Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Shopping: The List

Christmas Shopping
The List
While I am seriously irritated by the ubiquity of the modern-day term “Black Friday” - which in my view sounds more like a horror movie than any sort of festive start to the holiday shopping season - I do confess to love choosing gifts for those near and dear to me each year.   I also confess that since I do this all year long (whenever I’m traveling or in a special shop, I’m always Christmas shopping) my gift list is already checked off.  (Don’t get mad at me… I also make a lot of gifts, so I’m doing that all year as well.) 

So it’s with a relaxed pace that I wander through the stores this season.  And I really love it.  Yes, I stay far away from the cattle yards of mega-stores and malls, preferring instead those little shops where a silver bell jangles when I open the door, the wooden floors creak a little as I wander through, and the air smells of old books, paperwhites, and mulled cider.  Occasionally I find a treasure or two in these places, but the atmosphere itself holds so much of the sort of Christmas magic that I seek out just now, that is often treasure enough.  I always make time to stop for people-watching in a cafe or coffee shop or a stroll through a Christmas tree lot.  I stop to try on extravagant hats.  I flip through expensive books and get a sack full of Christmas cookies in the local bakery.  It’s magic, it’s festive, it’s fun.

 That’s rather what I hope you’ll find at the start of my own Christmas shopping season here at The House of Edward as you take a look through a few specially selected treats chosen to charm and tempt you. 
 After all, the holidays are coming, whether we’re ready or not.
  And aren’t we glad they are!  

1.  Book
Of course the number one gift here this year is my brand-new children’s book,
Edward Speaks at Midnight, A Christmas Story. 
I have been both astonished and so grateful for all the many orders placed.  Books are currently being shipped all over the world and letters are beginning to come in; letters which make me incredibly happy…

Thank you for the wonderful book, Edward Speaks at Midnight. What a heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations!  Edward is so wise. We wish he would run for President.  Apple is dear to our cheese-loving hearts”….

I collect special christmas children's books. Only I don't consider them children's books at all.  Just as this one is not only for children. It's for EVERYONE! Everyone who believes in love and what's best about Christmas.”….

We know a lot of these books are being purchased for holiday gifts, so the elves at Wild Bouquet Press want me to tell you that they will be happy to wrap your order for Christmas if you wish.  Just indicate this on the order form under “special instructions”.  And keep writing… I love hearing where these books will spend the holidays! 
Find your copy HERE

2.  Handkerchiefs
My Father was never without a handkerchief. 
These are updated with a touch of irresistible whimsy and style.
Love them.
Find them HERE.

3.  Snowflake Cake Pan
Just imagine the cakes you’ll create for your holiday table!
Find this fabulous pan HERE

4. Christmas Cakes
  Here in the Southern part of the US, our holiday cake is often Red Velvet, but across the pond, Christmas Cake is fruitcake.  Not the sort of fruitcake that can easily double as a doorstop.  Not the sort you find sold in Southern drugstores, either.  The British Christmas Cake is something altogether different and delectable.  And I have it on good authority that the best of best of the British Christmas Cakes can be ordered from the Edminston sisters of London.  Portia, Pandora and Scarlett’s secret family recipe has been perfected through three generations and is oh, so, sorely tempting.
Find them HERE.

5.  Book and Candle
I learned about these wonderful candles from the pretty red-haired girl who works at my favourite, world’s best,  yarn shoppe.  She loved them, and I so agree.  Each candle creates the fragrance of certain bookish locations… 
For instance, the above “Christmas In The Great Hall” 
smells like Mistletoe, Gingerbread, Cinnamon, Peppermint.
  Of course! 
Then there’s “Sherlock’s Study”, 
which smells of Sweet Pipe Tobacco, Cherrywood, and Fresh Rain.
With fragrances of “Through the Wardrobe”, “Sassenach”, “Reading at the Cafe’, or “Oxford Library”, just to name a few.  Imagine giving someone a gorgeous copy of Pride and Prejudice with a “Pemberley Gardens” candle. 
Find them all HERE

6.  Big Fat Stuffed Animals
I’m crazy about these.
Enough to buy one for myself possibly.
I’m partial to the Corgi, of course.
But the Dinosaur's pretty cute, too.
Find them all HERE

