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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: February Finis, Con Amore

"Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself."

Truman Capote

February Finis

Month 2 almost down (lucky Leap Day tomorrow), 10 months to go, how has your February been? We've enjoyed the southern California winter--loads of much needed rain and chilly temps. #NotComplaining

I've been in the writing zone, working on my next cozy mystery with Gemma and friends. This book is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina at a mysterious, family estate. There's scandal, rivalries, murdah-most-foul (of course), perhaps a new ghost 👻, and a few unexpected side stories I hope you will find entertaining. 👀🛸

Inspiration for this next tale came from our visit to Biltmore House last March. There's a gothic nuance to the tale--watch out for those gargoyles!

Several architectural elements captured my fancy during the visit that I knew I would be including in this story:

Fireplaces in every room--perfect for Auntie Pippa to pop in!

Or, to hide clues...

Carvings, stonework, and finials...

Staircases, chandeliers, and haunting shadows...

Book 9 will have a wee bit of southern bless your heart something for everyone, methinks. Stay tuned for the big reveal in the next few months! This story is developing... #DunDunDun

Speaking of Biltmore...a treat for fans of the marvelous glasswork of Dale Chihuly. Exhibits will be opening on March 25th at the estate for you to enjoy. When we traveled there in 2018 during the last exhibit, the breathtaking sculptures were uniquely displayed in the gardens and fountains around the manor. If you'll be in the area, it's a must-see!

T-Minus 4 Weeks...

It's not all been about the writing... I've been trying to learn more about the cities we'll be visiting (more in the March blog) and plan what to pack for our upcoming cruise! #TheStruggleIsReal

Six countries, fifteen days, early spring weather...layering is key, rain or shine. Let's not forget about the shoes...and hats...and scarves...and crossbody bags. The mystery to make it all fit...

As February's cupids and chocolates switch over to March's leprechauns and green beer, I wish for you and yours rainbows and Irish blessings! Time to get your green on! 🍀

It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

A touch of the bizarre, mystery, suspense, and some-oh-so-wicked swans this month from the writers of X...

Author Cathleen Maza, Same Problems, Other Worlds, 5

Love's disenchantment, final thoughts, gut-wrenching choices, death's tears, fleeting wishes, and rude realizations are served up in this eclectic collection of dark tales. From fantasy to apocalypse to mystical other worlds, the emotions and experiences are much the same whether human or fantastical species. 

Author Maza gives us a glimpse into bizarre worlds and interactions that will tug at your senses, have you gasping at times, and certainly make you ponder. I thoroughly enjoyed the uniquity of each story, the unexpected settings, and surreal circumstances. A highly recommended read!

Author Laurence Leamer, Capote's Women, 5

“There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.”  Author Leamer whisks readers into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, detailing the relationship writer Truman Capote had with the society mavens he called his 'swans'. Babe Paley, CZ Guest, Slim Keith, Lee Radziwill, Pamela Churchill, Gloria Guiness, and Marella Agnelli were the darlings of society, leading lives of unbelievable riches and privilege. Capote courted them all, and for years lived a gilded life, sharing their joys and darkest secrets. 

The writer had a dream of penning his magnum opus, secretly based upon the sordid tales he had learned from his swans. After years of promoting it (and taking generous advances), he released a teaser version, La Cote Basque 1965 in Esquire magazine. The tantalizing tale destroyed his relationships with the swans, and his life was never the same.

This was a fascinating read by Author Leamer exposing the behind-the-scenes drama that each of the women endured to have that societal 'perfect' life, and their bittersweet relationship with Capote. Readers are reminded that all that glitters is not gold...

Author Anthony Horowitz, The Twist of the Knife, 5

For Anthony Horowitz, it was the best of times, with a smattering of the not-so-good. The contract for his successful series based on the crime solving wizardry of retired detective Daniel Hawthorne is soon coming to a close. It's a relief for him, but DI Hawthorne wants to continue the series. Anthony tells him no--he has a new play, Mindgames, hitting the stage and wants to focus on its theatrical debut. 

As his play makes its rounds, excitement is in the air when it reaches London. The cast is talented, the producer cautiously optimistic, and Anthony is dealing with debut jitters. When the first review rolls in, it's not good news. A pithy critic ravages the play and actors. Tempers flare, but for the critic, it's lights out when her murdered body is found the next morning. Worse for Anthony, the clues point to him as the murderer. Will Hawthorne help prove his innocence?

Author Horowitz pens a spine-tingling tale of mystery and intrigue in this 4th book of A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery series. This is a page turning read, and possibly my favorite in this series. Highly recommended for mystery fans! 

Author Joy York, Protective Instinct, 5

A quiet lakeside vacation leads to a dangerous liaison in Author Joy York's latest thriller. Kindergarten teacher Morgan Skylar is looking forward to some much-needed downtime at her friend's lake house. Her beloved 'Pops' has recently passed away and her emotions are on edge. A change of plans pits Morgan with an unexpected guest at the lake. Best-selling author Sebastian 'Bash' Bartoli has secretly rented the house at the lake to escape from the clutches of a determined man from a mob family who is insistent he write his story. Both their plans for a lakeside escape vanish when an unexpected encounter with some unruly gents takes a dangerous turn. 

Readers are in for a thrilling read as Morgan and Bash rush to escape the criminals who won't give up their quest to catch them. As the story unfolds, the danger multiplies when a secret from the past becomes a real-life nemesis. With their new insights, will Morgan and Bash be able to escape a deadly fate?

Author York has penned a suspense filled tale laced with a dash of romance and family drama that will keep you on edge 'til the final page is turned. A great read for fans of mystery and suspense, highly recommended!

Dashiell Hammett

Ooh-la-la... if you're in the mood for a noir-laced mystery set in 1963 in the French countryside, I highly recommend watching Monsieur Spade! It's streaming now on AMC+ and Acorn.

The six-episode series was a treat for those of us who love an intriguing whodunnit with a French flare. Clive Owen is magnifique as the tough talking PI who may just have a heart of gold. The pool scenes are killer BTW... 😍 #JustSayin

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

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Enjoy the Leap Day and have a magnificent March! 🍀💖👑 Gemma and Rikkhe approve!

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Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
29 thg 2

Monsieur Spade is tres bon, Uberhappy--great characters, settings, and mystery! My little gray cells are humming away, it's great to be back with Gemma and friends, LOL. Have a wonderful week and Happy March! 🍀


28 thg 2

You’re the second person to tell me about that TV series this week! Definitely going to check it out!

Congrats to authors and the lovely Cathy Maza for the awesome review!

Happy, happy writing! Asheville and her historic beauty is endlessly inspiring. Wonderful post V! Enjoy the rest of your week!

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