Archive for August, 2010

A gift from the Sea

August 31, 2010

I’m happy to talk about the Sept./Oct. issue of Gold Prospectors magazine. Gift from the Sea my article about one of the world’s rarest gems, ammolite, is one of the featured articles. Shells belonging to the family of ammonites have been collected by people for eons. Today they are sought by collectors, used by scientists as a tool to date rocks and treasured as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the Far East.
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My mystery Scene Stealer may be purchased at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold.


The House of Twining

August 30, 2010

I love London, the theatre, the streets, museums and castles and tea. Tea always tastes better in London and on day, my husband and I discovered Twining’s.
H.R. Twining & Co., Ltd, London, a trailblazer in specialty teas for almost three centuries began with the purchase of Tom’s Coffee House by Thomas Twining in 1706. Located in the rear of its present site at 216 Strand, it attracted gentlemen who engaged in serious discussions and scalawags who frittered away time in frivolous chatter while indulging in brandy, rum and arrack (an alcoholic drink distilled from rice or molasses) and drinking water from Bath and Bristol. Thomas soon offered a new drink that had begun to gain favor with the public – tea. Of course, a woman of social standing never placed her dainty foot inside a coffee house; a lady would wait in her carriage while a manservant fetched the refreshment.
Eleven years later, Thomas opened The Golden Lyon. Despite high taxes and dire warnings issued by the medical profession and the church against the brew, tea became fashionable and members of Court Circles and the Royal Household patronized the establishment.
In 1797, Tom’s grandson, Richard Twining, built a doorway on the Strand opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. Above the shop’s Royal Crest, centered between two colorful Chinese figures, he incorporated the symbol of the Golden Lyon, attracting the eye of the beholder to The House of Twining. Today, the fragrance of choice teas and coffees still wafts past the entrance offering an irresistible invitation to the passer-by. Teas range from Prince of Wales, Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, China Black or Lady Grey to the finest Assam plus a selection of over 13 different types of coffee.
Accompanying the teas are an assortment of fine crackers and jams, neckties, aprons, tea towels, mirrors, bone china mugs, cups and saucers, coffee makers, limited edition teapots and teapots shaped like bears, vegetables and birdhouses.
A portrait of the founder, attributed to William Hogarth, welcomes memorabilia addicts to the Museum at the rear of the shop. Displayed are a copy of the Royal Warrant issued to Richard Twining II by Queen Victoria in 1837, a Buddha, carved from the roots of a tea bush, invoices dating back to 1715 and pictures of Thomas and his son Daniel on a 1737 tea wrapper. Maps and advertisements for tea, coffee, chocolate, sage and snuff adorn the walls along with prints of tea trading. One that appeared in the London Chronicle, in 1770, states business would continue as usual despite a warehouse fire.
The back room is also home to Victorian tea tins, the first Twining illustrated advertisement for packet tea (introduced during the 19th century,) and 19th century tea scales. Models and photos of delivery vans (with and without horses,) and an Edwardian double teapot are exhibited along with a T.I.P. – To Insure Promptness – box. The box was nailed to the wall in coffee houses and parched patrons who desired good service would place money in the box.
Damaged during the Second World War, 216 Strand was rebuilt in 1952 ensuring its reputation as the oldest company (Teamen to connoisseurs, by appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) to have traded continuously on the same site.
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The Bottom Drawer

August 13, 2010

Sometimes an article I write takes awhile to find a home. I write it, I proof it, and I often become extremely fond of the piece. But when I check various magazines and newspapers, I can’t find the proper place for it. I know…writers are supposed to see what articles and short stories are in favor at the moment but we often fall in the love with an idea, a topic, a character or a story and it has to be written.
Most times a home for the piece does appear. It may take a few months, it may take a year. Sometimes it sells for a bit of money and once in a blue moon quite a lot. I guess-no I know-there are times you just have to believe.