7.  Santa Mugs
They’re back!
My favorite holiday mugs.
Find them HERE
and to put in these mugs....
7b.  Horlicks Light Chocolate Malt
Though my British friends are shaking their heads right now, 
I have to say that I absolutely love Horlicks Light Chocolate Malt drink.  
Give me a hot Santa mug of this, by the fire.  
Add a good book and a couple of furry dogs and I’m so very happy.  Also, for some inexplicable reason,
 I sleep like a baby after I drink a cupful. 
Find it HERE

8.  Fair Isle Gloves
Wintertime means my paws are in gloves almost all the time. 
And the ones I love most are the ones I purchased 
on a blustery day in Shetland. 
Handknit by a Shetlander named Agnes Bowie, 
they are gorgeous and incredibly warm.
You can find a pair like this for yourself,
 or for a special person,

9.  Liberty Sewing Machine
Love, love, love.
Find it HERE

10.  Ushanka Hats
Unbelievably fetching.  
Absolutely faux.
Find them HERE

Have fun!
Christmas Book List Coming Soon!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
 they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving to All My Readers
You make me happy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Dinner Party Fantasy, for BIO

A Dinner Party Fantasy
for By Invitation Only

When I was young the movie Out of Africa ticked all the boxes for me, and for many of my friends.  Of course it boasted Robert Redford who, though miscast, still rivaled the beauty of the African landscape.  The costumes made us all want to wear safari hats and kente shawls, certain we’d mirror Meryl Streep if we did so.   And then there was the farm house.  Oh, that glorious house.  I still remember how my heart quickened with desire when I saw that exquisite floral linen on Karen Blixen’s overstuffed sofa and chairs.  I toyed with the idea of draping my bed in mosquito netting and purchasing a cuckoo clock for my sitting room, so strong was my desire to duplicate the magic of that house.  And my favorite scene in the film, even more so that the swoon-worthy hair wash by the river, was the candlelit dinner party when Finch-Hatton requests “a story”......  

Karen:   “Whenever I tell a story to my nieces at home, one of them always provides the first sentence.”

Finch-Hatton - “Anything?”

Karen:  “Absolutely anything.”

Finch-Hatton:  “There was a wandering Chinese named Cheng Huan, living in Limehouse, and a girl named… Shirley…”

Karen:  “Whooo …spoke perfect Chinese.  Which she learned from her missionary parents…..”

Her voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper as she stares into the candlelight and we are off to the races.  I was completely entranced and this has since been my template for the quintessential dinner party ever since.    Of course to have this sort of dinner party guests have to be chosen carefully and that’s where I’m lucky.  I have a wild bouquet of options when it comes to choosing who might fill the chairs round my table, each one more than capable than the last of regaling the gathering with fascinating tales, rapier wit, and laughter, all vital ingredients for a perfect dinner party.  Is there anything better that listening to your guests spin tales over the remnants of a glorious meal while the candles burn down low to paint flickering shadows across captivated faces?  Bliss.

Here in the states this week, we are filling grocery carts with sweet potatoes and cinnamon, green beans and pumpkin puree.  Flowers are being bought and arranged, pies are baking, bread is rising, all in preparation for the ultimate meal of our calendar year, Thanksgiving.  I can think of no better time than now to create my fantasy dinner party guest list and so I thank Marsha for this opportunity to let my imagination run wild, which is precisely what I expect these guests of mine to do, as they are all brilliant, funny and inventive.  For fun, I thought I’d request a story from each of them, much like Finch-Hatton requested of Karen, and to complete the fantasy, I’m providing each of them with a first sentence.  

Stephen Fry…. 
“The hands of the clock were frozen at twelve - midnight or noon, Geoffrey did not know - and the room was as cold as a Christmas icicle….”

Emma Thompson… 
“The Corgi had been the smallest of the litter, something his brothers and sisters never once let him forget….”

Nathan Lane…. 
“Jeremy sat up suddenly, stunned and a little embarrassed to find himself surrounded by candy wrappers and confetti, the detritus of an evening he could neither explain nor remember….”

JK Rowling… 
“The rain had begun suddenly, the way spring rains sometimes do, and Marguerite wondered as she sat on the train in her new linen dress what precise character flaw had influenced her decision to travel this far without any assurances that Leonora would even remember her name…”

Michael Palin
 “It was said that the mountain cave was haunted, a legend for which Freddie publicly expressed disdain…but privately….”

Tina Fey 
“Lois had never intended to steal another pair of shoes but her guilt was assuaged by the fact that these were on sale...."

