It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day. I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay…

Today is June third.

I’ve posted before about the enigmatic ballad sung by Bobbie Gentry back in the sixties. It’s been more than 50 years since she produced the haunting song that had a whole generation wondering: What did Billy Joe Macallister really throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? Half a century later, we still don’t know.

Though speculation ran from flowers to a baby, no one ever got Gentry to commit. In 1976, a film was made based on the song, it’s interpretation including a homosexual theme. Herman Raucher, the screenplay’s writer, asked  Bobbie Gentry about the song:

“I said, ‘You don’t know why he jumped off the bridge?’ She said, ‘I have no idea.’”

What does it mean?

Even more intriguing is the meaning of the song itself. A handwritten page of Gentry’s original lyrics had been found. It began with a verse she never recorded and with the first line crossed out.

Sally Jane Ellison’s been missing since the first week in June. People don’t see Sally Jane in town any more. There’s a lot o’ speculatin’, she’s not actin’ like she did before. Some say she knows more than she’s willin’ to tell. But she stays quiet and a few think it’s just as well. No one really knows what went on up on Choctaw Ridge the day that Billy Jo McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. —University of Mississippi’s Archives and Special Collections

In the published lyrics, Sally Jane became the unnamed female narrator who was only present with Billy Joe throwing something off the bridge. What it means has more to do with the nature of the ballad than the story.

The story itself has many dramatic elements— Billy Joe’s apparent suicide and the bridge-tossing mystery— that its true meaning was lost on the youth of the mid-sixties, as it has been lost ever since.

It doesn’t matter what they threw off the bridge. More ominous than Billy Joe’s suicide, more menacing than the couple throwing something off the bridge, more heartbreaking than the lonely narrator picking flowers up on Choctaw Ridge is the blatant apathy of the family to the tragedies going on around them. The true theme of the song is indifference.

“The song is a first-person narrative that reveals a Southern Gothic tale in its verses by including the dialog of the narrator’s family at dinnertime on the day that “Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.” Throughout the song, the suicide and other tragedies are contrasted against the banality of everyday routine and polite conversation.” —Wikipedia

Published Lyrics:

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton, and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie BridgeAnd papa said to mama, as he passed around the blackeyed peas
Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense; pass the biscuits, please
There’s five more acres in the lower forty I’ve got to plow
And mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe MacAllister’s jumped off the Tallahatchie BridgeAnd brother said he recollected when he, and Tom, and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn’t I talkin’ to him after church last Sunday night?
I’ll have another piece-a apple pie; you know, it don’t seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge
And now ya tell me Billie Joe’s jumped off the Tallahatchie BridgeAnd mama said to me, child, what’s happened to your appetite?
I’ve been cookin’ all morning, and you haven’t touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he’d be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin’ off the Tallahatchie BridgeA year has come and gone since we heard the news ’bout Billy Joe
And brother married Becky Thompson; they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going ’round; papa caught it, and he died last spring
And now mama doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Bobbie Gentry

Ode to Billie Joe lyrics © Spirit Music Group

In this photograph from the November 10, 1967 issue of Life magazine, Bobbie Gentry strolls across the Tallahatchie Bridge in Money, Mississippi. The bridge collapsed in June 1972.

Posted in Death & Dying, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Life Through Amber | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments


A few weeks ago I announced a giveaway of a collection of Crazy Cat Lady paperback books. I hope you got a chance to enter, because the time has finally come…

Now for the drawing!

Tyler has his claws at the ready! One – two – three! He swipes left – he swipes right – he hooks a name! I undo his claw from the paper, and he goes off to find something to eat.

Well done, Tyler!

And the winner is…

The winner of the a paperback copy of Cat’s Paw, Cat Call, Cosmic CatCat Noel, and Cat Conundrum is…


Julie has been notified. Thanks to everyone else who took time to enter the contest.

Posted in Events, Giveaways, Giveaways | Tagged | 4 Comments


A new book! A new cover!

One of my favorite parts of publishing a new book is seeing the cover. Whether on the purchase page, in a review, or as I open the carton of print copies, it’s an experience that can’t be equaled. I suppose the finished cover represents all the hard work and inspiration that I’ve put into the story inside. All the drafts, the edits, the readthroughs, the changes add up to that one moment when the book comes alive, cover first.

