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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.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mystery Awards Announced


Sadly, I did not make it to Dallas for Bouchercon this year.  

It's always a good time and I missed seeing so many good friends.

It's a time to reconnect with readers and writers I only get to see at mystery conventions.

So, I didn't get to collect hugs, and I didn't get to give out congratulatory hugs, but I am proud as punch to share award winners here.  And prouder yet to call some of these folks "friend."


ANTHONY AWARD WINNERS: BOUCHERCON

Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)

Best First Novel
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)

Best Paperback Original Novel 
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Best Short Story 
“The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough (blogazine, August 20, 2018)

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work 
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)

The 2019 Barry Award Winners from Deadly Pleasure Mystery Magazine.

Best Novel
Lou Berney, NOVEMBER ROAD (Morrow)  


Best First Novel

C. J. Tudor, THE CHALK MAN (Crown)

Best Paperback Original 

Dervla McTiernan, THE RUIN (Penguin) 

Best Thriller

Dan Fesperman, SAFE HOUSES (Knopf)




 The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal and friends of MRI. Congratulations to all.


Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)


Best First Novel 
Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver (Pegasus Books)

Best Nonfiction 
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (HarperCollins)

Best Short Story 
 “English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 2018)


Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)



SHAMUS AWARDS

BEST PI HARDCOVER
What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur Books)

BEST FIRST PI NOVEL
The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco (MCD Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

BEST PI PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (Redhook Books)

BEST PI SHORT STORY
"Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool" by S.J. Rozan (EQMM)



Congratulations!!


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

punks, clowns and thugs



So.

Today a bunch of Republican congressional members barged into a meeting.  A meeting which was being held by other congressional members (INCLUDING Republicans) holding impeachment hearings.

In a room classified "SECRET," they barged in with their phones on live feed.

Republicans keep trying to get the rumor started that they're not being allowed into the hearings and have no idea what's going on.

Idiots.

How convenient (but WHY?) to forget 
47 Republican members of Congress do, in fact, sit on the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, which are conducting the impeachment inquiries.

Intelligence and manners left out of the equation when it comes to electing Republican congressmen and women these days.

I'm old enough to remember with congressional members (of both parties) were gentlemen and statesmen. 

Or, at least that's the public face they showed the world, for the most part. 

The GOP is now not much more than clowns and thugs who have no sense of decorum, no respect for this country and its constitution, and appear to have been raised by barbarians. 

With bubba trump as their lord and master, they have exactly what they deserve. 

But the rest of us do not and I am tired of the constant pissing contests they're engaged in. 

We're the laughing stock of the rest of the world, when they're not concerned about the maniac who has access to nuclear codes. 

I'm tired of the daily drama and I am so ready for it all to end. 

I don't see it ending well, or peacefully but that's what happens, I guess, when you live in a country ruled by punks, clowns and thugs.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mother Nature and Abstract Art




Mother Nature /  Abstract Art





Anya Kazlowski






Kathleen Patrick





Shiraga Kazuo



Friends have asked me why I enjoy some pieces of abstract art.

Not all pieces appeal to me, just like not all of anything appeals to me.

But to those who say they don't like any abstract art, I am probably as confused by that as they might be about why I'm attracted to a particular piece.



I don't try to force a "meaning" into it.  I just accept that the colors, shapes and forms are aesthetically pleasing to me and let it go.


Sitting on our deck enjoying the leaves this time of year is, basically, the same thing as far as I'm concerned.


Colors, shapes and forms.


Mother Nature /  Abstract Art

Not so different

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Prayer takes many forms



We pray in different ways.

- - -


I oftentimes wonder how people who don't write handle their feelings.

But even when I'm thankful for being able to let words flow onto a page, sometimes even that is not enough.

And I pick up my camera.

I woke up this morning feeling a sadness for the deaths that the man who occupies our country's house in Washington DC has caused.

The many who are dying right now.

This very minute.

And their loved ones.

Helpless.

I feel helpless and am fighting feeling hopeless.

And, I have no words.

But I have tears.

I think those tears are a sort of prayer.

My prayers come in simple forms.

I am not one to sit amongst people in a church.  

Organized religion is not for me.

That is not to say I'm not a believer.

But I believe in my own way, I guess.

It's not unusual for me to whisper a quiet "Thank You."

I have whispered it while sitting on our deck looking into the woods behind our house.





I have whispered it while standing in Notre Dame in Paris.





Beauty moves me to whisper "Thank You."

And I trust that it's heard.

