Birds and Books

There are many birds I feel drawn to. During my sojourn in San Francisco I haunted La Ville du Soleil on Grant Ave. Beautiful, eclectic shop filled yard sale items from the French countryside. I remember a marionette bridal party, eight pieces, gorgeously turned out in tuxedos and gowns, the entire bridal party had heads of different species of barnyard fowl. bird cage

One room was full of fine linens and tableware, beautiful ceramic mixing bowls and measuring cups, aprons and dishtowels. Another room contained costumes from the opera, chic, cool items I could never afford to add to my wardrobe. Further along, I found a wicker suitcases full of some forgotten family’s silver. The store had everything, and each room I investigated had its own music playing in the background – opera, 20s jazz, French mavens drawing out their love and loss.

It was heaven on earth to me. Along with the French charm, interspersed throughout the store, on the floor, on a table, were old-stylized cages of little finches chirping merrily along with the music. I fell in love with finches then…


But I also love peacocks – the very idea of them inspires me. People used to keep peacocks for their horrible calls when visitors would arrive. The birds served as watchdogs, alerting the family of any approach. I often wonder what my neighbors would think if I started in peacockraising peacocks… I can see them gracefully nesting on top of my trellis, screaming “Help!” to all who pass by.

Of course, here I must admit, I really only want the peacocks for their feathers. I know it’s somewhat Edwardian, keeping peacocks just for their feathers, but I can’t seem to help myself. I am mesmerized by the bird, their feathers in particular. Recently I visited an antique store across the river from where I live. Imagine my delight when I went up the rickety staircase, turned the corner and discovered a large urn filled with peacock feathers! At only a dollar a feather, this might go a long way in keeping the peace in my neighborhood… 

And of course, I adore pelicans! I even gave one a role in my first novel, Curse of the Seven 70s. This pelican acts as eyes and ears to my protagonist, Varo, when he is otherwise indisposed. I find it rather hilarious to pair a sexy male lead with a comical bird, don’t you? pelican blog

Kathleen Kaska, author of a series of mystery trivia companion books, Sydney Lockhart mysteries, and the nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, is an avid bird watcher. She recently interviewed me for her blog Birds and Books – please check it out!


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