October is a big month for birthdays in my family. Today, the 24th, would be my mother’s and my grandmother’s birthday. Mama was born on Grandma’s 40th birthday, something of a scandal nearly 90 years ago. My brother David’s day is rolling up fast, and Jennifer and Jordan, my niece and great-niece, celebrated earlier in the month.
I was four years old when David was born at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. I wasn’t thrilled with a new brother—I really, really wanted a horse. My mother had a wicked sense of humor, and I used to put my head on her stomach and “hear” my soon-to-be horse whinnying. She let me have my fantasy, but it ended abruptly when she brought a baby human home. That’s not the only birthing prank she pulled. She told me when I was born (we are all Cesarean sections) that the doctor cut her stomach open and I flew out on beautiful white angel wings. She said the doctors and nurses were jumping up and down, trying to catch me as I cruised the operating room. Finally, Nurse Evelyn Fortenberry caught my foot and brought me down.
Dr. Fridge asked Mama what he should do about the wings. “If she keeps them, she’ll never have a normal life,” he said.
So Mama opted to have the wings clipped so I could grow up as a regular child, but I was “always to remember how special you are.”
A lovely story, for sure, except I went to first grade and started telling this story about how special I was. Righto. This is why public school is such a good thing. Kids get a taste of reality. Anyway, I survived, and to my mother’s credit, I’m sure she forgot all about the wings story, but it stuck with me.
October has always been one of my favorite months—normally the weather has turned dry and cool, and it’s great to be outside. With climate change, the summer has dragged into October now. Summer is getting longer and longer. I remember walking to school in September with a sweater and knee-socks to cover my “pieted” legs that were marbled blue with cold. September was time to rake leaves, and October was time to pick up pecans. My dad helped us, and then we’d take all of the pecans we picked from our trees up to the co-op and sell them. This was how we made money for Christmas presents.
Mama also saved pecans that we cracked and shelled to make the wonderful Christmas candies like Bourbon balls, fingers (wedding cookies but ours were shaped like fingers), divinity, date loaf, pecan pies, German chocolate cakes and the many other wonderful treats that came only once a year. Now I’m still swimming in October. It’s sad. It’s been hot and sticky and we even had a small hurricane, Nate.
I was very lucky this hurricane season. I have several trees down, but not in a place where they create havoc. No fences down. No injured animals. I can have the trees removed as time allows. I hate it when they fall across the driveway and block me. So far, so good.
This year I’m celebrating the ghost season with a new book. My love of spooky stories will get a big payoff in November when THE SPECTER OF SEDUCTION goes on sale. This is the 3rd in the Pluto’s Snitch historical mystery series (set in 1920) with Raissa James and Reginald Proctor as private investigators who probe hauntings and crimes from the spirit world.
The first two books in that series, THE BOOK OF BELOVED and THE HOUSE OF MEMORY are on sale as e-books for $1.99 until October 31. A terrific Halloween present if you want to give someone a scary story. If you want to read these books, get them now for a wonderful price.
And FAMILIAR TROUBLE is also still free until October 31. Then the price goes back up. So if you want to start the new romantic mystery series featuring Trouble, the black cat detective, now is the time for a free download. I love giving folks a chance to try a series with a free or low-priced book, but in some situations, the publisher controls the price, not me. So I’m very grateful to Thomas and Mercer for making the Pluto’s Snitch books available at only $1.99 for the rest of this month.
I don’t have a lot of news—things are going great. Stay tuned for a free Christmas story about Trouble by Rebecca Barrett. We’ll announce it in the newsletter and on Facebook.
I can’t believe the holidays are already here. Halloween! My favorite holiday and I’ve barely given it a thought. I’m just too focused on work. I need to start some mischief. Anyone want to go rolling yards with me?
Give the ghosties chocolate treats—or suffer the consequences. And check out this Youtube video: Halloween Song. Perhaps it’s good I never learned to play the guitar.
Carolyn and the critters!
P.S. I’m giving away one paperback edition of THE BOOK OF BELOVED in my Monthly Giveaway.