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Cat Autumn

In the wild coastal forest lies a mysterious portal. Neither Niva nor her three psychic rescue cats have seen the like. Though Niva and kits Axtel and Flaxrud tremble in fear, shy Sandstrom, is mesmerized by the phenomenon. In an impulsive move, Sandstrom leaps in and disappears. Niva follows to save him, no matter the cost.

Sandstrom finds himself in another universe where a race of techno-medical felines is fighting a bloody land war. Sandstrom is drafted into the alien army, while Niva is captured and taken to a gruesome surgical ward. Now Sandstrom must be the one to do the saving.

Aided by a sympathetic alien and a powerful shadow-panther, Sandstrom sets out to rescue Niva and get back home. But there is more at stake than he knows. Niva’s presence in the alternative universe has tipped a precarious balance. One wrong step could mean annihilation for all.

The Cat Seasons Tetralogy, cats saving the world!

Four books. Cats save the world. Each book contains a fresh cast of characters facing new challenges. A deadly evil, a vengeful space anomaly, an enemy from an alternate universe, and a plague that doesn’t just kill—it annihilates! Be glad the cats are on our side.

Cat Autumn is the third book in the Cat Seasons Tetralogy. There will be one more, eventually.  Though I enjoy writing my cozy mysteries, this series has been, and is continuing to be, my life’s work. I was a sci-fi/fantasy fan before I was a mystery fan, reading authors such as Le Guin, Tolkien, Fontana, Heinlein, Bradbury, Herbert, Verne, Lewis… the list goes on. Finding my voice in the sci-fantasy world is one of my favorite accomplishments.

Posted in Sci-fi & Fantasy | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments


People are always interested in how to make money as a writer. I’m the wrong person to ask because I’d be writing if I were the last person on Earth after the apocalypse. But I do hear things, so here goes:




Additional suggestions always welcome. Good luck!




Posted in Writing | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Not All Mothers Have Human Babies

Happy Mother’s Day, no matter who your babies are.

According to the media, Mother’s Day is a time to buy, buy, buy! Though meant to celebrate mothers, it too often leaves us feeling left out or disappointed. When we don’t receive those floral bouquets, brunches at expensive restaurants, and other gifts, we ask ourselves what we did wrong. Why doesn’t our family extol us like the families on TV? Spoiler: It’s not us—it’s them, the advertisers, playing on our heartstrings to sell their products.

Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for other reasons as well. For those of us who have lost a mother, who have lost a child, who are not able to have children, or who chose not to populate an already-overpopulated world, the day can be melancholy.

How ever you celebrate—or don’t celebrate—Mother’s Day, this video is sure to charm you. Make sure you watch to the end.

Thank you again this year, Furball Fables

Posted in Cats, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments


For me, May is a bit of a lag time.

Not yet summer, but not really spring. The weather is unpredictable—anything from a high of 87◦ to a low of 45◦. Here in Portland, we’ve had rain, hail, thunder, sun, and a short heatwave. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

In my grandmother’s day, this time of year meant Spring Cleaning. She would take up the rugs and wash the floors, polish the moldings from baseboards to picture rails, and banish the accumulation of dust gathered over a sedentary winter indoors. I’m not nearly as industrious as she was, but I do have some spring cleaning to do in another area.

Last year, I updated most of the covers for my Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series. Though I didn’t change the front cover, I added artwork to the spine and a new improved blurb on the back. I’m happy with the results. What do you think?

Book Sale!

Meanwhile I have some of the older covers left in stock. (There is no difference to the book itself—just the cover as noted above.) I’m selling them direct for 50% off retail (plus USPS Media Mail shipping which is $3.65 for one book. U.S. addresses only.)

Here’s the list:

Cat’s Paw, Cat Call, and Cat Conundrum—retail $14.00, now only $7.00

Cat Noel (Novella)—retail $10, now only $5.00

I also have several copies of the Firestar Press edition of Cat Summer, book 1 of the Cat Seasons sci-fantasy tetralogy (above left) to sell out. Above right is the new cover that matches the rest of the series.

Cat Summer old cover—retail $15, now only $7.50.

Numbers are limited, so order soon. To purchase, email me at with “Sale” in the comment line.

But I also mentioned a giveaway.

One lucky person will win a copy each of Cat’s Paw, Cat Call, Cosmic Cat, Cat Noel, and Cat Conundrum. To enter the giveaway, email me at with “Giveaway” in the comment line.

U.S. addresses only. Drawing for the giveaway will be June 1.


