This week has been Bird Superstition Cen

This week has been Bird Superstition Central. Call it ParaNormal Bird Activity. Somebody alert the Tweet Exorcist. Our screened porch, aka The Sleepin’ “Poach” off our bedroom, has been zooming with early spring twitters. They come and go through a torn hole in a low screen (this is a second-story poach) that leads straight out to the arms of a river birch. No surprise that the screen poach is a safe roost at night. So I say these birds-in-the-house don’t count as Superstition Def Con 5.

But it’s Bird Grand Central Station in the rest of the house that worries me.

I love open doors and windows. My hubbie, Mr. Suburbs Boy, not so much. But I’m farm-raised, pretty much happy with the breezes of barns and drafty old houses with no central air or heat. I’ll let the outdoors inside every day that’s not below 40 degrees or above 85 degrees, year-round.

Bugs, critters, a nosy raccoon or possum, even the nose of a bear or two — we’ve had them all inside our unguarded doors. Fine by me. But the birds are rare. They tend to avoid the southern pride of punk housecats lazing inside the shady rooms, plus the junkyard dogs eager to prove they still have their street cred. Last summer a young hawk braved the pride-pack and got chased onto the screened poach through its open door from the back deck. His fury was an event for the century–all talons and beak and low-pitched screees–which quickly sent pride/pack in reverse.

The Husband put on work gloves and cornered him, at which point Hawk flung himself on his back with talons up, ready to fight. Happily, except for some ripped leather, the rescue ended with him zooming off to freedom. He was majestic. (the hawk and the Husband.)

But back to the superstition patrol. Something this spring has activated the Tufted Titmouses. Titmice. TeatMouses? This year they seem to be enamored of half-opened screen doors and darkened interiors, despite sleeping old neutered tomcats and fat “yellow mountain dogs.”

A typical day: Noon. T-Mouse is sitting in the fiddle-leave fig by the living room couch. I snagged him with the net from the gold fish pond, snared him in one hand carefully, and endured his angry snarls and pecks until I set him free.

Five p.m. T-Mouse two. Same fig destination. Same scenario. Same snarl, same pecking.

11 p.m. “BIRD IN THE HOUSE,” the Husband yells.

Ah gah, I’ve had wine and vegetarian goulash and I’m working, oh puh-leeesh. All birds are on the roost by now.

This time it’s not a T-mouse. Not a gold finch or a sparrow or a wren. Certainly not a killer Jay or a cardinal. Have to look this one up tomorrow. It’s hard to catch. I have no time to study it in the dim light and the blur of feathers.

It heads into my late mother’s bedroom. A place of tall curtained windows with ornate sashes and long drapes. It perches on the drapes, the collection of Blue Willow china on one wall, and the framed photos of grandchildren.

This is a bird message I don’t want to think about. There are family portents here I want to shake off like a bad dream.

I finally trap Portent Bird in Ma’s bathroom, where I store yarn along one side of the sink. Mired in a fluffly skein of alpaca, it’s angry and exhausted. I tote it outside. We both stand in the spring darkness heaving for air, and even after I untangle it the bird sits on my hand gulping, not ready to take off for the next flight. The house lights have disoriented it; the darkness disorients me. We trade worlds.

Finally, in a tired flutter, the bird heads into the towering rhododendrons along the woods. I’m reminded that on the night when my mother was drawing her last breaths in my house I sat on the front stoop and listened in the cold December air as mysterious bird wings fluttered in the dark. I’ve always thought there were messages in that soft whir of wings.

Maybe the elders were right. Birds come to us for a reason. Not necessarily as portents of doom, but as reminders that life is a feather, that the bridge…

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Tufted Titmouses, Pet Rats, and THE STON

Tufted Titmouses, Pet Rats, and THE STONE FLOWER GARDEN . . .

My southern elders believed a wild bird gettin’ into the house was bad luck of the worst kind — a harbinger of a death to come among family or friends. Odds are, within six months to a year, of course, someone somewhere is always dying, proving the superstition right. But I was trained to my grits-and-gravy core by a broom-waving grandma and her gothic beliefs, so to this day I think of that warning whenever a local songbird wanders in through an open door.

