Ani’s Advent 2020! “A Squirrel of my Very Own…” El Duque and Marilyn Armstrong

Dear Santa,

I think she is trying to pull a fast one. I know my ball is getting a bit past it… but, as she ought to realise all too well herself, being old and tatty doesn’t stop you being loved.

So she has no need to try replacing my ball with a new toy… even if it does have a smiley face on it and a wicked squeaker…

I mean, it isn’t even Christmas yet, so if she is trying sneaky stuff now, I have to worry what else she has in mind…

I remember her telling me that when he was getting a bit old for trailing a blue blanket around with him (even though it had gone grey by then), my boy was persuaded to leave the blanket out for the Easter Bunny… who turned it into a budgerigar called Magic…

Don’t go getting any ideas between you…

Mind, if you fancy dropping a special gift in to my friend in New England, that qwuld be cool…

Much love,

Ani xxx

Dear Ani,

It must be Kissmas because there are twinkly lights on the window. And it is cold at night now, though we only had one snow so far. Also, I just know they are hiding something. I see packages arrive but instead of opening them, dad takes it and hurries away to the room with the closed door. That must mean it’s mine, right?

It has been real quiet around here. Kaity used to come over with her giant dog. Titan is REALLY big. I like to play too, but … well … Titan’s paws are the size of my head. When he gets frisky — he’s just a puppy so he jumps around a lot — I have to go hide in the crate. Once he sat on me and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get up.
But now, no one comes over. I think a lot of people are sick and everyone is trying hard to stay unsick. So it’s just me and my three hoomans. I guess I’m lucky because I get to watch the squirrels. I get so excited when the squirrels are back on the deck, eating. I bark and bark and bark and they just keep eating. If mom and dad would just let me OUT, I’d show them the meaning of my bark!  We always have squirrels on the deck. I think that makes me lucky, but I’d be luckier if they would let me outside to get a squirrel of my own. Just to play with.

I can’t tell you how very much I want my very own squirrel. I’ll be gentle, really I will. I’m a good boy. Mom tells me that a lot. She told me I’m a good boy when I moved over to lay on top of dad’s legs. Dad doesn’t tell me I’m a good boy when I do that, but mom does and she always tells me the truth, so that must mean it’s okay, right?
I don’t think I understand Christmas. Except the two legses put up a tree and I’m not allowed to touch it. I mean, how unfair can you get? You put a TREE in the LIVING ROOM and I’m not allowed to play with it? That’s mean! And about this diet thing. They think I’m getting pudgy. I think I’m perfect. I must be because mom’s always taking my picture. I must be just fine, right?

Merry Kissmas from all of us here in quarantine in New England, which is just like Old England, but newer. I wish I was over there and I could play with Ani. She’s not so huge, so it wouldn’t be quite as scary as playing with Titan!
El Duque “The Duke”

About the Duke’s Hoomanmarilyn birthday 68

Marilyn Armstrong is a writer, blogger and photographer. She started writing as soon as she could form letters and has never heard a single good reason why she should stop. Marilyn and her husband Garry, as well their son, and The Duke, live in a setting of rare natural beauty and gigantic rocks in rural Massachusetts.

Marilyn blogs at Serendipity where she offers “memories via anecdotes, observations, occasional fiction, and photographs.”

Find and follow Marilyn

Serendipity blog     Twitter    Facebook

Amazon     Goodreads     Google+     LinkedIn

The Twelve Foot Teepee

Fighting the of demons of an abusive childhood and having given up on traditional paths to personal salvation, Maggie decides to find her own path … by building a teepee in her back yard. It’s a peculiar route, but her goal is simple: offload the cargo of her past and move into a future, sans luggage. Armed with a draw knife and a sense of humor, she peels poles and paints canvas until winter passes and she is free.

Ani’s Advent 2020! Snowing Cats and Dogs…

Dear Santa,

We’ve still had no snow. Do you have wheels for the sleigh in case we don’t have any? You never see it with wheels on the pictures… but I don’t think it would be fair to Rudolph and co to expect them to drag you and all those presents around the world without some snow or wheel or something to make it easier. Or do you just use magic?

