Read away your stress for only $24.04

More mysteries

So much is happening in the simple life of this retired librarian – weddings, travel, and dinner with friends – that I am utterly useless in the studio. At home, horizontally prone across a quilted bed, it is all I can do to raise my hand, the one holding my e-reader, knowing that it will give great pleasure. And, it does.

Within the past month I have managed to read away my stress with the following titles. All e-books. All mysteries. Be forewarned, these are only for the pleasure of knowing I can follow the story, and that all will end well. Not complicated. Not violent. Solid writing. Lovely imagery. Straightforward story lines. In my retirement, I do not ask for a lot.

Yet, for $24.04 I got a lot!

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  • Murder in the Smithsonian  (Capital Crimes Series #4) by Margaret Truman – For one living in Washington, D.C. metro area, this is a must. ($1.99)
  • Lady Helena Investigates (Book One of The Scott-de Quincy Mystery series) by Jane Steen – You go girl!! ($2.99)
  • 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder (Book 2 of The Sleuth Sisters) by Maggie Pill – A scene that actually made me laugh out loud! ($2.99)

Waiting to read:

  • A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks ($7.09)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden Series) by Rennie Airth ($5.99)
  • The Anatomist’s Wife (Lady Darby Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber ($2.99)

My hope is that you find some enjoyment with one or more of these titles regardless of medium or vendor. If you do, let me know. I promise to be vertical and respond accordingly!

These prices are those reflected from Barnes & NOble for Their Nook

Nothing in particular


This morning nothing in particular holds Jane’s attention as she walks along the tree-lined street to Joy’s house. The past nor the present. Unusual weather. Sun. Cool breezes, now and again. One could not help but be in a good mood. A gift, really. She is grateful. She smiles realizing that her whole life is summed up in this word, despite heartaches and setbacks. 

Windows open wide with breezes passing over friends seated around the table. As always, the women cook too much food, drink too much wine, and talk incessantly. Today, Jane listens as she picks at the vegan lasagna. Absolutes resound.

One needs passion in one’s work

Yes, it is what our youth need to know! 

Quietly, Jane’s thoughts turn to her work. She ponders her new life without it, without commitment. Every workday morning she came in early; always pleasant to everyone. It was mandatory. She remembers being good at all of it. Tracking down facts for the scientists with their research, creating spreadsheets with tabbed information to have at the tips of their fingers, and even answering desperate weekend emails with pleas for more information. This need to serve; her “passion.” When did it all start to turn, she wonders? 

Then, she hears her voice questioning,

Joy, how do you keep passion when it’s not rewarded, month after month, year after year?

-You do it for yourself, of course, not for others!

Well, I certainly couldn’t.

Jane states her new insight stoically.

photography of a dark sky

Then, begins the unraveling of her resentment with every word. Resentment at being passed over for this promotion or bonus. Her voice pitches higher, the words spilling out faster. All eyes are on Jane; all ears, listening. “Oh yes”, she tells them,

I got a certificate once, noting my dedication printed in the office on stock paper.  Standard size, of course. I bought a cheap, plastic frame and hung it in my office to show them my gratitude.

More chatter and nods. More food. More wine.  Jane says little else that afternoon. She is ruminating on her Pandora’s Box of hidden grudges.  Finally, with a subdued anger, she asks herself,

-Why am I always so damn grateful?

Dedicated to the “moms” of Takoma Park who are steadfast.
Hudak, Tina. Nothing In Particular, © 2019

Poetry from the porch #5


My sons were both born in the season I cherish.

Nature’s rhythms begin to slow.

Irish sweaters, worn in so many places, are pulled out to air. Thrown carelessly, but with love, over the old chestnut banister.

It is the time to pull in and hunker down, anticipating winter’s gift of solitude.

Oh yes, late blooms still remain on the shrubbery’s branches, where pale reds and violets preen themselves.

Outer foliage dies. But roots, deep down, refresh themselves.

This is the season where what was once nimble, even spirited in spring, allows itself a graceful decline. Where new life is nurtured within the strength of what was once young.

My sons, I remember holding you in my arms while the gentle, autumn light blankets us.

My sons, it is a good season for birth. 

When the boys were young, the beach trips were during the autumn months.

© 2019 Tina Hudak Dedicated to Sam & jack


summer hydrangea

A Late Summer poem revisited


Along a narrow beach road there is a white house

weathered with blue shutters where one is missing.

The clapboard is grey, the color of wet sand.

The sky is big above this place.

Light, light is everywhere

reflected by the bay that stretches before her front door.

This house is surrounded by scrub pines, wild grasses;

swaying blues and greens across a muted landscape.

The porch wraps itself around the house an apron of comfort to wipe off

the debris of city life.

Through the screen is a silhouette of long ago.

A bulbous vase sitting atop a wicker table


with flowers, drying hydrangeas of pale blues

and violets; some are a faded scarlet.

Blinding sunflowers beg kisses.


I am a woman of substance

living in this place, in this house.

I have a ruddy complexion and

sand between my toes.

I love the sound of the sea winds banging

against the shutters.


Every summer I paint the shutters a

robin’s egg


For many summers my family spent time in Lewes, Delaware. It was always a magical time. The house I speak of has, long ago, been torn down to build condominiums for the next generation. We never returned after that last summer with the house.

Lewes, Tina Hudak © 1988 Dedicated to my sisters

Poetry from the porch #4

Small struggles


The lines do not come with ease. My hand forces the paper to lay down at odd angles. Every minor effort is met with resistance.

Repetitive images and motions, one after another. Again and again. And another. Persistence is the curse.

Distracted thoughts, but with eyes steady. The thin, silver blade slices through layer upon layer. Yet the plethora of pieces find no rest. No home.

There is no angle. No paper. No place for these lines. Not yesterday. Not today. Will tomorrow be the same?


Outside my open window the redbud branches arch effortlessly from the trunk. So too, the leaves from the branches. And so on. Here, all is aligned accordingly. The songbird bestows her blessing with song. All is as it is intended.


To live with ease. To grow with grace. To be elemental.

The Eastern Redbud is prolific in the area where I live. In spring, when the purple buds are in bloom, before the leaves emerge, they are breathtaking.

Poetry from the porch #3

Sunset’s sorrow


 I cannot reconcile myself to the death
of this timid goldfinch. Nature’s senseless killing.
No more sunflower yellow against the
coneflower’s faded blush of late summer;
No more sweet song fills the picking garden
laden with heavy blooms. Sunset sweeps in.
What will its mate do now? Will she linger
perched here in her muted greys tinged
with dull shades of gold, waiting? 
Will she sing,
And sing,
And sing,
waiting for bursts of staccato counter-song?


My body is weighed down with sorrow.
And yes, with anger, too,
both in equal measures.
Tina Hudak, poem and image © 2019

Dedicated to the families, friends, and especially victims of mass shootings in the United States too numerous to list.


Sent as a prayer to lawmakers, organizations, and individuals to act with common sense and compassion, not from a sense of power and with Closed Minds.