Archive for December, 2009


Christmas Greetings from my Characters to Their Fans

   Posted by: GG Vandagriff    in Friends

Merry Christmas to Family, Friends, and Fans!

This has been a great year for the Vandagriff family!  Highlights were our research trip to Florence (see October archives of my blog for diary and David’s pictures.  Also the reason I now call him Herc) and the long-awaited announcement that we will have a new grandchild in 2010!

However, I know most of you are interested in where Christmas finds your favorite characters.  So here’s a Christmas greeting from each of them:

Briggie and Richard are now in their seventies. (See Briggie writes that she is finally tired of globe-trotting, and has convinced Richard to go on a senior couple’s mission.  For some reason (not to be understood by the rational mind–but you know Briggie), she settled on Italy.  Unexpectedly possessed of a talent with languages, she is bullying poor Richard who has a tin ear for Italian.  They are the only missionaries in Italy who ride twin Vespas,  and Briggie loves to weave up to the beginning of the intersection when the light is red, and then drag race with all the other Vespas  when the light turns green.  They have taken over the investigator we came across in the leather market, and Briggiie has Aldo committed for baptism, which Richard will perform.

Alex and Charles (See are in the Punjab in India researching the genealogy of a Silicon Valley billionaire.  With them are their two preteens: Rose (12) and Anthony (11).  They are enjoying the adventure, and thinking of traveling to the mountains in search of a Christmas tree.  Both the children have become fluent in Hindi and are being home schooled by Charles in the Classics. He insists that they must have a firm foundation in Greek and Latin.  On their way home next Spring, they plan a trip to Greece to see the ruins, and to Italy to see more ruins, and of course, the art.

Unfortunately, Amalia’s communications have been sparse and cryptic.(See They arrive through a wormhole in the universe which carries them from France, 1942, where she is undercover as a Special Operations Executive spy in Lyon.  She acts as a courier, receiving and delivering messages from her British controllers to the French resistance.  Though a bit old for this work (she’s in her forties), she was driven to it in hopes that she could make contact with Rudi, an RAF pilot who was shot down over France, but is being hidden by a French family near Lille.  Christmas is tense, because Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, is on a relentless hunt for Jews, Resistance Fighters, and SEO operatives.  Separated from her husband for the first time during the war, poor Amalia is not only frightened, but lonely.  However, with her customary courage, she is helping English fighter pilots find their way back to Britain, and is full of hope that she will find Rudi before the Germans do.

Lastly, Maren O’Neill (see was married this year (to whom?  Can you guess?) and with her family matters settled, is now free to mother Claire as she has always wanted to.  She has settled with her little family in Wales, where she hopes to make a fresh start with her new husband.  They are renovating a charming cottage in North Wales, and are both teaching part time at the University of Wales.  Their Christmas is full of rejoicing, as Maren has just found out she is expecting another child.  A boy this time, who will no doubt be initiated into the mysteries of the Arthurian Legend as soon as he can talk!

Merry Christmas also from the Crazy Ladies of Oakwood, whom you haven’t met yet–Roxie, McKenzie, Sara, and Georgia–who are enduring a Midwestern winter by looking forward to their cruise to the Greek Isles in May.

May your New Year be filled with lots of fun and lots of good reading!

People continually ask me where I get such quirky characters for my books.  Actually, I tell them, the quirk is in my head, passed down from who knows how many generations of eccentrics.  Those who know me well learn not to question this truth.

Therefore, I am extremely gratified to see my grandson, Jack, aka Aniken Skywalker, exhibit signs of said eccentricity.  Last summer when he was 3 1/2, he said to me, his voice very firm, “Nana we need to have a talk.”  I knew I was in trouble for something.  He took me into my bedroom and pointed to my little round table full of knick knacks.  “What are these doing here???

Gulping, I said, “What are you talking about?”  Promptly, he held up a gray pebble, an inch-long piece of driftwood, and a small, razor sharp shell.

I informed him that they were things I got on a special vacation to a beach.  He replied,  “This belongs on a rock pile (the pebble), This belongs on the beach (the driftwood), and This belongs in the ocean! (the seashell).  Nana, this is very bad!  You are breaking Heavenly Father’s rules!

This at 3 1/2?  I feel full of the felicity Mr. Bennett (that wonderful character of Jane Austen’s) must have felt when entertained by the eccentricities of his friends, neighbors, and family.  De-pending on how long it takes me to get Alzheimer’s, I look forward to many years of enjoyment as Jack grows in the subtleties and nuances of his own particular brand of quirkiness.  (I swear, his parents are not runaway environmentalists!)  If only his great grandfather could have known him!  What fun they would have had!