A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
Community - Entertainment - Human Interest


Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. If you love mysteries — explore Mysteryrat’s Maze — and check out our sister site on Blogger for bonus articles.


All articles published in 2013.

Kitty’s Blessing: A Christmas Cat Short Story

IN THE December 21 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andPets,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Elaine Faber



Once, in a faraway land on a crisp winter afternoon, Kitty strode across a hillside, contented as only a cat can be, her tummy full and her breath pungent with the after-flavor of mouse?that morning’s breakfast. She jumped to the top of a warm rock, stretched out and prepared for a snooze in the sunshine. Nearby, a group of shepherds tended their sheep. The bleating of lambs faded as the flock moved on down the hillside. Kitty curled her tail around her nose and fell asleep.

{ 2 comments }

by Margaret Mendel


Arlene won’t be spending Christmas in our apartment building, as of this morning. And you wouldn’t exactly say she moved out. Our nemesis of so many years went feet first and in a body bag.

{ 6 comments }

Three British Mysteries for Christmas

IN THE December 21 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker


I’m a little envious of a couple of my friends who will be in London this Christmas season. I have been there during early spring and again in summer, but have always dreamed of having a British Christmas on the Isle itself. I consider making a plum pudding every year in December, but just don’t want to face boiling anything in cheesecloth. I’d love to have roast Christmas goose, Christmas punch, and play the Minister’s Cat with a witty group of Brits, but my dream has not materialized thus far.

{ 8 comments }

Christmas Greetings

IN THE December 21 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andMinistry Musings,
andTom Sims
SECTIONS

by Tom Sims


It seems so small to say, “Merry Christmas,” and leave it at that. It is merry. Our hearts are at their best when dancing between the realities of brokenness and giddy joy. We are warmed, we are delighted, carols surround us, lights invite us; we are caught up in the season of hope.

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by Gary Hoffman



As Susan was struggling to open her front door, she thought of her Uncle Theodore. He always had some cute little saying or adage from somewhere else. One of them he said came from Germany and translated into English as, “A lazy man will carry himself to death.” She was beginning to believe it as she tried to carry three bags of groceries, two more of Christmas presents, and another of wrapping paper and bows, just to save two trips to the car.

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by Cynthia Chow


If you’re going to ever be lost at sea, there’s no better or more original way for your body to be retrieved than by dolphins. After a mercurial trip where famed photographer Tom Tiburon managed to anger everyone on board and subsequently disappeared on one of his routine unauthorized night dives, his body was actually carried back to the Dolphin Diver II by bottlenose dolphins.

{ 6 comments }

by Terrance Mc Arthur



Tate was a normal human female. Well, not THAT normal–she was an artist who worked in meta–—until she moved into Golgotham, the magical and mythical part of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Then she acquired the ability to make her work come to life and move on its own. She also found love, marrying Hexe, the future Witch King, in Nancy A. Collins’ Golgotham urban fantasy novels (Right Hand Magic, Left Hand Magic).

{ 2 comments }

Mr. Claude North: A Holiday Short Story

IN THE December 18 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Paula Gail Benson


I had put it off as long as I could. To finish my retirement paperwork required either my Social Security card, which was packed away somewhere, probably in a box in the attic, or evidence I had applied for a replacement. When I was employed thirty years ago, I didn’t have to show the card, but now, after all that time working and paying taxes with the number, my employer needed proof it belonged to me.

{ 4 comments }

by Kate Thornton


Have you ever been so in love with someone that you would do anything for them? Me neither. What a crock. The interns we hire – they may not be in love with the staff, but they’ll do anything for us. A real May through December romance. And I certainly use that to my advantage. I’m a tough guy, after all.

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by Jayne Barnard


The Early Music Society’s Yuletide Concert was over for another year, the cookies and punch done, the excellent acoustics of the Elbow Park church gone silent, the great stained-glass windows dark. Security consultant, Lacey McCrae, drove home along Mount Royal’s slippery slopes, admiring the sprinkling of coloured lights glowing under in a dusting of new snow.