Meryl Streep…. 
“Fiona could only speak Gaelic and now that she was finally standing in the middle of Times Square she realized how ill-advised it had been to come to New York alone…”

After the stories,  I’d have Alan Rickman read the poem Ithaka,
 just because I adore his voice…

and then, just at the close of the evening,  
I’d ask Sir Paul McCartney to sing Blackbird.

A dream dinner party, indeed!
Happy Thanksgiving to All!

For more essays on this topic, go HERE.
And to have your copy of 
Edward Speaks at Midnight, A Christmas Story 
under someone’s tree for Christmas, 
order now… HERE.

Thanks and xoxo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Can't Help It

I Can’t Help It

No matter the length of my to-do list, and let me assure you it’s a long one this year, I can never ignore the tiny frisson of delight that runs down my spine as the dark window closes on Halloween night, that little shiver that signals the imminent approach of those magical final two months of the year.  Even as I’m greeting minuscule ghosts and goblins for trick or treat, my imagination is flooding with the russets and golds of Thanksgiving - the reds and greens of Christmas.  I cannot help myself, and have long ago stopped trying.  Like dear, happy Fred in Dickens’ Christmas Carol I “…have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

Somehow, despite the years that separate me from my childhood, I have managed to retain the magic that was liberally bestowed upon me in those days.  And is it just me, or was there even more magic back then?  Only this morning I read an article in our local paper encouraging parents to make their “reservations” early in order to ensure their child will be able to visit Santa at the local shopping mall.  These reservations cost $10 and it seems the entire process exist chiefly to achieve the all-important photo-op with said child and the red-suited chap.  I’ve seen some of these kids lined up awaiting their turn, dressed in stiff red velvet dresses, or tiny black bow ties, being sternly admonished not to fidget and wrinkle their garb, all the while looking as far removed from thrilled as it’s possible to be.  So different were my forays into Santa’s kingdom.  I wandered those sparkling lanes behind other wide-eyed kids, each one of us dumb-struck in the face of such magic.   None of us had the worry of dressing up.  Having our pictures taken was the last thing on our minds.

When I was little, the biggest department store in town would light what they called, “The Great Tree” every Thanksgiving night. This signaled the opening of the Christmas season and families would travel into the big city from the suburbs to stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors in the middle of the frozen street to listen to local choirs sing carols as a cold November wind whipped round the tall buildings.  The climax of the evening would occur when the highest note of Oh, Holy Night was hit and suddenly, that great tree would blaze into sparkling light.  Everyone would gasp, awestruck.  It was wonderful.  That tree is no more, of course.  In fact, that store is no more either.  These days there’s an anemic-looking, cone-shaped, facsimile that perches atop the midtown mall and it is switched on the week before Thanksgiving to the tune of local rap artists looking for a bit of tour promotion.  Not quite the same, I can tell you.

The loss of those beloved traditions are regrettable to be sure; any loss of something wonderful is especially acute this time of year.  But here, in my cottage, the holiday season is as it always was.  The world with all its strife and ugliness stops flat at my doorstep.  Like Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, I appreciate the wonder and goodwill that this time of year possesses; I want to grab it all up by the armloads.  And the fabulous thing about being an adult is that I can create the holiday I want.  So if you happen by The House of Edward today you’ll find music playing.  There are fresh pecans, chocolate and dried fruits stacked up in the corner of the pantry.  Knitting needles are flying and there’s a faint scent of cinnamon in the air.  Recipes and Christmas cards share desk space with wrapping paper and ribbon.  Edward’s afternoon walks are more like runs, as he seems to share my enthusiasm for the cold.  The tea kettle’s singing; the fire’s whispering.  There’s an almost audible crackle of expectation in the chilly air. 
Everybody’s welcome.

No I can’t help it.
No matter what,  I love this time of year. 

Thank you all so much for the overwhelming amount of pre-orders for
I’m happy to report books are now being wrapped and labeled 
and are on their way to you.  
I am over the moon with the way the book turned out 
and so happy to know it will be a part of so many holiday seasons for so many families.

Order your copy HERE

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Real Ghost

A Real Ghost

The Songwriter loves a good old-fashioned Halloween, the sort with werewolves and witches, goblins and ghosts.  Each year he creates some sort of frightening tableau beneath the gargantuan magnolia tree that presides over our front garden.  We’ve had skeletons.  We’ve had wolfmen.  We’ve had a monkey fortune teller (don’t ask) that, I discovered only too late, was lavishly costumed in scarves, shawls and jewelry belonging to yours truly.  Anything for art.  

