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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I just returned with my husband from the latest nut and fruit gathering session. And no, he's not the nut I gathered, not this time anyway.

Five years ago, we planted hazelnut trees. We had a yield of a couple dozen nuts from one tree last year and they were tasty. This year all six trees are producing and we have collected three quarts in a week and a half. Only the first tree is producing right now and is still full of nuts. I'm looking forward to having my own hazelnuts for Christmas.

When I bought the trees, I bought several different varieties. As it turns out, they mature at different times. On one tree, the nuts are turning brown and falling while on the others they are smaller and still white.

Some people say that the trees should be trained to a single trunk, but I haven't done that. I am watching for a shoot some distance from the parent tree. If I find one, I'll dig it up and replant it twenty feet away from the others.

If you'll notice in one picture, there's a larger nut. That's a black walnut that fell a couple of weeks ago from a 50-foot tree at the side of the house.

Trivia question: What kind of tree produces hazelnuts?

Answer: The Hazel tree. Some things are easy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sale of Murder Mystery Novel

On June 5 through June 9, Murder Among Friends, the 7th novel in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery series, will be on sale. For the first two days the price will be discounted to $0.99 and for the last two days the price will be $1.99. The normal price is $3.99. If you like strong female main characters, small town mysteries, private investigators and strong plots, this is the book for you.

The book description is as follows:

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. 

A stand-alone murder mystery, this is number 7 in the Rachel Christie Mystery detective series.

Please feel free to send me a comment at this blog.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vacation and Crowds

I have noticed many things as a result of my recent vacation to that wonderful land of children and that world-famous mouse. After visiting that fantasyland at least 30 times, we finally became the family of the day. What does that entail? Well, for us, it was being upgraded  from a room with a garden view to a two-bedroom suite with no view. Whether we received a better view or not I'll never know because of the trees blocking any view whatsoever, but we did receive much more interior space and a little card that said we were the Family of the Day. Twice previously, we had rooms at the Polynesian where the view was blocked by a giant Palm. If I had planned my engineering projects like this, half of Texas would be dead today.

My husband is one who does not get into the hooplah that encompasses the family of the day and refused to even have his picture taken when we arrived. He seemed to forsee that it wasn't what it seemed to be. It turned out that the hotel was busy with many conventions and I would not doubt that we were upgraded to make room for the conventioneers that did not have a room. Whether or not they looked at our past stays is speculation. We were thankful for the extra space.

I suppose I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when the parking lot was full and the next parking lot, the convention center parking lot, was being paved. The guard failed to explain this and we ended up parking a mile away. Not nice for someone with an injured leg.

Prior to leaving on vacation and, being the klutz that I am, I fell in the garage and hurt both legs that have yet to heal fully. I learned that people who are in crowds feel anonimous to everyone around them. They are the only ones who are enjoying themselves and no one else matters. I had to constantly be on the lookout for anyone who would abruptly change directions, so that I would not suffer another unlucky fall.

I also noticed that in the restaurants which were open in this low season, half the people were saving seats for others and the other half were sitting and talking after finishing their meals. I marched back and forth across a large restaurant four times before finding an empty table.

Also, in the fantasy portion of the amusement areas, people were constantly being run over by people pushing double baby carriages and by wheelchairs occupied by people who appeared fully capable of walking. I appreciate the idea that people need baby carriages and people who are handicapped need wheelchairs, but most of the people I saw took no regard for average people and tended to overrun them. I was hobbling due to the fact that I was injuried, but many in wheelchairs would get out of those chairs and walk naturally. Also, many of the double baby carriages that were running people over had no children in them. None at all.

What I have learned from my last vacation is that I need to find a much quieter place to vacation. Crowds of people tend to act like drowning rats in a bucket. When too many people are involved, they tend to climb all over everyone else caring nothing for anyone else.

