Before and After

The good news is, I submitted book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series to my publisher. The bad news is a major revision is in order. On the other hand, the good news is, I have a chance to fix the manuscript and make it much better, but the bad news is, I’ll have no time to read, or blog, or breathe, until it’s done.

Here’s some more good news: I judged five published books in the Daphe this year, and plan to review all of them on this blog after the big revision. And I’ve also read several other books this year, and plan to review them this spring/summer. So after my manuscript for ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is re-submitted, you’ll have the opportunity to read reviews of DEADLY INTERITANCE by Suzanne Rossi, DEEP IN MY HEART by Patricia W. Fischer, STOLEN by Allison Brennan, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB by R. Franklin James, BETRAYED by Donnell Ann Bell.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read some of the past reviews and articles, you’ll find over two hundred options for a short read about books, writing, authors, classes, guest posts, interviews, promotions, and moi. I’ll be back.

Seeing Things In A New Light

Okay, this may be a little too much information, but here goes:

I live in a small house. The property is nice, but the house is a hundred years old, and built with rather small rooms and in the old, closed style. We have a formal dining room that is oddly shaped and really too small for a formal gathering. It’s situated between the kitchen and my bedroom. When this house was built, closets weren’t really popular, so my room has none, and so when I bought the house, I bought two beautiful wardrobes and a huge dresser.

I’ve always wanted a walk-in closet. And the kitchen doesn’t have enough cupboard space. So…yes I did. The dining room is now half walk-in closet and half pantry!  Who needs a formal dining room? I mean, really, we haven’t had more than ten guests in the last ten years. And mostly, they were people who love us and understand that I’m a little crazy. If I weren’t, would I try to make a living as an author?

So, some bookshelves for pantry shelves, the wardrobes and dressers behind the pantry shelves to provide a U-shaped dressing area, a voila! A magical walk-in closet, with privacy, and comfort, and plenty of space. And now my bedroom has lots more space.

I wonder, does this kind of vision come from being an author? Or is it just an offshoot of being…well…off. I’d love to hear from others as to this wacky but useful use of space. Do you have a space in your home that is never used? Have you always wanted something in your house that there was no room for? Any opinions out there?

Returning For the Umpteenth Time

I just want to say for the record that computer crashes, viruses, and internet provider problems are not conducive to blogging regularly. My modem died and my provider had to ship one. Then my monitor gave up. In the meantime, my weekly newspaper feature required multiple revisions.

Then there’s the garden. For no particular reason, this year of the drought did nothing to slow the production of our garden. Our kitchen table is covered with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, banana peppers, cajun peppers, and Anaheim peppers which is great on the budget, but very time consuming to can.

Though I want to host writers who want to guest blog on Mondays, I’ve not been able to find enough writers to keep that slot filled. And if I’m going to write, I can’t spend my time reading enough to do a book review every Wednesday, as I planned.

So, here I sit, offering up excuses for why I’ve been gone, and yet another attempt to bring interesting articles to those who read my posts. But never fear. I will get my act together and provide more articles and more book reviews. Just not as often as I wanted.

I’m putting out the call again: To all writers–whether you’re preparing for a blog tour, or just need to get your name out there, if you’d like to do a guest post,  please contact me at or through comments here.

I’m so grateful that all of you are so patient and I just wanted to let everyone know I haven’t disappeared from the face of the earth. I have returned and hope to get back into the groove of posting articles that are helpful, or funny, or both. In the meantime, I hope all of you are so busy doing great things that you haven’t missed me–much.

SOUTHERN LIVING: Relationships Between Men and Women In The South

The upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour begins next Wednesday so I thought I’d give my readers a preview the kinds of articles you’ll find on the tour. So, I wrote this article to share with you today. This story is true. I was there to see it, so I know. I didn’t give specific names because the people involved are still alive and I don’t intend to cause any problems for anyone.

I thought I’d throw in a few articles in advance up the upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour, just to give you a taste of what you might find on the tour. I decided I’d share a story that shows a common relationship between husbands and wives in the South. So, here goes: There is a Mini-Storage in a very large city in the great state of Louisiana. A couple runs the business, and it’s been there for many years. A lot of customers are financially comfortable and rent spaces for storing Christmas decorations and other things that won’t fit in their garages.

The policy of the business is that whoever signs the contract has access and they can give access to anyone they choose. But it must be in writing. So Mrs.…let’s call her Smith, Mrs. Smith rented a large unit and her whole family participated in loading it. Months later her husband came to get something out. They have to sign in at the office. But his name was not on the contract, nor was there anything in writing giving him access. So Mrs. Manager told him he couldn’t get in. Well, being a ‘big man,’ he decided he’d do what he wanted so he jumped in his truck and drove right on back to that unit. Mrs. Manager walked back there, hot under the collar. She told him that if he tried to access the unit, she would call the police, to which he responded, “Why don’t you get your fanny up there in the office where you belong and leave me be.” He didn’t have a key, so he was going to cut the lock, which only made Mrs. Manager more irate. Wouldn’t he have a key if his wife wanted him in there? Are they separating and is he trying to take everything? She took out her phone and started to dial and the man threw his bolt cutters in the back of the truck, gave her a few choice words, and drove off.