I like snow… and a certain cat of my acquaintance doesn’t… so, if you have a bit of spare magic, you could always send it over this way…

Much love,

Ani xxx

Snowing Cats and Dogs…

“…but they said it would snow!”
Said the dog, all forlorn
As she sat on the doorstep
To welcome the dawn.

“If I’m really good,
Wish with all of my might,
Could you please work some magic
And turn it all white?”

“They said it would snow,”
Said the cat a bit later,
As I offered chicken
And played the dumb waiter.

“Not a cat in Hell’s chance,
You are mad,” said the cat,
“If you think I am going
To go out in that.”

“Just pass me a prawn,
Then I’ll sit in the sun
And I’ll dream about summer
Till winter is done.”

“Let me out,” said the dog,
“‘Cause its snowing, dear writer!”
As I tried hard to keep in
The heating despite her.

“Will you come out to play,”
Said the small dog, inviting,
“And roll in the snow with me,
Do some play-fighting?”

“Or I can make snowballs
By rolling my ball…
And everything’s squishy
Wherever you fall!”

“The snow on the nose
Sometimes gets a bit chilly,
But come and join in,
Let your hair down…be silly!”

I could not resist
Her excited demeanour,
Nor could any other dog-lover
Who’d seen her.

So she played in the snow,
And I played out and froze,
While she melted my heart
Catching snow on her nose.

P. S. If anyone is looking for a stocking filler…

Pass the Turkey- Doggerel – Laughter Lines – Notes from a Small Dog

Available in Paperback and for Kindle via Amazon


Ani’s Advent 2020! Ruby’s Christmas Adventure…

Dear Santa,

She’s been getting all nostalgic lately, remembering lots of things from a long, long time ago. Like the big snowfall when she was little and had to be carried to school because it was so deep… Or playing with all the toys in the storeroom of the place where her mother worked…

Then she does that thing where she smiles while her eyes are leaking and I can’t work out whether I’m s’pposed to comfort her or not.

Weird, these two legses…

Anyway, I have told you about the Long Remembering of my kind… and shared one of our storiesWe remember the important things… and we all have our own ways of touching these special memories.

Today Ruby’s two-legs has come over to share an adventure with us… It is good to know Ruby is tucked up safe and warm now.

Much love,

Ani xxx

P.S. If you would like to join the fun and be part of my Advent Calendar, just send me your Christmas stories, poems and memories… or even share your letters to Santa Paws.

I’d love to hear from anyone with fur or feathers, four-legs or even two!

(Email my two-legs at

Ruby’s Christmas Adventure


Ruby’s outside in the snow

Why she’s there she doesn’t know.

The moon is bright up in sky

The stars are twinkling, about to fly.

All is silent, there’s not a sound

As gentle snow covers the ground.

Ruby’s nose picks up a smell

What it is she cannot tell.

Then she hears hear a baby’s cry

And angelic voices from the sky.

Picking up her favourite ball

Off she trots to answer the call.

Softly padding through the snow

Following her nose she knows which way to go.

There is a bright star to lead the way.

So from the path she will not stray.

Following the the happy sound

Ruby wonders what is to be found

As she rounds the corner there’s a surprise.

She can’t believe her doggy eyes.

There’s a couple in the barn

Belonging to the nearby farm.

The whole place is full of light

Ruby’s never seen it so cosy and bright.


The young couple and the angels soon spot Ruby.

They beckon her in to meet their newbie.

What a beautiful child,

Makes this starlit walk worthwhile.

Ruby walks into the stall

Into the manger she drops her favourite ball.

Ruby then sits a while bathing in warmth of love.

Brought this night from heaven above.

Finally Ruby leaves for home

Suddenly so tired she’s grown.

As walks back through the snow

Her pace is laboured and she is slow.

Suddenly she can walk no more

She sees her home but can’t reach the door.

In the snow she lays down

Hopefully, she will be found.

The blackness descends

Ruby’s lost, she needs her friends.

Slowly she collapses into the snow.

She is too old and it’s too far for her to go.

Ruby sleeps, a smile on her face.

The snow covers her every trace.

Ruby wakes, wrapped in a blanket in her bed.

Her two legs crouching by her head.

What was she doing so far from home

We could of lost her out there alone.

