First Snow of Winter

Officially, winter begins on December 21, but in Maine, winter begins with the first real snowfall. That is, the accumulation must be over four inches, and the snow must not melt during the next sunny day.

I think this storm, although just starting in central Maine, will fulfill both requirements. There is something exhilarating about the first real snow of winter, that cold tang, the softness of the snow.

Yes, winter will grow old, but right now, on this Saturday afternoon, as we prepare to decorate our tree, both Clif and I are in perfect agreement: Let it snow.

So it begins!

 

 

 

 

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Five for Friday: Wayne, Maine, Including a Drain

Wayne, Maine, is a little village about ten minutes away from Winthrop. (Wayne’s population is circa 1,100. ) Like most towns in this area, Wayne is surrounded by ponds and lakes. Wayne might be small, but with its old houses, mostly white, lining the main street, the village has maintained a classic New England look and is very lovely. Established in 1798, Wayne got its name from Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne.

Here is a picture of one of Wayne’s charming old homes, white of course.

A view across the millpond, of more white houses.

A general store, also white, that provides the town with a warm center.

Inside the store is a very inviting place to have a bite to eat.

And finally, for my blogging friend Tootlepedal, a picture of a drain in Wayne, Maine.

This surely must prove that we bloggers can be a very silly bunch.

 

 

 

A Roller Coaster of a Week

The past thirty-four days have been quite a whirl of ups and downs, starting with the wind storm that knocked out our power for a week, which caused us to lose much of our frozen food. Then it took us another week to get things back to normal. On the upside, there were the wonderful fairs where we sold lots of books and met some dedicated readers, both young and old.

Last week all those highs and lows came together for a concentrated burst that left us scratching our heads. Something in the stars? The Supermoon? Who knows? But on Tuesday, after the presentation at our library, Clif got food poisoning from a local restaurant. At least we think it was food poisoning as he had all the classic symptoms.  When he wasn’t running to the bathroom, Clif was flat on his back for three days. Poor guy!

There’s nothing like having a husband who is out of commission to make a wife appreciate all that he does. Holy guacamole, what a hectic week as I folded his chores into my chores. And, as luck would have it, we had another craft fair scheduled for the weekend, this time in the charming little town of Wayne, Maine. (I know. They rhyme. How cool is that?)

So on Saturday, after loading the car the night before, off I went by myself to Wayne, Maine. I realize I’m a little spoiled by having a husband who is happy and willing to go with me to the various events. But it is so great to have another person at the table, to take care of making change, to be there for bathroom breaks, to help with set-up and break down.

So that was the low of the week.

The high? The Wayne craft fair, which turned out to be small but mighty, with a steady stream of customers who, as it turned, were in the mood to buy books. It seems that like Brunswick, Wayne is a community that likes to read. By noon, I only had one book left. By the end of the fair, I had sold out. Wowsah!

As if that weren’t enough, there were two comments that certainly qualified as the cherry on the sundae. First, a woman stopped by and bought a book to send to her granddaughter for Christmas, and the granddaughter lives in Australia. Maya is going to Australia, about as far as she can go from Maine!

Second, a young teen stopped by my table and said, “My friend has this book, and she is going to let me borrow it. She said it’s really good!” And I didn’t know either the young teen or her friend. Oh, that made my day to have an enthusiastic young teen sharing my book!

After all that excitement, Sunday was a good day to sleep late, do some housework, and take a few pictures.  The day was very fine indeed, and off to the little park by the lake I went.

There were more empty benches,

A splendid white birch against a blue sky,

and a classic New England scene.

No more craft fairs or events until next year. Now, I have to organize my Christmas cooking, the cleaning of the house, and the wrapping of the presents. In between, I hope to get some work done on Library Lost, the second book in the series.

And I sure hope that life settles down, at least a little bit.

Five for Friday: Delights of Late November

It’s been quite a week for us. Not only did we celebrate my book’s first birthday, but we also received a package from across the pond, from England, of Sandra Dorey’s fabulous cards. Sandra, of Wild Daffodil,  is a blogging friend, and as much as I can, I try to support my blogging friends in their various creative endeavors.