Today I whispered it to the trees while Annabelle and I sit on the back deck.  And I cried.

Cried for the Kurdish.  

Cried for those of us in the rest of the world who believe that America, at the hands of a monster, is the cause of the deaths that are happening right now.

Right now as I sit on my back deck pondering the beauty of the trees in our backyard and purity of the peace I'm usually able to feel while sitting here.

Right now as I realize there are many on this earth who have never, in their entire lives, felt this kind of quiet peace.

And I pick up my camera, and say my inadequate "Thank You"

And -

I whisper, "Forgive Us"
































Monday, September 30, 2019

Cleaning out


Here's my story about a decision to start getting rid of "stuff."  

From where we started to where we are today.



A corner of our storage building. The time has come (finally) to start sorting through these boxes deciding what gets tossed, and what gets priced to sell. There "may" be a booth in our local antique mall in our future. Or a neighborhood yard sale. We shall see . . . The first box I opened has a Cabbage Patch doll in it. My mama loved Cabbage Patch dolls. This his one of the later ones with a plastic face, so no big money maker, dadgummit. 😉




I've made a pretty good start sorting boxes and have found some junk. But I've also found some cool stuff (fluffy dog not for sale).














i think this little bear is coming back inside the house with me.




I'm making pretty amazing headway in the "clean out this storage building!" project. Amazing how just taking that first step in a major project can be the biggest and the hardest. Also amazing how some good hard work can make the rest of the world disappear for awhile. Not to say I won't be back ready to tackle it again after catching my breath.


today's rescue




I'm making pretty amazing headway in the "clean out this storage building!" project. Amazing how just taking that first step in a major project can be the biggest and the hardest. Also amazing how some good hard work can make the rest of the world disappear for awhile. Not to say I won't be back ready to tackle it again after catching my breath.


I guess this clearing out stuff is getting serious. Now I'm grabbing items from the house as I go to the storage building, sticking price tags on them, wrapping them up and putting them in a box. Dear Don Barley - if you notice anything missing and want it back, watch this space for an announcement for an upcoming yard sale.  


plugging away, one box at a time. Each box is a surprise, since most of them have been packed up for over 20 years, I had forgotten that when we moved here Mother had given us several boxes to store for her until she decided what she wanted to do with it all. She, like us, downsized, and probably never gave these boxes another thought. The contents of this box made me giggle, but it also made me get a little teary. Two wise men - who knows where the third one rode off to. A "flasher" doll - open his coat and eek! Call a cop. Maybe he offended that third wise man . . . And a little brass tray my dad used on their bedroom dresser for pocket change and stuff. A little gift from me many, oh so many years ago. I had had it engraved with his initials. That will be the "rescue" of the day. And oh yeah, a china boot with a little pup poking his head out. I remember trying to put my foot in that boot when I was a tiny thing. I have always loved boots:-D








Last box of the day and I am a tired girl. Some of our past life in Atlanta was in this box. Found GA Tech Baseball caps - tags still on them - never worn , 23+ years old. Including one from the Olympics. We left Atlanta not too long after the Olympics. Donald was the GA Tech Lockshop Supervisor and was heavily involved with Olympic security beginning long before the teams actually moved in and the games began. Do I remember that morning of July 27, 1996 when our phone started ringing off the hook at dawn about the Centennial Park Bombing? Suffice to say I will never forget. And there's a pin from The Democratic Convention - 1988 (I'm nothing if not loyal). Also found this itty bitty Brave along with several Braves baseball caps - also from 23+ years ago, some of them still with tags as well. I was a huge Braves fan, back in the day and at the ballpark at least twice a week. Pre-strike and then Glavine couldn't seem to keep his mouth shut.






Working on the storage building clean-out again today. So far - no rescues. But some fun things, some nice things and some odd things. I did find 8 cups and saucers that go with some old every day china that we don't have much left of any longer  and I love them, but we don't use cups and saucers as much as we use mugs - and I don't have any place to put it all. But I'm making great progress, I think.















Work break. Had to come in for another donut (or two). Here's today's finds - even Annabelle found a treasure - which will be today's "rescue." Finding an old hat that was well traveled before it got lost. And it's been in box in our own backyard all these years. dang. Old whiskey stirrers that would only have meaning to someone who lived in Atlanta, or visited, at a certain period in time when the Hyatt Regency Polaris on Peachtree Street was a very cool place to go for drinks. Before buildings were built around it that are so much taller than it is, that the whole point of the rotating bar to oversee the city became a moot point. Thanks to Portman and other big ugly building builders.















a few of today's finds. This may be it for today. I hear Lisa Unger's book calling my name. 