Wondering where she had been

Was it real or a dream .

Ruby smiles she knows what’s she’s seen.

She hopes the baby likes her ball.

Ruby dreams of him so cute and small.

About Ruby’s Two-legs

I am the mum of three boys all now grown and flown to live their own lives. Luckily they do keep in touch and visit often, sadly not as much as they used to during these covid times. I also now have two beautiful grandsons.

When I started this blog I had not long come home from hospital after an accident in which I broke my back, for the second time in twenty years. I was in hospital for a month and had three operations.

It has taken me a long time to recover, I am still recovering but every day my body is getting stronger.It has taken a huge toll on me mentally I had to retire early on health grounds, I had to come to terms with finding out people I thought were friends were not. I had to make a new life for myself.

Writing poetry and prose has helped me a great deal, in fact I think it has saved my life. The people I have met on WordPress over the last nine years are now very dear friends. I have not met all of my blog friends but feel I have. Those I have met at the Bloggers Bashes we have had in the past did not disappoint.🙂

You can find me at

And at facebook as Willow Willers

Ani’s Advent Calendar 2020! A poem from Maggie

Dear Santa,

There are some of my friends missing from this year’s Advent Calendar. One of them is Maggie, who lived, held in love, from puppyhood to a wonderful old age.

Two years ago, she sent me a poem. It is a reminder that not all homes will celebrate this time of year as a time of plenty. Many have lost loved ones, both two legged and four. There will be empty chairs… and hearts that miss those they love. This year, especially, has beena year filled with worry and lots of homes will have less than they planned, as their livelihoods are threatened or taken by the virus.

Me and Maggie have always been well looked after. Not all dogs are so lucky… and not all two legses either. Mine remembers Christmasses when her pups were little and there was nothing with which to make a Christmas, so she made things for them instead. They were too little to realise, so they were happy enough. And then some kind people from a charity brought proper toys and food on Christmas Eve. She says she cried a lot that Christmas. Not all of them unhappy tears.She still puts the old matchboxes she wrapped as decorations on the tree … just as a reminder that things are not quite so hard now, and to remind her that Christmas is not about what you can spend, but about the love you can share.

Much love,

Ani xxx

A Christmas Poem from Maggie

from Christmas 2018

Images dancing around the tree,
Soft lights and tinsel for all to see,
Faces aglow by candlelight
Everyone happy, merry and bright.

Not all is so overwhelming or grand,
For some, too young to understand
Reasons why Santa does not come
To their house when the ‘Eve is done.

Empty tables, no tree to share,
A present perhaps, wrapped with loving care,
Nothing much, but a gift just the same
With ribbon and bow, and a tag with their name.

In houses stretched across land and sea,
Images differ from tree to tree,
The future for some is not happy and bright,
Yet their faces glow in the candlelight.

It’s Christmas, and my wish to all of you
Is happiness and love when this Day is through:
Not all are surrounded by festive cheer,
But are in the hearts of those held most dear.

About Maggie’s Mum

Maggie shares her home with Di and her husband. Di describes herself as a retired number-cruncher, but there is far more to her than that. Di blogs at pensitivity101 and was one of our writephoto regulars. She was the first to come over and introduce herself with a guest post. You can read her story in her own words here.


Ani’s Advent Calendar 2020! Paws for thought…

Dear Santa,

Do you know how many of the four-legs I have met since I’ve been blogging have come from rescues and shelters? You’ve got to admit, they are all intelligent and interesting creatures… Yes, even the cats. Noelle’s Garfield, for a start, though it pains me to say it, is gorgeous.


Some are more than gorgeous, they are making a difference in the world. Dogs like Ben, who started life as an orphan, is raising money by climbing the mountains of Scotland to help Search and Rescue and Canine Partners who train dogs to help people with disabilities.

Then there are all the dogs who work hard looking after their two-legses… the assistance dogs who are eyes, ears and support for their people. I was supposed to be an assistance dog when they rescued me as a pup, but we never got far with that. My role is fairly eclectic… food disposal and recyling unit, foot warmer, exercise machine, clown and comforter, all rolled into one.

