's "The Idea of Love."  Release date - June 23rd.

And - SURPRISE!Pre-order "The Idea of Love" and receive an exclusive short story!  How cool is that?!







Disclaimer:  an electronic arc of this book was provided by NetGalley.com.  No review was promised and the above is my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Author Spotlights Are Back



Some of you might remember when Meanderings and Muses did author spotlights.




A lot of author spotlights.


What started as a once a month feature became a once a week feature, and then a twice a week feature with the third on many weeks, and then even the occasional fourth.

After slowing back down last year, I decided to give it a rest this year.

But, I've missed having writer friends here chatting about anything they wanted to chat about.

So.

I've asked three of my favorite authors, who happen to also be three of my favorite people, to come by for a chat.


Margaret Maron will be here in August.


"Long Upon the Land," the 20th in her Judge Deborah Knott series is scheduled to release August 11th.



Reed 
Farrel Coleman will be here in September. 



"Robert B. Parker's the Devil Win," book 14 in the Jesse Stone series, the second in the series written by Reed, is scheduled to release September 8th.


Hank Phillippi Ryan will be here in October. 



Her "What You See," the 4th in her Jane Ryland series is scheduled to release October 27th.


Once I have their exact visit dates pinned down, I'll let you know.

I'm excited about them being here, and I know many of you are too.

So much fun having favorite authors as friends.  Hopefully, there will be more visits.  Stay tuned!




Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Oh, Kaye!" at Jungle Red


I'm at Jungle Red today and I'm chatting about music, memories and blind dates.  

And if you want to know about this hat, well, you'll just need to scoot on over to Jungle Red where the mystery will be revealed.

So, click here and away we go - - 





Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chatting about my mom



I've always used Meanderings and Muses a little like a journal.


I've talked extensively about my life, and sometimes have delved into some quite personal issues.


I talk about Don and Harley constantly.


I've talked about my dad, who's no longer with us, and I've talked about my mom.


Time to talk a little about my mom again.


I'm taking her to the doctor this coming Monday as the first step in some memory loss issues we've been going through.


All this has come on fairly quickly. She was forgetful in a normal way, of course, but the past few weeks have brought some very noticeable, sometimes scary incidents. Some days she is as lucid as she was 20 years ago, other days a question from me can bring around an answer that seems to meander and wander into territory I'm completely unfamiliar with. She is, however, completely aware that she's in a state of confusion at times and not fighting the facts. 


She has said to me that she thinks she might be in pretty bad shape. Which, of course, will break a daughter's heart. And a son-in-law's, also. One she has always treated like her own son. 


She called and made her doctor's appointment and she knows we're possibly looking at some decisions and changes in the pretty near future. Days and time are sometimes a real puzzle to her. So.  Monday will be the beginning of asking a lot of questions and getting some answers. 


And this week-end we're holding onto hopes that it's something on the less serious side of things - perhaps medication interactions, any number of things.  But, if it's on the more serious side, we'll handle whatever needs to be handled together.  One step at a time.


So - hold some good thoughts, okay?!











































Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Photos from Grandfather Mountain


Donald spent this past weekend up on Grandfather Mountain.

If you're not familiar with this magnificent North Carolina treasure, take a few minutes to visit their webpage - http://www.grandfather.com/

This past weekend was the annual Nature Photography Weekend, which is the only time the gates are open allowing participants in early enough to get some sunrise shots, and late enough to get sunset shots.  It's also the only weekend camping is allowed, which is what Don did.  Me?  Noooooooo - and when you see some the trails he hiked, you'll probably be able to figure out why I chose to stay at home.  Me and Harley.  At home in Meat Camp.

Unfortunately, it was a cloudy weekend, but not so bad that Donald didn't get some pretty fantastic pictures.

Enjoy!!



This is looking up at "The Singing Bridge" aka as "The Swinging Bridge."  It used to sway and swing about five feet to the left and right, but the bridge was replaced a few years ago and this bridge doesn't swing as much.  But, it does "sing."  When the wind goes through the metal decking it makes a singing noise.




Donald's foot as he crosses the bridge.




Across the singing bridge.




Catching a glimpse of geese off Hwy. 105




Sunset shots taken from Grandfather Mtn.















Sunrise




















Eagle at the Grandfather Habitat





Otters








and Bears (oh, my!)

















Random shots while hiking




















First cable going up Grandfather Trail from the observation area



Looking at the Sugar Mountain hotel from Grandfather Trail












































I'm so glad I didn't see all these hiking pictures until Donald was home safe and sound.  whew.