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November is right around the corner, and with it comes National Novel Writing Month. Stock up on coffee, tea, and chocolate, and let’s get writing!

What is National Novel Writing Month?

NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately known to the thousands of writers who look forward to it each year, is a month-long writing free-for-all. The goal is to start the month with an idea for a novel and to write 50,000 words of that novel by November 30th.

It’s not as insane as it sounds. In 2018, 287,327 people participated in NaNoWriMo. Of those, 35,387 “won,” that is, reached the 50,000 word goal. That’s about 29%.

Check out this post from last year for more information about NaNo.

What do I win?

Well, nothing exactly. No prizes are awarded to those who manage to get 50,000 words down before midnight on the 30th, but they do have all that sand in their box, just waiting for them to start building castles.

There’s also a nice certificate to print out and hang on your wall.

If that’s not enough to tempt you, NaNoWriMo has several sponsors who offer incentives. For instance, winners can purchase Scrivener at a 50% discount.

Speaking of Scrivener . . .

My favorite Scrivener trick

I am not an organized person by nature. I try, but I usually fail spectacularly. Scrivener helps me keep my scattered thoughts neatly organized and easy to find. I could go on for days about how much it has helped me with organizing my writing.

But this tip has nothing to do with organization and everything to do with inspiration. As a photographer, I’m a very visual person, and it really helps me to be able to see my characters and settings. I have Pinterest boards for my books, but clicking over to Pinterest when I’m supposed to be writing . . . doesn’t end well.

What I really needed was an inspiration board in Scrivener, so that I could take a virtual stroll through my fictional town without getting distracted by the internet. Luckily, creating an inspiration board with Scrivener is super easy.

How To Create an Inspiration Board In Scrivener

1 | Create a new folder to hold your images

Add a new folder to the binder. This will be the basis of your inspiration board. You can add more folders inside this one, or simply keep all your photos in the same folder. I divided my inspiration folder into sections for characters, their homes, and my fictional town.

2 | Next add some images to your inspiration folder

There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on what you want to keep in your folder.

For an Images Only Board

The simplest way to add images is to click on the inspiration folder so that it is active, then drag and drop images into the editor pane. (That’s the big one in the middle where you type your manuscript.) Alternatively, you can right-click on the inspiration folder then choose Add > Existing Files, which is useful for adding several images at once..

The images will be added to the folder as image files rather than documents, and the image will appear in both the editor pane and the synopsis pane of the inspector, as well as on the index card in cork board view, which is important for creating a visual inspiration board.

By clicking on the text/image toggle in the upper right corner of the synopsis pane of the inspector, shown below, you can switch from image view to text view, where you can jot notes and title the image.

You can also add notes in the notes pane below the synopsis pane, but you won’t be able to add text in the editor pane. Double-clicking on the image in the editor pane will open a window that allows you to adjust the scale and orientation of the image.

For an Images + Text Board

Sometimes I prefer to create documents within the inspiration folder, then add images to them or to add images to existing documents in the binder, such as character or location sketches.

To add a photo to a document, click the image/text toggle in the upper right corner of the synopsis pane of the inspector. When you toggle to image, you’ll see a prompt to drag an image into the synopsis pane. Just drag it over and drop it in.

The image will appear in the synopsis pane as well as on the index card in cork board view as long as the toggle is set to image. It will not appear in the editor pane. (It’s also possible to drag images into the notes section of the inspector, but those won’t show up in cork board view.)

3 | Switch to Freeform Cork Board

When I’m working with scene cards to get my plot in order, I like to have all my notecards in nice orderly rows on the cork board. But for my inspiration board, I prefer a slightly messier approach. To get the mood board effect for your inspiration board, you must first switch your cork board to freeform.

Click over to cork board view and look for the buttons at the bottom of the screen.. You want the one that looks like a four-paned window and the one to its right.

The window-shaped button will give you nice neat rows of cards. But when you click on the freeform button to the right of it, you get this . . .

These are a few of the images in my Hawthorne folder. The book I’m working on right now is set in autumn, so these are mostly images of what I imagine my fictional small town might look like in the fall. This is especially helpful when it’s 95 degrees outside and I’m not feeling the fall atmosphere.

In freeform mode, the cork board is just like an actual bulletin board. You can drag your images around the board and arrange them however you want. It’s a mood board for your novel.