But if there is one who deserves a special mention, it is a two legs… a writer who sells lots of books, but who gives the money away to help rescue dogs from kill-shelters. Her name is Paulette Mahurin, and her books are all exceptionally well written, deeply moving and definitely worth reading… and the profits are saving lives.

Paulette recently posted an update on her website, and if you read nothing else, look at the numbers: “I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased, read, and taken the time to review one of my books…. So far in 2020 148 dogs have been rescued. In 2019 409 dogs have been rescued. In 2018 670 dogs have been rescued. In 2017 we’ve helped free 904 dogs. In 2016, 250 dogs were freed. In 2015, 149 dogs were freed.”

Paulette has just released a new book, Where Irisies Never Grow. Please visit Amazon to view this and all her books, and her website to read about the rescued dogs and see their pictures.

Where Irises Never Grow by [Paulette Mahurin]


Find Paulette’s books on Amazon UK and Amazon US

It is really easy to think you can’t make much of a difference, because, in the grand scheme of things, you are too small to be noticed. I mean, if we are talking ‘small’, well my own two-legs is sort of vertically challenged… but where was I? It doesn’t matter.

The little things add up. In the same way that one smile can change a two-legs’ day, or one furry head on your knee can bring tears and comfort… one tiny grain of sand, with a billion others, can make a beach and one drop of water, with others, can make a tidal wave.

At Christmas, when so many families are having fun… there are so many, both two-legged and four… who are without homes, shelter or hope.

You don’t have to do much, just do what you can.

Ani’s Advent 2020! A Christmas Gift from Pamela at Butterfly Sand #shortstory

Dear Santa,

I’ve been meaning to mention… could we do something about the Tree? I know you don’t do wands, but maybe you could wave an elf or something?

The thing is, I know you know how to manipulate space and time. You manage the whole world in one night and all those presents with one little sleigh and one team of reindeer… There would be complaints from animal activists from here to the North Pole if there wasn’t some kind of magic or quantum science involved. And I only need a little bit more space for my Tree…

She says we’ll manage, but with all her tanks and machines, I’m not sure how. And I need the Tree. Not only does our Robin have to come out to play every year, but you leave all my presents underneath it! Or even sometimes… inside it!

I will never forget the Ball Tree with the Chicken Star… Best Christmas EVER!

So, if you could see your way clear to magicking a little bit more space for us this year, that would be really cool. And a freezer big enough for a whole turkey would be nice too.

I promise I’ll be good… and I’ll leave extra treats out for Rudolph and co…

And there’s a lovey story here from my friend Pamela too. Put your feet up and have a read…

Much love, Ani xxx

The Christmas Gift


Pamela Read

Jeremy was bereft. His feet were cold and he felt the sniffles coming on. And yet here he was on the evening of December 24 standing in a freezing parking lot looking at dying trees.  Why? Because his family insisted. He desperately wanted to tell the world to piss off and just go and get drunk in some dive bar.

He hadn’t always been like this. He used to love Christmas. But 11 months and 13 days ago everything changed. The woman who completed him, who made him laugh and more importantly who laughed at his jokes, died. Mattie loved Christmas.  She loved life. She loved him. Until some two bit gangsta’ wanna-be thought it would be fun to drag race on a snow-covered icy street. They said she died instantly. But he didn’t. Jeremy wanted to die or to kill, but instead he lived. He felt the tiny box in his pocket. He had planned to ask her that night. That’s why she was out. They were going to meet.

It had been a horrible few months but everyone seemed to have moved on. Except for Jeremy. Here he was standing in the cold with instructions to buy a lovely full tree for Christmas.  He shook his head, was about to turn around and leave when he heard an odd sound.

He looked around the parking lot but he didn’t see anyone. The sound was low, almost frantic. It was a scratching noise with a hiccup and a sigh. It intrigued him. He wanted to know what was making that sound. Jeremy took a step forward and the sound changed. It was a whine now and a huffing noise. It didn’t sound human and yet it didn’t sound animal either.

A back-firing car startled him.  He felt silly. It was probably just the wind stirring up some garbage. Jeremy shrugged his shoulders, he knew he needed to get on with his life. He could never forget her but maybe he should put her where she needed to be:  deep in his heart where she could be protected, her memory safe.  He would start by taking an active roll in this evening’s activities.