This Halloween was no exception.  A seven foot tall Frankenstein stood on our front porch, back lit with swirling red lights, his menacing stare directed at the line of colorfully glad trick or treaters coming up our drive.  There was a grinning jack-o-lantern.  A skeleton hanging in a dogwood tree. A large fluttering ghost that rose and fell (courtesy of a cleverly hidden fan) under the magnolia. 

In order to spare Edward and Apple the sound of many little knuckles rapping on our door, The Songwriter and I sat our chairs out on the driveway… I in my witch’s hat… to hand out the candy.  From this vantage point we could better appreciate the varied costumes, and personalities, of the tiny trick or treaters making their way down the dark and windy street.  We greeted Spidermen and soldiers, princesses and pirates.  Some children ran up the drive with exuberance, boldly sticking their hands into our candy bowls to pull out as many Kit Kat bars as their five fat fingers could hold.  Others, more obviously dubious about this strange and unusual holiday,  required a bit of parental coaxing to embark on the journey up our drive.

One tiny cowgirl stole my heart.  She stood in the street for a few moments, staring up at our house, and no doubt gathering her courage, before following her friends.  I noticed that she never, not for a second, took her eyes off that white ghost that hovered beneath the magnolia.  When she finally reached us, she stood in front of the friendly Songwriter and in a small, quiet voice she said… “That’s a real ghost, isn’t it?”.

The Songwriter assured her that, no, it wasn’t real.  He kindly went into all the details about how he’d made it… “It’s just an old sheet.  Nothing to be scared of.”  She rewarded him with a timid smile, took her handful of candy, and ran down the drive to join her friends, leaving me with much to ponder.  Over the past week I’ve thought a lot about that brave little girl, with admiration.  She truly believed that old sheet fluttering and dancing underneath that dark tree was a ghost.  A real one.  Yet she walked right up that drive anyway.  One foot in front of the other.   I was happy The Songwriter told her the truth; that the ghost wasn’t real.  How wonderful it would have been if she could have been told that there was nothing in the world to really be afraid of, nothing to worry her, nothing to harm her.  Tragically, that is not the case.

The events of last night in Paris are too horrible for a good mind to comprehend.  The very idea that such acts could be humanly planned, committed and somehow justified is repellent to any sane person.  Yet, they happened.  Parisians have been told to stay in their houses today, not to venture out unless they absolutely have to, and this is a wise instruction.  It is also, I would imagine, a tempting way to live out the rest of one’s days.  Never to go out again. Never again to risk becoming a victim of the worst sort of evil stalking the planet today.  Never again to attend a concert or a football game.  Never again to purchase a plane ticket. 

Evil exists, one cannot deny.  Its laughter could be heard on the slave ships and in the frigid barracks of Auschwitz.  It freely danced through the genocide in Rwanda and soared through the twin towers in New York City.  It was in Paris last night. It has always been with us.  There are real ghosts; real things to fear.  Yes, I will think about that little girl for a long time now.  Her bravery in the face of her fear.  One foot in front of the other.
God help us all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Songbird and the Owl

The Songbird and The Owl

Despite my frequent longings for the Highlands of Scotland, I have to admit that my little cottage under the trees sits squarely in a most conducive location.  In about three hours, I can be lost in mountain forests, far away from the hoi polloi of city life with the very real possibility of meeting a black bear on a pine-needled pathway.  In about five hours, I can sink my toes in the sands of a windswept beach and stare out at a rolling sea. 
 Not bad, not bad at all.

When I was small, the only summer holiday we ever considered was that one that brought us to the beach.  Many of my parent’s friends, and many of my own still today, headed for the white sands and placid waters of the Gulf of Mexico as soon as school was out.  But then, as now, I have always preferred the wider, wilder, less accommodating shores that hem the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  The realization that just beyond that razor-sharp grey line of horizon swam the mysterious continent of Africa would cause my imagination to dance.  To stand on the Gulf and imagine Texas as the next landmass didn’t have nearly the same effect for me.  

Of course, then as now, my Gulf-loving friends frequently gloated over the extraordinary beauty of the sunsets that sink behind their favourite waters night after night.  I would naturally counter with the majesty of the glorious sunrises that rise up out of the Atlantic each and every morn.  Of course, in truth, I never really saw them.