Try adding some photos to your Scrivener project

Much like Photoshop, Scrivener offers several ways to do the same thing, so I’m sure there are other ways to add images to your project. These are just the methods I use. If you’ve never made an inspiration board for your Scrivener project, give it a try. You might be surprised what a boost it gives to your creativity.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If not,
you should join us this year!

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Crisp leaves, rainy nights, warm cider, and pumpkin everything. Sweater weather is almost here, and these are the books you need on your shelf.

The first day of fall may have come and gone, but here in the South, summer is hanging on for dear life. This morning, though, I stepped out onto the patio and there was a definite nip in the air. The trees are finally tinged with red and gold, acorns are bouncing off our roof day and night, and the sky has turned the clear, deep blue of autumn.

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love the Christmas season, and the beach is fun, but I’d be fine with one month each of winter, spring, and summer, with the remaining nine months filled with crisp days, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the scent of woodsmoke at twilight, blazing trees, and warm apple cider. 

I’ve been reading a lot of new releases lately—and enjoying them—but the cooler weather makes me crave the comfort of an old favorite. One that I’ve read over and over but never tire of. It’s the book version of slipping on a comfy old sweater.

After combing through my overcrowded bookshelves, I compiled a list of the five books I’d most like to curl up beside the fireplace with.

5 Favorite Cozy Reads for Fall

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Written in the 1940s, published in the 1970s, and set in the 1930s, Sleeping Murder is the story of Gwenda Reed, who has returned to England ahead of her husband to find them a house. She buys one right away, because it immediately feels like home. When a sealed cupboard is forced open, revealing the very wallpaper she was thinking of putting up, Gwenda begins to feel uneasy about the house. Then she starts having visions of a woman being strangled in the house and begins to wonder if she is having a mental breakdown. In desperation, Gwenda calls in Miss Marple to help her unravel the past. This was one of the first Agatha Christie novels I read as a child, and I still have the ratty old paperback I bought with my allowance. I’ve read it many times over the years and still love it, perhaps because its themes of repressed memories and unsolved mysteries from long ago are favorites of mine.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

I fell in love with the Amelia Peabody mysteries when I read The Falcon at the Portal and immediately went back and started reading the books from the beginning. I’ve read the entire series now, but the first book, Crocodile on the Sandbank, is my favorite. Amelia Peabody, a Victorian spinster who has spent her entire life caring for her historian father, inherits his estate and is faced with the decision of what to do now. She doesn’t take long to decide that now she will see the world and visit all the places she’s read about over the years. In Rome, she encounters an impoverished Englishwoman and takes her under her wing. They move on to Egypt, where they embark on a voyage up the Nile that leads them to the excavation site run by Radcliffe Emerson and his brother Walter. Amelia finds that she very much enjoys archaeology (and annoying the elder Mr. Emerson), but when their idyll is interrupted by a mummy who seems set on attacking their camp, she finds that she is equally skilled in detection.

Cover of Other Worlds by Barbara Michaels | Quill & Glass blog

Other Worlds by Barbara Michaels

Other Worlds is a pair of stories written by Barbara Michaels (a.k.a Barbara Mertz, a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters) that are perfect for a misty autumn day. The novel opens on a foggy evening in, as the narrator puts it, a location that exists only in the imagination. Cue Rod Serling’s voiceover. In the parlor of a gentleman’s club, a variety of characters, including Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, gather for the purpose of arguing over their solutions to well-known accounts of supernatural events. Were those events truly supernatural in origin, or were they merely covers for something else? Each member has his (or her) opinion of the truth of the matter. The two stories up for discussion are The Bell Witch of Adams, Tennessee, and the Phelps Poltergeist of Stratford, Connecticut. While the Stratford Poltergeist makes for a pretty creepy story, my real fascination with this book lies in the story of the Bell Witch. No doubt because I live about half an hour from Adams, while my brother lives on land that was once a part of the Bell farm. The Bell Witch story creeped me out so much when I read a local author’s account of it that I had to hide the book behind some others on the bookshelf, kind of like Joey from Friends putting Little Women in the freezer. If you want to know more about the Bell Witch, check out The Bell Witch: The Full Account, but don’t blame me if you have to put it in the freezer. You’ve been warned. (Other Worlds seems to be out of print, which is a shame, but keep an eye out for it at your local used bookstore or library sale, or find it on Biblio!)