In that moment something else happened.  Jeremy seemed to swim up from the abyss of grief he had been living in for almost a year.  His eyes truly opened. He almost smiled. He was looking for a tree. Now there were tall ones and fat ones and ones that looked a little sad. But he couldn’t seem to find one that he thought needed a home with his family. And then something fell on his foot. It wasn’t very heavy, it was very small and it coughed.

Jeremy peered down at his feet trying to see what this thing was.  There wasn’t a great deal of light but he was pretty sure that he saw it move. Without thinking he reached down and scooped up the small ball of something.

The next thing that happened was unexpected. But perhaps given the day, appropriate.  With the small black bundle at eye level Jeremy poked it. It poked back! And then it opened its mouth and emitted a rather large meow. It was a kitten. It was a small, black, cold, abandoned kitten. It curled itself into a ball and started to purr. Jeremy smiled for the first time in almost a year. He tucked the sleeping bundle into his pocket and bought the tree it had been hiding under.

He got his tree. He didn’t haggle the price, he just paid it and chuckled. He was taking home more than a tree.  He had found the Spirit of Christmas hiding in the small body of a kitten under a tree.

About Pamela

Pamela, better known to the blogging community as Quiall, blogs at Butterfly Sand. She is a writer and poet who loves to draw and paint.

She writes of herself:

“I am a woman with a mission: to live life to the fullest. I will not let an itty, bitty incurable disease stop me. It may slow me down but like a ship dragging an anchor, I’ll get there eventually. Walk with me at”

P.S. If you would like to join the fun and be part of my Advent Calendar, just send me your Christmas stories, poems and memories… or even share your letters to Santa Paws.

I’d love to hear from anyone with fur or feathers, four-legs or even two!

(Email my two-legs at

A Job Description For The Writer’s Pet #amwriting

Lucy Mitchell

Sometimes, the best part about writing is that my dog is always snoring nearby, offering sleepy moral support as I sit at my desk, agonizing over my latest fictional romance.

Lots of well known writers have had pet sidekicks; Charles Dickens’ cherished animal companion was a raven named Grip, Edgar Allan Poe was a cat-person and his pet feline was named Catterina, John Steinbeck had a dog named Charley and Virginia Woolf had a dog who was called Pinka.

So, I have been thinking about what sort of qualities are needed for a writer’s pet. Here’s how I think a job description for a writer’s pet might look…

Vacancy For A Writer’s Pet.

About The Role:

Animal / bird / fish / reptile needed to provide long-term emotional and creative support to a writer.


Can vary each week. Dependent upon a number of factors:

The writer’s feelings towards their…

View original post 619 more words

Ani’s Advent 2020! Homespun Magic with Anita Dawes

Dear Santa,

I heard her talking today about things she wants to do for Christmas. They aren’t big things, just little ones. And some of them, I can’t even eat…

She wants to make and bake all the things she used to when our boys were little. I think she would even make all the Christmas ‘trimmings’ herself if she could. She remembers one year when they did just that… and they still have most of them. Even some little ‘presents’ for the Christmas tree… just little empty boxes that she wrapped up before the boys were born.

She says it is good to remember other days… and remember that what made them special was the love and the thought that went into them, not the money that was spent on things.

As long as that doesn’t mean she economises on my turkey, that’s okay. I’d rather have her to snuggle up to, than the biggest turkey ever… (though both would be nice… just mentioning that…).

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Merlin’s two-legses, Anita and Jaye, remember a Christmas that went all inside out..

Much love,

Ani xxx

P.S. If you would like to join the fun and be part of my Advent Calendar, just send me your Christmas stories, poems and memories… or even share your letters to Santa Paws.

I’d love to hear from anyone with fur or feathers, four-legs or even two!

(Email my two-legs at

I remember the time we were living in a small caravan, not much room for anything, let alone to swing a cat. Sorry about that, Ani, I forgot for a moment I am speaking to someone with four legs.

For the first time in my granddaughter’s lives, we had no room for a Christmas tree, and this did not feel right at all. We desperately needed a little magic.

On Christmas Day, we left the curtains closed until they arrived and managed to squeeze everyone around the table for dinner.

