The Last Night of My Own Personal & Private Writer’s Retreat in the Wilds of PA

IMG_1183I went to the lake to say goodbye, as this is the last night of my personal and private writer’s retreat in the wilds of north-west Pennsylvania.

 

It’s been grand. I did a complete read through of my work-in-progress, DEADLY DESIGNS. And I wrote three new chapters. I also got a lot of pool time in. Walking is HUGE here and I did quite a bit of that too.IMG_1185

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My daughter Alyssa got a shot of me in the pool.

 

Tomorrow we drive home. I’ll miss this time and this place.


A Writer’s Week Long Vacay in NW PA with My Daughter

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I’m in the wilds of northwest PA taking a little vacay to write. My daughter Alyssa decided to tag along for some relaxation in the country. Here I’m grilling in the back of our townhouse apartment.

 

 

IMG_1150I’ve turned our little dining area into a writer’s work station. So far I’ve done a complete read through of the thirteen chapters I’ve got so far in book #2 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series, DEADLY DESIGNS…for continuity…and I’ve written another chapter.

 

 

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This is our living room.

 

 

 

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Alyssa at the small indoor pool which is a short walk from our townhouse. There is also an outdoor Olympic size pool, a medium sized outdoor pool, and two lakefront beaches on the property.

 

 

 

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Walking is HUGE on this property. Of course you have your runners, but most people walk for exercise, recreation, and socializing. They go out alone and in groups. They take their babies in strollers and toddlers on tricycles with them. I took a half mile walk yesterday afternoon and while I was at it got an outdoor shot of our indoor swimming pool and its picnic pavilion.

 

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Most evenings, after we grill our hamburgers or chicken outside, I build a fire in our little campfire circle. Every unit has one and a grill.

 

 

 

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The back of our townhouse apartment is on a golf green and at dusk we get the same four visitors every evening. A momma and pappa deer and two yearlings.

 

 

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National Dog Day ~ adopt a rescued dog

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Today is National Dog Day. This “howlday” was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of rescued dogs. My little Sophie was a Christmas present, adopted in December a few years ago from the  ASPCA in Manhattan. What a joy she has been to our lives.

Let today be a reminder to get yourself to your local animal shelter. There you can find the perfect canine companion. You’ll find, your dog becomes the “heart” of your house.

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Sancturary Point Series ~ all the covers

I’ve been remiss. I never took a photo of my entire Sanctuary Point historical whodunit series ( Desert Breeze Publishig). So, I finally took one and might as well post it now.

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“Humorcide” ~ Is it a bird, a plane, a new sub-genre?

Murder Book

Is it when you hate the heinous killer, but you’re still laughing?

Or, maybe, when the twists and turns give you thrills and chills and giggles?

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Humorcide…a dealy funny murder mystery. Grittier than a cozy, which are usually laced with humor. A classic mystery, a whodunit, that gives the reader hearty chuckles and belly laughs.

Harmful Intent, Framed

HARMFUL INTENT is “humorcide.” A deadly funny whodunit. Twists and turns, thrills and chills, a budding romance. Husband of one year cheated on her. Deputy thinks she migh’ve shot him dead. The laughs roll with the action when a when a Yankee female sleuth messes in west Texas murder case to clear her name.

Okay…so gimme an idea what it’s about…

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully…that’s HARMFUL INTENT.


Summer Garden “Ceviche” ~ getting rid of belly fat is murder

IMG_1121All of my novels have a food angle to them. The1940s, historical Sanctuary Point mystery series presents families sitting down at the dinner table enjoying hearty meat and potatoes fare…not to mention the strudel, cake, and cookies. This depicts how people ate in that era.

My contemporary novel, HARMFUL INTENT, and my first indie endeavor, features a heroine who likes to eat. While Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, PI, is fit and trim, she can hold her own at the table and what she eats isn’t necessarily healthy. However, in the course of the investigation she takes an organic cooking class and is surprised by how tasty the meal is. The next time the reader sees Ronnie, she’s sleuthing away in the second book of the series, DEADLY DESIGNS (coming out at the end of the year)…and she’s had a change of culinary lifestyle. She’s taken a few health-conscious cooking classes. Her diet has changed and she now knows her way around the kitchen.

