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Our last sunset, scarecrows, and a dragon!

It’s a done deal.

The beach house has a new owner, but we were lucky enough to have a final perfect weekend to say our goodbyes to one of our favorite getaway spots: San Simeon.

October may be the best month to explore the middle coast of California. The wind is fair, there’s rarely any fog, the shadows are long, the tourists are elsewhere and the sunsets are to die for.

We even saw a green flash!


I’ve mentioned the “green flash” before. Heck, I even included it in my holiday story: CALEB’S CHRISTMAS WISH. Here’s the snippet. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, everything in my life shows up in a book at some point. Sigh.

CALEB’S CHRISTMAS WISH snippet © Loner Llama Press

"Ally? Jake?"
      Allison’s heart stopped. She dropped her hands and turned to face her godson. “What, honey?”
       Caleb stood a foot away, a sand-filled plastic bucket in one hand and a shovel gripped in the other. “My tummy hurts.”
       She was furious at herself—and Jake—for adding to Caleb’s worries. She looked skyward and noticed the pink hues on the clouds. What was a trip to the beach without experiencing a Pacific sunset?
       “Ohmygosh,” she said, dropping to her knees to face Caleb. “Do you know what time it is?”
       He shook his head.
       “It’s almost time for the green flash.”
       Caleb looked at Jake. “Huh?”
       Jake put out his hands, indicating he had no idea what she was talking about.
       As she hustled them into packing up, she said, “Actually, your daddy is the person who told me about this, Caleb. He said when the sun is sinking under the horizon—at the very last second—you’ll see a green light. He didn’t know what caused it but apparently people see it when conditions are just right.”
       Jake and Caleb exchanged a look that made her laugh out loud. “Come on, you two skeptics. There’s a great place to watch the sunset just up the road.”
       “These waves are incredible,” Jake said a few minutes later. “Look at that spray. Wow. I’d forgotten how impressive the Pacific could be.”
       Half a dozen cars were parked around them. Some people braved the strong, chilly wind to wander along the rocks. Most, like Jake and Allison, remained in their vehicles.
       “Aren’t we gonna get out?” Caleb asked.
       “Not me,” Allison said. “Once that sun starts to set, it gets cold. I’m content to watch from here.”
       Caleb made a huffing sound. Jake released his seat belt and turned sideways to look in the back seat. His knee bumped Allison’s thigh. She felt the tingle all the way to her toes.
       “Do you want to sit up front with us? So you can see better?”
       Caleb clambered between the seats and settled in Allison’s lap. His small body was warm and cuddly. His hair smelled of salt spray and wind. Her arms closed around him automatically. She could feel Jake’s gaze on them, so she turned her head. His tender smile almost stopped her heart.
       “Nice picture,” he said. “Better than any sunset I’ve ever seen.”
       Allison felt a flood of emotions—hope, joy, love, and fear—rush through her. She closed her eyes to keep the tears away. Caleb fidgeted a moment later and scooted forward to lean against the dash. “Look how red the sun is, Jake—like Santa’s belly.”
       Jake laughed and leaned forward, too, resting his arms on the steering wheel. He’d left his jacket in the back and Allison’s gaze was drawn to his broad shoulders clearly outlined in the camel-colored shirt. What would it feel like to skim her hand across the soft material and explore the muscles beneath the fabric?
       Absorbed in her fantasy, she missed what Jake was saying, until he turned her way. “Sorry, what?” she mumbled, finding it hard to swallow.
       “I said, Caleb and I are supposed to help Cordelia move into a new, private room at the rehab hospital tomorrow. It’s in a different wing. Do you want to meet us for lunch?”
       Allison’s stomach produced an unpleasant grumble. “That’s right. I forgot. But I promised Caleb you’d take him to buy a Christmas tree tomorrow. He’s a bit worried about Santa not knowing where to put his gifts.”
       A look of comprehension appeared in Jake’s eyes.
       “No problem. We can do both.”
       As Caleb and Jake talked about what kind of tree to buy, Allison recalled her last visit with Cordelia. The poor woman was anxious to get home, but every time her doctor seemed close to releasing her, her white count would spike, indicating the persistent infection wasn’t quite beaten. Since all she could do was sit and fret, she spent a lot of time worrying about what would happen after she was released.
       “You’ll stay, won’t you, Allison? I know Jake wants to get back to his life in Florida as soon as possible, but you’re not going anywhere, are you?”
       Was Jake in a hurry to leave? He never acted that way around her. In fact, until the incident today, Allison had been under the impression that Jake might even be interested in exploring the attraction between them. Or was she being naive? Maybe his issues with his mother explained why he was still a bachelor. He didn’t trust women.
       Allison didn’t know why she was so surprised—and disappointed. After all, Pam always had maintained that Jake and Allison would make a poor mix.
       “Look, Jake, look. It’s sinking fast,” Caleb said, his pitch an excited squeal.
       Jake reached out to take Allison’s hand as if linking the three of them in the shared moment. She sat forward, too, peering through the windshield at the shrinking red-orange ball. Caught up in the moment, she squeezed his hand.
       His answering caress made her glance sideways. Instead of watching the sunset, Jake was looking at Allison with a message that clearly telegraphed want and desire—a longing Allison recognized because she felt it, too. Her throat contracted and her breath stopped.
       “I saw it, Jake,” Caleb cried, bouncing up and down. “Right there. Did you see it, Ally? Did you?”
       The excited child crashed into her chest, making Allison expel the breath she’d been holding. “Wow,” she exclaimed. “That was awesome.”
       Which wasn’t a complete lie. She’d missed the green flash, but she’d witnessed magic of another kind—the kind that fed her soul. If she believed in Santa Claus, Allison knew what her wish would be: Let Jake stay.