To a drum roll, Jaye opened the curtains. Right outside the window, by the field, stood our old Christmas tree, fully decorated. My granddaughters rushed outside to make sure it was real. We always like to surprise them, and let me tell you, they were surprised.

Happy Christmas to you and your two legs, Ani…


Anita DawesAbout Anita

Anita Dawes loves all things esoteric, magical and other worldly and would prefer to live in a fairy tale. In between these moments, she likes to visit old churches and ancient buildings.
She has written six fiction novels in various genres, Bad Moon, Simple, Secrets, The Scarlet Ribbon; Let it Go and Not My Life. Presently working on a sequel to her popular supernatural romance, The Scarlet Ribbon.
Anita has recently rediscovered her childhood love of poetry and often writes and posts them online.
Owned by an egocentric black and white cat called Merlin, named after her favourite hero, Anita dislikes computers and prefers to writes longhand, sharing a website with Jaye Marie, who transcribes and edits her work.

Find and Follow Anita

website    Twitter   Facebook      Goodreads    Amazon Author  Page

Pinterest    Instagram  Medium

Find all Anita’s books on her Amazon Author Page 

Ani’s Advent 2020! Elijah Moon, Garfield and Noelle Granger…

Dear Santa, I’ll confess right now,

I don’t like many cats.

The way they crouch and stare at me…

S’enough to drive me bats.


They sit upon the garden fence

And always out of reach,

And some of them will spit and snarl

And sometimes even screech.


I don’t like many cats at all,

It’s something in their eyes…

As if they’re planning stealth attacks

To take you by surprise…


But not all cats have fur and teeth,

Just painted eyes, you see…

But honest, Santa this wild ‘cat’

Is big enough for me!


Elijah Moon, though, he was a cool cat. Almost doglike in his attitude, I recall. I think I would have got on well with him… and his two-legs seems to be bringing up Garfield quite nicely too…

Much love,

Ani xxx

P.S. If you would like to join the fun and be part of my Advent Calendar, just send me your Christmas stories, poems and memories… or even share your letters to Santa Paws.

I’d love to hear from anyone with fur or feathers, four-legs or even two!

(Email my two-legs at

Elijah Moon was discovered living in the crawl space of our former home with his brother Ezekial aka Zeke. We didn’t know to whom they belonged and they were clearly in need of good food. So we had them vaccinated and adopted them.

They stayed living outside, first on our side deck, then on our back deck on a cat tree under an umbrella. We had three cats already inside and they didn’t mix well. Finally we got them little cat houses to live in during the winter.

Zeke died of cancer several years later (we had to have him put down) and with the death of our three inside cats, Elijah became an indoor outdoor cat. Outdoors during the day (but always in the yard) and indoors at night. Especially after the coyotes arrived.

While Zeke was wiry and adventuresome (friends told us they ran into him on the local hiking trails), Elijah was round and happy and never left the yard. Elijah also liked to swim and would float around in our pool on a mat while I was swimming! He also loved sleeping under the Christmas tree and was partial to the smell of fresh wreaths. He lived to be 16 when he died of heart failure. I missed his loving face so much that my husband was persuaded to adopt a cat from the shelter. I wanted an orange cat, like Elijah, and I spotted Garfield on the shelter website. It was love at first sight.

Garfield, for all his being a Maine coon (at least in part) is very timid. I think because he was born in the shelter and lived there for three months before we adopted him. He is very athletic and loved to run up and down stairs and the upstairs hallway at our old house. Here he contents himself with running down the hall and turning the corner, driving the hallway area rugs up against the wall. And finding little objects on the floor to play with. He also sleeps with me at night, standing on my shoulder and bleating in my ear if I am not turned to face him!

He’s not shown much interest in our Christmas trees yet but maybe this year?

About the author

Noelle Granger

Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a rambling, 125-year-old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming. She was also one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation. Granger graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series was born.

The series features Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse, as the protagonist. Rhe lives in the fictional coastal town of Pequod, Maine, (similar to Plymouth) and Granger uses her knowledge of such a small town, her experiences sailing along the Maine coast, and her medical background to enrich each book in the series. In the first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair, the discovery of a wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of a soccer field, leads Rhe on a trail that heads to a high-end brothel and a dodgy mortuary operation.

