Well, it was fun trying to envision the possibilities of the new operation. But I left plenty of detail in the final version of my new novel, What’s Left, as it is.

In contrast to her father’s desire for a bold contemporary design, here’s a whimsical touch from an earlier draft:

Graham suggests we plant climbing ivy. Says it’s subdued, reflects the campus across the street and softens the harshness of the old textbook building itself. He’s right.

Why stop there?

In the emerging design, a permanent awning extends over the sidewalk. Graham’s suggestion of not just ivy on the wall but flowerboxes under the windows meets widespread approval. And the entry opens into a light-filled atrium.


Well, I’m starting to like the look of it. Now, to see what happened to this.

I do have to remember that all of this is a backdrop for a bigger story – Cassia herself.

Which reminds me. There are many fun movies about food, wine, and restaurants. Which of your favorites would you suggest we see?


A Greek Orthodox icon of St. Nicholas by Nicholas Hartmann. (Via Wikimedia Commons.)

Cassia’s roots included inspiration like this.



In my new novel, What’s Left, there’s one thing you can say about aunt Yin: she adds another fashion touch to the family. I love the aprons she introduces to Cassia’s aunt Pia, Yin’s brother-in-law’s wife.

Oh, those two form quite a contrast!

And yet? They play off each other perfectly.


I’ve never been a suit-and-tie kind of guy, although I do have a wild tie collection for use, when needed. I’ve been more known for my Converse sneakers (before they were “in”), my Hawaiian shirts, or even my scarves back when. (Scarves were a writer’s thing in some circles.) These days it’s more likely to be turtlenecks, by the way, with my ponytail.

What’s your most distinctive fashion flair or statement? Something simple? Or do you like to go quite elaborate?


Traditional Greek Easter lamb and kokoretsi. I do wish the cook was wearing an apron. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In the family, Cassia may have had food like this.


I’ve never been a clothes horse, in part because I could rarely get anything that really fit. Let’s say the awareness has come long after childhood. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Wool socks.
  2. My big green terrycloth robe.
  3. My stack of sweaters.
  4. Hawaiian shirts.
  5. Banded collar shirts.
  6. My three custom-cut Jos. Banks suits, back when I was with the newspaper syndicate. Not that they would fit me anymore.
  7. Bell bottoms, back in the day.
  8. And Levi’s, which actually came in my size. Though now I’ve moved on into slacks having more pockets.
  9. Converse sneakers, at least until the fascia plantar kicked in.
  10. Turtlenecks, now that I’ve retired.


So what’s your own favorite attire?

Pussy willows … harbingers of spring.

Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.



A large Queen Anne-style house with a distinctive witch’s hat tower something like this is the headquarters for Cassia’s extended family in my new novel, What’s Left. If only this one were pink, like hers.

As I viewed photographs of the kind of Victorian house her family would gravitate toward, having a round tower at one corner seemed natural – especially one capped by a pointy roof commonly called a witch’s hat. The idea of living in a tall-ceilinged attic, with its air of private retreat, holds romantic appeal anyway, but having it open out into a circle room with views overlooking the street in both directions strikes me as a plus. How about you?

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