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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Murder by Lion on CreateSpace

Murder by Lion on CreateSpace

I approved "Murder by Lion" on CreateSpace on Sunday. Then I ordered ten copies. Today, around noon, the books showed up by UPS.

I can't believe the service that CreateSpace provides. In only two days, including a Sunday, they printed my book, shipped it and it was delivered. These guys are really on the ball.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Want to Read a New Murder Mystery?

Want to Read a New Murder Mystery?

After months of hard work, my third mystery novel is finished. This book is third episode in The Rachel Christie Mystery Series. The first two are "Murder by the Clock" and "Murder in Emerald Hills." All of these books take place in small northwestern North Carolina towns. All three books are available in eBook kindle format on Amazon or paperback at CreateSpace.

In this novel, "Murder by Lion," Rachel Christie becomes entangled in the gruesome murder of an heiress and philanthropist when she takes a pro bono case from her homeless friend Joe. She gets beaten and drugged by crazed addicts in solving a murder caused by a coverup that has been simmering for the past ten years.

It is a case that plunges her into physical and emotional bankruptcy and it nearly destroys her agency. Her associate Cody is forced to choose between his family and the agency and Rachel must commit to her close friend Ron or to her life as a private investigator.

* * *

The crowd hushed. The air was thick. Not from smoke, but from tension. Then, fingers pointed. People whispered. The old bum staggered across the restaurant floor. He fell to the floor, knocking over a potted plant, but rose again before anyone could move. Two waiters ran toward him, but not before he made it to the far corner of the room. As the crowd watched, homeless Joe and I caught a glimpse of each other at the same time.

I could see things weren't right. Joe was staggering. Joe would never let me see him drunk, so something bad must have happened. Why was he here? Obviously to see me. I jumped up so fast that my chair went crashing to the floor behind me.

My wine glass fell over onto the white, neatly pressed linen tablecloth. As I rushed toward him, he collapsed and fell at my feet, dropping the cell phone from his hand. Before he passed out, he said, in a barely audible voice, "Find her killer, Miss Christie. You can do it, if anybody can."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is Whole Foods the Same as Wholesome Foods?

Is Whole Foods the Same as Wholesome Foods?

Yesterday, we made a pilgrimage to Winston-Salem for supplies not available in our small town. The trip was also to return an installation kit we bought from Sears for the new clothes dryer. We usually use the trip as an excuse to go to a different restaurant than those available in our small town.

At Sears, the salesman punched more keys on his keyboard than we could count, all the while saying "Your order was cancelled." He seemed to be implying that, as the order was cancelled, he couldn't refund our money for buying it. I countered with "If you'll refund the money for the cancelled washer and dryer, I'll be glad to keep the installation kit." Finally, he noticed that it was a three-piece kit with a cord and not a two-piece kit without the cord. I had mentioned that the cord had three prongs instead of the code-mandated four several times. Anyway, he finally got it all figured out and gave us the money. Then, we went to the Olive Garden and had a nice lunch. The waiter was a little verbose, but quite efficient. The food wasn't verbose, but was good anyway.

When we were finished with the main shopping area, we headed for the Whole Foods store several miles away. Some years ago, they had by far the best selection of cheese around, but it had been going downhill for the last two years. We first noticed it when a six-month aged Brie from France had been replaced by a fresh Brie from fifty miles away.

This time I was looking for some SnoFrisk goat cheese which I like and which I previously reviewed. At first, I thought I'd gotten lucky. Half a dozen of the easily recognized, triangular packages were on the refrigerated shelf. I grabbed the first and checked the 'use by' date printed on the package. Six days ago. How terrible! But there were five others. No problem. One after one, I checked the dates and they were all to be consumed six days ago.

From there, I went to the cheese counter somewhat depressed. The lady behind the counter immediately greeted me and asked if I needed any help. I pointed out that the SnoFrisk was out of date. "Oh no. It can't be. I just took those out of a new box." I assured her that the cheese was indeed past, not the 'sell by' date, but the 'use by' date.

