Chatter Creek Cottage: No Where Near a Southern Stream

How did I get so southern? Where the hell did the southern fiction come from? holiday-catalog-2017-cover-medI never read southern fiction growing up, leaning more toward gritty novels and crime. I don’t just write southern fiction though. My next novel due out in 2018 is about five very east coast young actors who meet in the 1970s and reunite many, many years latter to share secrets better left to history but you know actors, they have to have the drama. The book is definitely about five drama queens but all of them very East coast. (Faith Among Friends) Then I’ve got a novel about a very feisty spirit from Salem, Massachusetts (Annabel Horton Lost Witch of Salem, and a guy who thinks he’s been abducted by aliens in the Catskill Mountains. (Pharaoh’s Star) I’m writing another Catskill mountain story about robots or should I say holograms that take over the innocent minds of children and turn the little innocents into cold and brutal killers, nothing southern about it. (Pindar Corners) Yet another Catskill Mountain novel, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane doesn’t have a drop of southern blood. Even my most biographical novel, The Fourniers, which include a series of three novels beginning at early twentieth century: When Hannah Played Ragtime, Glamor Girl and The Way Back is soooooo New York and coming out in 2018 as well. Oh, biographical novels. Of course! Yes, my grandfather on my mother’s side was a bastard from hell and came from a southern South Carolina family. That’s where I get it. Somewhere in my subconscious mind or past life I am southern. Everyone should write novels; it brings up the strangest deep-seated utterly bizarre moments in the spiritual journey of life and death that remind us of how ignorant we are about where we’ve been.

Chatter Creek Cottage: Wake up Sleepy Head

This is a picture of the rear of Chatter Creek Cottage, all golden and red and looking like autumn. Autumn has finally arrived with a full curtain call of color, a splendid smile, having arisen from its slumber. For a while there I thought autumn was in hiding, too depressed about Donald Trump to spread its glorious arms and show off its magnificence. Of course our history is what it is in the making but autumn has said to hell with it. A big bag of wind cannot blow me away, cannot hide my beautiful soul behind intimidation and certainly cannot still my compassion with its incompetent rhetoric, its cruel policies and its weakness for ignorance.

Enough of that, autumn is here and because I have a longing for beauty I am awestruck. Happens every glorious fall. My year was an absolute mess but then autumn blasts forth in my world and I am overcome, stilled and accepting. I guess I should say – renewed. The long, horrendous year is ending with a bang and all the little frightening experiences no longer look as threatening. Like our Donald Trump, the roar was and is superficial.


Chatter Creek is back for fans of my writing and friends of my heart. It grows and transitions and stands firm.

Chatter Creek Cottage: Witches

img_20161010_115044382Actually I mean ‘bitches’ but for the sake of my blog I’ll be as polite as possible and refer to the last bitch in my life as a witch. Same thing.

Well, it’s been beautiful up here in the Catskill Mountains, the colors have been crisp and bright, often a muted cacophony of deep reds and gold. The landscapes will take your breath away like some great symphony or some brilliant work of art that conjures up emotion with shadow and mood and makes you happy to be human, to be able to drink in life, that canvas that’s all around you constantly evolving into something else.

You might wonder what witches have to do with the beautiful Catskills? Well, autumn denotes change for me and that’s the kind of transitional state I’m in. I’m evolving. I have had it up to my bloody neck with thirty something managers who do not have the capacity to lead. I am sick to death of working for and with people who do not respect experience, who have zero depth, zero insight and a zero capacity to get those that are wiser and smarter. Sort of like your Trump voters? I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, I am changing the course I’ve been on and trusting myself to go into commission sales to pay the bills and not wake up every day feeling depressed because my manager is an emotional and intellectual invalid. I want to be accountable to myself. I want to take the experience I’ve always had with my customers, a nice mutual admiration society, one in which I thrive because my customers know that I know what I’m talking about and they respect me. Then in steps some idiot manager who seeks to break your bonds, deflate your ego and crap all over your success.

I’ve had it. I will soon be waking up in a new profession, on my own and relying on my individual expertise and drive. Not to say by the way that it’s just young female managers who are dreadful, I’ve had some pretty rotten egg men managers who make pretty big bucks making those ‘below’ them miserable. I’ve also had some great female managers who if reading this should not think I’m talking about them. The bad ones are usually around thirty and think they know stuff.

