Are We There Yet?

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
September 19, 2023

Somebody, please tell me summer’s over and it’s fall now. The past few months have been a parched, scorching misery in Central Texas. But the further we get into September, the more hopeful I am that the heat really is easing. And not a moment too soon, because Jack-o’-lanterns slumped and oozing on the front porch in 106 degrees would put the “low” in Halloween.

Finally, finally we’re squeaking closer to my favorite time of the year: when the temperature dives as the sky darkens like a bruise, when smoke is in the air and the first thought in my head isn’t “wildfire,” when flocks of Sandhill Cranes circle overhead at twilight and sink gently to the pastures, when coyotes gabble and shriek as the moon gazes down with cool detachment. To celebrate this coming of the short, grey days and long nights that can set us shivering with primal fears, I’m excited to announce my latest project: Of Stars & Smoke: poems for the dark wane of the year.

Of Stars & Smoke is a chapbook of poetry that embraces the dark side of the four months at the end of the year, September through December. There are twenty-eight poems, seven for each month. Some poems have appeared before in print and online publications, and several have been honored with nominations and other recognition. None are cheery, rosy-cheeked sleigh rides through the snow. Nope, not for me. The first poetry I memorized as a little girl was all the witches’ lines from Macbeth, the next was Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies (“N is for Neville who died of ennui”). I’m an October child, what can I say? Halloween’s my favorite holiday.

And even better, there’s early bird pricing! Of Stars & Smoke is now available in paperback from Amazon ( for the special price of $7.95. The e-book will be released October 3rd, and you can pre-order it at for the special price of just $0.99. On October 4th both formats will go up to their normal prices.

This project is something I’ve wanted to do for some time, and it’s close to my heart. I’d love it if you’d celebrate the year’s wane with me. Let’s revel in the darkness!

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10 comments on “Are We There Yet?”

      1. Susan, despite the fact that I am also an October child, I do not share your sense of foreboding or anything at all scary about the upcoming COOL months, only blessed relief. Nonetheless, I look forward to devouring your release of Of Stars & Smoke, as Iknow how great it will be to once again partake of your tasteful work. Best, John

        1. Hi, John, it's wonderful to hear from you! And happy early birthday to you! Yes, cool weather will be marvelous when it finally gets here. I may have jumped the gun in the blog post a bit. It's still plenty hot. But I'm very grateful for your kind words and honored by your support! I hope you'll enjoy Of Stars & Smoke!

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