Monday, February 19, 2018

BEACH WRITING:The Genre Whisperer


          (Whispered conversation between two young ladies recently overheard in a library bathroom…)
          “Do you know anything about, you know…what they’re talking about in there?”
          “No. I’m pretty inexperience when it comes to that kind of stuff.”
          “Me too.”
          “Is there some sort of book or something that would explain everything?”
          “You mean like an illustrated how-to manual?”
          “Not that I know of. But I’ve heard some of the older girls talking.”
          “I think they’re talking like they know, but they really don’t know.”
          “So how do you learn?”
          “I guess you just learn by doing it…”
          No, these young ladies were not talking about the facts of life. They were aspiring authors attending their first mystery writers’ meeting. Words like genre and sub-genre and novella had been bandied about like bits of gossip dropped at a high-society cocktail party, all followed by a knowing look and responded to with an I’ll-pretend-I-know-what-you’re-talking-about-even-though-I’m-clueless nod. It might surprise you to learn that these two seemingly unrelated topics do have a lot in common.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE: A Short Romance Just in Time for Valentine's Day

<<At one point in my writing career I focused on Romance. here is one of my short stories I dug out of the back of my closet in honor of this day of ROMANCE.>>

  Maddie wasn’t sure she could take another step.
          “Which grocery store shall we hit tonight?” her sister Kara asked.
          “Huh?”  It was all the response Maddie could muster as they finished the grueling eight-mile run along the beach.  She bent at the waist and rested her elbows on her knees as she sucked in lungfuls of refreshing salt air.
          “I’m thinking the Green Grocer over on West Washington might be good.” Kara, who was in far better shape than Maddie, sounded less like a steam locomotive puffing up a mountain and more like someone who had just finished a game of Wii bowling. 
          Maddie had assumed, erroneously, that joining her sister on an after-work run would replace their usual evening activity of late—man hunting.  Kara had read in a magazine that a good place to meet eligible bachelors was at the grocery store, so the sisters had been cruising a different one every night for the past three weeks.  So far, they hadn’t met a single eligible man.    
Using the railing to support herself, Kara stretched out her calves.  “It’s right next to that new gym and lots of hungry, freshly showered men will be stopping by to pick up something quick and easy for dinner.  I hear they have the best barbecue in town.  That’s sure to attract my kind of guy.”
          The last thing Maddie wanted tonight was go shopping for a potential life mate, especially the more-brawn-than-brains type that Kara favored.  Maddie was more interested in an intellectual renaissance man.  And no doubt they were all already home preparing a gourmet meal whilesipping a glass of chardonnay and listening to some cool jazz music. 


I'll be joining other local authors...many of whom I have showcased on this blog...for an entire weekend of events related to reading and writing.  I don't know the workshop schedule yet but will post when I have details.  All I know is that on Saturday, March 3 from 10 to 5 and Sunday, March 4 from noon to 5 there will be a WHOLE lotta authors hanging around, me included.  The creative energy in the building should be OFF THE CHARTS!  Please stop by and say hello!  I've got some new SWAG for people.  Location, 225 E. Plume Street in Norfolk.  if you haven't visited this amazing melding of old and new in this library, you need to add this to your list!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BEACH TALE: The Tale of the Traveling Turkey Pan

Roast turkey is an American tradition, but in my family it goes a bit beyond that.  It has to be roasted in a special turkey pan, one that has been around longer than me (and that’s a long time.)  It’s a behemoth 11x16x9 inches in size and will hold a 28-pound stuffed bird comfortably.  We use it twice a year, and storage of it the other 363 days is a challenge. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, November 6, 2017

BEACH CHAT with Carrie Anne Knox

Pull up a beach chair and join me as we get to know a new author on the cozy mystery scene. I met Carrie Anne Knox at a Mystery by the Sea meeting, but haven't had a chance to get to know her too well. When I was looking for someone to participate in a Beach Chat, the choice was obvious. I love what she has to say, and I know you will too!  And be sure and check out her debut novel, Impulse Spy, which I awarded a 5 beach umbrella review in a previous post. But for now, let's let Carrie do the talking...  

Recommend a Beach Read: The Girl on the Train by by Paula Hawkins
Most cherished beach memory: To me, the beach is one long memory. It is the one place I can see my mother. Since she passed, whenever I visit the beach I see her everywhere and feel her presence sun-bathing next to me just as we used to do all day growing up. Just her and me, while the boys had to run and entertain themselves. She lived for the beach and passed along that love to me.

Monday, October 30, 2017


<<This book is proof you CAN judge a book by it's cover! Don't you just love it?>> 

          Book Title:   Impulse Spy, A Sonic Sleuths Mystery
          Genre:  Cozy Mystery
          Setting: Norfolk, VA
          Format:  Trade Paperback
          Pages: 265
          Publication date:  May 15, 2017
          Publisher:  Xotolithic Press
          Opening Passage:  
I first heard rather than saw her.
It was something in the sound of her boots that caught my attention.  Or maybe the confident swish as she sashayed past my table.  Whatever it was, I found myself abandoning the book in my hands to eye the mysterious girl.

Beach Read Rating: 
5 (out of 5) Beach Umbrellas

Monday, October 16, 2017


There was a time when my son didn’t drink alcohol, days which we refer to as BC (as in Before-College.) When the occasion called for a festive drink, we served him Ocean Water.  No, not the brown, salty, seaweed-infused stuff from the Atlantic, but a sugar-based concoction as clear and blue as the Caribbean. We didn’t have a Sonic Drive-In near us then, nor the Internet, thus this recipe came to me the old-fashioned way—from a newspaper article. I've shared it many times over the years. I just checked, and it is the official Sonic recipe for Ocean Water, but I like to think they got it from me (or from the newspaper...)

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon imitation coconut extract
2 drops blue food coloring
2 12-oz cans cold Sprite

Combine water and sugar in microwave safe bowl for 30-45 seconds.  Stir to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and serve over ice. Kids of all ages will enjoy it.