Showing posts from April, 2013

Nights, Weekends, Holidays and Birthdays


A Selection from Hotels to Remember by Mary Montague Sikes

I was privileged to receive a copy of this beautiful book.

Besides entertaining and educational information about Williamsburg, the book focuses on the Williamsburg Inn one of the many Inns featured in the larger coffee table book called Hotels to Remember.

What is even more special about this book are the wonderful paintings of the hotel as well as accompanying photographs all done my Ms. Sikes.  The book contains many historical details as well as what the hotel offers today.

I have met Mary Montague Sikes (also called Monti) who is a multi-talented person who not only paints and writes, she also teaches.

Anyone interested in historical places, would love reading this book. It would make a terrific Mother's Day gift.

The book was published by OakTree Press and can be found on

Highly Recommended!


Folger Library as Inspiration for Fiction


Get Your Kicks...With Someone You Already Know


Family Matters

Two big events are coming up in our family.

We have two grandsons getting married, one the last weekend in May and the other the first weekend in June.

The first groom is Nathan, our son Matthew's oldest boy. Nathan was a great kid and a wonderful young man. He is an electrician now. It took him a while to find the love of his life, Amanda. And she's perfect for him. Their wedding will be in a mountain retreat that is surrounded by old growth Sequoias.  I will be taking pictures. What's different about this wedding is it's three days long, with everyone staying in rooms in the lodge or cabins on the property.

The second groom is Gregg, the son of our youngest daughter, Lori. Gregg is a police officer in Colorado. His fiance, Caitlyn is also perfect for Gregg. Their wedding will be in his uncle's backyard in Montecito. I've never been there but hear it looks like a park. For those who don't know, Montecito is outside Santa Barbara and the place where many mo…

What is This Writer Up to Now?

Just to give you a taste of what's going on in the writing part of my life, here's a brief taste.

I have finished my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Yes, it has a title, Spirit Shapes, which comes from a Native American quote which fits the stories. Yes, it's about spirits--many kinds--and is kind of a haunted house tale.

I've read the entire story to my critique group, chapter by chapter, and they've made corrections and suggestions. I've printed the whole manuscript out. Now it's time to sit down and go over it line by line checking for typos, inconsistencies and anything I can do to make it better.

Meanwhile, I'm on Chapter 5 of my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel. I do have a title, but not ready to reveal it as yet. I'll read the first chapter to my critique group on Wednesday. And I need to keep writing so I'll have something to read to them at each meeting, and so I'll have the book done in time to send it to the publishers.


"They" say There is a Book Inside Everyone, What do you Think?

This is what I think.

Almost every one thinks they should write a book.

Some people think their own lives have been so fascinating everyone would love to read a book about them.

The reality is there are only a few people whose lives have been fascinating enough for a book to be written about them.  And even some of these don't have what it takes to write a book.

Unfortunately, nowadays most anyone can get published thanks to Amazon and other places that will help folks get published for free or pay. I say unfortunately because too many writers go this route who haven't learned what needs to be done to write a book.

First, anyone wanting to write needs to be a reader. It helps if the writer has a clue about what constitutes a paragraph, how a page of a books should look, simple grammar and punctuation, how to develop a plot, a beginning, middle and ending, what dialogue is all about, what it should do, the balance between action, dialogue and narrative, the importance of the se…

What Do you Like and Not Like in a Heroine in a Mystery?

I just finished reading a book which will remain nameless and I didn't like the heroine at all. She was intelligent, nice looking, but seemed absolutely clueless about her own peril.

You've all heard of the heroine they call too dumb to live. You know, the one who knows a killer is on the loose, hears a noise in the basement and goes down there with no weapon nor light--or if she takes a flashlight, the battery dies. There is only one reason a woman would go down in the basement like that would be if her child were down there.

In the book I just read, though this woman was a psychiatrist she didn't seem to know anything about people. She lived in one of the most remote places possible and even when she knew someone was after her, didn't leave. Now this house didn't even have an inside bathroom--so she always went to the bathroom just before locking up at night. Then she left all the lights on (she was afraid of the dark) but had no curtains on her windows. Of cours…

When I Am Picking Up Dead Squirrels

My friend Vicky is a wildlife rehabber who takes in injured creatures, nurses them back to health, and pushes them back out into the wild. You can’t feed a Cooper’s hawk or a rat snake on cat kibble. So when I see a squirrel on the roadway who has succumbed to the death wish that seems to plague squirrels I overcome my squeamishness and scoop him up. It’s not pleasant but I like to see the expression on her face when I hand her a bag full of dead squirrels and think of the good meals I’m providing.
This is somewhat like overcoming my natural squeamishness about self-promotion. Tweeting about my new book Payback just isn’t natural to me. Nor is making new connections with near strangers on LinkedIn.
But authors must do this. I know the arguments: you’re not touting your book, you’re sharing it. You’re not trying to get someone to buy your books, you get your name out there by sharing good news about other mystery authors.
Okay. I like the sound of that. Nobody is ever going to write th…

Coming up With Titles

Sometimes I know the title before I write the book. At other times I flounder while trying to find the perfect title.

For my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, Tempe is a Native American, I often find an Indian legend or saying by an Indian and use some part of that. Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Wing Beat all came about that way. The one I'm working on now, Spirit Shapes also came from a quote. Of course they have something to do with the story too. 
The latest in that series, Raging Water, is a reference to what happens to Bear Creek when a huge storm strikes. I had to ask for help from my writer's group for that title.
Sometimes the title strikes me immediately, even before I start to write--at other times I flounder.
With the Rocky Bluff series, a first title came easy.
Final Respects revolves around the death of a much-loved policeman, a mortuary and a funeral--the title was perfect.
Bad Tidings refers to the bad news police officers often have to deliver--and there is ple…