The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb

In Sharyn McCrumb’s ballad novels, she skillfully blends past, present, and the murky world of folk ballads to create incredibly atmospheric mysteries. I’ve been fascinated by murder ballads since I first studied them in a college English lit class, and McCrumb is clearly an expert on the subject. Each of the books in her ballad series is impressively well-researched and packs in lots of information about the history of Appalachia without feeling pedantic or overshadowing the story. Come to think of it, any of the books from the ballad series would make great reading for autumn—they all have a very haunting quality and of course, just the term murder ballad implies ghosts. The Ballad of Frankie Silver is probably my favorite of the series, though. I love how McCrumb ties together the historical story of Frankie Silver with the modern mystery that her detective Spencer Arrowood is untangling. If you’re in the mood for a good creepy story, check this one out. Those three stones on the cover? They mark the graves of Frankie’s husband. Yes, graves, plural. You’ll have to read the book to find out why Charlie Silver has three graves.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Flavia de Luce mysteries are some of my favorites, partly because Flavia reminds me so much of Josephine in Agatha Christie’s Crooked House. There is something unexpected and quirky about the world of Buckshaw, the mansion where Flavia and her family live, that makes the novels unlike anything else I’ve read. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first of the series, and still my favorite. I think Bradley does an excellent job of showing the reader the events of the story through the eyes of a precocious twelve year old. Her somewhat skewed perspective on the world and her enthusiasm for murder (solving murder, that is) is what makes the stories so appealing and entertaining. Even though this book is set in the summer of 1950, I still find it cozy enough to be perfect for October. (And I just have to mention that, much like the Amory Ames novels, this series has some of my very favorite cover designs—so unique.)

Looking for more autumn reads?

Mousekin’s Golden House by Edna Miller

Not a mystery, but I remember checking Mousekin’s Golden House out from the library when I was in elementary school. I loved this story of a mouse who finds an abandoned jack o’lantern and decides it will make the perfect home to shelter him through winter. It has lovely watercolor illustrations, which may be the reason that, after all these years, I still get vivid images in my mind whenever I think about the story. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to make a home in a pumpkin, with milkweed for a nest. It made such an impression on me that, every year when the leaves begin to fall, I think of Mousekin, snug in his pumpkin house. The book, unfortunately, is out of print, and I’m on the lookout for a copy to add to my collection. If you have a child to read to (or even if you don’t), it would be well worth checking your local library for a copy. It doesn’t get much cozier than this perfect autumn read.

Cover of Mousekin's Golden House | Quill & Glass blog

Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

This one is on my to-read list for this fall. I haven’t read any of the Max Tudor mysteries, but when I came across a description of this book, I knew I wanted to. I should probably start at the beginning of the series, but the description of Wicked Autumn has me itching to read it first, partly because of some similarities between the victim in this book and the victim in the book I’m currently (still . . . ) working on.

Having spent almost three years in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip, Max Tudor is well acclimated to his post as vicar at the church of St. Edwold’s. This quaint town seems to be the perfect new home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past serving in the British counter-intelligence agency, the MI5. But this serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women’s Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre.

How about you—what’s on your reading list this fall? Has
autumn arrived in earnest, or are you struggling through the
misery of an Indian summer where you are? Happy reading!

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I’ve been looking forward to the 6th installment of the Amory Ames mystery series, A Dangerous Engagement, since January. Ashley Weaver’s series about a British socialite and her dashing, if somewhat ne’er-do-well husband, is quite possibly my favorite ongoing mystery series.

Amory and her dashing husband Milo are back, and this time they are adding 1930s New York, complete with speakeasies and gangsters, to their detecting repertoire.

Weaver’s novels are classic mysteries in the style of the Golden Age, always with a high-society setting—seaside hotel, masked ball, country house, Paris, the theater, and now Prohibition-era New York—and peopled with a variety of suspicious characters, keeping me from figuring out whodunnit every time. The many period details she includes, from clothing to cars, create an engaging backdrop for her stories.

