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, August 28, 2012

Which Refrigerator to Buy?

Old Whirlpool Refrigerator

Which Refrigerator to Buy?

On Sunday my refrigerator died. I think I complained once too often about hating it. Ever since I purchased it, I never liked it. We had just bought our house and we had to buy something fast. Never again.

The Whirlpool refrigerator always made strange noises and I will never buy another Whirlpool product. After 8-1/2 years, it should not have died. With my luck, it figures. I’ve always read that, if an appliance dies after five years, the economics are better to replace it.  I had a GE refrigerator that lasted for over 15 years, but I sold it when I left Saudi Arabia. I wish I hadn’t. That refrigerator made many moves between States and overseas.

I spent many hours researching refrigerators this weekend. I read hundreds of reviews from various sources. Just about as many people loved Samsungs as hated them, with very little in between. GE had some hates and loves and some middle of the road opinions. I mainly looked for reliability versus features. Features don’t mean much if the refrigerator dies early. After all the reading, I decided on a GE Profile side by side refrigerator.

After arming myself with the model and the prices from Home Depot, Sears and Lowe’s, I went to the lowest bidder, which, in our area, is Lowe’s. Home Depot is forty-five minutes away and I was so frustrated with their website that I decided against them. I even emailed them and told them they needed to improve their website or lose more business.  Sears was about an hour away and had a delivery charge. So, I opted for the closest and nearest--Lowe’s. At first Lowe’s wanted to charge $200 extra, but I had already found the price on their site and told them. They agreed and I paid for the refrigerator.

The bad thing is the refrigerator will not be delivered for another two weeks. I decided I would either eat dehydrated foods or peanut butter sandwiches rather than buy something I did not want off the showroom floor. I had made my decision and would put up with the inconvenience for the next two weeks rather than purchasing something I did not want.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

SOLE F63 Treadmill

SOLE F63 Treadmill

Lately, I’ve decided that I need to firm up. Possibly in writing my murder mysteries where my main character is, not only fit, but an expert in martial arts, I feel a need to get in better shape. My main form of exercise is jogging and mostly on my SOLE F63 Treadmill.

Two years ago when I purchased my treadmill, it ran for all of 6 inches and stopped. I opened the hood and the pulley driving the belt was offset from the motor pulley by 2 inches. I considered fixing it myself, but, since I had purchased the in-home repair warranty, I decided it would be better to call Dick’s Sporting. They sent out someone who picked up the old machine and brought a new one.

The new machine has worked flawlessly for 2 years. It has connection for an Ipod and has programmable routine, along with pre-set routines, adjustable incline and speeds. It also has built-in fans and heart monitor.

The main reason I bought this particular treadmill was because of the arm extensions, which provide more safety for me. Recently, I have been using it while reading my Kindle.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fresh Peaches

Fresh Peaches

Today I decided to see if our little tree had some peaches ready for picking. When we first planted this tree, it was supposed to have several fruits in one. However, through several winters, only the peach section remained. Today, I picked ten peaches from the tree and ate one. It was sweet and delicious.

We have more peach trees on the property, but, since most are planted close to the forest, the squirrels and other varmints tend to eat them before we get a chance to see them. They are gone long before they are ripe.

One year we cut down an old peach tree that was planted near a younger one. After we did, the young tree died. Somehow it must have been part of the old tree.

The tree from which I picked the peaches today is in the front yard. By front yard, I don’t mean a few feet away from the house. Our front yard is actually about six acres. This tree is located about fifty feet away from the house. When looking from the living room window, you see this small tree with black netting. It doesn’t look that good, but it’s the only way to keep all the crows and other minor birds away form the fruit. After losing most of my blueberries this year to the squirrels and birds, I wasn’t about to lose the peaches as well.

I’m looking forward to eating more of these delicious peaches and perhaps making a peach cobbler.

Friday, August 10, 2012



When I was a child, I’d never seen a hummingbird. In my teens, I saw one, but that didn’t count. It was on the city sidewalk and it was dead. However, for the last several years we have had several feeders full of nectar and have had hundreds of hummingbirds, I think. Maybe they are just the same twenty or so that return year after year. After all, we do have lilies, crepe myrtles and other assorted flowers that last from March through October.

