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We have just started seeing the beauty of autumn here in  Virginia. It was 70 on November 2, but brisk and sunny since. Finally the leaves are turning and getting ready to fall.

I wanted to do a Regency homage to autumn. Turns out I already wrote one on Risky Regencies in October 2010. So here it is again, because I could not do better!

On 19 September 1819, John Keats took an evening walk along the River Itchen near Winchester and was inspired to write one of the most perfect poems in the English language:

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Here’s the poem read by Ben Whishaw, the actor who played Keats in the movie, Bright Star:

I think the imagery in To Autumn is just beautiful, giving the mood of autumn as well as the sights and sounds.

The poem was included in volume of Keats’ works printed in 1820 to better reviews than his earlier works. A year later, Keats died.

You could say he wrote the poem in the autumn of his young life.

If you took a walk near your house, like Keats did, what would catch your eye? What’s your favorite part about being outdoors in autumn?

Check out the cover for my next release, Shipwrecked with the Captain, available in paperback February 19 and in ebook March 1. And sign up for my new newsletter , even if you were signed up on my old website.

It’s been an extremely busy summer. I could never have guessed how much effort (and emotion) goes into launching a child into college. I miss her, but she’s doing very well. I don’t hear from her as much as I’d like, but that’s actually good news.

Now the weather’s gotten much cooler, and I’m looking forward to many things this autumn.

RM3DWebI’ve been working on Regency Masquerades, a boxed set of reissued Regencies with a wonderful group of authors: Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Alicia Rasley and fellow Risky Gail Eastwood. It’s coming out October 13 and is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. The introductory price is just 99 cents. Check it out!

Over the summer, I did some story brainstorming but didn’t have much time to write. Now that my schedule is starting to open up, I am looking forward to fresh writing!

oaktreeI’m also looking forward to other pleasures of the season. The foliage in upstate NY is amazing, even when it’s on this oak tree that drops its leaves about two weeks after the surrounding maples (necessitating another round of raking).


Some people rave about pumpkin coffee. Personally, I’d rather have a pumpkin muffin with regular coffee, but to each her own. My love at this season is apples. Love to pick them, eat them, drink cider, make apple crumble with oatmeal topping. YUM.

What are you looking forward to this autumn?


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