The second novel in the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death in a Dacron Sail, was released in 2015, and finds Rhe responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The third book, Death By Pumpkin, begins with the sighting of the remains of a man’s body in a car smashed by a giant pumpkin at the Pequod Pumpkin Festival.

In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Granger has had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine, and has been featured in Chapel Hill Magazine, The News & Observer, The Boothbay Register, and other local press. Granger lives with her husband, a cat who blogs, and a hyperactive dog in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She spends a portion of every summer in Maine.

Noelle blogs at Sayling Away and you can find her on Twitter @rhebrewster, Goodreads and Facebook. Follow Noelle on Amazon for the latest updates and new books.

Click titles to go to Amazon

The Last Pilgrim: The Life of Mary Allerton Cushman

N. A. Granger

The Last Pilgrim: The Life of Mary Allerton Cushman captures and celebrates the grit and struggle of the Pilgrim women, who stepped off the Mayflower in the winter of 1620 to an unknown world – one filled with hardship, danger and death.  The Plymouth Colony would not have survived without them.

Mary Allerton Cushman was the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower, dying at age 88 in 1699. Her unusually long life and her relationships with important men – her father, Isaac Allerton and her husband, Thomas Cushman – gave her a front row seat to the history of the Plymouth Colony from its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in New England to when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Mary’s life is set against the real background of that time. The Last Pilgrim begins from her father’s point of view – she was, after all, only four when she descended into the small living space below deck on the Mayflower – but gradually assumes Mary’s voice, as the colony achieves a foothold in the New England’s rocky soil. Hers is a story of survival – the daily, back-breaking work to ensure food on the table, the unsettled interactions with local native tribes, the dangers of wild animals, and the endless challenges of injury, disease and death.

What was a woman’s life like in the Plymouth Colony? The Last Pilgrim will tell you.

13194341_9781630030339_coverDeath in a Red Canvas Chair

On a warm fall afternoon, the sweet odor of decay distracts Rhe Brewster from the noise and fury of her son’s soccer game. She’s a tall, attractive emergency room nurse with a type A personality, a nose for investigation and a yen for adrenalin. This time her nose leads her to the wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of the soccer field. Her first call is to her brother-in-law, Sam Brewster, who is Sheriff of Pequod, the coastal Maine town where she lives. Sam and Rhe’s best friend Paulette, Pequod’s answer to Betty Crocker, are her biggest sources of encouragement when Rhe decides to help the police find the killer. Her discovery that the victim is a student at the local college is initially thwarted by an old frenemy, Bitsy Wellington, the Dean of Students. Will, Rhe’s husband and a professor at the same college, resents her involvement in anything other than being a wife and mother and must be manipulated by Rhe so that she can follow her instincts. Rhe’s interviews of college students leads her to a young woman who had been recruited the previous year to be an escort on a Caribbean cruise ship, and Rhe trails her to a high class brothel at a local seaside estate. The man behind the cruise ship escort service and the brothel is the owner of a chain of mortuaries and is related to the dead student. When Rhe happens on the murder of a young hospital employee who also works for the mortuary chain, she becomes too much of a threat to the owner’s multiple enterprises. She is kidnapped by two of his thugs and is left to die in a mortuary freezer. In the freezer she finds frozen body parts, which are linked to a transplantation program at her hospital. Despite all the twists and turns in her investigation, Rhe ultimately understands why the student was killed and who did it. And she solves the riddle of why the body was placed in the red canvas chair on the soccer field.

Read a review by Irene A. Waters

Death in a Dacron Sail high-resolution-front-cover-4957203

On an icy February morning, Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse with a nose for investigation, is called to a dock in the harbor of the small coastal town of Pequod, Maine. A consultant to the Pequod Police Department, Rhe is responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The subsequent finding of the body of a young girl, wrapped in a sail and without a finger, sends the investigation into high gear and reveals the existence of three other missing girls, as well as a childhood friend of Rhe’s. Battered by vitriolic objections from her husband about her work, the pregnant Rhe continues her search, dealing with unexpected obstacles and ultimately facing the challenge of crossing an enormous frozen bog to save herself. Will she survive? Is the kidnapper someone she knows? In Death in a Dacron Sail, the second book in the Rhe Brewster mystery series, Rhe’s nerves and endurance are put to the test as the kidnapper’s action hits close to home.