I say this, find a way to be your own boss, take charge of your own life, work your ass off for your own rewards and witches of this world be damned. The happiest people I know have managed to escape the lets take crap for a paycheck cycle.

Oh, Witches! Return to your nerdy, superficial, colorless existence where people like you create disillusionment and harbor false superiority. It’s a little late for me to take the leap but if I had to repeat my experience with the last witch manager that tarnished my mood, my days and my life, from my micromanagement is the only religion job, I’d choose to jump into the cauldron and boil to death. I’d jump into the Hudson in chains and take my last breath of all that polluted water or I’d  lie out in the snow stark naked until my bloody backside turned to ice. I guess you get the picture.

Chatter Creek Cottage: The Arts & Craft Movement

img_20160918_103932684I am totally inspired to create my next novel sitting at this beautiful new edition to our living room – our Arts & Crafts Mission desk. Above the desk is a painting by Chandler, which you’ve seen before but I’d say the painting has found its home.. There is something so absolutely, intriguing about Chandler’s work, especially the night paintings. The light and the moon are so compelling. The lamp on the desk is a Mica, one of three. Mica shades are so soothing and lovely. I’d been admiring them for years and now I’ve finally lit my living room with them.

Anyway, back to the desk. I am in love with history, particularly the 1920s and 30s but also the 1800s. One of my novels went back to the 1500s and then jumped through time. Doing the research for it was one of the best years of my life. Time holds a compelling fascination for me, not because it’s gone but because it lingers. It throws shadows all over the place, as I said last week in my blog, the whispers of time are in every old photograph, every old piece of furniture and all the words written in books that are read and reread forever.

During this period, the Arts & Crafts movement provided beautiful objects that would enhance the lives of ordinary people and provide real craftsmen work. Art, music, furniture from this period in our history definitely enhances my life. It’s not that I don’t live in today’s world but I usually end my day with Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter in my old farmhouse under the glow of my mica lamps and in the shadow of an eclectic history of Victorian, modern and mission. Do I hear the whispers of time rustling through my house like the leaves that sweep through my back yard? Most assuredly I do. What do the whispers of time say, you might wonder. Just come to my living room and listen.

Vera Jane Cook

Riveting, Emotional, Unexpectedly Funny Award Winning Fiction

Author of Pleasant Day, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane, Pharaoh’s Star, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.


Chatter Creek Cottage: Endings

img_20160911_095947137I still think of September as the beginning of the year, the falling leaves and the burnt colors, like an opening curtain on the first Act. Everything behind me never stays in the shadows; my bristling past is like a rubber ball, just bouncing into view but not real enough to slow me down, not threatening enough to keep the play from going forward.

Once an actress, always an actress and I was an actress so I still see everything in terms of intension. What is my intension for this year, what does my character want? Standing here on the stage alone about to say my lines, about to step into the soul and the skin of someone who is not me, but is also very much me I speak the words of a world within a world. I’m in the vibrant color of a flower and the buoyancy of the marigold but I am also the leaf that falls, carrying, with its dying dive to the ground, its history of being green and young and proudly clinging to a branch. I am in the words that form my character; I am in the actions justified by being outside looking within.

I have discovered on and My Heritage that my grandfather was the General Manager of an Advertising Agency and lived in Seattle, Washington. He was an Ad Man and here I thought he was a bootlegger. Before the depression hit he was high on the hog, as my southern ancestors like to say, and then it all went down hill. The Great Depression had a profound effect on my family, my grandfather, grandmother and my mother. It has even affected me. We are shaped by the histories that define us as we are shaped by the people who raise us. We were all once the color of a beautiful vibrant flower and then fall comes to take it all away. The first Act begins and the words and intentions and actions spill forth to create one massive wonderful journey forward. If my ancestors only knew I am searching them, looking for them, seeking to understand them they’d be amused, maybe even pleased. If they only knew that they are in my journey, peaking my curiosity.

So I tie this all together this way: the curtain goes up and the actors’ reveal something about yourself you never knew. The play ends and you go home and dream that your solitary road is suddenly rich with characters. The playwright has written that autumn is a revelation, like the past, it’s the most magnificent act in the play. You applaud loudly for your life is a hit.

Vera Jane Cook

Riveting, Emotional, Unexpectedly Funny Award Winning Fiction

Author of Pleasant Day, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane, Pharaoh’s Star, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.