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They Mostly Come at Night. Mostly.

by Jennifer Susannah Devore


Holiday elves and gnomes, turning Christmas Eve so ghostly

Scampering hither and thither, skittering creepily through the house

They mostly come at night, mostly


Crafting chaos, making mischief so grossly

Frightened back to their beds, all the family pets: the cats, the pup and even the mouse

Holiday elves and gnomes, turning Christmas Eve so ghostly



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Just when I'm convinced the candy corn glow makes Hallowe'en the best season ever, Christmastime sprinkles me with cinnamon and nutmeg fairy dust and it's off to races I go! No more Pumpkin Spice lattes, no, Siree! Now, 'tis time for Gingerbread and Egg Nog lattes! ~insert Homer Simpson-style drool here~ Yes, what could be more glorious than Christmastime? If you know Moi, you know the only answer to that could be ... Disneyland at Christmastime!

I'm oft queried, usually accompanied by a snide, wrinkled nose, "How times can you go to Disneyland? Isn't it all the same, all the time?" In two words, respectively, "Googolplex" and "No". If I may  ...


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The site of America's first Thanksgiving is up for debate, notably where Virginia is concerned. (Aside: where there are matters of national origin or first American families, Virginia will always concern itself.) Clearly, the universally agreed-upon venue for the first Thanksgiving remains Plymouth, Massachusetts. The famously friendly, plum-and-pumpkin, good cheer feast of deer, fish and clams amongst English colonists, Mass. Gov. Wm. Bradford with neighborhood Wampanoag Indians and their chief Massasoit is the model on which all modern Thanksgiving gatherings are re-imagined. Of course, as oft happens, Virginia says they did it first, if not with far less of that good cheer. Initializing the holiday with a much more boring and somber Thanksgiving, the Old Dominion holds firm to its claim, via Berkeley Plantation in 1619. Specious, but technically arguable, Berkeley's riparian shores along the James River ripple with questionable authenticity.

December 4, 1619, one year prior to the legendary Plymouth Rock, Mayflower landing, Captain John Woodleaf and a few dozen English settlers landed some twenty miles shy of Jamestowne Island, at Berkeley Hundred: an 8,000-acre land grant of the Virginia Company of London awarded to Sir William Throckmorton, Sir George Yeardley, George Thorpe, Richard Berkeley and John Smyth in 1618. After ten weeks at sea, and upon landing on Virginia soil, naturally, Captain Woodleaf and his men, the legend goes, dropped to their knees and Woodleaf thanked God then and there in an impromptu, outdoor service for their safe arrival. (Blink, blink.) The official Charter of Berkeley Hundred states “We ordaine [sic] that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantation in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” So, yeah. It was a first Thanksgiving, of sorts.

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I am not ready for Christmas. Ergo, please, retailers and marketing squads, just chill and give us a few weeks of the orange-and-brown before the red-and-green arrives with its proverbial bells jingling. Now, please, do not misread me ... I adore Christmas, adore it! Not only was I raised in a home with consistently luxurious, department store-/magazine-quality decor and a year-round Christmas tree in our mountain cabin, but Christmas Day usually meant dinner at Disneyland. I also spent six years living in Colonial Williamsburg and, trust me, there is nothing much more festive than a Disney Christmas or a Colonial Christmas, except maybe a Parisian Noel. All that aside, I need some time to prepare: spiritually and sartorially.

Nothing is more glorious than an autumn day so perfect it is of filmic proportions: like the art department hand-painted every leaf the perfect shade of red, sprinkled Georgian window panes with the just the right amount of raindrops and yellow gels were placed on all the interior lighting, making a university coffeehouse more like Mormor's Nordic Kitchen, alive with the smell of espresso and nutmeg. This is generally best experienced in Annapolis, Yarmouth, or Colonial Williamsburg.

I need time to enjoy all of this, usually in my tweeds and camel overcoats , before the winter-white cashmere sweaters and red Mary Janes come out of hiding. I need time to order pumpkin harvest bisque and a Guinness in a pub before truffles and pancake ice-topped martinis become apres-Christmas shopping de rigueur; before dear Mormor puts out her Santa-head sugar cookies; and, before Starbucks forces its red-cup cheer on me ... the day after Hallowe'en! J'accuse, Starbucks ... you, of all folks, should appreciate autumn for its leisurely solace.

