About Me...and Some Influential Books
Born in Boston, I was brought up in the small New England town of Pembroke, Massachusetts, which is near Plymouth, the location of my current series of novels, Circle of Five and its sequels.
Poetry was my first love, and over the years I’ve published poems in many literary journals. Two collection of my poems, Doors to the Universe, and The Nature of Things are available from my own bookstore Swan Cottage Books. See Website Abebooks. com.
Later, I turned a talent for creating recipes into several cookbooks with health themes. One of these, SUPERFOODS: 300 Recipes for Foods that Heal Body & Mind, Times Warner, 1993, was a featured alternate selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club; alternate selection of the Better Homes & Gardens Book Club. Over 100,000 in print.
Superfoods gave me the nerve to “quit my daytime job” as a greeting card editorial director and enjoy the precarious profession of full-time freelance writer.
I’ve also co-authored two volumes of stories about famous haunted houses of the United States, which was fun to research and inspired me to keep exploring phenomena we call ‘paranormal’—which may be turn out to be perfectly normal, after all.
From my first marriage, I have had two grown children, a daughter Lucy-Marie Sanel, and a son, Charles Sundance Anderson, both of whom are carried on the rolls of the Penobscots (Native Americans) of Maine. My son died in 2007. A traditional Penobscot funeral was held for him on Indian Island, Old Town, Maine. My own roots are Sicilian and Scotch-Irish.
As a poet, I’d always signed my maiden name, Dolores Stewart. For cookbooks, I preferred my married name, Dolores Riccio; after all, it was my loyal husband who got to try all those experimental dishes. Not wanting to abandon either chapter of my past, I’m using both names for fiction.
My husband was Ottone Riccio, poet, teacher, and author of The Intimate Art of Writing Poetry, who died in 2011.
Full circle, I have moved at last to the Avalon Apartments at the Pinehills in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a town I always loved so much when I was a youngster growing up in Pembroke, which is nearby. It's very peaceful and pleasant here, fewer responsibilities and more time for writing!
A Lifetime of Favorite Books
Without consideration of literary merit, these are my favorite books, including childhood delights, influential classics, and absorbing new novels, arranged alphabetically by author. I’ll probably continue to add titles as I remember them.
Anonymous—Mother Goose, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Robin Hood, One Thousand and One Nights (Scheherazade)
Louisa May Alcott—Little Women
Hans Christian Anderson--Tales
W.H. Auden—Collected Poems
Jane Austin—Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility
Marian Zimmer Bradley—The Mists of Avalon
Charlotte Bronte—Jane Eyre
Pearl Buck—The Good Earth
Frances Hodgson Burnett—The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy
Edgar Rice Burroughs—Tarzan of the Apes
Laurie Colwin—Home Cooking
John Donne—Collected Poems
Guiseppe Di Lampedusa—The Leopard
Charles Dickens—Collected Works
Emily Dickinson—Collected Poems
Isak Dineson—Seven Gothic Tales
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—Sherlock Holmes stories
Du Maupassant—Stories especially “Ball of Fat”
Daphne Du Maurier—Frenchman’s Creek, House on the Strand, The King’s General, Rebecca
Alexandre Dumas—The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo
Lawrence Durrell—The Alexandria Quartet
Ralph Ellison—Invisible Man
Ralph Waldo Emerson—Self-reliance
M. F. K. Fisher—The Art of Eating
Ken Follett—Eye of the Needle, Pillars of the Earth, World Without End
James Frazer—The Golden Bough
Sigmund Freud—The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
Dorothy Gillman--The Mrs. Pollifax books
Sue Grafton—The A is for Alibi series
Robert Graves—I Claudius and Claudius the God, King Jesus, The White Goddess
Thomas Hardy—Far from the Madding Crowd
Charlaine Harris—The Harper Connelly mysteries
Sue Harrison—Mother Earth, Father Sky and its sequels
Nathaniel Hawthorne—The House of Seven Gables
Ernest Hemingway—For Whom the Bell Tolls
Tony Hillerman—The Lieutenant Leaphorn, Jim Chee Navaho stories
Alice Hoffman—Practical Magic
Gerard Manley Hopkins—Collected Poems
Henrik Ibsen—An Enemy of the People, A Doll’s House
Susan Isaacs—Compromising Positions
Shirley Jackson—The Lottery, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
P.D.James--the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries
William James—Varieties of Religious Experience
Sue Monk Kidd—The Secret Life of Bees
Rudyard Kipling—Kim, The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, Gunga Din, Plain Tales from the Hills
D. H. Lawrence—The Man Who Died
Harper Lee—To Kill a Mockingbird
Ursula Le Guin—A Wizard of Earthsea and its sequels, The Lathe of Heaven, The Left Hand of Darkness, Dancing at the Edge of the World
Donna Leon—The Commissario Guido Brunetti stories
Jack London—Call of the Wild
Somerset Maugham—The Razor’s Edge, and many of his short stories
Herman Melville—Moby Dick
Arthur Miller—Collected Plays
Margaret Mitchell—Gone with the Wind
John Mortimor—The Rumpole stories
Guy Murchie—The Seven Mysteries of Life
Mary Oliver—Collected Poems
Robert Parker—The Spenser mysteries
Ellis Peters—The Brother Cadfael stories
Pirendello—As You Desire Me (a play)
E. Phillips Oppenheim—The Great Impersonation
