To Paradise and Back

on July 30, 2019 Carolyn
Jitty's Jilted HeartsA new Column below!
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Dear Reader,

I’m home from a fabulous vacation in Ajijic, Mexico. I have to hand it to Billy and Isabel Brown, they are incredible hosts! From the minute I got off the plane, they made my stay a luxury-filled joy. Mexico is a beautiful land, and I was on Lake Chapala, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. You cannot imagine the beauty. The people are gracious and friendly and very tolerant of only-English speaking tourists. I cannot think of one moment of my trip to Paradise that was less than exquisite.

The food was wonderful, and I couldn’t find a single thing to complain about or that I would change—except maybe finding a home for all the dogs I saw. They looked well fed, but there were many dodging in and out of traffic.


The weather was perfect. Just perfect. Such a relief from the horror and humidity of Mobile. I felt terrible leaving Alabama just as a tropical storm was blowing up in the Gulf, but Michele takes great care of my pups and cats and horses. She urged me to go, so I bit the bullet and did it. I met a lot of very interesting people, all with wonderful stories, and I saw my old pal from Ocean Springs, Ellis, who has a wonderful new home and is loving his new life in Ajijic.

I made a billion pictures and posted a lot on FB. If you are thinking of exploring and want to learn a quick and interesting little history, here’s a link: Ajijic


While I was away, I worked on THE DEVIL’S BONES, the 2020 Sarah Booth novel. It will be finished by the time you read this newsletter! Well, I’ll be finished—until the edits comes back from Hannah and Nettie. They will help me make it a better book.


THE SEEKER and THE DARKLING are now available under my name. They’re dark and a little spooky, but I hope rich in atmosphere and fun “puzzle” books in that you really need to pay attention to the clues. The answer is there, but you have to assemble the clues for yourself.

On the horizon for the rest of the year is writing another Sarah Booth Christmas story, as still untitled. I’ve finished the 4th Pluto’s Snitch, A VISITATION OF ANGELS, and I’m waiting on the last round of edits. I hope to have it ready to go for Halloween.

In the world of Trouble books, Susan Y. Tanner published her third book, TROUBLE IN ACTION, this month—it is super fine and fun. That makes 10 Trouble books on the shelf, and Beth Terrell, who writes as Jaden Terrell, will have her intriguing Trouble book out in the fall—TROUBLE MOST FAIRE. It’s a lot of fun and you will adore Wilbur when you meet him. The stories about Trouble, the black cat detective, continue to grow. People seem to love that there are multiple authors writing the mysteries. Each book is a standalone so they need not be read in any order.

Now that I have the real crush of book deadlines off me, I hope to work on eating better and getting off my bottom and moving more. I’m trying out “chakra dance.” Thank goodness there are no near neighbors. A video would be a scream and no, I will not do that! But the movement is good because I will grow into an old woman sitting at this computer if I don’t work at stopping that from happening. Last year, my brother was very, very sick and in the hospital for an extended time. I was doing my best to care for him, the farm, the animals, and meet deadlines. I exhausted myself and got behind. Now, I think I’m caught up. I’m a very disciplined writer, but my focus was off because I was worried about David and my niece Jennifer, who was also undergoing cancer treatment. (Do NOT use Roundup Weed Killer for any reason.) The good news is that David is doing really well. Jennifer came through the chemo with flying colors but she is having some serious back issues. She needs a boost in healing, so super-charge some energy for her, please..

Catching up with the critters, we are all doing okay. Eudora Welty keeps clawing her eye—we can’t figure out why. But she had eye surgery to “do a grid” on the eye in the hopes of helping it heal. She’s in an e-collar, I’ve wrapped her paw to keep her dew claw covered, but she is a master at doing bad things to herself. Keep a good thought for her. It’s awful because my niece had to have an eye removed from a mule she rescued. Stella was blind in the eye—likely from some trauma–but the eye became terribly inflamed and with the pain from the inflammation, Stella kept rubbing it, much like Eudora is doing except the dog is on pain meds, eye drops, CBD, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory drugs. (The firecrackers and guns around here do not help at all) Stella is also getting excellent care but a mule can’t come into the air conditioning. The heat, humidity, and flies are always a plague for healing wounds. At any rate, keep a good thought for both Eudora and Stella.

[photo: Stella]
Here is Stella and Dr. First
[photo: Eudora]
Poor Eudora!

Otherwise, all is well. We get older each day. The various stages of life are so interesting (also terrifying sometimes and joyful others.) I’m now aware of the tick-tock of time in a way I never imagined. I think about my grandmother and the changes she saw in her lifetime, and the transitions she must have gone through, just as I have and just as we all do. I’m not always a fan of humans, but we are conscious of the passage of time and the inevitability of death and yet we continue to build and create and plan. That seems more and more remarkable to me. I hope more people wake up to the terrific dangers facing us with climate change and the slow death of this planet’s ability to sustain human life, even as the population continues to grow. We have the power to change, but do we have the will? It’s up to you.

I’ll be at the Laurel library July 30 (and back to Lucille Armstrong and the terrific West Point, MS library on Aug. 15). While I’m in the Laurel area I’m going to stop by the Neshoba County Fair to hear the Mississippi politicians stumping for the upcoming election. I’ll see my buddy Dixie! Always fun.

I had the most wonderful vacation in Paradise, and now I’m glad to be home with my family of critters. Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time—a little taste of the 60s and two fine singer/songwriters who shaped my early years. Visiting Ajijic, I gave a lot of thought to what it means to be “at home.” I think we spend a lot of time searching for that home. I have some thoughts on where “home” really is, but that’s for another day, another book!

Adios, from Casa Carolyn (where furniture comes to die!)



Jitty's Jilted Hearts

Dear Jitty,

In the past two months, I’ve discovered, to my horror, that my little dog Toby is doing everything my husband does. Toby is a lot cuter than my husband, but he is becoming just as obnoxious. I think Toby was possibly brain damaged because he was under the covers one night when Larry produced what we call “the green fog.” It’s true Toby came out from under the covers howling like Satan was nibbling at his heels, but the dog hasn’t been right since. I finally persuaded Larry to take medication for his nightly blasts of green death, and that has subsided. Now that Larry has stopped, Toby has started. And the little bugger is far stealthier than Larry could ever manage to be. He cuts one under the covers and then slides off the far side of the bed. By the time I realize what’s happened, my eyes are watering.

If that’s not bad enough, now the snoring has begun. First Larry will saw a log, then Toby will give a whimpering little snuffle. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. I think I’m ready to try sleep deprivation as a defense for murder. Can you offer any help?

Sleepless in Jackson

Dear Sleepless,

You have yourself in a world of hurt! I recommend havin’ Larry put to sleep before Toby learns any more bad habits. No, seriously, go down to Bed, Bath and Beyond and find yourself the most elegant sheets and comforter you can lay your hands on. Then take yourself home and make up the bed in the guest room. Move there. The one thing Toby and Larry have in common is the male DNA. You ain’t gonna change them. You can’t kill ’em, and with those two underfoot all the time, you need your sleep. Girl, accept defeat. Move! Or better yet, build yourself a she-shed and don’t give either of them a key.

Sleep tight, Jitty

P.S. For everyone reading this, let me guide you honey chile. Get some advice by writing me at