About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Renovation Can Be Detrimental to Your Health

Renovation Can Be Detrimental to Your Health

We have been renovating our house for the past ten years. Yes, that's right, ten years. It never seems to end. And only four or five years left. Almost finished.

Since starting the renovation, I have almost knocked myself out several times by hitting my head on cabinets or fireplace openings. I have fallen off ladders, resulting in various cuts, bruises and sprains. Some required several trips to the doctors.

All of these accidents have probably just been normal occurrences or maybe I'm just a klutz. More likely the latter. It makes me wonder about the action-packed novels that I have read and written where people are knocked unconscious with guns and other things. Today was the worst knock I've had to the top of the head. I continued to work, but felt like my legs would give way and that I might collapse at any minute. I'm a bleeder so it took about fifteen minutes to stop the bleeding and now I feel like a Conehead with the large bump on the top of my head.

At least, now I know what the feeling must be like before losing consciousness. All I can say is my parents were right when they said I had a hard head.

After all the suffering, the fireplace turned out great!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Remember Paris

Remembering Paris

This past week I have been reminded of the wonderful times I had when living overseas, especially of the times I had visited France. I was fortunate to work and live overseas and to travel to Paris dozens of times. No other foreign city has held such a fascination, except pre-Chinese controlled Hong Kong.

One of the items I received in my email box this week was one from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) on their Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference in Paris. As an extra, they are offering a tour of the Museum d'Orsay and a city tour. When in Paris, why take a tour? Probably because of the shortage of time. It is so each to see the city on your own. Also, if it were up to me, I would rather see the Louvre or take a dinner cruise on the Seine. That reminds me of the time we stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of Paris and took the train to the city. The proprietress made the arrangements for the cruise and ended up giving us the "key to the castle" because we would return after she had gone to bed.

The ASME conference is staying at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche, a place I have never stayed. When touring Paris or any other world city, I try to avoid the American chains. I have stayed at the Meridien near the Arc de Triomphe, the Plaza Athenee and the Crillon. I had a bad experience with a cheaper hotel on the Left Bank and refuse to go there again. One time, when taking a barge trip on the canals in France, we stayed at the Meurice, close to the Louvre. The room was the same price as the Marriott, but they upgraded us and we ended up in a suite which normally costs ten times as much. Talk about sticker shock. It was good we weren't paying that much.

I can't think of Paris without the food popping into my mind or my mouth watering. At one time, when we ate at the Guy Savoy, I was given a sampling of all the desserts. After my fourth sample, the waiter looked at my companion and asked if he was interested in dessert.

Also, the French people are friendly and courteous. I lost my umbrella on the Champs Elysseus and a Frenchmen ran up to us and asked if I had dropped it. He gave me the umbrella and turned around and retraced his steps. Another time, when I was on a barge trip, the owner of a mill had her husband go to the house and bring me a scarf because she thought I was cold.

Aah! What wonderful memories and many more. If the dates were different for that conference, I would give serious consideration to going to it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Inflation or Not

Inflation or Not

I made a big decision this month. It may not seem much to others who have no idea what a land line is, but I have cancelled my phone. I already have two cell phones, ones which I pay as I go, so I decided the land line was a waste of money. It provided a bit of comfort since I live in the country and the phone was accessible in several rooms. However, last year, every three months the bill would rise. That's right, every three months.

The government tells us we have no inflation. What are they looking at? Definitely not utilities and health care. I wouldn't call a rise in telephone costs every three months nor a rise of 10 percent in electricity over the last year nor the rise in health care premiums of 20 percent since Obamacare was enacted as little inflation. I haven't even touched upon the escalation in food costs. Am I alone in thinking this way?

Solar panels were installed to help with the electricity costs, but the electricity costs are still as high as they were before. And the solar panels are working properly. The average person can make no progress when utility, health care and food costs continue to rise with little rise in their paychecks.

Well, to help with these so-called "non-inflationary" costs, I have cancelled the landline to my house. I am keeping track of the few shows I watch on television in the next few months and will decrease my service with the satellite provider. This service cannot be discontinued since I am remote enough that the signals from the local stations are nonexistent. At least, I'm doing something.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Book on Amazon Kindle

New Book on Amazon Kindle

Today, "Murder Among Friends," the seventh in the Rachel Christie Murder mystery series was published on Amazon. Although it is number seven in the series, it is a standalone private detective story. Rachel takes on more and more dangerous cases since moving to Stone City at the base of the Appalachians.

In this new novel, 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.