Edgar Allen Poe—The Gold Bug,The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Eleanor H. Porter--Pollyanna
Beatrix Potter—Peter Cottontail et al
Philip Pullman—His Dark Materials
Phillip Rothman—The Plot Against America
Rafael Sabatini—Captain Blood
C. J. Sansom—The Matthew Shardlake mysteries
Steven Saylor—Roma Sub Rosa stories
Sir Walter Scott—Ivanhoe, The Talisman
William Shakespeare—Collected Works
George Bernard Shaw—Collected Plays
Mary Shelley—Dr. Frankenstein
Alexander McCall Smith—Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency
Dodie Smith—I Capture the Castle
Robert Louis Stevenson—Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, Treasure Island
Harriet Beecher Stowe—Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Mae Swenson—Collected Poems
Jonathan Swift—Gulliver’s Travels
Alfred, Lord Tennyson—Idyls of the King
William Makepeace Thackeray—Vanity Fair
Henry David Thoreau--Walden
Dylan Thomas—Collected Poems
Eckhart Tolle--The Power of Now, A New Earth
Leo Tolstoy—War and Peace
Mark Twain—Tom Sawyer
Lew Wallace—Ben Hur
H. G. Wells—War of the Worlds, The Time Machine
Oscar Wilde—The Portrait of Dorian Grey
Thornton Wilder—The Ides of March
Marian Weinstein—Positive Magic
P. J. Wodehouse—The Jeeves stories
J. R. Wyss—Swiss Family Robinson
William Butler Yeats—Collected Poems
More favorite books, these are about Wicca, witches, goddesses, and the history (prehistory, really) of matriarchal rule that have influenced and enlightened me.
For an introduction to modern day Wicca with a thoughtful explanation of its roots, you can’t top this one! This is the book I had to have two copies of, because I kept loaning it to people who expressed an interest in the subject, and I absolutely needed to have one always within reach. Positive Magic: Ancient Metaphysical Techniques for Modern Lives , by Marion Weinstein. The revised edition is by New PageBooks,2002.
Just finished this one: a super all-around reference to Wicca as well as an inspiration to connect with the natural world at a deep level. Witchcraft: An Alternative Path.Ann Moura (I half-remember that Moura's books were recommended to me by a reader of the Circle books. Thanks! to whoever it was!)
One of my most-thumbed reference works for a quick take on any Sabbat or Esbat, I recommend, The Wiccaning, A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Modern Witch, by Sister Moon, Citadel Press, Kensington (my own revered publisher!)
For an overview of the history of goddess worship and its relevance to today, this is the definitive work: The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk, 20th anniversary, HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.
Scott Cunningham, for those of you who don’t know him, wrote the most crystal-clear guides to everything metaphysical, and you’ll find his works in any Llewellyn catalog. My particular favorites are Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner; Scott Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, and The Magical Household.
Simply to evoke the spirit of the ancient holidays, without much reference to Wicca (except subliminally), at the appropriate times of the year, I always read The Wheel of the Year by Pauline Campanelli, with its beautiful illustrations by Dan Campanelli. Really lures me into the spirit of the season.
A Book of Women's Altars, by Nancy Brady Cunningham, Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002, is a wonderful source of creative settings for personal celebrations.
A recent addition to my “favorites” references shelf is The Wiccan Way, Magic Spirituality for the Solitary Pagan, by Rae Beth, Phoenix Publishing, 2001. Rae Beth has written other Wiccan books that I haven’t read yet, but I’m looking forward to them.
Then there are classic works to recommend:
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler, Beacon Press
The White Goddess, by Robert Graves, a rather impenetrable treatise on the ancient myths but dear to my heart for being my initiation into the history of the “goddess with a thousand names.”
For those interested in Druids, a subject I read about eagerly when I was researching my novel Spirit, I especially recommend The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis, who also writes a terrific mystery series under the name Peter Tremayne featuring an early Christian religious Sister Fidelma, a judge and a sleuth in the world of Ancient Ireland.
Speaking of Ancient Ireland, a book I can hardly read without feeling really angry at the suppression of women through the ages is The Serpent and The Goddess: Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland, by Mary Condren, HarperSanFrancisco, 1989. Highly recommended!
For the ecologically minded,Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future, a collection of essays by a number of thoughtful Pagans edited by Ly de Angeles, Emma Restall Orr and Thom van Dooren, published by Llewellyn Publications. Wonderful, evocative, inspiring views. I quote from this book on my Home page.
A particularly helpful Web site is edited and maintained by Patti Wigington. It's one of the "About" family of newsletters; you can sign up to receive any one of them free. Wigington's newsletter is titled ABOUT Pagan/Wiccan Religion. There's a world of inspiration, history, theory, and practical help in those pages, and I am indebted for the many times I have used the P/W connections for my research.
There are more books and sources. I’ll add them as they come to mind.
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