Archive | December 2013

Standing Still or Still Standing

“Still” is a word with a variety of meanings. The one NOT in play here is a device to distill alcohol. This ain’t Hazzard County and I ain’t a Duke (The occasional “Yeehaw” notwithstanding). “Still” can refer to being motionless and quiet, as one would to listen or to try to calm down after something upsetting. That could apply here and I’ll get to that in a minute. “Still” can also mean that despite the occurrence of something potentially destructive.  From the “Star Spangled Banner,” the phrase “our flag was still there” comes to mind.

star spangled banner

I couldn’t find the quote (because I can’t remember the exact verbiage) from Bear Bryant or Tom Landry or some other legendary football coach  admonishing his players who celebrated  touchdowns with dances unless they were going to celebrate their fumbles as well, they should knock it off (Well, “knock it off” was a favorite phrase of my late father. After he babysat my nephew one afternoon, the kid would tell Ira, the family cat, “Knock it off, Ira.”)


Ira knocking it off

Under this rule, I offer the following link to a review that wasn’t so enthusiastic:

“At Last” review by Online Book Club

In short, the reviewer said there were mistakes throughout the book and she didn’t like the open ending.

Can’t do much about the ending at this point and I really don’t want to do anything about it, anyway. I’ve lived with these people for over 12 years and frankly, I’d like a break from this particular story.

The mistakes, though…

I’m waiting to hear what she has to say. I learn the hard way; from my mistakes. In order to turn out a better product (and yes, these are products. I will be pushing you, Dear Reader, to buy copies, but that’s in a few minutes) , I need to know what went wrong so that I don’t repeat them. And then I need to beat up the editor withe them because she was supposed to catch stuff.

go to jail

That’s an error. She’s the cop.

I’m a fan of full disclosure, something that’s in short supply in all walks of life lately. In addition to being a hope junkie (See “Tis the Season“), I am an information junkie. I want to learn all the time. I also believe that the more information one has, the better the choices that can be made. In my case, including this review shows that not everyone may have such a great opinion and for good reason.

So, I am standing still in order to listen.

Still Standing: this will not stop, deter, or destroy me.  Failure is not getting back up after you’ve taken a hit.

And for the “Dukes of Hazzard” version of a still: Drinking has never been a coping mechanism for me (Food has that honor). I do, however, have a lovely single-malt Scotch and some Makers Mark 46 that make for some nice sipping.


Yee Haw.

Promotion/Offer: Still (this is known as a “callback”) making the following offer: If you use the Buy Now link to get SIGNED copies of both books, I will refund $4.00 shipping and throw in a lovely, handmade beaded bracelet. I can do this because I use USPS Media Mail to ship in the US (least expensive option). I cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas Day at this point (Unless you’re in Southern California), but I can guarantee that I will get that sucker out the door ASAP and give you the tracking number.  (This offer is only good for areas served by USPS Media Mail)

Christmas tree

Have a merry and BUY MY BOOKS

Tis the Season

It’s Holiday Season as I write this (Dear Fox News: New Year’s Day is part of this time of year, regardless of race or creed. HOLIDAY Season. Christmas doesn’t get a solo). I have products to sell that make good Christmas (or Kwanzaa or Feast of the Epiphany) gifts (use the Buy Now link at the top of this page). That’s beside my point, though.

Christmas tree

Ask anyone who knows me well enough, I freakin’ hate snow with a passion hot enough to melt the stuff. Has to do with car crashes that I walked away from, skiing injuries to tailbone and left breast (part of the impetus of “These Foolish Things” and “At Last”) and my delicate skin getting chapped to bleeding from the cold, dry air of New England.

Jimmy Buffett, who was born on Christmas Day, has no problem with Christmas in the Caribbean and neither do I. This little girl, also born on Christmas Day 1983 named herself Buffett. She didn’t like winter and cold, either.

Buffett, my first kitty

Wasn’t she beautiful? Sweetest little thing on four paws.

We’re hearing a lot right now about the meaning of Christmas, the commercialization of Christmas, the origins of Christmas, when Jesus of Nazareth was actually born and on and on. My friends are telling me about the stresses they’re experiencing getting ready for Christmas, some of it happy and fun, some of it, well, stressful. There are those of us with financial stress going on (that’s why I’m pushing the books with both hands) and it’s hard to feel excluded from the festivities because you don’t have the resources to “do it up” as you’d like (I have a pinkie swear with a dear friend that next will be MUCH better, even if we have to mug Santa). We’re hearing about income inequality in the US, debating the effects of raising the minimum wage, and whether unemployment benefits should be extended. We have arguments going over whether the Christian version of Christmas is getting left in the dust in favor of being inclusive of all holidays.  I’m feeling anxiety from the people around me when I go out.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been a classic and TV holiday staple since 1965 for examining the true meaning of Christmas.