The book opens as Amory and Milo, with ladies’ maid Winnelda and valet Parks in tow, are steaming into harbor in New York. Amory is feeling a little worse for wear after a rough ocean voyage, but is looking forward to a relaxing time attending the wedding of her old friend, Tabitha Alden. Milo is unenthusiastic, to say the least, about attending a wedding where no alcohol will be served, but he has hopes for a little fun after the “dull business” is over. Unfortunately, that rough crossing was a pretty good indication of how the visit will go.

Amory’s excitement over being reunited with her childhood friend quickly turns to worry when she begins to suspect Tabitha is hiding something from her. And Tabitha isn’t the only character whose behavior is a bit shady. No one seems to know much about the groom, Tom, before he arrived in New York a few years earlier, and one of the groomsmen is reputed to have ties to a bootlegging operation. Even the father of bride is living suspiciously well for someone who lost a large part of his wealth in the stock market crash.

When one of the wedding party is shot dead on the front steps of the Alden home, Amory and Milo begin to feel as if they’ve wandered into an American gangster film. The police seem content to pin the murder on a low-level mob hitman, but Amory is convinced the crime was more personal. With Milo distracted by a new business opportunity, she seizes the chance to infiltrate the seedy world of jazz clubs and bootleggers in search of answers, despite Milo’s attempts to discourage her investigation.

If you haven’t read the rest of the series, don’t worry—you’ll be able to follow the story—but reading the whole series definitely makes for a richer experience. The evolving relationship between Amory and Milo is a big part of the appeal of these books, and reading them in order will help you appreciate that aspect. I’m excited to see where their relationship is going, especially after the revelation at the end of this installment.

On a totally unrelated note, I absolutely love the cover design of this series. I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that. But, really, we all know that’s exactly what we do, and these covers really do catch my eye.

Update • I recently read the newest installment A Deception at Thornecrest and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I’ve added it to the links below. So far the series is holding up well, and I look forward to the next book. I’ve also read the first in her new series, A Peculiar Combination, featuring a safecracker and a government agent and set during World War II. I highly recommend it as well. Weaver does a good job at blending mystery and romance, and this new series is very promising.

In a recent interview, Ashley Weaver mentioned that Milo is a very
polarizing character—people either love him or hate him. In fact, one
reader expressed hope that the next murder Amory investigates
will be Milo’s! What do you think? Are you team Milo or do you think
Amory should move on? I have to admit, I’m team Milo all the way.

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “cozy”? Is it a cup of tea? A rainy day? A roaring fire? A favorite sweater? Jury duty? (Bear with me here . . . )

For the past few years, cozy has been trending everywhere you look. It started with the Danes and their hygge and has taken the internet by storm. And it’s no wonder. In a world that feels increasingly unsettled, we are all looking for the comfort that cozy things have to offer. But Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World takes the concept a bit further. Author Isabel Gillies delves deep into what cozy really means, and some of her answers might surprise you.

In sections titled You, Home, Neck of the Woods, Journey, When It Feels Hard, and Recipes, Gillies considers various aspects of cozy. And while she does include things you might expect, like rainy days, candles, and warm soup, she also suggests that there is coziness to be found in jury duty and hospital rooms.

While I’m not so sure she’s convinced me about jury duty, she did get me thinking about coziness in hospitals. My oldest was born with a cleft palate and had his first surgery at 11 months. Cozy is not the word I would have chosen to describe that hospital stay at the time. But looking back, some of the things I remember most are the three of us together in one dimly lit room, the sound of hushed voices and footsteps of nurses going by at night, the little room down the hall that was stocked with all kinds of soft foods and little rubber spoons to feed him with, and curling up with him in the giant hospital crib because he wouldn’t sleep in it alone. So, there was coziness of a sort.

Gillies goes on to say that while cozy means something different to each of us, all human beings instinctively desire it, and while coziness can come from physical comfort and warmth, it also stems from feelings of belonging and security. The things that make us feel cozy help us to cope in times of uncertainty and difficulty. She makes a very effective example of refugees in camps who add personal touches to their spaces. No matter where we are or what circumstances we find ourselves in, we are innately wired to make the place we call home, however temporarily, a little more cozy.

Looking for some cozy inspiration? Check out my Cozy board on Pinterest!