This week has been Bird Superstition Central. Call it ParaNormal Bird Activity. Somebody alert the Tweet Exorcist. Our screened porch, aka The Sleepin’ “Poach” off our bedroom, has been zooming with early spring twitters. They come and go through a torn hole in a low screen (this is a second-story poach) that leads straight out to the arms of a river birch. No surprise that the screen poach is a safe roost at night. So I say these birds-in-the-house don’t count as Superstition Def Con 5.

But it’s Bird Grand Central Station in the rest of the house that worries me.

I love open doors and windows. My hubbie, Mr. Suburbs Boy, not so much. But I’m farm-raised, pretty much happy with the breezes of barns and drafty old houses with no central air or heat. I’ll let the outdoors inside every day that’s not below 40 degrees or above 85 degrees, year-round.

Bugs, critters, a nosy raccoon or possum, even the nose of a bear or two — we’ve had them all inside our unguarded doors. Fine by me. But the birds are rare. They tend to avoid the southern pride of punk housecats lazing inside the shady rooms, plus the junkyard dogs eager to prove they still have their street cred. Last summer a young hawk braved the pride-pack and got chased onto the screened poach through its open door from the back deck. His fury was an event for the century–all talons and beak and low-pitched screees–which quickly sent pride/pack in reverse.

The Husband put on work gloves and cornered him, at which point Hawk flung himself on his back with talons up, ready to fight. Happily, except for some ripped leather, the rescue ended with him zooming off to freedom. He was majestic. (the hawk and the Husband.)

But back to the superstition patrol. Something this spring has activated the Tufted Titmouses. Titmice. TeatMouses? This year they seem to be enamored of half-opened screen doors and darkened interiors, despite sleeping old neutered tomcats and fat “yellow mountain dogs.”

A typical day: Noon. T-Mouse is sitting in the fiddle-leave fig by the living room couch. I snagged him with the net from the gold fish pond, snared him in one hand carefully, and endured his angry snarls and pecks until I set him free.

Five p.m. T-Mouse two. Same fig destination. Same scenario. Same snarl, same pecking.

11 p.m. “BIRD IN THE HOUSE,” the Husband yells.

Ah gah, I’ve had wine and vegetarian goulash and I’m working, oh puh-leeesh. All birds are on the roost by now.

This time it’s not a T-mouse. Not a gold finch or a sparrow or a wren. Certainly not a killer Jay or a cardinal. Have to look this one up tomorrow. It’s hard to catch. I have no time to study it in the dim light and the blur of feathers.

It heads into my late mother’s bedroom. A place of tall curtained windows with ornate sashes and long drapes. It perches on the drapes, the collection of Blue Willow china on one wall, and the framed photos of grandchildren.

This is a bird message I don’t want to think about. There are family portents here I want to shake off like a bad dream.

I finally trap Portent Bird in Ma’s bathroom, where I store yarn along one side of the sink. Mired in a fluffly skein of alpaca, it’s angry and exhausted. I tote it outside. We both stand in the spring darkness heaving for air, and even after I untangle it the bird sits on my hand gulping, not ready to take off for the next flight. The house lights have disoriented it; the darkness disorients me. We…

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Hoarding my Bantam author gifts for twen

Hoarding my Bantam author gifts for twenty years is weird . . . I admit it. But now they’ll serve a good cause. I’m donating this 1994 event t-shirt and a Bantam travel clock to Brenda Novak’s 2014 diabetes auction. Starts May 1. The t-shirt is pristine–no pit stains or mustard smears, I swear! The clock just needs a fresh watch battery. Trust me, you won’t find “collectibles” like this just anywhere.

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WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM now on sale at

WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM now on sale at 99 cents until May 1!

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Cover Art Apprentice — The Challenge!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????At a small publishing house it’s all hands on deck to get the big jobs done. Company titles mean very little. So it has come to pass that yours truly is adding “Assistant Apprentice Cover Designer” to the list. Since acquiring the ImaJinn imprint last fall we’ve been sorting through a treasure trove of older books that need makeovers to update their cover style.

Here’s one of the first in my apprentice challenge: J.A. Ferguson’s classic time travel romance, LOVE ONCE IN PASSING.

