About Me

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I received teaching and engineering degrees and have traveled extensively, living ten years outside the US. I moved from the big city of Houston to a small sleepy community in North Carolina, which has been a tremendous change and a great inspiration for my novels, full of the local color. My time has been filled with writing and helping to physically construct three additions to our former farmhouse. I have a great view of the mountains ten miles away across the broad valley and the sunsets are breathtaking. I am an avid reader of all kinds of mystery and contemporary fiction.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I just returned with my husband from the latest nut and fruit gathering session. And no, he's not the nut I gathered, not this time anyway.

Five years ago, we planted hazelnut trees. We had a yield of a couple dozen nuts from one tree last year and they were tasty. This year all six trees are producing and we have collected three quarts in a week and a half. Only the first tree is producing right now and is still full of nuts. I'm looking forward to having my own hazelnuts for Christmas.

When I bought the trees, I bought several different varieties. As it turns out, they mature at different times. On one tree, the nuts are turning brown and falling while on the others they are smaller and still white.

Some people say that the trees should be trained to a single trunk, but I haven't done that. I am watching for a shoot some distance from the parent tree. If I find one, I'll dig it up and replant it twenty feet away from the others.

If you'll notice in one picture, there's a larger nut. That's a black walnut that fell a couple of weeks ago from a 50-foot tree at the side of the house.

Trivia question: What kind of tree produces hazelnuts?

Answer: The Hazel tree. Some things are easy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sale of Murder Mystery Novel

On June 5 through June 9, Murder Among Friends, the 7th novel in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery series, will be on sale. For the first two days the price will be discounted to $0.99 and for the last two days the price will be $1.99. The normal price is $3.99. If you like strong female main characters, small town mysteries, private investigators and strong plots, this is the book for you.

The book description is as follows:

A secret, known only to a group of seven, rocks a nursing home with murder. It's a secret the members tell no one. Except someone does know. That someone is ruthless enough to kill frail, suffering, defenseless people, preying on their vulnerabilities to get the secret. 

When the Sheriff of Stone City asks private detective Rachel Christie to find his mother-in-law, who has been missing for three weeks, Rachel fears the worse. Her partner Cody has a friend connected to the murders and wants the agency to help his friend. Rachel only hopes that she can unravel the crime and save the others before all end up dead. 

A stand-alone murder mystery, this is number 7 in the Rachel Christie Mystery detective series.

Please feel free to send me a comment at this blog.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vacation and Crowds

I have noticed many things as a result of my recent vacation to that wonderful land of children and that world-famous mouse. After visiting that fantasyland at least 30 times, we finally became the family of the day. What does that entail? Well, for us, it was being upgraded  from a room with a garden view to a two-bedroom suite with no view. Whether we received a better view or not I'll never know because of the trees blocking any view whatsoever, but we did receive much more interior space and a little card that said we were the Family of the Day. Twice previously, we had rooms at the Polynesian where the view was blocked by a giant Palm. If I had planned my engineering projects like this, half of Texas would be dead today.

My husband is one who does not get into the hooplah that encompasses the family of the day and refused to even have his picture taken when we arrived. He seemed to forsee that it wasn't what it seemed to be. It turned out that the hotel was busy with many conventions and I would not doubt that we were upgraded to make room for the conventioneers that did not have a room. Whether or not they looked at our past stays is speculation. We were thankful for the extra space.

I suppose I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when the parking lot was full and the next parking lot, the convention center parking lot, was being paved. The guard failed to explain this and we ended up parking a mile away. Not nice for someone with an injured leg.

Prior to leaving on vacation and, being the klutz that I am, I fell in the garage and hurt both legs that have yet to heal fully. I learned that people who are in crowds feel anonimous to everyone around them. They are the only ones who are enjoying themselves and no one else matters. I had to constantly be on the lookout for anyone who would abruptly change directions, so that I would not suffer another unlucky fall.

I also noticed that in the restaurants which were open in this low season, half the people were saving seats for others and the other half were sitting and talking after finishing their meals. I marched back and forth across a large restaurant four times before finding an empty table.

Also, in the fantasy portion of the amusement areas, people were constantly being run over by people pushing double baby carriages and by wheelchairs occupied by people who appeared fully capable of walking. I appreciate the idea that people need baby carriages and people who are handicapped need wheelchairs, but most of the people I saw took no regard for average people and tended to overrun them. I was hobbling due to the fact that I was injuried, but many in wheelchairs would get out of those chairs and walk naturally. Also, many of the double baby carriages that were running people over had no children in them. None at all.

What I have learned from my last vacation is that I need to find a much quieter place to vacation. Crowds of people tend to act like drowning rats in a bucket. When too many people are involved, they tend to climb all over everyone else caring nothing for anyone else.

In the end, it was not as bad as I expected, but not good enough to go back. Heavy sigh.