Posted in Events, Giveaways, Giveaways, My Cat Cozies | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Don’t underestimate the effects of COVID-19. It can impact the rest of your life.

COVID’s over—right?

We’ve all got our vaxes and are moving on, returning to our “normal” lives…


Sure, people are still getting COVID, but it’s nothing like it was. Just a bad cold or the flu…


Sorry, but WRONG!

You should have heard the term, Long COVID, by now. Long COVID is when the acute stage of COVID is over but symptoms remain or return. These symptoms vary greatly from person to person, but they can continue for weeks, months, or forever.



At this very moment, Long COVID is impacting lives, turning normally efficient, energetic people into a near-invalids. Dizziness, fatigue, confusion, anxiety and depression, and pain are only a few of the issues, but symptoms can manifest as anything from headaches to itchy feet to intolerance of light and noises. If you don’t think that can throw you off your game, think again.

I was diagnosed with Long COVID a bit over a year ago when the doctors and tests couldn’t find anything to account for my malaise. That, and the way some of the symptoms manifested themselves, marked it as Long COVID. There is no definitive test as yet. In fact, little is yet known. This is something new to the medical profession, and they are learning along with us.

Unfortunately, there are many, both in and out of the medical field, who don’t believe in Long COVID. Employees balk, expecting us to push through the same workload as we managed before. Friends and family doubt us. Hell, sometimes I doubt myself. I’m faking. I’m lazy. I’m crazy. I’m old. Like PMS and fibromyalgia, it’s all in my head.



Long COVID is real.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let them belittle, invalidate, or gaslight you. It’s their ignorance they are revealing by such actions, not yours!

So now is not the time to drop our vigilance. (There may never be a time.) Wear a mask if you’re somewhere crowded. Keep your distance from others.  If you’re sick, stay home. If you think it’s COVID, get tested. If it is COVID, get meds and take care of yourself. Stay informed. Accept the fact there will never be an “old” normal. Live the best life you can, because you never know when things might change.



  • Nearly one in five American adults who have had COVID-19 still have “Long COVID.”
  • People who had only a mild case of COVID-19 can get Long COVID.
  • Vaccinated people who contract COVID-19 can get Long COVID.
  • People who had COVID-19 a long time before can suddenly present with Long COVID.


This list is long and getting longer. Most sufferers don’t have all the symptoms, but they may have a great many in varying degrees. I’ve put an “X” beside the ones I have.

General symptoms can include fatigue, fever, pain, post exertional malaise, and cognitive disfunction.

A Closer Look:

Breathing (respiratory symptoms)

  • Breathlessness – X
  • cough

Heart and circulation (cardiovascular symptoms)

  • chest tightness – X
  • chest pain – X
  • heartbeats that can become noticeable (palpitations) – X
  • postural tachycardia syndrome* (PoTS) – X

Brain (neurological symptoms)

  • brain fog, loss of concentration, memory issues (cognitive impairment) – X
  • headache
  • broken sleep – X
  • pins and needles, and numbness (peripheral neuropathy symptoms) – X
  • dizziness – X
  • sudden confusion (delirium) particularly in older people
  • difficulties moving around (mobility impairment)
  • difficulties with or changes to your sight (visual disturbance) – X
  • Light & Sound Sensitivity – X

Digestive system (gastrointestinal symptoms)

  • abdominal pain – X
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss and reduced appetite

Joints and muscles (musculoskeletal symptoms)

  • muscle and joint pain – X

Mental health (psychological symptoms)

  • symptoms of depression for example low mood, poor sleep, lack of concentration and feeling helpless – X
  • symptoms of anxiety for example feeling on edge, excessive worry and difficulties sleeping – X
  • symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in people with more severe coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms that needed intensive care in hospital

Ear, nose and throat symptoms

  • loss of taste and/or smell
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • earache
  • sore throat
  • dizziness – X

Skin (dermatological symptoms)

  • skin rashes
  • hair loss – X

* Postural tachycardia syndrome* (PoTS): an abnormal increase in heart rate that happens after standing up. Symptoms include lightheadedness, palpitations, and fatigue.

Most of this list is taken from NHS Inform. NHS inform is Scotland’s national health information service, where they are doing a lot of study on Long COVID.

Posted in Health, Wellness, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Chilly Coon Kitty Strikes Again – From Katzenworld

As an author, I found this post from Katzenworld guest floridaborne too funny not to share! Funny because it’s true!

