Welcome to Autumn
I’ve spent the past two months in solitary confinement with the Eatons and the characters of my upcoming Cavanaugh Island series as part of what I call my Cell Block Deadline. However, I did ask the warden, who just happens to be my imaginary twin sister, if I could be let out on weekend work release, and much to my shock she granted my request. I had to get my parole officer’s permission to leave the state – she’s another imaginary sister, and she, too, granted my request.
My first out-of-the-state trip was to South Carolina’s incredibly beautiful Lowcountry for my Cavanaugh Island series. I met up with my Zeta Phi Beta Soror Misherald Brown for an afternoon trip to historic Charleston’s City Market. It was my second trip through the four-block open market and my pockets were decidedly lighter than they were after I’d stopped at the first stall. This time I didn’t try to buy every sweetgrass basket I saw but cookbooks, stone ground grits and benne wafers. Of course I had to sample shrimp and grits, sweet potato pone and red rice and sausage. The trip also served to reacquaint myself with the Gullah dialect, still spoken by some of the old folks.
The slogan that “Virginia is for Lovers” was in full effect when I arrived in Newport News for a book signing where I was welcomed by the sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Alpha Beta Zeta chapter with an incredible dinner at Schlesinger’s Chop House, named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize winning author, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Being a native New Yorker, I’ve eaten at some of the finest Manhattan restaurants, but I can honestly say none could compare to the quality of the entrées and service at Schlesinger’s. Good food, excellent wine and sisterly love. I couldn’t ask for more. Rain did not stop the patrons or my sorority sisters from attending events at the libraries in Newport News and Hampton.
I was able to get one more favor from the warden when I attended Sugar & Spice Book Club’s Champagne, Chocolate & Books Literary Conference last month. It was a wonderful event where it had become somewhat of a reunion with authors I hadn’t seen in a while: Donna Hill, Renee Daniel Flager, Trice Hickman and Moses Miller. It was a warm gathering with talented featured authors from many genres and raffle prizes that kept coming and coming all afternoon.
After exhausting all of my work release privileges it’s now back to writing. I managed to complete Angels Landing – the second book in the Cavanaugh Island series and come up with one more proposal for the Eatons. Yes, I know I’d only planned for seven Eaton titles, but my editor wanted one more. Sweet Silver Bells will pair an Eaton with the member of another of my favorite families.
And for those readers who complain they don’t want to wait several months for a new title, 2012 will yield a bumper crop of seven original titles and two reissues. Now you know why I’ve been
relegated to solitary confinement. I’m scheduled to be paroled in February when I plan to spend the entire month in the Caribbean.
Right now the leaves are changing and falling and that’s my cue to go to the nursery to buy tulip bulbs to plant along the fence bordering the patio. The only thing I’m going to wish is for this winter to look nothing like last year when the snow kept falling and falling until mounds of snow resembled glaciers. Talking about falling leaves and snow is the perfect segue to the topic of comfort food. This issue’s Cook’s Corner will be dedicated to several comfort food recipes.
Until next time … don’t forget to read, love and live romance.
Check out the photos from Rochelle's trip to Virginia.