April 15, 1998

Dear Readers,

I know, I know: this letter is late. However, please note the date. Uh-huh. Tax day. As it happens, the man who does my taxes is the same guy who updates my website. Yeah, that guy. The one who built my rose arbor and bakes all our bread and, oh, by the way, happens to be flat out on a project at work. So I guess I can't give him any grief (that's what he tells me, anyway. Personally, I have always thought that giving someone grief, provided it's done in an entertaining way, is an art form.)

Actually, I'm so flat out myself with my latest book that I haven't been out of the house much, anyway, and have no new adventures to tell. Heck, we're probably the only two people on the planet who haven't seen Titanic yet. And we're sailors! Or at least we used to be. But we'll be sailors again once we move back to Newport, and meanwhile it might be instructive to be scared out of our wits by the ultimate boat-sinking story.
Incidentally, here are two charming photos in honor of my upcoming release, A CHARMED PLACE. (The only quality they all share is charm, but hey.) The first photo is of Tommy (the Korat) and Tiki (the mystery cat) eyeing the squirrel they're convinced they could catch if only I let them out to do it. Two cats and friend(11K)
Small garden(19K) The second photo is of a tiny postage-stamp-sized garden in front of our Newport cottage. Unlike our perennial beds, the flowers in this tiny square change every year. I was big into delphiniums and snapdragons the year I took this. Oh, how I miss that little spot of heaven.

Got time for a cute story? This one involves me, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and one of the great advocates of romance, Patricia Rouse of Romantic Times.

As everyone knows, Susan Phillips has a book out called Dream a Little Dream. As not everyone knows, I also have a book out called Dream a Little Dream. Pat Rouse knew it when she was shopping at a store recently. (Oh, all right, shopping at a K-Mart. She gave me permission to tell you that. After all, K-Mart carries Martha Stewart domestics nowadays.)

Anyway, Pat was walking through the store when an accent pillow in a pile of pillows on a display table caught her eye. The pillow, in burgundy, cream, and navy, had two angels waving wands of stardust over a banner that said "Dream a Little Dream." Pat fell in love with the pillow. Snatched it up. Hugged it to her breast. What a find! How appropriate!

But wait! She knows two authors for whom it would be perfect. She begins rummaging through the pile, looking for a second one. Nothing! Frantic now, because she can't send one of us a pillow without doing the same thing for the other, she gets a wild look in her eye as she digs deeper, deeper into the pile.

A saleswoman runs over. "What's wrong?" she cries.

"I have to have another pillow just like this one," Pat shouts. "Help me!"

The two plunge into the pile, tossing pillows hither and yon. Women with children give them a wide berth. Men in the tool aisle peer at them over the hammers and screwdrivers. The manager thinks about coming over. And then: Ta-dah! A twin to the Perfect Pillow is found. The day is saved. Pat rushes for the checkout before the security guard can arrest her for making a mess.

Isn't she the most absolute doll?

I guess I should wrap this up. The new book is not about to write itself. I'll write more about it in a couple of months, but for now just let me say that this one is darker, sexier, happier and sadder than any I've written before it.

And in the meantime, A CHARMED PLACE will be on the shelves in just a couple of weeks. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. I really, really listen to my readers, so if something works for you or something doesn't, just let me know and I'll remember it the next time I sit down to plot out a book. After all, that's what I'm here for. To bring you lots of reading pleasure.

All the best,

Antoinette Stockenberg

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