Read about the Maine Coon kitty who would not be ignored: Chilly Coon Kitty Strikes Again

Posted in Cat Behavior, Cats, OTHER BLOGGERS | Tagged , , | 3 Comments


A cat in the forest with the earth superimposed.

It’s not enough to say Happy Earth Day!

Once a year on April 22nd, we get out our green (not the St. Paddy’s Day green, but the one reserved for trees and plants to signify the Earth) and celebrate. But time has proven one day out of 365 isn’t enough. I know it’s hard to believe recycling a pop can or not buying a drink in a plastic bottle will do anything in the face of unceasing pollution from giant corporations, but amazingly, it helps.

  1. By taking a stand against rampant pollution, we tell those around us we are committed to our Earth, and word trickles up to the politicians and manufacturers who can do something about it. (They still serve the people, believe it or not.)
  2. When we acknowledge the planet isn’t disposable and try to live within ecological limits, it makes us better people.
  3. We are butterflies* who cannot know what our impact might be on things to come. Let’s make it a good one.

Earth Day is every day!

We don’t have to do everything right to make a difference. We can figure out what earth-saving measures work for us, then “practice these principles in all our affairs.”

You can change the world!

Don’t toss it; Recycle anything you can. Most garbage services have a recycle program. Take full advantage of it. Then find out where things they don’t recycle can go. There are places that take electronics, plastics, furniture,  and more. If your area has Ridwell recycling service, I strongly endorse it.

Try not to buy single-use plastic items or things with a lot of plastic packaging. If it’s recyclable and you know where to recycle it, that’s great. But not supporting those products at all sends a message to manufacturers. They can change their ways, too.

Drive less, smoke less, barbeque less, buy less, fart less (if you’re a cow). Try to buy sustainable products. Don’t buy from China (I know that’s impossible, but we can still try.)

These are only a few things I came up with off the top of my head. There are many more, both big and small. Check informational websites for more suggestions. I googled “How to Save the Earth,” and before even getting to the sites, I found a list of 10 Simple Things We Can Do.

Now go pet your cat!

(Or dog, or degu…) Your actions can help keep the world safe for them too.


*The Butterfly Effect: (in chaos theory) the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. 

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Category Two: BEVERAGES

What did people like to drink in the early 1900’s? I’m pretty sure it’s different than the beverages we think of today. The average family wouldn’t have had a fridge full of Coke*. (The average family didn’t have a fridge at all, only an ice box.)

On the Beverage page of “Recipes-My Friends and My Own,” you can see someone glued a newspaper clipping for Hot Spiced Cider. And what will we find next ?

Here’s a surprise! Cheesed Potatoes? Rice & Cheese Balls? Cheese Crumbs? Baked Cheese Tapioca? Looks like someone was a bit confused about what constitutes a beverage!

Rice & Cheese Balls (Copied as written)

1/2 grated cheese, 1 pt boiled rice

season with salt and cayenne pepper

add 1 well beaten egg; moisten with a little cream sauce. Form in balls, egg & bread crumb them & fry in hot fat.

Okay, next page…

Maybe we’ll find some enticing, old fashioned drink recipes now.

And… nope. I guess my great great grandmother wasn’t interested in beverages, because the next ten pages are completely blank!

I looked up popular non-alcoholic drinks of the early 1900’s and found Beef Tea, Tea, Coffee & Coffee Substitutes, Cream Coffee (whipped cream), Chocolate (made with scraped, unsweetened chocolate), and Cocoa. For cold beverages, Iced coffee, Iced tea (with or without lemon), Lemonade, Ginger Ale, Raspberry Vinegar Switchel, Carbonated water (soda water, with or without flavored syrups), and Mineral water*. (From the Food Timeline Library.) I don’t think I would bother to keep those recipes myself, although the Switchel sounds interesting.

‘A Harvest Drink. Mix with five gallons of good water, half a gallon of molasses, one quart of vinegar, and two ounces of powdered ginger. This will make not only a very pleasant beverage, but one highly invigorating and healthful.’—From Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, by Miss Hall, 1855,

*Here’s an interesting Coke fact from the Coca-Cola website: “On May 8, 1886Dr. John Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta. Serving nine drinks per day in its first year, Coca-Cola was new refreshment in its beginning. See the story here of how it all began.”

Next Category: Soups

Happy Cooking!

Posted in Food | Tagged , | 5 Comments