A SPECIAL THANK YOU to everyone who bought and enjoyed A CHARMED PLACE, which stayed on half a dozen bestseller lists for a month or more. I was (to put it plainly) delirious with joy. Thank you, too, for writing me to let me know what you think of my books. I'm so pleased to hear from you, and I generally answer within a day or so.


August, 1998

Dear Readers,

Nope. I haven't broken my wrist, moved to Polynesia, or taken a vow of silence. I've been--hmm, how shall I put this?--goofing off. The new book got handed in more or less on schedule, and after that I immediately made up for lost time by ... shopping.

That surprised me. Generally after I finish a manuscript I run screaming from the computer straight into my garden and weed furiously. But this year it was too hot; and anyway, in this barren, rocky soil even the weeds have a tough time getting out of control. (I forget now where "Desire Under the Elms" is set, but surely it's in Norfolk, Mass.)

I bought myself an old rocking chair (uh-oh; there's a bad sign) and some old silverplate for my sister (who loves and actually uses it) and just wandered around antique shops, admiring the good stuff, smiling at the kitschy stuff, and soaking up the past that seems so palpable there. I'm not a mall shopper (I'm not even an outlet mall shopper); but I do love antique shops, secondhand shops, and small-town shops. They have history, character, and personality.

Which is probably why I've given my latest heroine her own charming shop in a quaint downtown district in an imaginary historic town in eastern Connecticut. Liv Bennett sells fabric: exquisite fabric, pretty fabric, fabric that is wonderful to see and touch. Those of you who sew know just what I'm talking about. Isn't it fun to pick the pattern, choose the fabric, match the thread? Isn't it a delight to watch something take shape while you hope that your choices make sense? (And isn't it absolutely crushing when you've made a mistake and they don't??)

Sewing is a lot like writing a novel. You have to conceive of the project, make lots of decisions, exercise discipline, and try your best to match the vision that's in your head. So, to all the seamstresses out there, I salute you. You've got what it takes.

Oh. The Korats. I have to admit, by the time I mailed off my manuscript, the cats were bouncing off the walls. Tiki missed the cuddling and resented being booted out of my lap as I hunkered over my keyboard. And Tommy ... well, Tommy. What can I say? Tommy gets my attention not by whining, as Tiki does, but by being outrageous. I kept my camera handy just to show you. Tommy being bad(10K)
Tommy being good(10K) In the first shot, he's pawing at my keyboard, trying, I assume, to cover it up. (Ever seen a cat in a litterbox? Then you get the idea what he thinks of my keyboard.) Tommy is as cuddly as he is wicked, though, and to prove it, here's a second shot of Tommy Being Good. He can do it when he tries.

I'll update this site again very shortly (I promise). I kind of did a little backsliding there, didn't I.

All the best to you,

Antoinette Stockenberg

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