In the end, it was not as bad as I expected, but not good enough to go back. Heavy sigh.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Murder Mystery Novel Sale - 5 Days Only

Murder One Too Many, the fifth in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery Series is on sale beginning today for 5 days, half the time at $0.99 and then $1.99. The normal price is $3.99. The book has been re-edited and, although it is No. 5 in the series, it is a standalone mystery. The description is as follows:

The CEO of a hospital dies and her body is found in a shallow grave. Her husband kills himself from an apparent suicide. Or was it? Rachel Christie was in a room fifty feet away and heard no shot. Yet she heard a woman scream. Rachel's investigation gets her too close to the answers and a dismissed employee attempts to kill her. 

What secret does the hospital hold? Is someone killing hospital executives and relatives out of revenge? Rachel must unlock the answers before anyone else dies.

The book has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Amazon out of 23 customer reviews. I hope you enjoy reading this full-length murder mystery that has many twists and turns and that you will leave a review on Amazon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!!


Here's hoping that all of my fans and fans-to-be have a happy Easter or happy holiday weekend! Be careful of those chocolate bunny ears. They can be addictive. And don't forget to pick up a copy of my latest book, "Murder Haunts Myrtle Beach" or any of my other Rachel Christie Murder Mysteries for your weekend reading.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do Hurricanes Really Change Lives?

Today, as I was sipping my 20-year Cockburn port, I was reminiscing about my days as a Mechanical Engineer in a large refinery in Texas. Even when the hurricane was close to the coast and the local news station said that everyone should stay home, the refinery in which I worked said that everyone should report to work. Against everything in my being, I did go to work, only to be told around noon to go home. In the meantime, the management asked that I go around and see why other people were not at work. Some were afraid for their spouses and others were too afraid to come to work.

I knew a lot of people who were, as we all know, human. They had lives with children, loves and a hatred for the hurricanes. As I reminisced about those days, I remembered a book I read about a hurricane devastating a chemical plant and the lives of those who worked there. I honestly believe that this scenario could have happened in real life. What follows is my review of that book, one of only two books that I have reviewed on this blog. The book was called "The Sleeping Dragons of Texas."

Sleeping Dragons is a murder mystery involving people trapped in a chemical plant during a hurricane. They cannot get out because the roads are flooded. They cannot turn off the power and just sit by and wait because that would be like dropping a hot glass into ice water. Red hot steel would snap like glass if cooled too fast. The sleeping dragons are chemicals which would escape and their fiery tongues would lash out in every direction and scorch everyone in their path. The manager is conflicted. Shutdown early and lose your next promotion. Try to get through it without pain. But make a mistake, shutdown too late and people die.
In the midst of all the technical matters are real people. Loving. Lusting. Hating. Helping. Trying to get ahead. Trying to avoid work. Trying to find love. Trying to decide who they are. Real people with real emotions and real problems. How do real people resolve their conflicts? Not generally with murder. But when the opportunity presents itself, real people do kill. When real people lust and love, their reason is conflicted. Murder seems a reasonable choice.

I'm trying to describe the plot without giving it away, but the plot does not go in a straight line. The plot goes around like the winds of the hurricane. Who is guilty and who will go to jail? What can be proven and what cannot? A good murder mystery involves, not only who is guilty, but can they be convicted. Is there clear proof? Interspersed with this are two executives looking back at the murders and trying to make sense of human nature. Something that most of us think are impossible for top executives.

Danger abounds and the danger not only threatens the lives of the people in the plant, but the people in nearby towns. The people in the plant battle the hurricane and the plant, but also worries about their loved ones.

As I said, having worked in a refinery, I found the plot plausible for a chemical plant on the Gulf Coast and not at all beyond imagination. I'm just glad I no longer work at such a plant.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bargain eBook - Murder Along the Blue Ridge

Murder Along the Blue Ridge is available today through Thursday at the bargain price of $0.99. This is 75 percent off the normal price of the Rachel Christie murder mystery that takes place along the Blue Ridge Parkway in which two people die from cyanide poisoning--a runaway bridegroom and an informant for narcotics officer Deputy Skyler of the Stone City police. When a bag of cyanide crystals is found in Skyler's home, the state police arrest him, saying they have more than enough evidence to put a noose around his neck for the crime.

Skyler claims he was framed by one of his many enemies and begs private detective Rachel Christie for help. Rachel dislikes Skyler because of their history and refuses the case even though she doesn't believe he's guilty.

