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February 01, 2006

>>China Bayles, Ruby Wilcox, & Friends

Redboot2The Pecan Springs Journal is the online blogging home of China Bayles, Ruby Wilcox, and their friends--characters in Susan Wittig Albert's herbal mysteries.

China Bayles left a high-powered legal career and bought Thyme & Seasons Herb Shop in the small Texas town of Pecan Springs, halfway between Austin and San Antonio. She and her partner, Ruby Wilcox, own and operate Thyme for Tea and a catering service called Party Thyme. With Cassandra Wilde, they are also involved in The Thymely Gourmet, a personal chef service. China (who describes herself as a "totally wash-and-wear person" who doesn't even own a basic black dress) lives with her husband, Mike McQuaid, his son Brian, and their elderly basset, Howard Cosell, in a big house outside of town.

Ruby Wilcox owns The Crystal Cave, next door to Thyme & Seasons. China calls her "seriously weird," and when you see her, you'll probably agree: six feet plus in sandals, rowdy red hair, ginger freckles, and a personal style designed to drive the Pecan Springs fashion police out of their gourds. Ruby was married (just once) and has had her heart broken more times than anybody can count. Her favorite people: her daughters Shannon and Amy and baby granddaughter Grace.

The Myra Merryweathers are Pecan Springs' answer to the Red Hatters. This herb society has been in business since the 1930s, when Myra Merryweather got everybody all excited about the virtues of herbs. Before you could say Salvia officinalis, they had formed an herb guild called (bad idea) “The Gay Garden Belles.” When Myra died, she left her historic house to the Gay Belles, who were so glad to have their very own clubhouse that they immediately voted to change their name.

Susan Albert is the author who dreams all this stuff up. She and husband Bill live in rural Texas. You can read about Susan, Bill, their writing, and their lives here. When she's not reading, writing, knitting, cooking, or gardening, she's blogging.


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