One year we had one that stayed around until close to November. That was odd because all the other birds left the last of September. We would call him Old Grumpy. He would sit on the perch of the feeder and fluff his feathers. If any other birds flew by, he would shoo them away and then sit back on his perch. That’s not unusual for hummingbirds to be territorial or possessive, but this bird sat there all day long. He only left to catch bugs.

The first time I saw a hummingbird try to catch a bug, I thought the bird was crazy. The way he would swoop high in the air, swoop down and then go around in circles. After they would finally catch the bug, they would dive immediately for the feeder.

I was amazed to see how many people were afraid of these little birds. A friend said he knew a motorcyclist who was injured by a bird who flew directly into his face. Ouch! Those beaks are sharp. Every time we come around the corner of a house, we make sure that no hummingbirds are headed our direction.

One time a hummingbird came into the garage and flew around for a long time trying to get out of there. We tried to shoo him out, but he didn’t know which way was out. Later he was so tired, so we took him outside. He was too tired to fly. We made up some nectar and forced his beak into the water. His little tongue lapped it up. After a few minutes he flew away.

Whenever the feeders run out of liquid, a hummingbird will fly in front of the large living room window and fly back and forth for a few minutes. Every year, around mid-April a hummingbird will do the same thing. That is the way we know it is time to hang the feeders or refill them. They have trained us well.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wine Review of Gevry Chambertin

Wine Review of Domaine des Beaumont Gevry Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes 2001

Domaine des Beaumont’s Gevry Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes was a very good medium-bodied pinot noir wine. After eleven years, it still retained some tannin, but it did not diminish the taste.

I have learned not to trust generalities on vintages when it comes to wine. The vintner is important. The year 2001 was not lauded as a good year for wine. Most reviewers rated 2001 as an average year for burgundy wines. I would rate this wine as above average and it goes well with salmon. Also, I had this wine with a vegetable lasagna and it was still just as good.

I have one more bottle but will probably drink it within the next year.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Do Men Write Books About Women Sleuths?

Why Do Men Write Books About Women Sleuths?

I not only write books about a female sleuth, but I also read them. I buy new eBooks and I  trade eBooks with my friends. Frequently, I find myself asking, "What idiot wrote this?" The usual reason is that the book was written by a man. I find this amazing, strange and odd. How could a man believe that he could write as a woman? We're different, other than biologically, in the way we do things, in the way we approach problems, in the way we think, in too many ways to list. Ladies, you know what I mean. Guys, if you don't, you'd better learn.

I read a review on Goodreads that said that women characters were two-dimensional in a male author’s work and are stock characters. Could this be because men do not know how to portray the complexities that dwell within the female physche? I ask this question because I have read some good books by males who seem to portray women as this one-dimensional dimensional human being. Do men actually see women as one-dimensional? I can’t believe this is true, but the books I have read tend to support this.

As I see it, the answer could be two different things. First, the man could be 'a woman in a man's body,' if you know what I mean. But, even so, in a man's body, there are many differences. Strength. The perception of people around. Not the same. Not at all. Second, is the arrogance of the uninformed. If the man is a teen, then uninformed is the right word. If the man is thirty or more, he's old enough to know better. Women don't look at things the way men do just as men don't see things as women do. Before age thirty, this becomes obvious for all but the thickest heads.

Some men who write about women sleuths partner with women. A wise move. I have no problem with these partnerships. In fact, I have a writer friend who edits my books and frequently recommends changes based on his knowledge of the male psyche. As a married woman who has spent half a lifetime in a "man's" job, I believe I know men as well as any woman. But, I don't believe I could write for a man and have it be convincing. At least not to men.

The greatest advice I've seen about writing is to 'write about what you know.' I hope that more male authors will shed their arrogance and a bit of their false testosterone and admit some ignorance about the females of the species.  Come on guys. Give it up. It's way past time.