Photos of cozy chair and blanket beside a window | Quill & Glass blog

Reading this book got me thinking about what I think of as cozy. While I agreed with several of Gillies’ suggestions, there were others that didn’t seem cozy to me at all. It’s fascinating how different our ideas of cozy can be. I started my own cozy list, and so far it has 80 entries. Eighty!

At just 12 years old, my daughter is a master of cozy. She loves Christmas lights, warm drinks, and fuzzy blankets. When it starts to cloud up and thunder in the afternoon, and we’ve finished school and have nowhere else to go for the day, she immediately starts lighting candles, hoping for a power outage, begging for a pot of tea, and insisting we all sit around the coffee table and play Clue. It doesn’t get much cozier than that.

If you’re a lover of all things cozy, check out Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World. Because it’s divided into short chapters, it’s easy to pick up whenever you have a few minutes. I read it at bedtime each night and found it a perfect way to wind down and relax at the end of the day.

What are some things that make you feel cozy?
Comment and let me know. Does jury duty make your list?

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It’s Friday the 13th! Watch out for black cats, ladders, spilled salt, broken mirrors, and all that stuff.

You aren’t superstitious, you say?

Have you ever said something, then knocked on wood to keep from jinxing yourself? Passed by a penny on the sidewalk because it was tails up? Saved a four-leaf clover that you found?

Superstition is so ingrained in our culture—in most cultures, in fact—that we may not even notice that it’s there. But those of us who live in the South know that superstition is alive and well, and we aren’t ashamed to admit it. In fact, surveys have shown the South to be the most superstitious region of the United States, with well over 40% of the population admitting to belief in some superstitions.

Here are a few of my favorite Southern superstitions:

#1 Never leave by any door other than the one you came in or you’ll never return.

I know some people who hold hard and fast to this rule. My problem would be remembering which door I came in through.

#2 If a knife is given as a gift, the one who receives the gift must give a penny in return, or the relationship will be severed.

This actually happened one Christmas when I was a child. Someone got a pocket knife for Christmas (this is the South, giving weapons as gifts isn’t that unusual), and I remember them having to go find a coin to give in return to protect the relationship.

#3 If you let someone sweep under your feet, you’ll never marry.

I can remember my grandmother telling us this one lots of times. But I can also remember several times when I lifted my feet to let someone sweep under them and here I am, twenty years married, so . . .

#4 Painting the ceiling of your porch “haint blue” will keep evil spirits out of your house.

I’m not sure where you find haint blue—I’ve never come across it in the paint samples at Lowe’s. But if you can find some, be sure to paint your porch ceiling, or some other part of your entryway, with it to keep out those pesky haints.

Haints, if you’ve never come across the term, is Southern for haunts or spirits. According to folklore, evil spirits can’t cross water, so if your entry is painted this shade of blue, they’ll be fooled into thinking they can’t enter your house. So . . . apparently evil spirits are also not very bright.

#5 Don’t place a hat on the bed.

I vaguely remember hearing this one when I was growing up. From what I can find, it seems to originate from the idea that evil spirits lived in people’s hair—um, okay—and if you left your hat on the bed the evil spirits would transfer to your bed. But given the choice, I’d rather have them on the bed than in my hair. Kind of gives new meaning to gonna wash that man right out of my hair, doesn’t it?

There’s an alternative explanation having to do with the spreading of head lice, but I’m not going to touch that one.

#6 If your ears burn, someone is talking about you. If your nose itches someone is coming to visit. If your palm itches, you’re going to come into money.

Now these I’ve heard a million times over the years. In fact, my mom will often answer my calls with “were your ears burning?”, meaning I had called when someone was talking about me. Usually her telling my dad I haven’t called in a while. Yet, never once have my ears actually burned.

Now, I admit there have been times when my nose was itching and company arrived shortly thereafter. But considering that pretty much everyone around here has seasonal allergies, this one isn’t really that much of a gamble.

This spring, I had a raging case of poison ivy. All over the palms of my hands, between my fingers. It was utter misery. I ended up having to get a shot to make it go away. Did I win the lottery? Not yet. But I’m ever hopeful.

#7 If you have a sudden chill, someone is walking over your grave.

This is another one I heard a lot growing up, but never really gave much thought to. When I did finally stop to think about it and realized it meant someone was walking across the place where I will eventually be buried, I found it much more disturbing.