A short work break. Pizza, yum. So far, no "rescues," but some interesting "past life" finds - a glass from an old set showing the Dow highlights from 1958 - 1968. Four BMW coffee mugs from a very short "career" at BMW/NA, Atlanta Regional Ofc. A cookbook that has been used a LOT, and an old chest I can't lift. Can't wait till Don Barley gets home so he can help me lift it down to see what's in it. Making good progress, and brought two boxes into the house to pack up a few things in here while Donald is out on a ride. And, one very bored Annabelle.








Well, this afternoon's unpacking turned up some truly unexpected . . . stuff. And since I've been missing the Epstein "suicide" chats, here's my opinion. I don't think it was suicide, I think it was a hit and I don't think either Clinton had anything to do with it. If Hillary were to decide to pay for a hit, my guess would be on The Big Orange Boob. 
Now, where's my martini . . . ?






Well, the amount of stuff to be sold keeps growing. Looks like a stall in one of the Boone antique malls will be in our future

Raggedy Ann and Andy, made by Don's Aunt Eleanor. Today's rescues.





Looks like we have lined up a place to start selling our stuff. Yay! Probably early next month. We really like the owner who is a friend of good friends of ours. And she said she would help me price things. Thank Goodness for that 'cause, as it turns out, I have been pricing things waaay too low.https://www.facebook.com/AntiquesonHoward/

This evening's project. Packing up a few sit-abouts from the house - "you've been well loved here, time for you to move on."



So. Today Donald helped me lift and move some heavy boxes, and it was a day of finding some surprises. My mom was known for holding on to things I had as a child. But after several purges I thought we had reached the end of my baby stuff. I was pretty surprised today when I found a couple pairs of my baby shoes, and an itty bitty pair of tap shoes! And some of the recital costumes in a box appropriately labeled "Kaye's Costumes." Found this big ol' bear that my mom and I spent quite a bit of time shopping for many, many years ago. We bought her that little black dress, the fur, the hat (several hats, actually), and at one time she was decked out with a purse and bracelets and earbobs. Why did we do this? Why, to dress the bear, why else? And then we made up stories about where she had been and her various escapades and adventures. LordAMercy, I miss my mom. Also found an old cowboy hat that belonged to Don pre-me.












Today's treasure. My dad was a HUGE Colts fan. When they were in Maryland. (Until they left town under the cover of darkness, never to be forgiven). 1958 was a very good year.








So. I'm finished with the boxes in the corner you've seen pictures of. Donald moved some big and heavy boxes closer to my work station for me and this is what I'm facing today.





When we were living in Atlanta (and had a bigger than the "one-butt" kitchen we now have) me, my mom and our friend Nan would get together every year and put up a few things. Mostly we would make the BEST peach marmalade. And we would make Bread and Butter Pickles. Apparently, every single person we ever gave a jar of anything to knew "canning etiquette," and returned their jars. Every single day I have worked in the storage building I have found at least one box of canning jars. Sometimes two, and on bonus days - three. I now have enough jars to fill the shelves of a small store with homemade jams and jellies and stuff. Those jars (which I will never use!) brought back some fun memories. Here's me, my mom and Nan in 1990 at our house in Kennesaw, GA hard at work. Donald always had "other things to do" on canning days. 








Some of today's treasures.

An afghan my friend Dindy made me waaaaay back when.  Early 80s, I'm thinking.





And a box of Donald's trophies!

Some from swimming in high school (he was very good and has trophies and ribbons to show for it).  

Some for soccer.

And some for bowling.







Well, it had to happen sooner or later. I started thinking I was Wonder Woman in the storage building while Donald was out hauling off yet another load of trash. Lifted one heavy box too high over my head, wrenched my back and twisted my knee. But since serendipity was hanging around, look what I spied while sitting on the floor massaging my poor ol' knee. Don Barley's grandfather's cane. And it helped me get down the steps and into the house. And in the house is where I'll be staying the rest of this night. Reading an ARC of Deborah Crombie's "A Bitter Feast," and it is excellent!







My grandmother was not an easy person. Not what one could call "soft," or even "sweet."  In her defense, she raised 11 children, and worked as a crab picker on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, making pennies for the amount of meat she was able to retrieve from crabs out of the Choptank River in Cambridge.  Her first husband (Alan Messick) died when my mom was a little girl, and her second husband (Len Robbins) was a waterman on someone else's boat, so he made very little money as well.  They both started their work days before the crack of dawn.  Anyone who stayed in bed much later than the crack of dawn was told they were "laying up sorry."

