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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Murder Along the Blue Ridge Published on Amazon

Murder Along the Blue Ridge Published on Amazon

I have published my sixth book in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery series on Amazon. Murder Along the Blue Ridge finds Rachel Christie torn between her dislike for Deputy Skyler and believing he is innocent of killing people. Her dislike prompts her to say no to his asking her for help in clearing him. Several pleas from Skyler and her friend Ron cannot sway her. However, the plea from Skyler's eleven-year-old daughter does the trick.

Rachel has grown from her novice days into a relentless hardboiled private investigator who will stop at nothing and reveal the truth at all costs. In this book, she finds out things about her lover Ron that happened years before they met. It doesn't sway her in her search for the truth.

An excerpt from Murder Along the Blue Ridge follows:

We switched off our lights and hustled down the stairs as quickly as we could. I felt for my PPK, making sure it was ready, then we ran to the last place we had seen the men. Smart. Probably not. I was operating on pure adrenalin. The outside door opened again. I rushed out and was grabbed by a strong arm and slammed up against the outside wall. My reflexes didn't wait for me to think what had happened. I immediately grabbed the hand with both hands and bent the thumb back until it snapped. I stomped the man's foot as hard as I could, bringing down all my weight. He screamed and released his grip. I whirled around and planted my knee in his crotch. Another scream. I retracted my leg and then kicked his shin with all the force I could muster. He fell screaming to the ground when another man jumped me. I kicked him in the stomach and he fell backward. Lights flooded the area. Headlights from several cars.

"Who are you?" came a gruff voice.

I didn't say a word and thought about going for my gun, but decided against it. I had no idea who this was. I hoped Cody would keep quiet as he came out of the door. The first man I had laid out on the ground grabbed my ankle and pulled. I fell to the ground and he shoved me face down into the cold concrete. Next, I felt his heavy weight on my buttocks as he twisted my arm behind my back. I shouldn't have hesitated. I should have gone for my gun.

My head throbbed where I had hit the building hard. I tasted the iron from my own blood as it hit the corner of my mouth. Smelling the dirt from the ground, I tried to wiggle free, but a set of boots appeared near me. One boot lifted and I felt another pain in the small of my back. I was squashed into the concrete as if I were nothing more than a bug. A strong hand twisted my other arm behind my back. Cuffs snapped around my wrists. It was the police. I had suspected that when the headlights came on, but they had not identified themselves as such.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Which Blueberries to Buy

Which Blueberries to Buy

To me, blueberries are the perfect berry. They are full of antioxidants and are, usually, juicy and flavorful. However, in the winter, few options are available as to which countries to buy from. In the spring, summer and fall, blueberries can be obtained from the United States and Canada. Call me prejudiced, but from the fruits and vegetables reported in the news, those from Mexico are not the ones from which I wish to choose. Too many times have vegetables from Mexico been tainted with salmonella.

In the winter, when I buy blueberries, the only options I have are those from Argentina or Chile. The tops of these are from Chile. The ones I have bought from Argentina are full of bug bites and are not flavorful. Maybe, because I have been to Chile and know that the people are wonderful, I have no qualms about buying my blueberries from Chile. The berries are flavorful and lack the bug bites as those from Argentina or even Canada in the summer months.

This week I bought some blueberries from Chile, which had a sticker which said Easter Island. First, I must say that the sticker itself brought back pleasant memories of Easter Island. This is a wonderful place and, if my readers have never been there, it is a place that should not be missed, not only from the sites, but from the people themselves. But I digress. The blueberries I bought are large, juicy and flavorful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Writing the Sixth in the Series

Writing the Sixth in the Series

Today I worked on the final chapter in my latest novel in the Rachel Christie murder mystery series. The murder occurs along the Blue Ridge Parkway and is a premeditated murder that has links to her friend Deputy Ron Hartwell and incriminates Deputy Shawn Skyler with whom she has a conflicted relationship. Skyler is charged with the murder of his drug informant and asks Rachel to take the case. No way does she want to work for, or have anything to do with, Skyler.

As the plot unfolded in my mind, several people emerged as the actual killer. Rachel abhors Skyler, but she wonders if he is responsible for the murders. A soft spot in Rachel's heart is Skyler's daughter Crystal. Can she convince Rachel to take the case of freeing her father?

Rachel knows that Skyler has many enemies and sifting through all the possible suspects is a daunting task. Making all the connections seems almost impossible.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review of Lean Cuisine's Orange Chicken

Review of Lean Cuisine’s Orange Chicken

Have you ever felt like your mouth was on fire? I’m sure a lot of you have. Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I ate Lean Cuisine’s Orange Chicken. When I first picked this TV dinner up at the supermarket, I thought it was a sweet and sour concoction. However, after reading the package, it said sweet and spicy Asian style. Believe me, when it said spicy, it meant spicy.

Normally, I prefer Lean Cuisine dinners over any other brand, but this dinner was so hot that my taste buds burned for, literally, an hour. I like some spice, but this dinner was definitely for those of you who like really spicy foods. I tasted nothing. All I felt was burn.

This dinner had 29 percent of the daily sodium, but, as my husband always says, "Your dinner is 1/3 of your daily intake of food." This never bothers me because I have no problem with my sodium intake. Also, the dinner has 360 calories, 80 from fat of which 6% is unsaturated fat. This is only for those of us who care.

I had a colleague, from Louisiana, once whose grandmother had burnt out her taste buds from eating spicy, even spicier and even spicier foods. When she was older, she could not taste anything. I do not want to end up like that. I want to be able to taste my food and to savor it. If you agree with that, then do not buy this dinner. This doesn’t mean that I will not buy other Lean Cuisine entrees. It only means that I will purchase no more that say spicy.

I am sure that my Rachel Christie murder mystery series are as spicy as this dinner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review of 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges 1er Cru Clos de Thorey

Review of 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges 1er Cru Clos de Thorey

What can I say about a Nuits-St.-Georges? Next to a Gevry Chambertin, this is my favorite region of burgundy. I had lunch in Nuit-St.-Georges once, which was arranged by a Frenchman named Laurent. This lunch was unbelievable and the wine sensational. A trip to the winery of Charles Thomas was the highlight of the afternoon.

This wine, 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges Clos de Thorey 1er Cru is from that vintner and is a smooth, full bodied wine, chockfull of fruity flavors. I am sorry that I did not purchase more of this wine. I purchased a case of Charles Thomas’ Les Malconsorts 1er Cru and it, like the Nuit St. Georges, tempts the taste buds for more. It is an earthy wine full of dark fruits and the smell is heavenly. It goes well with almost any food. The real wine lover will tell you that burgundy wine such as this does not go well with poultry or fish. I disagree. I had it with chicken tonight and it was sensational.

I will check on the 2009 and 2010 vintage by Charles Thomas, but I fear that it will be out of my price range. I am just glad that I had a chance to sample this wine from an excellent year for burgundies.

I only hope that my books in the Rachel Christie murder mystery series tempts the brain cells as much as this wine tempts the senses.