Those who know me well know never to phone me before ten in the morning.  While I may indeed be awake, I am hardly conversant at that hour.  I’m an unrepentant night owl and no matter how many times I’ve attempted to morph into the sort of person who pulls up the covers at a “reasonable” hour and bounds out of bed with the birds, when the clock strikes midnight I am nearly always infused with a creative energy that demands not to be ignored.  Words fly into my head… stories…phrases…paragraphs.  A knitting pattern begs to be deciphered; the characters in the book I’m reading can be heard pleading for me to release them out into the night air.  

Just last week, however, I seriously altered my preferred schedule. I was heading to the low country for a writing event and wanted to be on the road early to escape the snare of city traffic.  So dawn found me driving down a sparsely populated highway, sipping coffee and listening to the Brandenburg Concerto #3.  And that dawn, my friends, was a revelation.

 Sunrise, as all you early risers know, happens slowly, like a beautiful idea that is so casually formed at first you aren’t even aware of it, and like most beautiful ideas, it begins with colour and light. I felt privileged to watch it unfold.  The autumnal trees lining the road began, bit by tiny bit, to reclaim their scarlets and golds from an ebony sky that only seconds before had rendered them invisible.  Ebony became indigo, indigo became grey - then pink, delicate as an eggshell, crept over the horizon before me, a herald of its vibrant cousins soon to follow.  Impossible to hold in repose, the sky became a glorious painting of light.  I pulled on my sunglasses and grinned, overcome with a temptation to change my character right around. Yes, I thought!  I shall become a songbird!  No more snowy owl for me.

Later that night, I opened the door to the porch outside my room.  Moonlight ran its fingers through the Spanish Moss that hung in the branches of the oak trees; its mysterious silver light fell across my bed, illuminating the books and  knitting I’d conveniently brought along.  A soft breeze swung through the screened door, carrying with it the scent of the sea.
I’ll let you guess what happened.

So tell me...
are you a Songbird?
Or a Night Owl, like me?

Christmas book sales are flying!
Reserve your copy of 

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Big Surprise!

The Big Surprise

Edward and I are thrilled, really thrilled, 
to announce the publication of
Edward Speaks at Midnight, A Christmas Story.

A children’s book that adults will love, it is designed to be a keepsake - brought out and read each holiday season.  Its creation has taken up a good part of my year and I am beyond delighted with the results. Full of full-colour illustrations on glossy paper by Kevin Nichols, an amazing artist who has worked with me on design projects for years.  Kevin has managed to capture Edward, Apple, and the wonder of Christmas on every single page.

Edward Speaks at Midnight can be ordered now. 
 Shipping will start on November 15th. 
 Please order early, as this is a limited run and I don’t want you to miss out!
Get Yours HERE.

I so appreciate all the support of my wonderful readers.  Your encouragement and enthusiasm is a constant inspiration to me.  I hope you all will love this new book as much as I do. 
 And Merry Christmas!

Much Love, 

Thanks so very much for all the orders!
Books will be shipping out to you next week!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Contentment, A Ghost Story - Conclusion

Chapter Five

On the day before Halloween, Marietta finally drove back into town.  She parked her car by the wharf and started up Pleasant Street, poking her head in the tiny grocery store (though she needed nothing, thanks to the kindness of her new neighbours), the library, and the art gallery that sat at the top of the street.  The ice cream shop had closed for the winter but a row of cakes in the window of the small cafe caught her eye, and she went in.  

It was a charming place, with moss-coloured tablecloths draped over small round tables and a delicious aroma of cinnamon and coffee in the air.  A young woman with bright green eyes smiled at her from behind the counter.  Marietta said, “I couldn’t resist. Those cakes in the window look wonderful.  Can I have a slice of the chocolate one?”

“Sure thing,” the girl said, pulling the tall, glossy cake out from the case.  “This is my favorite, too.  First cake I learned to bake.”

“Oh, are you the baker?  How marvelous.  I’ve always wished I had been a better baker.  Never seemed to have the knack.  My husband wasn’t fond of sweets, so I never felt the need to learn.  I do love them, though.  Who taught you how?”

“My mom.  She was the best baker in town, hands down.  Christmases when I was little were unbelievable.  The whole house was like a bakery.  Chocolate everywhere.  Fudge, cakes, pies.  It was the best time ever.”

“Does she help you here in the bakery”

The young woman’s face fell a bit, her green eyes bright.  “No ma’am.  She died a few months back.  It’s been pretty hard.  She always helped out here in the bakery this time of year.  We get busy during the holidays, you know.  And she loved it.  You passing through town?  We don’t get many tourists this time of year.  Weather’s a bit iffy.   But I think October is one of our prettiest months.