Did I mention that ImaJinn books are *paranormal* romances? Which means a mash-up of Viking warriors and Regency ladies,   17th century  colonials , contemporary heroines,  and a sexy king of the leprechauns, to name a few  – requiring a gallery of  hard-to-find images among the “stock” art of buff body builders and  bodacious blond swimsuit models.  God bless photo filters and symbolic flowers.

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Now on sale: WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM

foxgloves cvr final final best_thumbnail_edited-1Now on sale: the first in a trilogy of ebook novellas in sequel to A PLACE TO CALL HOME, Deborah Smith’s New York Time’s Bestselling novel of childhood soulmates in a small Georgia town who defy the odds to reconnect as adults. WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM finds them two years later, in 1997, happily married but still prey to the ghosts of Roan’s past, as proved when a shocking intruder violently disrupts their town’s spring festival and brings Roan’s family history back into an ugly spotlight. Ebook only, 70 pages, Kindle.

“Roan and I thought we’d made our peace with the past. We looked forward to the future. Our days were crammed with plans, work, love. In fact, we looked to the future with too much confidence, the way people do when they think they’ve survived their share of challenges and therefore life owes them nothing but cookies and cream from now on.

Which is why we didn’t see Zach Donovan coming.”

Overwhelmingly romantic, yet poignant, heartwarming, and filled with the quirky family drama of “biscuits and bedroom” southern fiction, WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM, the first of three novellas, bring readers back to the world of Claire Maloney and Roan Sullivan, whose star-crossed small town Georgia childhood and adult reunion in the go-go 1990′s ended with them at peace together on their beloved Dunshinnog mountain, though Roan, the boy from the opposite of the tracks who made good, would always be wary of Claire’s volatile and powerful southern family.
Now, two years after the events of that New York Times bestselling novel, A PLACE TO CALL HOME, Roan and Claire are married and stand at the cusp of the new millennium in their exurban Atlanta mountain town, Dunderry, where the appearance of morality and the politics of social justice are no less complicated than when Roan and Claire were children. When Roan foils a tattooed stranger’s robbery attempt during Dunderry’s upscale St. Patrick’s Day festival—totally disrupting the festival—the town’s shock is compounded by the handsome thug’s claim that he’s Roan’s young half-brother. When testing proves his claim true, the showdown between past and present is set. Claire never turned her back on Roan; can he do the same for his far more notorious sibling, even if it means bringing a criminal into Claire’s family—his family , now that they’re married—and risking the tentative truce he’s built for her sake?

Praise for A Place To Call Home
“Rarely will a book touch your heart like A Place to Call Home. So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy.”
–The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
“A beautiful, believable love story.”
–The Chicago Tribune
“Stylishly written, filled with Southern ease and humor.” –Tampa Tribune
From the Publisher
“Rarely will a book touch your heart like A Place to Call Home. So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy.”
–The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
“A beautiful, believable love story.”
–The Chicago Tribune
“Stylishly written, filled with Southern ease and humor.” –Tampa Tribune
“Exciting and heartwarming.” – Booklist
“Recommended.” – Library Journal
“This is a story for any romantic who wants a bit of mystery, a lot of suspense, a tale of two star-crossed lovers, and a satisfying ending to a fast-paced novel. “ – School Library Journal

Deborah Smith is also the author of the No. 1 Kindle bestseller, The Crossroads Cafe, On Bear Mountain, A Gentle Rain, Sweet Hush, and others. An award-winning author of quirky southern women’s fiction with strong romantic elements, her novels have sold millions of copies and been translated worldwide.

Look for the second novella in the Foxglove Trilogy in late 2014.

Excerpt: WHERE THE FOXGLOVES BLOOM

Zach Donovan strained at the handcuffs. “All you had to do was let me have the
money.”
“So you could drag your baby along with you while you robbed the next target?”
I grasped Roan’s arm. “Let’s go.”
“Where’ll they take her?” Donovan groaned.
“They’ll put her in foster care.”
The…

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Announcing Belle Rabbit A special “side

Announcing Belle Rabbit
A special “side porch” project of BelleBooks. Editor in Chief Deborah Smith will publish short stories and novellas through the indie platforms at Amazon and elsewhere to study the systems for speed and flexibility. The goal is to gather information and learn how a traditional publishing schedule could become more nimble. Not open to outside authors at this time.

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