A half-hour later, Mrs. Manager got a phone call from the wife. The two of them discussed what was wrong. Mrs. Smith thought her husband had access just like her. Mrs. Manager explained—again—the rules about written authorization. She also told the wife about the bolt cutters, a no-no on the property of any mini-storage, and what the husband said. “He said what?” “He told me to get my fanny back in the office where I belong,” Mrs. Manager said. “I’ll get back to you.”

A half-hour later, Mr. Smith returned to the Mini-Storage. He quietly entered the office, took his hat off and turned it round and round in his calloused hands for a moment, and then cordially apologized. To see that ‘big man’ so humbled was heartening. No one knows what was said between husband and wife, but whatever it was must have reminded Mr. Smith that men don’t talk distastefully to ladies, especially ladies they don’t know intimately. I suspect she had some form of ‘correction’ in mind for him. The couple moved everything out of that unit at the end of the month. After all, a wife can’t have a unit where her husband is not welcomed, and the relationship between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Manager of tenuous. Husbands and wives tend to stick together down here, even if one of them is wrong. Mrs. Smith chose not to do the simple thing and just give the written consent. She stood by her man, whom she assumed had been wronged. But only after she stood by a lady she didn’t know, and let her husband know she expected him to be a gentleman.

So, there you have it. While this story doesn’t represent all Southern men and/or women, it is representitive of our way of life. Husbands and wives stick together, but women tend to take up for each other too. Most of us take it for granted that if one spouse signs a document, it really includes the other spouse as a matter of custom.

I hope all of you will return and enjoy more articles about Southern Living. the tour schedule will be posted soon.

Sleeping With Tarantulas

When I was a kid, we used to go to Mexico to fish. We would load up whatever vehicle we had and go to San Felipe, which I understand is now a good-sized city. But back then the streets were unpaved and the biggest building in the whole city was the Ice House, where people bought huge bricks of ice for their ice boxes.

We actually stayed at and launched the boat from Pete’s Place, which if I remember right, was about ten miles north of San Felipe. It consisted of a house, a small restaurant, and some concrete pads where people with motorhomes or trailers could hook up to water and electric. We never had anything like that when we went down there. It was usually a car, pulling a small boat. But we would rent one of the concrete slabs so we had water, and it would be our home for as long as we stayed, which sometimes was a couple of weeks.

Back then, no passport was necessary to cross the border and Mom used to tell me not to get too dark cause she couldn’t prove I was hers and they’d keep me. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m very white. I can get a sunburn from thinking about going out in the sun. And back then my hair was very blonde, in my young years, platinum.

The tide did a strange thing at Pete’s Place. When the tide was high, it was a hundred or feet or so from the little embankment that went up to the concrete slabs. Bear in mind that It’s been forty-five or so years since I’ve been there, and I never went as an adult, so these figures are through the eyes of a five, seven, or ten-year old. When the tide went out, it looked like it was a mile to the water, though I imagine it was closer to the length of a football field. That part of the sand was slanted ever so softly, so when the tide was in, I could walk out forever in the water and it was only up to my waist.

I loved the ocean, so one night I talked my mom into letting me take a sleeping bag down near the embankment and sleep. When the tide was out, it was dark and silent, and when it came in it made a soft shush-shush.  I slept soundly. In fact, I kicked off the sleeping bag sometime in the early morning, and when I woke, I was lobsterized. At least the front of me was.

When Pete saw me, he laughed, and asked how I got so red. I told him what happened and his eyes grew to the size of quarters. “The tarantulas live there,” he said and pointed to the embankment. I walked back down to where I’d slept and looked at the hill of sand and sure enough, it had small holes all over it.

Well, I never saw a tarantula there, not a single one, but I surely made a wide path around that area from that day forward.  And Pete’s story was confirmed by others who were there regularly. The thing is, everyone who went there, went to fish. No one was sunbathing, or reading books. They launched the boats at high tide, anchored them out in the deeper water and fished. They fished during the day, and sat up on the concrete slabs and talked and drank and partied. But no one ever went down between the embankment and the high tide line and just relaxed.

Pete’s Place was where I learned, When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do. If no one else is sleeping down there, maybe you should ask why.

My Email Was Hacked! And Other Tidbits

Just wanted all my friends to know my email was hacked, I’m not in Italy, but safe and sound at home. Well, at least, safe…

The culprit eliminated about 5000 emails as well as my entire address book, so I’m posting this here, on Facebook and twitter, as well as sending out emails to individuals, just to make sure I get everyone.

This is my normal day for guest bloggers, but no one volunteered for today, so you’ll just have to put up with me again today. But I do have a book review coming Thursday, and May promises to be an eventful month with reviews every week on new books, as well as more Memories of Me articles, and I’m hoping a few guests.

I’m enjoying The Artist’s Way class, though I can’t keep up with everyone. Today begins week nine of a twelve week email class where I can participate as I’m able, which is the only way I can take a class anymore.

