Year’s End

This time of year is magical.  I love the holiday decorations, the lights, and the crispness in the air.  Even though I don’t live in a part of the country where I can enjoy the snow, I like to pretend I’m having a white Christmas.

As the Winter Solstice of 2017 rolls around, I dig out my jewelry collection of reindeer and Santa earrings and boxes of decorations.  Each ornament holds a special memory — the pearl-encrusted heart my daughter chose for our tree many years ago.  The tiny porcelain head of Jerry Garcia – yes, someone, have no idea who, hung it on our Christmas tree a long time ago.  It’s such a hoot I keep it.  Styrofoam balls covered in Stockingribbon and sequins that my aunt, gone many years now, made for every church fair.  But my favorite ornaments are the ones my children made in school.  A felt triangular Christmas tree stitched together with yarn and sequins, a wreath of white fuzzy yarn with red balls, a paper stocking, in need of repair, but I still treasure it.

There’s a reason so many religious holidays occur around the time of the solstice — Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan, Yule, Saturnalia, Bodhi Day.  It’s that special time when our planet tilts away from the life-giving sun.  As if the earth itself pauses in its rotation at that very moment.

This year the solstice occurs today, December 21st at 8:38 a.m. Pacific Standard time.  That’s the moment we creatures of the earth experience the longest night and shortest day.  And if you’re interested in some of the practices and ancient monuments built to celebrate the winter solstice, you can read more here.

Boat ParadeThe first book in the Zodiac Mysteries, The Madness of Mercury, takes place during the holiday season.  Julia, my San Francisco astrologer, knows all the fun and free things to do in her city.  So if you just happen to be in San Francisco this month, don’t miss the Christmas lights, or the tree lighting in Union Square, or the lighted boats at Fisherman’s Wharf.

winter-solsticeTake a moment today, December 21st, to pause and contemplate the magic of the solstice.

Happy holidays!

Two Astrologers Chatting

When I started writing the Zodiac Mysteries, I didn’t know of Sunny Frazier and her astrologer protagonist, Christie Bristol.  But I was thrilled to discover someone else was writing another astrology mystery series.  Later, I found The Precious Pachyderm, by Karen Christino.  Yes, another astrology mystery! Thanks to Kings River Life,  Sunny and I interviewed… Continue Reading

Can you guess?

Julia Bonatti, my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries solves crimes using astrology.  And I hear from readers all the time – some love the subject of astrology and want to know more, while others aren’t particularly interested and are happy to skip those parts.  That’s fine with me.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  Julia… Continue Reading

San Francisco Detectives

I knew when I started writing the Zodiac Mysteries . . . well, let me backtrack . . . I knew even before I started working on this series that I wanted it to be set in San Francisco, a city of bright windy days, dank and foggy nights haunted by the baritone voices of the foghorns.  Lots of people think… Continue Reading

A Remarkable Woman

No, I’m not referring to my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries – Julia Bonatti — although she is a remarkable character and a very talented San Francisco astrologer who solves crimes.  I’m referring to Gladys Cox Hansen (June 12, 1925 – March 5, 2017).  A Gemini!  I’m sure Julia, the astrologer,  would appreciate that! If… Continue Reading

SOMA Streets

Julia Bonatti, my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries, is an astrologer and a native San Franciscan.  She was born there, grew up there and certainly knows quite a bit about the city’s history.  I’ve had to do a lot of research to to keep up with Julia.  She knows a lot, but more importantly, she’s… Continue Reading

City Lights

Julia Bonatti, my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries, is an astrologer who grew up in North Beach and is often found visiting The Mystic Eye, an occult shop and bookstore owned by her good friend Gale.  The Mystic Eye is right on Broadway and just around the corner is perhaps the most famous bookstore in… Continue Reading


When I first thought of writing the Zodiac Mysteries, featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti, I knew that the city itself, its history, its atmosphere, its constantly changing faces should play a big part in Julia’s world.  And one of the most important features of San Francisco is its fog, especially where Julia lives on… Continue Reading