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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Search for Jogging Shoes

The Search for Jogging Shoes

For many years, I found it difficult to buy shoes. Forget about the cheap stores. They rarely sell AAAA or AA widths in shoes. But I did find some stores that sold my width. I guess that, over the years, people’s feet have grown wider and wider or the shoe manufacturers have found that selling to the majority is the way to go. Or maybe living in a small town, the choices are limited.

Today, I searched the web for running shoes. The web, I’ve found, is not a good place to buy shoes unless you know exactly what shoe and how they feel. I usually end up sending the shoes I buy online back because they did not fit right.

The old shoes I had were old and were coming apart. I should have thrown them out a year ago, but the replacement shoes were always too big or hurt in unusual places after a while. The old shoes also were hurting my heel because all the cushioning in the shoes was gone. I finally gave up and bought some new shoes today. They are Asics Gel-1179 and I’ve never had any by this manufacturer. They, too, are a little big, but it was the best I could find at my local sport store. They do have good cushioning, which is good, because I jog or walk briskly every day.

I used to wear Adidas about ten or so years ago because they were narrower than most sport shoes. However, the ones I tried on today had very little cushioning, perhaps made for walking. I don’t think I could have used them even for walking, but they were narrower.

All the shoes I saw were made in China. Surprise! Just like everything else. Maybe the Chinese have one width and they use that for most all the shoes, the perfect template.

When I was in college, a friend of mine had a hard time buying shoes because of her size. It wasn’t that she had a narrow width, but it was because she wore a size 4 or 4-1/2. Luckily, she had a friend who owned a shoe store. Most of the display models were that size and she bought her shoes at a discount.

If I ever find that one lucky narrow width jogging shoes, I will buy several pairs because I know I will never find one again. I’m sure a bigger city like Houston would have just what I need, but, for now I will live with my new shoes and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Drunken Goat Cheese Review

The Drunken Goat Cheese Review

As the label says, The Drunken Goat is a semi-soft goat cheese bathed in red wine and is a product of Spain. I couldn’t tell that much about the wine, but it is a semi-soft goat cheese that has a mild bitter flavor that goes well with sweet nutty port or fruit. The best port to have with this cheese is the milder 20-year-old ports. Anything else might overwhelm the taste of the cheese.

The Drunken Goad has a very smooth texture like goat goudas, only this cheese is not as strong as goudas. It does not have the crumbly texture or strong taste of regular goat cheeses, either. To me, this cheese doesn’t really taste like a goat cheese nor does it taste like a cow’s milk cheese. It is somewhere in between the two.

If this cheese is being served with a combination of other cheeses, it would best be served near the beginning of the cheeses because of its smooth light taste.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review of 1999 Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts

Review of 1999 Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts

After opening this bottle of 1999 Vosne-Romanee by Charles Thomas, I smelled the aroma of blackberries. Every time I open a bottle of French burgundy, the aroma captivates the senses. I love the smell of the berries and earth. I had this wine with chicken and roasted potatoes. I know most people would think that red wine does not go with chicken. The right pinot noir, in my opinion, can be paired with the the right food as long as one knows the wine and the food.

I've read reviews where 1999 Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts by Charles Thomas should be drunk after 2014. However, this wine was fantastic with dinner tonight. Also, I read that people had opened this wine several times and it was corked, a funny taste. I don't know what happened to this person's wine, but we keep our wine in a constant 60 degrees Fahrenheit and nothing has happened with this wine. The cork has always been in good shape and the wine has always tasted good. We have a half dozen other bottles and will drink them within the next few years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What About a New Desk?

What About a New Desk?

Yesterday, my new desk was delivered. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve needed a new desk. The old one was a flat pack I bought from JC Penney back in--I don’t even remember when. After researching desks, I finally decided on this one.

My old desk was cluttered with papers, several keyboards and, at one time, two monitors. This old desk was the concern of my heroine Rachel Christie in my Rachel Christie murder mysteries because I feel like I’m overwhelmed with clutter. Therefore, Rachel Christie is not a neat person and her office and home is cluttered. She just gives up and throws things anywhere. That’s how I felt with my old computer/desk setup.

My new desk is a Riverside Cantata L shaped. The small addition to our house was large enough to accommodate width of this desk. As far as I am concerned, it is perfect. I have a place to store my printers and computers and space to keep the cords bundled and out of the way. Whether I’ll be any more organized is yet to be seen.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review of Cockburn's 20-Year-Old Port

Review of Cockburn’s 20-Year-Old Port

Cockburn’s 20-Year-Old port is a port of special distinction. It is sweet alcoholic and nutty flavored port. It goes especially well with cheese and nuts and sweet desserts and crusty bread. It is a light amber in color and is difficult to obtain. In a small city of 150,000, I could not find it anywhere. I had to special order it and then only in 500 ml bottles and only finding a few sellers.