I thought about her today when Donald took this picture.  You'll notice that clock says 1:17 p.m.

It matters little that my poor ol' knee is complaining.

I am still, according to Lizzie Robbins, "laying up sorry."  

But Annabelle understands.  God love her.





So. Today was a day of big accomplishments and headway in the storage building - without incident or injury - Yay, Me! Still a ways to go, but these boxes will be going to the antique mall, although not all at once. Don't bother trying to read what's written on them - theses boxes have been used and re-used and re-used again so the chances of what's actually in the box matching what the box says is pretty slim. I just know it's all leaving here. And if it doesn't sell, it ain't coming back.







What I stumbled across today that surprised me was a LOT of books. So often I go looking for a specific book, knowing full well I have a copy. Haven't been able to put my hands on it and been frustrated. No wonder. They've been boxed up in the storage building for 20+ years! I don't know what I'm going to do with all of them, but they're not coming into the house either.

One idea, just an idea at this point, but I kinda like it (thanks to Erin Bell Dickson).  Turning the space into a "She Shed Library."  Erin is picturing it with walls lined with books, a comfy chair and mini bar.  And . . . perhaps I could even move a lot of the books that are now in the house out there.


 Today's most interesting find. My mom was so in love with JFK and his family. Lots of old Life and Look Magazines featuring them. Those magazines kinda kept me from getting as much done out there today as I should have, but I'm going to look at them again before deciding what to do with them. 





But I also found several boxes of old magazines I kept for who knows what reason?! Victoria Magazine was a fave. Those are now piled in the back of my Highlander with a whole bunch of other "stuff" and will have to go to the landfill before I pick up Annabelle, A huge haul to the landfill today - Yay!


After taking a few days off, I'm back to packing up things to sell in our booth at the antique mall. Today I stayed in the house and gathered up sit-abouts that can move on along now. Donald said he was getting concerned that I was going to sell off everything we own. 
I told him not to worry, "the Waterford is safe." 
He said, "oh, good." 
I said, "we don't HAVE any Waterford! LOL! We've given a lot of Waterford over the years, but we don't have any of our own. No need to worry."








Today's found treasures. Cat's Eye Rhinestone Opera Glasses and a musical cigarette lighter (we can't figure out what the song is!) in its original box.











https://www.ebay.com/itm/OLD-Vintage-Coke-Coca-Cola-Musical-Lighter-DELUXE-BLUE-BIRD-Metal-Red-Fire-Music-/362120999696?fbclid=IwAR28qGDn0N3nz-gVFoQ13Mz8foz35__KVdZdzW6Yr8PfY_c4PTKN_FGSZWs






I spent today in the storage building continuing the project that has become so much more than I ever realized it might. I remember that from time to time when Don Barley and I were at my mom's she would sometimes ask Don to put a box in the car. "Take this home with you, please, and put it up in your storage building for me." And, of course, we would. Never bothering to ask what it might be. She asked and we did. That's just the way it was. So today the woman who has been gone for a few years, but still, in her own way, will live with us forever, took me on a wild ride. I found prom dresses from 1965 and 1966. A pink silk dress with a jeweled neckline that she and I took turns wearing to special events. A muu-muu that we bought and shared on a trip to Hawaii in 1969. (I can promise you that neither of us were gonna fit in those dresses by the time we moved to Boone, NC in 1996). I found a sweater I knitted for my dad in the late 60's. All these things were kinda fun. But the next box I went to was less fun and more emotional. Letters from my dad to his dad from overseas. And letters to her. His military discharge papers. Letters to my dad from friends he had served with. My baby book. My bronzed baby shoes. It's been a day. I wish I could end it with Donald and I sitting down with my folks to look at some of these things together and share some of the memories.

















So.  Today, September 8, 2019, we took possession (sort of) of our booth at Antiques on Howard.  Here's a few pictures.  However, since we're not officially moving in until the end of this month nothing you see on these shelves belongs to us.  Except - A few copies of my books and anthologies I have pieces in.










Shelves are filling up!









Including a great display case (Thank You, Donald!) that I'm going to have fun filling with "smalls" and  jewelry to sell



But today I rest.

This has been a lot of work, and fun.  

I have boxes in my car that need to go to Antiques on Howard and unpacked.

I have jewelry I need to clean before putting in the display case.

There are still LOTS of boxes in the storage building, so let's hope things sell to make room for more things.

But today I rest.