Life On Victoria Square


Welcome to Victoria Square, the home of a number of eclectic enterprises, anchored by Artisans Alley. Need a gift for family, friends or a special occasion? Visit Gilda’s Gift Baskets and Wood U. Something sweet to eat? Visit Tanner’s Bakery and Cafe, Sweet Sue’s Confectionery or Booth’s Jellies and Jams. Have tea at the Square’s tea shoppe, and get your quilting needs at the Quiet Quilrwe. Meanwhile, get to know the merchants on the Square and learn about the lives they lead.

I hope you’ll enjoy Life On Victoria Square!

The first story in the series, is …


A young shoplifter not only swipes a couple of hand-carved figurines from Ray Davenport, owner of Victoria Square’s Wood U gift shop, but barrels into and injures Katie Bonner, manager of Artisans Alley. Upon his escape, the police are called, but before the ink is dry on the report, the boy’s grandmother drags the would-be thief back to return the purloined items. She’s got an agenda and great expectations?  Can Ray come through in a pinch?


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The story behind the story …

My father, Len Bartlett, was a jack of all trades. Literally. He was known as a “fitter,” and got his training at the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth, England. When he came to the US, he found similar work, but also had side jobs. One of them was framing houses, which would come in very handy when he added rooms onto our home, family cottage, and he gutted and rebuilt my first house. He had lots of hobbies, too. He made jewelry, fixed watches and clocks, and in his later years he took up carving. (Santas were his specialty.)

I love the cover for Carving Out A Path, which was done by Wicked Smart Designs. In it, the designer was able to incorporate three of my father’s wood carvings. The tall Santa even won an award from a prestigious contest in Berea, KY  One of Dad’s carving buddies moved to KY from Western NY and wanted to make the same design, but he needed to actually see the finished project. So my father mailed the Santa to him, not knowing that it would be entered in the contest. So imagine my Dad’s surprise when the carving arrived back home with that first place ribbon!

I own more than 100 of my Dad’s carvings, and I enjoy looking at them every day. I hope you enjoy the three Santas on the cover.

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Iris Drake is an odd duck. She knows everyone at Artisans Alley arts-and-crafts arcade, but nobody knows her. When she walks into Gilda’s Gourmet Baskets on Victoria Square, she’s a stranger there, too—but not for long. Yet she hasn’t to come to Gilda to buy her wares—she’s there to sell some of her own. All goes well until Iris’s secret is exposed. Should Gilda step in to make things right, or walk away from an unpleasant situation?

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Katie Bonner needs a pick-me-up one cold and gloomy fall day, and the US Mail delivers—literally. A mysterious package arrives at Artisans Alley with her name on it, but the return address is obscured and the treasure inside, a beautiful bone china teacup, is broken. Before Katie can open the accompanying card, she’s called away and one of the vendors mistakes the package for trash. Katie makes a quick rescue, but the card is gone. Who sent the cup? What is its significance? Can Katie solve this mini mystery?

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Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Dana Milton finally opens her own dance studio on Victoria Square and one of her Broadway Babies (age 8) is a classic tyrant. Can she teach her students about respect for one another—and when it’s time to stand up for oneself, or is it all tutu much?


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Did you ever wonder how where the various businesses are located on Victoria Square?  Check out the maps page.



Don Parsons and Nick Ferrell bought a ramshackle Victoria spinster and plan to transform her into a Painted Lady. Weddings and other parties are a part of their business plan. They’ll be hosting a small ceremony and reception for bride-to-be Lauren Washborne … except she doesn’t seem all that enthusiastic about her upcoming nuptials. Don wants to know why—but Nick is against the idea. Will Lauren have a chance to live happily ever after, or will her suitor be left at the altar?

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