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Scene Stealer, my mystery, may be purchased at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold


August 9, 2010

Research. it is so hard not to become carried away. Obscure details that have nothing to do with the facts I’m checking for a piece begin to fascinate and one leads to another. Of course, sometimes it leads to another subject which leads to another article or a short story. It can sit there percolating in my brain before beginning to poke at me and tell me it’s time to take a pen and pad and write. Other times, the minutes and hours are wasted. I’m just idling away time that could be better spent. So much to read. So much to write. So many subjects.

A Maine Dinner

August 7, 2010

Spent a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday feasting our eyes on some of the works by master painters and sculptors. Breathtaking. then to the Trustee’s Dining Room where hubby and I could fill our tummies with fantastic food. Most of the year, the dining room is only open to trustees and folks who can contribute large sume of money to keep the exhibitions in tip-top shape for the rest of us, but during the summer the room is open on Friday and Saturday evenings to the average subscriber. Lucky us.
From our table we could see two fortress-like towers. Towers that could set the imagination soaring. Streaks of white clouds traveled through the sky and trees swayed as if the wind were a choreographer newly hired by the city ballet.
A basket of rolls with butter that cannot be found in your average supermarket and an olive tapinade were set on the table along with our glasses of Pinot Grigio. A corn chowder with peeky crab followed. Peeky crab conjures up an image of a feminine crab with long eyelashes and a tendancy to flirt. Wish I had the recipe. Second course-mussels au gratin. Sweet and crunchy…how many recipes are there for mussels? Then the lobster-no bib needed. The lobster has been shelled, centered on the plate and surrounded with snow peas, Harticote Verte and warn radish. A bit different from the Maine I remember. Dessert? Peach crisp with vanilla ice cream. A wonderful dinner to savor on a special occasiond or when you need a pick-me-up. Here’s to next summer and another delighful dinner.

Storeybook Reviews Scene Stealer

August 5, 2010

Scene Stealer – Elise Warner Posted in Cozy, New York on August 4, 2010 Before Elise Warner started her writing career you could find her on Broadway, working with National Companies and in clubs as an actress, singer and stage manager. She has even written a play which won Theatre Guinevere’s “Guinny Award”. After that she started writing for various magazines but this is her first novel.

Scene Stealer features Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired school teacher who is caught up on the case of a kidnapped child, an actor in fact, and feels that she must help the police solve this crime. She does this putting her self in harms way a time or two, and as expected of a school teacher, a rap or two on the knuckles of some not some helpful characters.

When I first started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, in fact, I wasn’t even aware that this was the author’s first novel. The story started off with Augusta noticing a child on the bus and as a former schoolteacher knew that something wasn’t quite right. The child looked scared and the man he was with was a bit scary himself. She departs the bus to try and follow the pair to see if she can help the child. In the back of her mind she recognizes the child but does not realize he is an actor for a local fast food chain until his disappearance is publicized in the media. Then she realizes what she saw could help find Kevin and bring him back to his mother. She doesn’t realize the danger that she ends up putting herself in to until it is too late.

I was beginning to wonder why someone would want to read this book if the kidnapper was going to be revealed so early in the book. But imagine mysurprise when the obvious wasn’t as obvious as you might think. It was a nice twist that I wasn’t expecting and pulled me back in to the story wondering how it was going to end.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars and if the author decides to make this a series, I will definitely check out the second installment.
Scene Stealer may be purchased at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold


August 4, 2010

Ideas for articles, characters to bring a story alive, another cozy? Another novel? I’ve started on an article. Moving fast. This one is fun to write. The story is almost there? But something is missing. My characters have to decide what they want to do. Atmosphere? Menace? do I need to know more about my people? And what about another cozy? Miss Weidenmaier is getting restless. And the novel…it’s a story I want to tell. The world of writing is exciting. Mystifying. Funny and wondrous. I’m so glad it chose me.
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Scene Stealer is available at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold