Review of “Angel’s Flight”

BRAVO!!!!! A great 3rd book of this series. I loved all the descriptive prose about a flashy time of our history.
The end was a surprise and of course now I must plead with Laura Shephard Townsend to get working
on the 4th because I just know you have more to tell about Angelica.

I wondered which words you wrote while I was enjoying my peaceful retreat at Solyluna in Costa Rica.

Much love to you Laura.


Review for “Angel’s Flight”

This is an incredible read. I could not put it down…cover to cover in less than 24 hours.

Laura Shepard Townsend is beyond masterful…this tapestry of words is a treasure…especially to Venice California  ( gift yourself and your friends this book and the two predecessors: “The Gypsy’s Song” and ”Lions and Gondolas” available in paperback on Amazon)

Book cover WITH title and author 300 ppi





Rom Generosity (excerpt from “The Gypsy’s Song)

“But that night even my breath was fogging into frost, and I did not
dance, but snuggled down all toast-warm into my eiderdown. I called it
‘Puff’, for my quilt seemed to have an actual presence to guard me from any
intrusions of night ghosts, so generously was it stuffed with down.

Generosity is a quality inherent to the Rom; though they possess little,
anything they do own, they endow with abundance. The Gypsy spirit,
unlike that of the gadje, has chosen to emulate the spirit of the universe, and
grandly gives without prejudice to all, rather than to just a chosen few.
Everything we had was vividly embellished with nature’s palette. My
comforter, Puff, was the color of polished emeralds bright with violets and
sunflowers. I have to admit, I never experienced the color beige or taupe
until I lived among the gadje.”

Vardo gold interior




Venice 1920’s description “Lions and Gondolas”

“From that day, I was roaming the streets of Venice in pursuit of myself, or perhaps in search of Abbot Kinney’s goddess, Venus.  Sometimes I got lonely as I rambled around, but never bored.  There was way too much to distract me.  It was the Venice’s Golden Age in an uncomplicated era; it was also the Golden Age of my life, at an uncomplicated age.  Venice and I suited one another exactly.

It is nearly impossible to describe the fantasy that was Venice then, for it no longer exists.  Oh, one might get a nostalgic whiff of it in the patch of canal area still remaining, but not even there.  Venice, in its Golden Era, was enrapturing, a place unlike any other.  There was an air of constant excitement, like static electricity, as if anything could happen and probably would.  I felt special just living there, substantiated by the seventy thousand tourists who jammed into Venice each and every weekend.  But why wouldn’t they?  Venice was the most entertaining playground, with a collection of gorgeous excesses to tickle anyone’s fancy.


It was a noisy place.  Colorful banter from the Ballyhooers blocked crowds as they shyly tried to select from exhibits, girlie shows, and musical performances.  There were sharp cracks of gunfire from shooting galleries, and concessionaire patters promising delicacies for the palate.  Crowds were urged to try their luck at all kinds of game booths.

Midway on Lagoon

Old Bill, a pelican, just strutted about, the renowned king of Venice.  There was an Alligator Farm across from the St. Mark’s Hotel, elephants and wild bears, and of course, my mother’s lions.  Tied camels spit their cud at those adventuresome enough to climb on their humps for a souvenir photo.  You could experience the Old Wild West in Trail Shows; go to exhibits of Egyptian mummies or stare at oddities like actual shrunken heads to contemplate how they could have been made, and by whom.

On the Venice Pier, there was everything you could imagine to do and then more.  The carnival attractions included the Bearded Woman, the ‘Mystic Palace of a Thousand Wonders’, and ‘The Wickedest Show in the World’.  There were plenty of thrill rides.  You could go down the Dragon Slide clinging onto mats; be entertained at ‘Hilarity Hall’, go through the Fun House, or to the lovers’ favorite, the Tunnel of Love.  There was always the old standard, the Ferris wheel, or if you felt more reckless, you could ride the roller coaster, ‘Race Through the Clouds’.  ‘Over the Falls’ was a dramatic swoosh down a four-foot high chute with a glide past a scenic waterfall.  In ‘The Racing Derby’, you rocked forwards and backwards to move your horse to the finish line. If your horse ended up most forward in the slot at the end of the ride, you won a free ride.  Riding in the whirly-whirlies made you dizzy.  Horses dived into tiny pools from platforms way up high and Mr. MacGregor’s ostriches gave children fast-paced rides in surreys.  And at the end of the pier was the famous zoological garden, which encompassed Mother’s lion act.

There was an underground Chinatown exhibit, and a cyclorama show called the Last Days of Pompeii.  Underneath the Aquarium, at the end of the pilings, below the planking, there was a deep trough where you could watch leopard sharks, cod, smelt and herring swim.

All of the adventuring prompted tourists’ appetites, already seduced by all the exotic and delicious smells.  You could buy a treat from small carts called ‘hokey-pokeys’.  The vendors hoarsely listed their wares: candy apples, long twists of pearlescent salt water taffy, clouds of ‘fairly floss’, strawberry phosphates, even cream puffs crammed with custard.  ‘Two for fives’ were perfectly wrapped squares of ice cream that melted quickly in the summer heat.

For a tour of Venice or just to rest one’s aching feet, ‘The Miniature Railroad’ looped 1 1/2 miles on Electric Avenue, around Venice’s residential sections and canals.  The locomotive was jet-black embellished with brass; the twelve passenger cars gleamed royal blue and cherry red.  And these were just some of the amusements.  On top of that, there were the festivals every weekend with parades and bathing suit contests.  Venice even celebrated Japan day with kimonos and lanterns.  It was a mind-boggling experience, Venice in its heyday. ”

Miniature railway at midway


A New Review for Destiny’s Consent


All three covers chopped

Laura, It’s me, Paul.
I had to write before I forget how wonderful your books are.
I recently binge-read all three and I’m floored by them. The depth and scope of your
knowledge and wisdom astounds me. Likewise for your philosophical and spiritual bent.
I can’t imagine the amount of research involved, unless you actually lived in a bardo with
the Rom and traveled with a circus and flew old planes and somehow were a guest at
grand affairs in the 1920’s. Your attention to detail is likewise amazing. I can clearly
picture, and almost live, everything. And I thank you for that. What an experience
to read and savor Angelica/Ann/ Angel’s story.


Paul and Karen


The Granting

I awoke this morning to a life I have been dreaming of…
for twenty five years…it has manifested…




             A Dawning…
             Muses Inspire…
             Spells Imbue…
             The Bones of Story Evolve…..

Dharma Do

My heart is awash in billows of gratitude.  Finally, after so many years of my ‘gypsy life’, movement hither, thither and yon back to Destiny’s Consent.

I am once again at work birthing the sequel.

This is Laura Shepard Townsend’s space in the jungle. It is my room. It is my writing room.

Everything is here…my books, my notes….my boxes and boxes of 3X5 cards. They sit on the floor beside me awaiting the creation of scenes. Who is Angelica Grastende in 1926?  She is a flyer…yes!!


It is here that I live within my story: the next part of the dream I dreamt so many many years ago. I now live among the Mysteries.  I summon the Muses for assistance.

I look to the walls; Pat and my Mother smile inspirations upon me. Delores Hanney is there in a review published in The Venice Beachhead.

The desk at which I sit is a Chinese altar bearing talismans for lyrical clarity: a quill pen carved with mythical symbols leaning amidst crystals; an antique brass ruler engraved with dragons; a pen studded with jewels; amulet stones gathered from many places.  Beside me is a lacquered screen with carved gemstones in the shapes of flowers……mmmm….all of my treasures.

A pig with wings…’when pigs fly’ and I am at work. I am doing my work, with the gift I was given upon arrival here. It is my dharma. It is my quest.

This is what I believe and what I know.


Loretta’s Commentary on Destiny’s Consent

I did send you that text about book two and I love book two even more than book one.  It is very rich with details, reality, emotions, and characters plus an unusual subject area – the circus arts, clearly a dying art too.
 circus poster1
You might want to see if any Sarasota, FL, outlets might want to sell/distribute your book if that’s possible.  Sarasota is the home of performer Nik Wallenda on the tightrope and his entire family of performers.
circus angelica on trapeze

Angelica on the Trapeze

As I may have said before, it is probably the only remaining place that circus and aerial arts are taught in the public schools and there are several conservatories and schools for circus artists here, as well as the home of John Ringling and all of the B and Bailey circus companies.  The bookstores here carry lots of circus theme books.
I think it is very cool that I can ‘see’ your persona come through in reading your books – the magical aspect, the mystical angle, your humor, your perception of the deep ties between 3 generations of women and the different stages of their lives.  I’m not done yet, but I had to tell you how wonderful you are as a writer.  Keep it up, dear old friend.  I’ve been reading the book on the beach sometimes and I laugh out loud at parts of it.

A Review for Destiny’s Consent from Paula

I woke to one of my neighbors shearing away my bougainvillea blossoms that had had the audacity to stray into her yard.  I felt sorry that somehow the floral exuberance did not enthrall her heart and soul…and blessed the dying blossoms and her….so I arose, not exactly thrilled with life and its circumstances on this morning.

I wandered into the studio, almost swooning with the scents of orange blossoms. I checked FB and discovered these three posts on my page by Paula Jean, an intelligent adventuress I met at a Butterfly Sanctuary and Garden in the hills above Montezuma, Costa Rica.

                 “I am thoroughly, completely enjoying your book, It is my perfect escape from all my worries. I have been dealing with fleas these days in FL and for you to write about the Flea Circus has me giggling. It is so perfectly written from the standpoint of this child. How imaginative, how delightful, and filled with drama and conflict, filled with descriptive images. I can hardly put it down, thank you for writing it and will no doubt read your second one. Such a treat to have met you and to now read your magical story. It took over a year for me to buy the book, but I suppose I needed to find myself battling fleas to time it right, LOL.”

                “I weep as I come to the end of The Gypsy’s Song. I should have ordered the second book at the same time. Now I must wait for its arrival. The story is captivating and filled with so much, so many parts that have influenced our lives. Small tangents that speak to me on another level. Perhaps I was a gypsy in a past life. The draw to Bohemia touches us both profoundly and I love all the small references to a larger philosophical belief, references to Jung, The Tao, reincarnation, oh so many.”

                 “I am reading a delightful book by Laura Shepard Townsend, titled Destiny’s Consent. I was fortunate to meet this beautiful woman in Costa Rica last year. Not sure exactly why it took me a year to pick up this book but so glad I did. It’s a beautifully written story. If you are looking for a great read, beautifully written descriptive story about Gypsies in S Ca in early 20th century pick it up from Amazon. She has a great web site too”

Needless to say, my puny mind has shifted from my neighbor’s actions to Paula’s generosity of spirit embraced within her words. For a writer and an artist, there is little better happenstance in this world….thank you, Paula….

 The Gypsys Song smallfinal-cover-web