I’m hoping to get back to writing soon, with 8 stories brewing. Shouldn’t take me more than 10 or 12 years to get them done. Hehehe.

Hope you all will join me regularly in May as I gather interesting writers and books for all of you to enjoy.



My dad was a wheeler and dealer. He was always buying things, fixing them up, and then selling them. When I was around ten, he came home with a hearse. Not just any hearse. A metallic mint green Caddie.

Turns out you can fit a lot in one of those. It was great for going fishing. We took it toSan Felipe,Mexico, eight or nine people in the back, plus fishing gear, and it made a great full size bed for camping. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t get embarrassed easily because we went everywhere in that car for quite a while.

As a matter of fact, the one and only time I ever went to the walk-in movies as a child, I went with a friend. We saw Darby O’Gill and the Little People, and when we came out, there sat that shiny hearse, right out front. My friend and I climbed in the back and were chauffeured home, like we were special, you know, like on TV. It took years for me to figure out that anyone who saw us climb in the back of that car was not envious. They probably thought we were crazy.

My parents had just about every kind of vehicle when I was young, but I will always remember that hearse. Now, when I watch one of my favorite movies, My Cousin Vinny, and they talk about a car that’s metallic mint green, that huge conveyance with the giant chrome grill, pops up on my internal movie screen, and I remember good times. How many people can say that about a hearse?

MEMORIES OF ME: Orange Blossoms and Figs

There was a short time when I was very young, that we lived in a house in the middle of an orange grove. For what looked like miles to me, all you could see was orange trees in every direction. And right in the middle was a small circle of houses, and in the middle of those, another house. We lived in the one right in the middle of everything. And there was a huge fig tree to one side.

Getting to the house meant driving, or walking though it was a long walk, down a dirt drive. And at the other end of the drive was a house where the owner of the land lived. And right across the street was a small Mom n’ Pop store. We lived there when it was very warm, most likely late summer or early fall and the air was always still inside the grove, no matter how much the wind blew out on the highway. But, back to the fig tree.

I loved that tree. It’s strong branches hung almost perfectly horizontal, and not far apart, so my short arms and legs could reach from one to the next. If I climbed high enough, I could feel the breeze, and see past the grove, to the highway, the houses, and farther away, the town.

I was the only small child who lived in that grove. Everyone else was way too old to spend time with me. So I entertained myself for hours, smelling the orange blossoms, making leis with needle, thread, and oleander blossoms, making things of the dirt, playing with my dog. And climbing the fig tree. It was such a safe place that my mom didn’t worry about me much. I was free to roam–she set limits at certain trees, or a particular spot on the drive–and play at will. I was fearless.

You can imagine Mom’s surprise when she called me and I answered from two or three stories up. “What are you doing up there?” she asked in a tone that said I better move it. I shimmied down the tree as I answered, “Climbing and looking.” When I got to the bottom I saw fire in Mom’s turquoise eyes. And you haven’t seen fire in eyes unless you’ve seen turquoise eyes looking out from the red skin of a half Black Foot Native American and half German woman.

We went in to lunch and I watched cartoons for a while, but it didn’t take long before I was ready to go back outside. “No climbing the fig tree,” Mom said. “The only reason to climb a tree is to eat the fruit.”

Sounded like an idea. What do figs taste like anyway? Only one way to find out. Up the tree I went, tongue working as hard as arms and legs. I found a comfortable place to sit, and picked a fig. It was firm, but not hard, and had a dark rich color I couldn’t even think to name, but it was pretty. I took a bite. Very sweet. I could do this. Several times.

The quiet of the yard drew my mom back outside, calling and looking. “I’m up here,” I called back. “I told you not to climb the tree,” she said in a serious voice. I started down again, quite confident that I had a good argument. “You said the only reason to climb a tree was to eat the fruit. Figs are good. ” I showed her my sticky hands. For that I got a swat on the bottom. And diarrhea.

The moral of the story is, if you climb trees you get a tummy ache. Which I seem to have taken to heart because I’m now scared of heights.

Creating a Schedule for the Blog

I’m trying to get my act together and make this blog a useable tool for readers and writers. To that end I’m creating a schedule that I hope will work. Here’s the plan:

Monday: Author interviews or Guest Posts.  If you need an interview or would like to do a guest post, related to a blog tour or just to boost traffic or sales, please contact me by comment here, or by email at

Tuesday/Thursday: Book Reviews.  I generally review mystery, suspense, thriller, historicals, and the occasional inspirational, sci-fi and paranormal. Each review is according to my schedule and what I think I can offer in the way of positive reviews. So I receive a book to review and find that I just don’t like the book even though the writing is very good, I usually contact the author and let them know. That rarely happens. I’m pretty open, and my library is pretty eclectic.

Friday: Memories of Me. You all may be bored silly with my little rants of  my past, but I’m having a blast remembering things that happened during my childhood and putting the words on paper…er…screen.

I’m hoping I can maintain this schedule, make my readers happy, and help out other writers. Wish me luck!