Besides being treated to an awesome sunset with a green flash on our last night at the beach house, we also explored nearby Cambria, which hosts an annual SCARECROW competition each October that is a hoot to check out:

We strolled through some fun antique stores, which gave me added inspiration for my revisions (my job this week). My editor suggested another scene with my hero and heroine staging the house. No problem! #BookII #The Designer’s Apprentice (working title) #ThePropertySistersofMontana

We also bumped into the best mailbox EVER and a very handsome dragon! So many wonders at wonderful Cambria!


My Q&A question this week is: Do like to browse in antique/collectibles/thrift stores: Y or N? If yes, where is the best store you’ve ever visited?

(Two winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive either a $5 Starbucks gift card or a $5 Amazon gift card. Please reply the usual ways: email or on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.)

Last week’s Q&A was: Do you have a hobby (besides reading, which I assume is a given)? Y or N.

The YESes were nearly unanimous and most impressive. Thank you for sharing. Some of you are SO talented. I have so many options once I retire. LOL. Like that’s ever going to happen.

My two randomly selected winners this week are:

Jerilynn Rodriguez ( music) – YES
Marcia Karon (knitting) – YES

(Jerilynn and Marcia congrats. Please email me your pick of either a $5 Starbucks or a $5 Amazon gift card.)

MailChimp VS MailerLite

My sincere apology to so many of you!!!

At the first of the month, I switched my email service from MailChimp to MailerLite. One reason only: the cost. Mailchimp has raised its prices across the board and I already was paying a lot. MailerLite, which is more affordable, came highly recommended, so I switched.

Unfortunately, even after a great deal of jumping through hoops, my “open rate” (the key by which I know whether or not you all are getting and opening my newsletters each week) has fallen severely. You can’t open what you don’t see, right?

We are still tweaking things and hope to fix the issue of emails winding up in Spam Folders, but I fear many with gmail addresses aren’t seeing my newsletters at all. I apologize and promise to keep working on this. If all else fails, I’ll switch back. Groan.


Next week: the view from ShutEye Pass and Sierra autumn color.



Copyright © 2019 Debra Salonen