Now, I cherish, nearly worship at the foamy foot of Starbucks. I await the legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) all year long; yet, it's all so short-lived, hidden behind the red-cup brigade. Design a Thanksgiving cup, Sbux, if you please: tobacco background with mustard-yellow and brick-red swirls steaming up the cup and all topped off with a turkey silhouette. Ahh, yesss, I can see it now. Well done, me!

In fact, it is somewhat odd, this Thanksgiving penchant of mine, considering the fact that I am a vegetarian (since about the age of fifteen) and a Native American: 1/8 Choctaw ... so, I may make all the "Feather, not dot" and "Casino, not convenience store" jokes I want. Oh, don't get your p.c. panties in a proverbial bunch. I'll bet there was a joke around some dinner table during Diwali that would have offended me, had I known of it. Let's all have a sense of humour, shall we?

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In this season of family, good friends and, of course, the annual roasting of a grand feast, whatever that may be (Tofurkey is always nice!), I thought I might proffer a wee excerpt from the upcoming Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington's Folly and the Western Frontier, Virginia 1754. Though originally written as a springtime campfire song, Bloody Mary, Don't Roast Me Tonight makes for a great family sing-along, no matter what the occasion! One might hear it 'round an 18thC. Appalachian campfire, or 'round your own Thanksgiving table, anywhere across this great country. Happy Thanksgiving, America!

Excerpt from Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington's Folly & the Western Frontier, Virginia 1754

Dante turned his attention to Jeremiah, whom was tuning his cittern: a small, medieval-era, stringed instrument. It was similar to a mandolin, but with a longer neck and a flatter back. Usually played with a quill or a plectrum, Jeremiah needed neither. His claws were the perfect, natural plectrum. Cincinnatus was sitting up straight, lengthening his diaphragm as he prepared to sing. Both Mason boys had removed their trail hats, leather tricorns, and replaced them with what they called their 'fficial sing-songin' hats, which looked very similar to simple Robin Hood hats. They were green wool and sported an interesting and plentiful collection of feathers, one feather collected on each adventure they shared. The current adventure with Lt. Col. Washington had yet to provide the perfect find.

Jeremiah and Cincinnatus had an affinity for medieval music and their feathered hats helped them get into that frame of mind. In between them, staring dumbly into the campfire they'd built outside their tent, sat Sparky. He did not possess a 'fficial sing-songin' hat, but was always eager to join whatever the scene was. So, he took one of his neckerchiefs, one which happened to be of a thick, olive-green linen, and tied it around his head. He pulled it backwards into a point so it approximated a Robin Hood hat and sported it proudly as he awaited the music. When he tore he gaze away from the fire, he realized Dante was in the camp and yelled out to him, a little too loudly.

"Dante! Dante! Over here! Come sit with us! Jeremiah and Cincinnatus is playing themselves music! We's having ourselves a mee-dee-vull sing-salong!" he patted the empty space on the log next to him.

Dante happily obliged. This was easily more fun than editing his reports for Washington and Governor Dinwiddie. He settled onto the log and crossed a boot over his other leg, the way Washington did. It turned out that the earlier argument he'd heard between the two ermine brothers was about a song. More precisely, it was about the title of a song. In the end, Jeremiah ceded to Cincinnatus' choice: "Bloody Mary, Don't Roast Me Tonight".

Bloody Mary, Don't Roast Me Tonight

lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore


Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,

Why is your heart so black tonight?

The sky is so clear, the stars so bright.

Why is your heart so black tonight?

Summer of 1553 began your Terrific Reign of Might.

Oh, why is your heart so black tonight?

Hair of Titian, your smile faint like a ghost.

'Tis a beauteous evening for a campfire,

But not for a Protestant roast.


Note: As with previous songs, in previous titles, Bloody Mary, Don't Roast Me Tonight is inspired by the author's many musical friends. Thank you, pals!

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Excerpt from Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington's Folly and The French & Indian War, Virginia 1754, Book IV of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books, by Jennifer Susannah Devore. All rights reserved. Property of KIMedia, LLC. Excerpt may be shared digitally for entertainment,  non-commercial purposes only and may not be reprinted in analog format or sold in any format, digital, analog or otherwise.



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Theme from Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates (Book II)

Blackbeard's Chanty:"Me Cup is Broke!"Music by PBIII, lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore

Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland. is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!



Meet Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at

Abyssinia, kids!