It is the favorite of my female sleuth Rachel Christie, who likes to drink port and look out upon lights and twinkling stars at night.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Book Published - Murder of the Innocent

New Book Published - Murder of the Innocent

My new book “Murder of the Innocent” has now been published on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an eBook for $2.99 and as a paperback on Create Space for $9.99. It is the fourth in the series, but is a standalone mystery as well as are all the others in the series.

In the book, a seven-year-old girl, drowned in salt water, is found hundreds of miles from the ocean. A Hispanic male, father of three, is drowned in salt water and his body is discovered in a landfill.

Private detective Rachel Christie must discover the connection. She finds evidence incriminating her partner Cody and pulls out all stops to find the killer before her partner is indicted as a sexual predator, and worse, a murderer. Rachel is shot at, thrown in jail, stabbed and trampled by a horse. Ron says she’ll get herself killed. Sunbeam says Rachel’s harmless to everyone but herself.

Illegal gambling thrives nearby. A registered sex offender is jailed for sending nasty emails to the dead girl. The political race for sheriff adds two more suspects. Would someone kill two people to win an election?

Too many questions. Too many clues. Too many lies. Too many suspects. Too little time.

The beginning is as is as follows:

The clouds were dark on top of dark, threatening. Not gray, but black ominous giants of wrath, poised to spew torrents of rain and a million volts of death-dealing lightning all around us. The wind's fury blew as if I were in a wind tunnel. With two steps trudged along the rushing water's mucky edge, another step was lost to the wind. The river was a murky muddy brown. No way a body could be spotted in water this dark. It would be difficult to see a body on land.

Cody, my partner, called at five and awakened me with an urgency in his voice that I couldn't ignore. Cody was normally the definition of calm. Always cool and collected. Not this morning. He called me from my living room. Maybe he thought that was the best way to wake me up. Better than his bursting in. Maybe he was afraid I might have someone with me. I must be getting a reputation in this small town. He had used the spare house key I had given him to get through the front door. I would have to rethink the option of his keeping the key.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Much to Pay for an eBook

How Much to Pay for an eBook

A popular question across blogs and forums is the cost of eBooks and I’ve even had this discussion with a few of my friends. I have several authors who are my favorite writers and I have read almost all of their books. However, a few have released, or will release books in the near future, that will be beyond what I consider a fair price to pay for an eBook.

One of my favorite authors is now charging $4.99 to $6.99 for his older works. I consider that a good value for my money. However, when his new book debuts over $10, I doubt I will buy it. Also, another author has been charging $7.99 to $9.99 for his books. I will pay those prices because, again, I feel this is a fair price for this author. When his new book debuts for nearly $15, I will not buy it.

I have discussed this with several of my friends and find that they, too, will not buy the higher priced books. It is not that we cannot afford these prices. We can. We feel the publisher is gouging the market for these well-known authors’ books.

Good authors are out there, waiting to be discovered, only if we take the time to read the reviews carefully and read the first ten percent of the book. As seasoned readers, we can tell which reviews are genuine and which ones are not. If we follow the reviewers on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, we know which reviewers are genuine and have reviewed a number of different books. We know if our interests match theirs or not. We also have Goodreads where many readers have shared their opinions on different books.

We do not have to be taken in by outrageous price gouging. I say we stand up against these high prices and find those new gems in millions of books that are available to us.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sandeman 20-Year Port

Sandeman 20-Year Port

What’s for desert? Pie? Cake? How about port, cheese and some crusty bread? Maybe also a few grapes or cherries? Or a few cashews? Or even almonds? Or chocolate? Or -- all the above. Tres tasty. That’s what I did today after dinner, port, cheese and crusty bread.

Ports come in several flavors, so to speak. The basic port is ruby or red. This is usually sweet with a fruity flavor. Not bad. Six Grapes is a good, reasonably priced, example, less than ten dollars a bottle. A bit pricier, but no better, in my opinion, is vintage port. The port vintner is the one who says whether or not it is vintage. Like trusting the used car dealer to tell you it’s a good car. Yeah, right. You’re too smart for that.

Next is the 10-year aged tawny ports at around twenty-five dollars a bottle. Some are excellent with quite nutty flavors. Then, we have the 20-year aged tawny ports. At around fifty dollars a bottle, these are a little milder a little more balanced, a little less nutty, a little more civilized.

Like most 20-year ports, Sandeman is light amber in color. It has a light nutty mild flavor with less alcoholic taste than most 20-year ports and is more balanced. It goes well with mild goat cheese and stronger Vincent cheeses. It also goes well with caramel and chocolate desserts and nuts.

This is one of my favorite ports. I highly recommended it.

By the way, good port is spelled on the label, Porto. Don’t buy any port that is spelled port unless you have received a great recommendation.