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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Browsing at the BOO-tique

"There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand."

Mary Shelley

Happy Fall!

I thought Ms. Shelley's quote was quite appropriate for those of us who adore this spooktacular time of year, and all the chills of the unexpected it brings. We have just under five weeks 'til the arrival of Halloween. I know for some, it's still a bit early to be thinking of pumpkins and skellies #GASP, but when Roger's Garden in nearby Newport Beach opens their Halloween Boutique, I cannot wait to see their spooktacular decor!

This year's boutique is called The Witching Hour and features all things a wicked darling might need for the cauldron.

Rat Tails and Potions...

Mustn't forget the toad warts...

Witchy decor...and a perfect spot to park the broom when not in use...

Pumpkins for every mood...

A fireplace fit for Hill House...

And sparkling trinkets for the ghouly ghouls...

We're certainly excited for this season of scary here at Cherrywood Hall West--the lights are up! We may just have to make another spin to Roger's Gardens in October---their Christmas Boutique opens on the 1st! 😍

Get a bootiful view of the Halloween Bootique goods here:

Here's to a spooktacular season of scary! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

More ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Book Reviews for Shadow Reflection!

Thank you, readers for making our book debut a spooktacular success! This week I wanted to post author/reader Joy York's fabulous review:

Shadow Reflection, Book 4 in The Haunting Series, is a marvelous collaboration with short stories written by Bibiana Krall and Veronica Cline Barton. Wow! I am so impressed with their blending of styles. These are not your typical hokey ghost stories. Each one is original, engaging, and kept me in suspense until the last page. I spent the last few evenings reading late into the night. They are eloquently written and plotted in each author’s unique writing style. I was enthralled with the storytelling and am now definitely in the Halloween spirit!

I loved that Ms. Krall’s stories were inspired by actual historical locations and figures that enhance her tales with authenticity. My favorite written by Ms. Krall was White Raven. I was thrilled to learn that the main character, Truda, was based on Gerturde (Truda) Benham, a real mountaineer and the first woman to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. A woman traveling alone in Tanzania in the 1930’s with roguish men, superstitious locals, wild animals, and a monumental climb is terrifying on it’s on, but adding the supernatural elements had me glued to the pages. The vivid details pulled me right into the scene. It was amazing to find out Ms. Krall is also a world traveler and mountain climber.

Ms. Barton adds her own signature brand of cozy mystery, wit, satire, humor, and glamor to her amazing stories. Mask was suspenseful and caught me totally off guard with a twisty ending I didn’t see coming, but my favorite of Ms. Barton’s was Hijinks. It is spooky and fun. Ms. Bartons’ vivid imagination created an unusual, entertaining story with a surprising twist on traditional holiday characters and traditions. It was a total delight, and I laughed out loud.

I highly recommend this perfectly blended collection of haunting stories.

It doesn't get much better than that, thank you so much, Joy! We'll be doing some fabtastic giveaways in October for our readers. Please let Bibiana or me know if you've read our book and you'll be in the running! 💀🌹

Bizarre family antics this week from the writers of X...

Author Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger, 5

When Dr. Faraday arrives at Hundreds Hall to care for a patient, memories from his past come flooding in. The once opulent manor has fallen on hard times, stretching its eccentric inhabitants to their limits. As his friendship with the Ayres family blossoms, he soon realizes there are dark forces in the house that cannot be explained.

A social gathering with the neighbors takes a tragic turn, causing additional strains for the family. Traumatized brother, Roderick is losing his sanity dealing with his wartime wounds and the pressures of running the estate. Matriarch Angela seems to be oblivious to their dire straits, and sister Caroline rebels against the societal duties and behavior that are expected of her. Strange occurrences at the house have everyone on edge--are they real, or imagined?

Author Waters weaves a haunting tale of a family spiraling toward ruin, and the man who desperately wants to preserve a lifestyle long past. A ghostly tale that will leave you wondering, highly recommended!

Author Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, 5

The Blackwood family, Mary Catherine, known as Merricat, Constance, and Uncle Julian lead a reclusive existence at the family home. A deadly poisoning incident that killed the Blackwood mother and father have made them social pariahs in the local village. Disparaging taunts and rumors of guilt entice them to remain inside, avoiding the harsh realities of the outside world.

The arrival of a family cousin turns their world upside down. Cousin Charles wants control of the family fortune. He isn't keen on Merricat's strange behavior or Uncle Julian's ramblings. Constance begins to question their walled-off lifestyle and yearns for a normal life to return. When tragedy strikes, the nightmares of reality emerge, destroying their solitary homestead. Will Merricat and Constance be able to survive?

Author Jackson weaves a haunting tale of an eccentric family dealing with the harsh rules of reality. Their bittersweet existence is sometimes magical, a bit scary, and tragic as the truth of their situation unfolds. An eerie tale that will keep you pondering, highly recommended!

Next up in the reading queue:

Let the 2024 Writing Projects Begin!

The past few weeks I've been immersed in writing, editing, and outlining two projects that have been in my pipeline for 2024. The first is a cozy mystery short story I've submitted for consideration for the Bouchercon 2024 Anthology that will be printed and sold at the Nashville conference next year. I worked with the fabulous, Theresa Snyder for editing this latest whodunnit. I'm quite pleased with this tale---it's definitely stretched by cozy boundaries, LOL. Wish me luck!

Gemma and Rikkhe will be together once again in Book 9 of My American Almost Royal Cousin Series (and yes, the book cover is gorgeous)! We're heading down south in this latest installment of mayhem and mystery. The writing has begun, I'm targeting a Q12024 release. Stay tuned, this story is developing...

Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Enjoy these final days of September. Wishing you a fabulous fall, y'all! Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑

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Sep 27, 2023

What a great review for Shadow Reflections! I'll be starting my copy as soon as I can catch my breath. I can't wait!

I always love your book choicees, and Sarah Waters' new book snd the old classic We have Always Lived in the Castle are no exceptions. Looking forward to your reviews of the Horowitz and Sayers books. I love Lord Peter Wimsey!

Roger's Gardens sounds like a must-see. Maybe someday!

CCongratulations on some very exciting plans for 2024! Can't wait to see them come to fruition. Have a great week! xo

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Sep 29, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Amy--love this time of year curled up with great books. taking little road trips, and starting new projects! Have a wonderful weekend! 💖👑


Vera Day
Vera Day
Sep 27, 2023

I loved The Little Stranger, too. And I think We Have Always Lived in the Castle is excellent.

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Sep 29, 2023
Replying to

They were great reads< Vera--loved the mystery and eccentricities, perfect for this time of year, LOL. Enjoy the weekend! 💖👑


Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Sep 27, 2023

We do love our spooky vibes, UberHappy! Roger's Gardens is a must see in SoCal this time of year Love the reviews for Shadow Reflection--our readers are the best! Have a spooktacular week! 💀🌹


Sep 27, 2023

Wow! Roger’s Gardens is nuts! I want that fireplace mantle! 🎃Many thanks to Joy and all of our amazing readers for the gorgeous reviews.

Shadow Reflection has been a wonderful way to close out the series. Congrats to all the talented authors mentioned and good luck with the short story submission! Loving the spooky vibes on here. The potion bottles are so cool!

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