Especially now that, thanks to end-of-life planning, I know exactly where my grave will be. Maybe. The thought of being trapped in a small box is one of my worst nightmares, and I keep telling my kids that they are going to have to bury me Snow White style. That is, above the ground in a glass coffin. If I’d lived in Victorian England, I’d for sure have had one of those graveyard bells. Actually, that’s not such a bad idea . . .

#8 If you set an empty chair to rocking, it will attract spirits. Or, alternately, you will fall ill within the year.

I don’t know about attracting spirits, but an empty chair rocking is certainly enough to creep me out. Have you ever read The Woman in Black? There’s not much that’s more terrifying than an empty chair rocking.

Case in point: Years ago my cousin was going up the driveway toward his house. His then four-year-old daughter made some remark about “the woman on the porch.”

There was no one on the porch.

“Where is she?” he asked, just to humor her.

“In the chair,” she replied, just as the empty chair on the porch began to rock.

Yes, it could have been the wind. Would I have gotten out of the car? Oh hell no. I would have thrown that car in reverse so fast we’d all have had whiplash.

#9 If a snapping turtle bites you, he won’t let go until it thunders.

Thank the lord, I’ve got no personal experience with this one. Which is surprising, considering that when we were kids, my brother and I caught one in the creek and put in an old milk crate. My dad says when he saw us dragging it across the yard, the turtle was doing its best to bite us through the milk crate, but he intervened before we had the chance to put that whole thunder theory to the test.

#10 Hanging an empty bottle from a tree in your front yard will capture roaming spirits and keep them from coming in your house.

Unless they come to the back door? Maybe hang one there too, just to be safe. While I’ve never done this, I have seen houses with bottles hanging in the trees. I assumed they were just there to be pretty, with the sunlight glinting off of them, until I heard about this superstition.

I kind of want to give this one a try. What happens when you catch an evil spirit in a bottle? Can you see it in there? Do you have to cork the bottle to keep it in? Will it grant you three wishes? I’ll let you know what I find out.

#11 No haint blue paint to be found? Don’t worry, leaving a child’s dirty handprint near the door will serve the same purpose and keep those pesky haints away.

Incidentally, it will also keep me away. Go watch The Blair Witch Project if you’re wondering why. The next best thing to creepy little kids in horror movies? Creepy little handprints left behind by creepy little kids.

Also, I think I’d rather just risk the haints. Dirty handprints on the wall isn’t really the vibe I’m looking for in home decor. Just ask my kids.

#12 When someone dies, be sure to cover all the mirrors in the house.

We don’t hear this one as much anymore, probably because so few people die at home, but this is to prevent their spirit from becoming trapped in the mirrors. Hey, maybe that’s how Bloody Mary got stuck in there . . .

Sidenote: I don’t look in mirrors in the dark. Not a superstition exactly, just paranoia. I’m convinced that if I look into a dark mirror, I’ll see something I really don’t want to see standing behind me.

#13 Eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day will bring good luck and wealth in the coming year.

This one is pretty well-known across the South, and some restaurants, especially those that specialize in down-home country cookin’, have New Year’s Day specials featuring them. I think we have eaten them a few times on New Year’s, but isn’t something we’ve done often.

Another harbinger of good luck is to have a dark-haired man be the first to enter your home in the New Year. Tall, dark, and handsome? I kind of see where they’re going with this one . . .

On the other hand, I think it may be related to an old Scottish custom that says your fortune for the coming year is tied to the first man to cross your threshold in the New Year, and that the worst fortune comes if it’s a red-haired man. Seems a little unfair.

So, there you have it. A few more things to worry about this Friday the 13th. Oh, and did you know there’s a full moon tonight, too? Better get those silver bullets and keep them handy.

Have you heard these superstitions before?
What superstitions does your family have?

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Last month, a friend told us about a local sunflower farm where you can pick your own flowers & take pictures as you wander around the fields. Since the sunflowers were on the wane, we didn’t waste time. The next day, my daughter and I roped in my sister-in-law and headed for the fields. It was absolutely beautiful, in spite of the humidity that had us drenched in sweat within minutes. We took hundreds of photos, of the flowers and the bees that were busy visiting each one, and finally dragged ourselves away at dark.

{Click on an image to see it larger}

Fueled by equal parts sweet tea and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. 

Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. 

mystery writer & editor

I’m Amanda

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