Monthly Archives: June 2015

Father’s Day Walk

Last Sunday was a great day for many reasons.  For one, the sky was full of fluffy beautiful clouds against a clear blue sky.  And and there were plenty of cloud faces!  Some were a little wild.

Cloud face 2Some were more of the contemplative type.  Daydreaming?  Head in the clouds?  Did I really type that?

Cloud face 1And because it was Father’s Day, Alice took me on a walk in Central Park — a tradition with us.

We started out along the reservoir and checked out the wild flowers.  One of these days, I intend to do a little book about them.

Wild 1But first, I have to learn all of their names!

Wild 2And let’s not forget the interesting looking plants that are not strictly speaking wild flowers.  They deserve a book too.

CormorantBut I will leave to others with telephoto lenses the task of creating a book on the birds of the Reservoir.  Although I do know that is a cormorant.

MonarchAnd this is a monarch butterfly.

We kept walking, but my daughter walks very quickly and I soon used the ruse of buying her an ice cream to find a shaded cool quiet spot to rest.

Cool Quiet SpotNot very much later (according to my aching legs), we arrived at the Shakespeare Garden, which is one of our very most favorite spots in the Park.  Aside from the little plaques with the quotes from the various plays, and the winding paths, and the sundial, there are the flowers.

Pink lilies …

Lilys And yellow something-or-others …

yellow flowersRed whatchmacallits…

Pink flowersAnd little bitty orange ones …

Tiny flowersThey are planted in such a way that new colors and flowers seem to pop up wherever you look.

Group flowersBest of all, perhaps, the tree faces were keeping a sharp look-out for people who might want to pick a flower.

tree face 3Don’t even think about it.

Tree face 2

We started back and the old man had to take another rest.  But, cheer up, the clouds were still above.  And Alice spotted a horse cavorting across that beautiful blue sky.

Horse cloudI hope everyone enjoyed their day as much as we did.



Welcome Author Susan Bernhardt

We are very happy to welcome Susan Bernhardt to our blog today, all the way from Wisconsin! Ken had an uncle, aunt and cousin from the Lake Como area of Wisconsin and has many wonderful memories of summer trips  — swimming and fishing in the lakes, playing golf, and generally having a great time. 🙂

Susan is the author of The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under The Tree, two excellent cozy mysteries involving the amateur sleuth, Kay Driscoll, in the fictional town of Sudbury Falls, Wisconsin.  Her third Kay Driscoll mystery, Murder By Fireworks, is due out in the fall of this year.  Susan enjoys many activities.  Among other things, she rides her bike (on twenty mile jaunts) and hikes, sometimes to considerable heights, as witnessed by the following photo.

Susa Pic 2

She also enjoys some more modest climbs that are no less rewarding.

with corbin

Along with her writing skills, Susan is an artist.   This is one of her mosaics.  Beautiful!

mosaicAnd here is a photo she took of her front yard.

poster edges

We have sent her a picture of the goddess Diana and will see if she can replicate it for the floor of her kitchen! We’re guessing she can.


In any event, it is now time for our interview.

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child. The public library has played an important part in my life, from childhood as you will read below to high school where I would visit the downtown library obsessed with my book topic of the month, to college where I studied for tests until 2 a.m. I took my children to story hour and knew all the best children’s authors. It was a place to escape to at times, a place that I worked at for a short period and where I volunteered. I still visit the library each week. When I was old enough as a child, I would walk to the library throughout the summer, which was about a mile away and would choose books to read for that week. Then I’d return the next week and tell the librarian what each book was about and then bring home another ten or twelve. I belonged to the reading club.

(This answer has evoked such nice memories of all the libraries we have enjoyed over the years. They have a spiritual quality.)

Which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction? I met two friends in a writing group who literally changed my life by introducing me to an entirely new world of literature. I had mostly read mysteries books and even though my new interests were still mostly mysteries, they were vastly different. The first book was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. To this day, it is my favorite book. And to sum it up in one sentence, it is a novel about the love of literature. I read other books by this author, and went on to Gabriel García Márquez, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Donna Leon, and many others.

(This looks like a book we will want to read!  It is now on hold for us at the public library.  Yes, we use and enjoy the library!)

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written). Since the rules are that I can’t choose to leave The Ginseng Conspiracy…lol…I would say Anne of Green Gables. The book was sweet and delightful. It told of a more simple life and had great lessons about love, friendship, and family.

(Another book worth reading again as an adult.)

 Green Gables

Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you. That I’m not OCD about how I arrange the subject of my books. Lol. We have several bookcases in our home. My husband made the bookcase shown from a piece of furniture I wanted to get rid of. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Our bookshelves would show that I am interested in a broad range of books: mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, political books, etc.


Bookshelf II Bookshelf(Beautiful selection.  And well done to your husband!)