As my photo indicates, Sandra used shells, bits of wood, flowers, and a crocheted piece to design her cards. These cards are beautifully printed on quality paper, and I will be saving them to send to very special people. The tagline for Sandra’s blog is “the joy of creativity,” and she means business. Sandra has more creativity in her little finger than most people have in their whole bodies.

On a more modest note, are the delights of the landscapes and skies in Winthrop in late November.

And my dog buddy Liam, who might be blind but is still game for going on walks.

Finally, my favorite tree on the Narrows Pond Road. Years ago, in 1998, it was beaten down by a destructive ice storm that knocked out the power to half the state. But it has healed and regained most of its former splendor.

Surely a lesson to give us courage as we go into the new year.

 

 

A Special Anniversary—Maya is One

Yesterday was a very special day for Clif and me. Our fantasy novel—Maya and the Book of Everything-–had its first birthday. Or anniversary. Or whatever. The book was launched on November 28, 2016, and this certainly brightened, at least for us, an otherwise dismal year for the country.

Even though I wrote the novel, I used the word “our” because Clif was (and is) such an integral part of the process that it really is his book, too. First, he was one of a handful of careful readers who found errors and helped me keep the plot on track. Second, he did all the page layout, both for the paper copy and for the ebook. He continues to help me as I give presentations—lord, am I ever grateful for his technical expertise—and he goes with me to various craft fairs.  Many, many thanks, Clif, for your invaluable help.

While we are on the subject of giving thanks, I want to thank the many friends, both near and distant, who have bought Maya. Merci, merci! Because of your generosity, Maya has not only been read in the United States, but also in England, Ireland, and Canada. It is no small thing for an indie book to travel so far. As for my new blogging friends…well, Christmas is coming. Perhaps you have someone in your family who loves fantasy novels. While Maya is technically a book for young teens, it is also a crossover book that adults enjoy reading. Maya is easy to order. Just click on the book’s cover in the upper left-hand corner of this page. There! Done with the shameless self-promotion.

Maya is our first book, and over the course of the year we have learned a lot and, of course, have made more than a few mistakes. The happy thing we have learned is that Maya sells really well at various events, and next year, we are going to increase the number of places we go, not only with Maya but also with Clif’s anthology, The Wave of Time. Lucky for us, Clif and I really enjoy doing this. We both work from home, and it is a nice change to get out, meet people, and talk about our books.

By a very happy coincidence, on Maya’s birthday, I was engaged to speak at my town’s wonderful library, the Charles M. Bailey Public Library. Richard, the director, did a great job with publicity, and there was a nice turnout, with plenty of old friends as well as people I didn’t even know. We sold quite a few books, and what a lovely, lovely way to celebrate Maya’s birthday. Thank you Richard and Shane and to all the people who came to my Threads of Realism in Fantasy presentation.

Now, onward to the second book—Library Lost. I’m over halfway done, and I’m hoping to have it published by next fall.

 

 

Resting with a Cat on My Chest, Hoping for an Angel Sitting on My Shoulder

On Sunday evening, this was the scene at our house.

In fact, I wasn’t resting at all but rather reading and commenting on the many blogs I follow. This is always a delight as I can go around the world yet stay on my couch with my cat—the notorious Sherlock,  who certainly knows how to make himself comfortable—and my mug of tea.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it was a merry blur of food, family, friends, and movies. We are a family keen on movies, and we saw two over the holidays—Coco, which we liked very much, and Murder on the Orient Express, a remake that got a resounding “Meh!” from all three of us.

Now it’s onward to Christmas, my favorite holiday. There will be Christmas movies to watch, cards to send, goodies to cook, presents to wrap, gatherings to attend, and twinkling lights to set out.

In Maine as well as elsewhere, December is the darkest month of the year, a good time to ponder the Christmas sentiment “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.” Unfortunately, we are far from this notion, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reflect on it, now and for the rest of the year, too.

And if we can slide in a little “ho-ho-ho,” so much the better.  This Christmas song—“We Need a Little Christmas”—perfectly captures the way many of us in the United States feel right now.

Here is a version by the folks from Glee.

I’m hoping to find that little “angel sitting on my shoulder” sometime soon.

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