“No, actually, I’ve just recently moved here.  And I agree with you, October is a beautiful month here.”

“Really?”  The young woman smiled.  “Where are you living?”

“The cottage on the hill.  On Sea Street.”

There was a clatter as the knife slipped from the girl’s hand and landed on the hard brick floor.  “Oh!”, she exclaimed.  “Sorry.  I just, well, I never thought. I mean, I’ve never actually known anyone who’s lived there.”  She bent to pick up the knife, never taking her eyes off Marietta.  “What’s it like?”

“It’s…. “.  Marietta looked up into the girl’s green eyes, certain she’d seen them before.  “Uh, it’s … well, it’s really a lovely place.”  There was no mistaking it.  These were mirror images of the eyes of Kendra Pierce, the lady who’d brought her the cake on that rainy morning last week. 

“My name’s Marietta, by the way.  Marietta Cline.”

“I’m Lorelai Pierce.  But everybody calls me Lolly.”  

That last name was what Marietta was expecting to hear even as she fervently prayed she wouldn’t.  Finishing her cake in silence, all the while certain it tasted exactly like the one she’d been given last week, Marietta paid her bill and felt Lolly Pierce’s bright green eyes watching her closely as she left.  

She stood on the pavement for a moment aware that she was holding her breath.  Then, turning right, Marietta headed straight up Pleasant Street to the James General Store, threw open the wooden door and headed straight into the shadows towards the rear of the shop.  A few customers watched her with badly concealed curiosity as she rapped loudly on the door to Corrine James’ office.  When the door opened, Marietta found herself face to face with an elderly man in a red flannel shirt.   Glancing over his shoulder, she could see a dusty, cluttered office - complete with an antique roll-top desk, threadbare oriental rug and a rather lumpy dog bed on which was now curled a rather lumpy Basset Hound.

“Can I help you?”, said the man.  

Her head aswirl in incomprehensible thoughts, Marietta simply said, “No.  No, I really don’t believe you can.”  She turned slowly and left the store, only half aware of the whispers that followed her in the cedar-scented air.

The weather was changing as Marietta drove into her drive, oyster shells cracking beneath the car wheels.  She got out and walked inside, giving no thought to the rain that peppered her shoulders.  Throwing her coat on the kitchen table, she went to the desk in the parlor and opened the top drawer.  There lay the vivid pink folder.  Marietta opened it and began rifling through the papers inside.  There was the deed to the cottage.  Nothing too unusual there.  And … let’s see… yes, here it was.  The contract she’d so excitedly signed on that Wednesday after Jasper had died.  Goodness, the print was tiny.  She couldn’t even read it.  Rummaging around in the desk she found an old magnifying glass and held it over the minuscule writing.  

The font was strange.  It looked almost like hand-writing.  Old-world style.  Marietta cursed a little as she stared harder.  Most sentences were impossible to decipher.  She recognized the word, Portal, and then … the words, Consequence.... Tarriance....  Empyrean....  Eternally....

Marietta closed the file and let it slide back into the desk drawer, carefully covering its unnatural pinkness with the sepias of stationery and whites of credit card bills.  The words of the phantom Corrine James echoed in her ears.  “Remember your dream of living by the sea.  You have what you’ve always wanted now.  You can be content forever, if you wish to be.’

It was seventy-two years before Lolly Pierce came to visit Marietta Cline.  A bright spring morning when the sea was as still and shiny as crystal and the lilacs perfumed the air.  Marietta had been watching for Lolly for several weeks, having made it a habit to check the obituary pages occasionally.  She’d never been overly wild about surprises.  She’d laid the table for three but decided to enjoy her cake out on the porch with Roy.  She’d let Kendra and Lolly catch up.  

Most people in Hancock soon forgot about Marietta Cline.  She had virtually no need to go into town; everything she possibly could have wanted or needed was provided to her by her visitors. A kind and interesting bunch, she looked forward to their every knock on her door.  Her days were carefree and full; she spent them comfortably snug in the cottage of her dreams.  Most evenings after dinner she’d head out with Roy to wander the seaside hills, both of them lost in the sort of wonder that comes from accepting the impossible.

Marietta Cline was content.

The End
Thanks so much to everyone for reading along.
 I hope you enjoyed your Halloween!  
Do stop by on November 1st at midnight.
A big surprise is coming!!
Ho, Ho, Ho!!