We have read and enjoyed The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree is already on our TBR pile – can you tell about your murder mystery set in New York City? Right now the story is all over the place. I’m still writing the first draft, so I don’t know where I’ll all go with it. The main story is about Irina, a retired ballet dancer living in Manhattan who runs a ballet studio for young children. A normally healthy neighbor becomes ill over time, dies, and Irina sets out to prove it wasn’t from natural causes. There’s a bit about Lithuania in the Cold War, subplots include a lover from the Irina’s college years at NYU who suddenly reenters her life, a stranger obsessed with Irina who moves into her neighborhood on the Upper West Side.

(Sounds great. Hurry up and finish it!)

Are there any genres that you have never written in that you would like to try? Why or why not? I wrote a middle grade short story that was published in an ezine in the style of Ray Bradbury, who I admire and consider a creative genius. The story was part mystery, part fantasy and sci-fi, part horror. I would like to some day expand this short story into a full sized novel. At this time those are the only genres besides mysteries that I would be interested in writing.

Attach a photo of you (preferably one that we have not seen before!) It is always nice to have a photo of you doing something you enjoy like hiking or travelling. A short description would be great. We moved to Wisconsin from Boulder County in Colorado. A couple of years ago my husband and I went on a road trip with our youngest son and his wife to Colorado. I wrote part of The Ginseng Conspiracy while travelling. In this photo I’m hiking/climbing in the Flatirons at Chautauqua Park in Boulder.

(This was a great photo, but we stole it and printed it above!)

This is where you can buy Susan’s novels:

The Ginseng Conspiracy(A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1) :

On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls.

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.

the Ginseng Conspiracy-largeBUY The Ginseng Conspiracy here:

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. ‘Tis the season to be sleuthing!

MurderUndertheTree_1600x2400__LargeDullBUY Murder Under the Tree  –

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3)will be published this Fall.  
Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder.

Kay Driscoll’s son’s wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn’t enough stress, a precocious and troubled twelve year old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests obnoxiously disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay’s book club.

A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the
death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim’s death. 


And this is where you can find Susan:


Author FB page:



Twitter: @SusanBernhardt1



A Walk in June Through Central Park

Brendan and I took a walk on Sunday.  We started at the Pulitzer Fountain in the Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue on the southeastern corner of Central Park. The centerpiece of the fountain is the statue of Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards.  (There was no Greek equivalent goddess with such a specific bailiwick).   It is fitting that Pomona presides over New York’s great garden.  She carries a basket of fruit.Pomona            We entered the Park and walked by the Pond, which was very still yesterday morning. The reflection you see is of the two-towered building that replaced the old New York Coliseum. No one misses the old Coliseum, but lots of people miss the sunlight that is now blocked by this humongous structure. The original construction plan was amended to provide for two towers to assuage the critics who prefer sun to shadow in Central Park, especially in the winter. Gee, thanks!

Over the Pond

We went by Gapstow Bridge and who can resist a photo.  Stone, ivy, water.  And all those movies!

Gapstow bridge           We skirted the Sheep’s Meadow where New Yorkers were spreading out and enjoying the sunshine.  Then we followed Poet’s Walk and the Mall to Bethesda Fountain, and along the way we saw a bride and groom having their pictures taken through soap bubbles! Excellent idea. A heart!  That has to be a good sign. Happiness to you both!


There was a crowd at the Bethesda Fountain with another wonderful sculpture, The Angel of the Waters.  This is a reference to the Gospel of John in which he describes a pool in Jerusalem (near the Sheep Market, no less) that an angel stirred periodically.  The first into the pool after the angel did his (or her) work was healed.   A man who complained to Jesus that he was not fast enough to be first into the pool, was told to take up his bed and walk.  He did.  The fountain and the statue are meant to celebrate the creation of the Croton water system that brought fresh water to the City in 1842, allowing the city to free itself of the water borne diseases that had ravaged it periodically up to that time.  God helps those who help themselves.

Bethesda FountainThe Bow Bridge is being renovated so we took the long route around the lake and noticed a little plaque set into the ground on the path from the Bethesda Fountain up to the 72nd Street transverse road.  It dates from 1947, shortly after World War II, and commemorates the major sea battles of that war.  I wish it were larger.

Naval battlesOn to Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic, which was created by an artist from Naples, Italy.  As crowed as it gets there, people generally do not walk over it.  Sitting for a photograph is another thing.

ImagineMoving north again, we passed the lake along its west side.

Lake and rockAnd waved to the boaters, who were busy taking selfies, of course.  And finished our walk by passing by the Great Lawn where New Yorkers were enjoying the sun and the grass.  Lots of spots still available.  Prime real estate.

Great lawn Sun

Nice day!