Although this recipe for Summer Garden “Cerviche” isn’t written about in either novel, it’s wonderful for adding vegetables and fruit to the diet. Vegetables and fruit are essential in fighting the battle of the bulge as well as fostering all over health.

Feeds 2-3 people (can easily be doubled)

1/8 C virgin olive oil

1 juice of one lemon with some pulp, remove seeds

1/4 C red onion, coarsely chopped

1 ear of corn, shelled

1/2 cucumber, seeded, and cut into small bite size pieces

1 banana pepper, cut in half, seeded, and cut into small bite size pieces

1/3+ C of mango and papaya chunks, removed from a can or jar of Dole Tropical Fruit

3 Tbps of juice from Dole Tropical Fruit

4-5 small fresh basil leave, cut into slivers

salt and pepper to taste

Ceviche has heat. See  note at bottom.

Combine all the fruit and vegetable ingredients and the slivered basil leaves in a glass bowl.

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In another small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice with some pulp, 3 Tbsp juice from Dole Tropical Fruit, and the salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and fruit mixture. Gently fold in and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

 

 

Heat note: There are several ways to add heat. If you seed and slice 1 jalapeno pepper into slivers and marinade it with the vegetables and fruit for the entire 2 hours, there will be a great deal of heat. The slivered jalapeno can be mixed through right before serving for less heat. Or you can place a gourmet bottle of your favorite hot sauce on the table and heat can be added individually according to taste.

Chill a footed desert glass (or a martini glass, or margarita glass). Remove vegetables and fruit with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place into serving glasses. Serve cold.

 

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Fitness Tip: increase walking. Take a stroll in the evening after you’ve digested your dinner. Walk you dog.

Note: Make sure you’re well hydrated. Take a bottle of water along for the walk.

It’s always advised for individuals to consult their doctor before going on any diet or exercise routine, and before making lifestyle changes.


HEART FAILURE by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. ~ a review

Heart Failure

Devastated by the untimely death of her husband, Dr. Carrie Markham could not imagine she would ever fall in love again. She is a member of a medical practice that is doing well and she thought that would be enough. However, when Adam Davidson enters her life, almost in spite of herself, she falls in love and they become engaged. Unfortunately, he is hiding something. After an evening at the movies, they become the victims of an apparent drive-by shooting. The author sets this up beautifully and pulls the reader in.

Worried that he might be putting Carrie in danger, Adam reveals his secret. He is not who he claims to be. Although she believes him to be a paralegal, he’s actually a lawyer. His is real name is Keith Branson and powerful and dangerous people are out to kill him. He has been in the government’s witness protection program. Quite understandably, this news unnerves Carrie. She’s not sure she wants to continue in a relationship with a man she’s just discovered has lied to her, and who could possibly bring about her demise.

Of course you can count on this author to deliver a thriller with accurate medical details. Yet I wasn’t bombarded with medical jargon that went over my head.

What makes the story compelling is how page, by page, the reader becomes invested in the characters. Carrie comes across as a highly likeable, living, breathing woman who has suffered bereavement but who is determined to get on with her life. As a successful doctor, she deals with the intricate office politics of a thriving medical practice, sometimes wondering if the male doctors in the practice are overlooking her because she is a woman. I was drawn to Carrie’s concern for her patients. The character’s struggles to understand and forgive Adam/Keith for lying to her make her come to life in a very real way. My heart broke for Adam who is a decent man, struggling to survive, and who dares to fall in love. He is the kind of man who does the right thing for the right reasons, and unfortunately has had to pay a high price for those ethical standards. Woven through this novel is a gentle spiritual message showing us how God is always there, even when it looks as if everything is falling apart.

There is no shortage of red herrings leading the reader in different directions. Supporting and minor characters are used to keep the reader guessing who the killer is. Although there is romance, the chase to catch a killer is the main thing. This is exactly the way I like my thrillers.