I had frequently gotten the advice that if cheese were bad, or fungused over, that all one needed to do was scrape off the fungus. I had heard that many times and believed it until my husband ate some Irish Cheddar which had been scraped off and then got sick for a day.

Then the lady behind the counter said, "I'll remove it from the shelves." But, she didn't. She just stood there and asked if I’d like some goat cheese from California. That cheese was within three days of expiration. I proceeded to look at other cheeses and found another half a dozen within two or three days of their 'use by' date. I don't eat enough cheese to eat six ounces in two or three days. So, I passed those by. After I had left the cheese counter, I looked back and she was still standing there.

I always thought Whole Foods was short for Wholesome Foods. Now, I don't think so.

It's a terrible shame when you have the money and are ready to spend it, but the product either isn't there or the people selling it don't care enough to do their jobs. I see it more and more. A great number of people are out of work but those working don't care enough about their jobs to do them properly.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Editing Third Novel

Editing Third Novel

My third novel is now being edited. My editor has told that it is edgier than the first two, “Murder by the Clock” and “Murder in Emerald Hills.”

I try to make my novels reflect what the heroine Rachel Christie is thinking as she is solving the mysteries. The relationship between Rachel and her friend Ron is a romantic sideline in the novels. Also, the role of her associate Cody is evolving in the third book. He's becoming a real detective, a not so naive man. I believe that I enjoyed writing this book more than I did the first two.

However, I can understand how most authors want to shortcut the editing process because it is difficult and
time consuming. Each time I have a comment from my editor, I have to go back and look at the book. It's a difficult process of reading, re-reading, editing and re-editing. This is an important process and cannot be overlooked or bypassed.

All three of the books in this series can be obtained in ebook format and paperback format. I expect this book to be published by the end of July.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Washer and Dryer

New Washer and Dryer

I must say I had my doubts when I first thought about getting rid of my old washer and dryer. The engineer in me kept saying the old was sound and reliable. My old washer and dryer were Maytag. When I say Maytag, I mean Maytag. It was built when Maytag was the prima donna of laundry machines.

Old Coppertone Maytag
Yes, take a good look. The laundry machines were Coppertone. How long have these been extinct, you might ask. Long enough that they might be coming back any day soon. Nah! Let’s see. It was probably the early 1970s when the last was made. No, I did not buy them then. I bought them used from a Scottish colleague in Saudi Arabia, who bought them used from an American. If the American bought them used, I don’t know.

Since I have had them, my husband bought a timer for the dryer and belts for both washer and dryer. They have moved from Saudi Arabia to Virginia to Texas to Alabama to Texas again to Saudi Arabia to Texas again and then to their present home. They have always been reliable.

New Stainless Samsung
Yesterday, the new Samsung washer and dryer were delivered. I spent half an hour looking at the manual to see what all the options were. Some of the bells and whistles on these machines have probably been around for a long time. However, never having used one, I stood there and watched as the clothes went back and forth. We tried to figure out what was going on, whether it was using the torque of the machine motor to determine the size of the load and just what all the little icons meant. We were pleased with the small amount of water required to clean the clothes and the quality job the steam cycle did in getting out all the wrinkles.

When it came to picking out the new washer and dryer, I researched a lot of brands. This time, Maytag was not an option. I bought a Whirlpool range and refrigerator several years ago--in a hurry to move into a house--and regretted that decision every day. When I went to use the clean feature on the oven, it didn't work. The door is so small that it is hard to see anything inside. The refrigerator is noisy.

I also bought a Maytag dishwasher a couple of years ago, thinking that, if Maytag made good washing machines, they would make good dishwashers. No. I was wrong. It was supposed to be a quiet dishwasher. That didn't last long. In summary, Maytag is now just another appliance line from Whirlpool. I will never buy another Whirlpool product.

As I said, concerning the washer and dryer, the engineer in me kept saying why get rid of something that has worked all this time, but I want to save energy. The other part of me said I just want a new washer and dryer after all these years. One thing we did was buy the minimum service contract. It appears that, if something is going to break down, it will do so within a short time after purchase. Also, I kept my old washer and dryer. It’s hard to say goodbye to old friends. One day I may give it to Goodwill.