Read a review by author Luccia Gray

49266584_high-resolution-front-cover_6292375Death by Pumpkin

At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin Drop. Racing to the scene, where a one-ton pumpkin was dropped from a crane to crush an old car, Rhe and her brother-in-law, Sam, Pequod’s Chief of Police, discover the car contains the smashed remains of a man’s body. After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind. With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, this time to confront a menace that threatens to destroy her life and those closest to her. The latest installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death by Pumpkin, is a murder mystery and thriller that tests the limits of Rhe’s strength and resolve like never before.

Read a review by Kate Loveton

Death in a Mudflat

Fearless detective, ER nurse, devoted mother, and Pequod, Maine’s, answer to Kinsey Milhone, Rhe Brewster is back on the case. When an idyllic seaside wedding is suddenly interrupted by the grotesque sight of a decaying human arm poking out of the tidal mud, Rhe is thrown head first into a treacherous world of duplicity, drugs, and murder. With her best friend Paulette and her main man Sam, the Chief of Police, Rhe seeks to solve the puzzle of the body found in the muck while also working with the FBI to identify the source of shipments of tainted heroin flooding the local campus and community. Maine’s opioid crisis has hit the town hard, with an escalating number of overdoses. More murders are uncovered, testing Rhe’s detective skills and steely resolve. While she follows the clues, Rhe encounters some sinister inhabitants of Pequod’s underbelly, including a practitioner of the Dark Arts, a hydra-headed crime gang, and an embittered, unhinged lobsterman with an axe to grind and nothing to lose. In her relentless drive to solve the crimes, Rhe narrowly escapes a watery grave, trades blows with Russian goons, and unknowingly prompts Paulette to put her life on the line in an attempt to catch a murderer in the act.

Read a review by Olga Nunez Miret

Ani’s Advent 2020! Rex the Hero and Jennie Fitzkee.

Dear Santa,

Sometimes, you have to wonder at people… I mean, last time Rex told us one of his stories, he just told us about the things he sort of got in trouble for. It turns out, though, that he’s pretty much a hero and never mentioned it…

Mind you, there are lots of people who are real heroes and never say a word. The quiet ones who look out for everyone else… the ones who work behind the scenes who no-one notices… the ones who never blow their own trumpet and don’t even think they are remarkable in any way.

And many of them have been especially busy this year, looking after the people this horrible bug has kept indoors and made lonely.  If there is room in your sack for a bit extra this years, Santa… maybe you could sprinkle a bit of magic for them…

Much love,

Ani xxx

If you would like to join the fun and be part of my Advent Calendar, just send me your Christmas stories, poems and memories… or even share your letters to Santa Paws.

I’d love to hear from anyone with fur or feathers, four-legs or even two!

(Email my two-legs at

Dear Ani,

It’s your old friend, Rex.  If you remember, I caught the flying turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.  It was delicious, and I was in trouble.  Some trouble is worth the risk.  I know you like to chase and catch balls.  I do too!  I also like to chase and catch ducks.  I’m a black lab, after all.

One day my two-legged took me duck hunting.  This was our favorite sport most weekends.  We rode in a canoe.  I was good at keeping a sharp eye out for any ducks nearby.  Well, that day something happened in the canoe and it tipped over.  My two-legged was wearing rubber waders that fit like overalls.  Oh, he was an excellent swimmer, but when he fell into the water as the canoe tipped over, water poured into his waders.  He was sinking pretty fast.  I did what any good lab would do- I took hold of his wader with my teeth and swam to shore.  Boy, that was hard work.

I remember lots of cheering from fellow duck hunters nearby.  My two-legged’s son wrote the whole story and sent it to Field and Stream magazine.  All I know is that it was really hard to pull him to shore, even for me.  I’d rather be chasing ducks, or balls with you.

Your friend,


About Rex’s two-legs:

Jennie Fitzkee has been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is her passion. She believes that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what she writes about.

She is highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of her reading to children. Her class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Follow Jennie on her blog, A Teacher’s Reflections.

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