Linus explains Christmas


We have the Winter Solstice coming upon us on December 21. It’s the longest night of the year and Christmas was placed over the spot previously occupied by Saturnalia, a Roman festival of light centered on the Solstice. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Light celebrating the miracle of a one-day supply of lamp oil lasting eight nights, falls within the November-December time frame.


As I see it, one of the biggest connectors of these holidays, besides the calendar, is what they celebrate at their cores:


In the darkest part of the year, we gather (and have gathered for millenia) to celebrate hope. Whether it’s in the form of a divine Child or enough oil to keep the temple’s lamp going or the return of sunlight that will eventually grow crops , we human beings are hope junkies. As a kid, I was always a bigger fan of Christmas Eve than Christmas. There was the feeling that something wonderful was coming (I was a kid; I had access to the Sears Wish Book, I had hopes of stuff from that catalog coming). From the first Christmas lights going up around the neighborhood to hanging up stockings on Christmas Eve, it all stoked the anticipation. Something great was going to happen.

As I grew, the joyous anticipation of loot fell away in favor of hope that the gifts and other offerings I’d bring to the family celebration would be received with joy. I looked forward to the Boston Pops’ Christmas concerts and the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet. Magic.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” shows a man who looks to lose everything he values but gets a fresh injection of hope for his life. “A Christmas Carol” speaks to the hope for redemption of even the meanest soul. And “A Christmas Story” is about the hope of getting an official “”Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.” Even one of the minor stories is The Old Man winning his “Major Award” and joyously speculating on what it would be.

leg lamp

“Frah Gee Lay.” Must be Italian.

Santa Claus is the personification of hope. And Megyn Kelly? He, like God, is every color because Santa, like God,  is made of our collective belief in him and what he stands for. He stands for hope. Hope is not limited to one skin color or belief or expression of faith. Hope is hope, no matter who has it.

If we weren’t all addicted to hope, we humans wouldn’t acknowledge December 25th, let alone write songs about it. Run the lyrics to some of the most classic of Christmas carols in your head. How often does hope come up? A lot.

Mostly, when I hear people speak of hope this particular season, it’s the hope that 2014 will be a better year than 2013 was (Red Sox winning the World Series being a bright spot for me). There have been tough losses this year among my friends and me: husbands, parents, beloved pets, jobs. People have rituals to ensure good luck in the New Year, mostly centered around foods (black eyed peas, lentils, pork, pink peppermint pigs…the 12 grapes in the 12 seconds leading to midnight is a tough one and a choking hazard. I suggest rehearsing it before the big day).

So, as we go forward and the squabbles over ____ arise, don’t forget the real meaning of the season:


Need A Christmas Gift for a Reader? Look No Further!

(Okay, I confess that I’m pushing sales through this website, but my day job just moved to India without me)

First of all, if you use the “Buy Now” link on this website ( to purchase signed copies of BOTH books, I will rebate $4.00 in shipping costs to you AND I will throw in a beaded bracelet (they’re pretty).


I’m not the best photographer. That’s why I hire Chris Gregson.

They are glass and pewter beads on elastic with pewter rose charms.

“These Foolish Things is now available for your Nook, Kobo or iBook reader through Smashwords:

(At Last will be available at the end of January)

Now until December 31, “These Foolish Things” will be $.99 (Ninety-nine cents) as an e-book on all platforms.

That’s less than the cup of coffee you’d buy to drink while reading it.

latte kitten

Awww, kitten.

Also, now through January 11, you can enter to win a signed copy of “At Last” on Goodreads:

At Last giveaway on Goodreads

10 copies are up for grabs. Right now, 56 people have entered, so your chances are pretty good (Hmm. “Chances Are.” Another old standard. I bet I could build a Vinnie and Angie story around that one…Comments?)

Look, help out a 1) small business, 2) local business (if you’re in Southern California),  3) female-owned business , 4) budding author, 5) friend(?) (Facebook Author Page)

Gramp Thatcher

This guy would want you to buy books. If he was still here, my grandmother would make him buy a dozen each (my grandfather, Cliff Thatcher. He was cool).

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

Another review in, this one from Deliza’s Dirty Dramas:

Blog Tour – “At Last” by Susan Thatcher


And while Deliza gave me some chaff about a couple of things (and threatened to punch me in the throat. The scary thing is, she’s in a position to do it. Or have her minions do it. She has minions), overall, she liked the book (4 smooches out of 5) .  She also liked “These Foolish Things” (4.5 out of 5 smooches):


Deliza’s Review of These Foolish Things.

Maybe I’ll keep plugging away at this writing thing…

For today, “These Foolish Things” is a free download on Smashwords (reintroducing it to Nook, Kobo and other e-reader platforms). December 10-31, it will be $.99 on all e-reader platforms.

The reviews coming in make Exhibit A

sphinx pose

And me

author photo

Feel like this


(Grooving to Christmas jazz)

Louis Armstrong – Zat You, Santa Claus?