{ 2 comments }

by Lee Juslin
& Margaret Mendel



We thought for the holidays we’d pull out a couple of past favorites for you to make for your holiday baking–the Terrier Cake and Christmas Cookies! Recipes included.

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by Sandra Murphy
& Cynthia Chow


We have one last big batch of fun Penguin mysteries this year! All 5 of these are November releases-we have food, bookstores, cats, supernatural & more: Fixing to Die: A Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Mystery By Elaine Viets, The Quotient of Murder: A Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery By Ada Madison, The Thrill of the Haunt: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery By E.J. Copperman, Wedding Cake Killer By Livia J. Washburn, and Words with Fiends By Ali Brandon. Details on how to win copies of all 5 at the end of this post!

{ 16 comments }

Christmas With Westies

IN THE December 14 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andPets,
andSheryl Wall
SECTIONS

by Sheryl Wall


As a child, can you recall how excited you would get when the Christmas tree and stockings went up for the holidays? Or how eager you were to open the gifts under the tree? Kids are not the only ones who enjoy the holiday festivities. Our pets too can get involved in the excitement; I know mine do. As long as we make the effort to keep the holidays safe for our pets, it can be a fun time for everyone. I always have to be sure that anything hazardous to my dogs are kept out of their reach and not allow them to be munching off of the humans food. I find that if I give them their own fun activities it makes them less eager to get into what is not theirs.

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by Cynthia Chow
& Krista Davis


Had Holly Miller not just recently resigned from her Washington D.C. job due to disagreements with her employers’ lack of ethics, the call to help her grandmother may not have had her immediately abandoning her boyfriend in the midst of his business trip. However, when her Oma’s best friend, Rose, tells Holly that she is needed, Holly doesn’t hesitate to return home to her hometown of Wagtail, Virginia, borrowing Ben Hathaway’s car, even if that means leaving him in the grasp of his former–and very wealthy–ex-girlfriend.

{ 22 comments }

The Box: A Mystery Short Story

IN THE December 14 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Terry Shames


Mira looked terrible in black. It made her complexion appear washed out and depleted, which was appropriate, under the circumstances.
She glanced at the diamond watch Bob had bestowed on her two years ago for their thirtieth wedding anniversary. 9:20. Sharon would be picking her up in twenty minutes. Maybe she should wear her old watch. Unclipping the elegant diamond one, she laid it in her jewelry case and rummaged around in the drawer until she found her old Timex. Of course, the battery had run down a long time back, but there was no reason anyone should notice.

{ 4 comments }

by Gail Farrelly


In her 64 years of life, my aunt, Gertrude Shannon, has never met a hot fudge sundae she liked or a stalk of celery she didn’t. She’s a health nut who always brags about eating right. Her menu is packed full of items that are non-fat and non-fun. She constantly lectures anyone and everyone about having good eating habits and guarding against obesity. It doesn’t matter if people want to hear the lecture or not. She insists on providing it. What a bore.

{ 7 comments }

How I Met My Dinner: Advent Calendars

IN THE December 14 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andAlicia Lieu,
andHow I Met My Dinner
SECTIONS

by Alicia Lieu


Regardless of how commercial Christmas gets, I will always love Christmas. Even though I can do without the retail craziness that the holiday season has become, I have always loved spreading Christmas cheer. The religious significance remains important to me today but I have always enjoyed the activities that go along with it: decorating the Christmas tree, getting presents, giving presents, wrapping presents. I would always watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I also consumed more baked goods around Christmas time than any other time of year.

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by Muffy Walker



For some, the holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, gift giving, festive parties, shopping sprees, cookie exchanges, caroling and more. For others, the holidays are a lonely time, evidenced perhaps by the lack of all the joy experienced by others. For most though, the holidays are a time, good or bad, which can be filled with stress.

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