Some Days

The Carding Chronicles are short stories and sketches about the little town no one’s ever been able to find on a map. If you hit the subscribe button to the right, the Carding Chronicles will be delivered right to your inbox.
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The people of Carding, Vermont like to know that one day will be like the next, that it will snow in winter, that the sun will rise over Mount Merino, and that the smells of coffee and morning glory muffins will waft from the Crow Town Bakery.

But it is an indisputable fact that control of the future is an illusion that can be upset by the smallest misstep—the car that doesn’t start, the bathroom sink that gets clogged, the slippery ice in the driveway. That’s all it takes.

This particular shattered day started when Hillary Talbot stopped in front of the calendar in the Crow Town Bakery’s kitchen on her way to the walk-in cooler. “Uh oh, did you see what’s on the calendar for tomorrow?” she asked her boss, Diana Bennett.

“Wednesday?” Diana asked.

Hillary nodded. “Yeah, that and Mercury’s going retrograde until the ninth.”

Diana frowned. “Um, okay. What does that mean?”

“Delays and frustrations!” Hillary said. Then she shrugged. “It’s just smaller stuff that doesn’t go right. You know, like Alice in Wonderland.”

“And how long does this Mercury retrograde last?”

“Oh, just seventeen days,” Hillary said cheerfully. “It’ll be over before you know it.”

Now, Diana Bennet does not count herself as a believer in astrology but she’d learned there was sometimes a price to be paid when she ignored Hillary’s pronouncements. So that night, she checked to make sure her alarm clock—timed to go off with the weather report on Dirt Road Radio—was set. Then she glanced at the knobs on her stove to make sure they were all in the “off” position, and that there was milk for breakfast in the fridge.

Satisfied, she snuggled in beside her husband Stephen to pass a quiet night.

But while Diana slept the sleep of someone who thought she’d beaten Mercury at his retrograde game, tiny technology glitches collaborated to knock Dirt Road Radio off the air. No radio, no alarm.

That’s all it took.

A finger of sun poked through a gap in her bedroom curtains, waking Diana with a start. Still half asleep, she rousted her husband, rumbled up their kids, lost the keys then found the keys to the bakery, forgot the code for the alarm on the back door, fed the policeman who arrived when the alarm went off, and then realized her left heel was gaping out of a huge hole in her socks.

With a deep, steadying sigh, she retrieved a spare pair of Hillary’s socks from the back room then started juggling eggs and bagels out of the second refrigerator before she realized that someone had forgotten to plug it back in after defrosting.

Turning quick, she tripped over a mop handle, splayed the eggs all over the floor, and had just performed an accidental set of splits when Hillary walked in the back door.

“Diana, why are the police here?” she started to ask when she realized her boss was sitting in the middle of an egg puddle with strips of bacon plastered across her forehead.

Diana sighed as she peeled bacon off her hair. Then she looked down at the sodden tubes of lime green socks puddling around her ankles. “Wonderland,” she said. “Some days, you just wake up in Wonderland.”

A Sunday Moment of Zen

I always loved the concept that Jon Stewart called “A Moment of Zen.” Though his choices were almost always taken from the media of the moment, the idea can be used in a number of different ways.

My husband and I have a favorite hike just up the hill from us that includes a small branch (okay, twig) of the Appalachian Trail. There’s a pond at the end that sports pink waterlilies this time of year. We were up there today. So here’s your moment of Sunday Zen.

AT pink waterlily 2 82015 for web

Thieves of Fire Reviews

Readers of my latest Carding novel, Thieves of Fire, have been very generous in their praise on I consider myself a fortunate writer, indeed.
Thieves-front cvr only-6x9-04272015
I wanted to take a moment not only to acknowledge the praise but to let all readers know how very important reader reviews are to a writer and a writer’s career.

You see, reviews used to be the province of the media only, and publishers (and authors) lived and died by what the New York Times or Publishers Weekly had to say about their books. But that was back in the days when the publishing industry was monolithic, and what we now call “traditional” publishing was the only legitimate game in town.

But then Amazon opened up the review process, encouraging its members to voice their opinions about what they read. That’s when the tide started flowing in the readers’ direction, and now the power of reviews lies firmly in their court.

Here’s how this works: The quality of reader reviews (the number of stars given) has a definite impact on sales. How many of us are going to read a book with a one-star review?

But equally important is the NUMBER of reviews. Why? Because they foster links among books. For example, Thieves of Fire has been compared to works by Maeve Binchy and Alexander McCall Smith. The higher the number of Thieves reviews, the more likely it is that searches for books by Binchy and Smith will include links to Thieves.

And the more links, the more likely there are sales.

So if good books are important to you, then you need to support them by writing reviews on Amazon and elsewhere.

On behalf of all writers, thank you for taking the time to support us.

Big Babies

My husband and I discovered this great blue heron nest full of chicks on Grafton Pond a couple of years ago. We watched them for a long time, and then were rewarded because one of the parents showed up to feed them.

The chicks were HUGE and completely silent until the parent showed up. Then they raised a ruckus for attention by clacking their beaks. The half moon in Jay’s picture just makes this even more special.
Heron chicks and half moon over Grafton Pond for web

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.