Skyler says he has no motive and no connection to the runaway groom. Or does he? An indiscretion and cover-up fifteen years ago may be at the bottom of it all, but no one is willing to talk. With the dead bodies mounting, Rachel still refuses the case. Finally, Skyler's eleven-year-old daughter steps in and Rachel can't say no.

Although this is the sixth in the series, it can be read as a stand alone mystery.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow! Snow! Snow!

My last post was on the small amount of snow that we had and how the local weatherman made a big deal out of it. Well, this time I'm making a big deal out of it. When I woke up this morning, we had twelve inches of snow. After the snow finally ended, the ruler I held measured seventeen inches. I know some of you who live in the north may not think this is much snow, but this is the most our small town has had in over twenty years. Definitely the most I've seen since I've lived here and that has been a little over ten years.

You would think that this would make a good day for staying indoors and writing, but, no. For me, it was a day of watching the snow and the scenery unfold. From dark clouds in the distance over the Blue Ridge to whiteout conditions where nothing could be seen for more than a few feet, it made for a day of contemplation and daydreaming. Come to think of it, it was a good day for planning scenes for future books--if only I could remember things that long.

It will be another few days before we dig ourselves out of the snow and clear our 800-foot driveway and see civilization again. Hopefully in that time, I can come up with scenes for my next Rachel Christie mystery.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Recipe for Laughter: Snow and Sangria

Yesterday evening, the young local rookie weatherman was stationed in our town, known as Stone City to my readers, for the first significant snowfall of the season. His first comment was, "Oh, gosh, it's so cold out here and it's been snowing all day." He went on to measure the snow on the sidewalk and said that it was one inch. I laughed so hard. Then I rewound the video and laughed some more. I did it another time. Sorry, but maybe life in a small town doesn't have much enjoyment or maybe I just had a little too much Sangria with my pizza. To those of us who have lived in places where it has snowed at least two feet and where the wind chill factors were fifty below, it was funny. To be honest to the younger people who live in the south where snow is rare, maybe it was a big deal.

The eastern part of our state received more inches than the western part, some breaking records, one of 1/2 inch of snow. I would prefer to have twelve inches of snow versus ice of 1/2 inch. The loss of power without a generator in below freezing temperatures is not a welcome thing.

On another note, thanks to all of you who bought my books in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery series while on promo. You pushed Murder Among Friends into the top 100 mystery books, if only for a few days. I raise my glass on this cold day to all of you. Happy reading!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blogging About Nothing in General

It has been a while since I have blogged, but I want to say that I have not forgotten my loyal readers. They are what make us write what we do. They enjoy what we write and we write for them.

It has been a wonderful and trying month since last I posted. Many things have happened. Of course, everyone has been enjoying the holidays and the pain of having to pay the bills after those wonderful times.

For our family it has been a time of enjoying ourselves and of having some hardships. A friend and a relative have each been in separate car accidents since I last posted. Luckily each escaped with minor injuries, but with significant losses to their vehicles. In both cases, their vehicles were totaled. I am thankful that they escaped with minor injuries. I am confused that two vehicles had air bags and they were supposed to activate, but didn't. It was like calling the police and getting a busy signal. That's not supposed to happen.

Also, during the last month we have celebrated several birthdays and an anniversary. My wedding anniversary was celebrated at a local restaurant and hotel. The O'Henry Hotel, having been named after a famous North Carolinian writer, is always a nice place to go and the Green Valley Grill offers local cuisine. We took our own 2002 La Grande Rue Grand Cru which was purchased in 2004 and saved for a special occasion. And, by the way, it was a wonderful wine, with a great nose and full bodied, that went well with prime rib and filet mignon. It just so happened that this weekend the O'Henry Hotel sponsored a day for celebrating the writers of North Carolina.

If you are interested, this weekend my seventh book, Murder Among Friends, in the Rachel Christie Murder Mystery series is on sale for $0.99 to $1.99 and the eighth book, Murder One Too Many, is on sale for $1.99. Both have ratings above 4 stars on Amazon.