Category Archives: blog

ESCAPE TO THE KEYS

on January 8, 2019

Although very exciting to have A Beacon In The Dark finished and available; I can’t slow down. I want to have my third book, It Started With Besse, finished and ready for publication by the end of summer.

The cold, grey days of Northeastern Ohio don’t inspire much motivation . . . more like hibernation. So, to get my creative juices flowing I’ve escaped to the lower Florida Keys. Here I can write outside under a canopy of palm trees as the clouds, out over the Gulf, drift by. And, if it takes a bit of excitement to add spice to my inspiration, well, Key West is just thirty miles away.

One of the things I’m most happy with in A Beacon In The Dark is the character development and growth of Olivia Bentley. I throw a lot of challenges at her and I love watching her deal with them. This next book, It Started With Besse, is full of action packed scenes and lots of tension. I have to remember that these characters also need a history and internal development as they deal with the unfamiliar forces around them.

My goals for this year are to keep my readers informed through Blogs, Newsletters and online Chats. Writing is my passion and I have to do more of it. I can’t become too relaxed in this tropical paradise if I’m to finish this third book in the Tanner series by the end of the summer.

So, for now, I’ll be writing on the locals “keys time”, and to the rhythm of the gentle swaying palms.

It’s Done At Last

on December 17, 2018

I’m so excited to announce my second book, A Beacon In The Dark, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. This has been a long time coming and hopefully no future book will take three years to publish.

Why so long when I announced in December of 2015 that it would be available in 2016? It all fell apart in the final edit. Oh sure, I had Olivia growing and evolving as a character, but I needed to show why and how this happened. Proving her grandmother was murdered and who the killer was just wasn’t enough. Neither was finding out who her mother really was. The answer was adding conflict, conflict and more conflict along with a heaping dose of internal battles as Olivia questions her own beliefs.

The process was long and, often times, frustrating but I’m happy with the added suspense and tension. I hope you enjoy it as well.

    

Catch Up

on December 6, 2018

It’s been a crazy three months and I can finally sit back and take a breath before my next book, A Beacon In The Dark, launches.

SEPTEMBER was filled with last minute editing and proofreading. Hours and hours and days and days spent at my computer picking apart a story that I thought was finished. Working with a new company on the cover design was a challenge but I’m happy with the end result.

OCTOBER came all too quickly and I was off to Lexington, Kentucky for the Retired Racehorse Project. I arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday, October 3rd with the entire CANTER booth and much of the merchandise packed into my SUV. The four days was made even more exciting when I was able to tag along with friends who had the opportunity to meet Justify, who made racing history this year when he won the Triple Crown.

Yes, I was honored to stand next to such an amazing athlete. But as a writer, I found myself studying the magnificent barn where Justify resides, the majestic gates leading to miles of stones walls and buildings so reminiscent of Ireland’s grand estates. Ashford Stud Farm cried out to me. There was a story somewhere in its rolling hills with the nickering of contented thoroughbreds. My imagination was running at warp speed.

October 28th once again found me on the road to Kentucky. This time to Louisville for Equestricon at the convention center, a virtual Who’s Who of the Thoroughbred racing industry. Being the week before the Breeder’s Cup races, the atmosphere was electrifying and I jumped right in with the perfect hat.

I stopped by the Coolmore booth. Ashford Stud Farm is Coolmoore’s home in America, so of course I had to tell the young lady my experience on my recent visit to Ashford and meeting Justify. I just happened to mention that I’m a writer and I can’t get Ashford out of my head. There’s a story just waiting to be told. She gave me her card and said when I’m ready to call her and she will take me on a tour and put the final touches on that book. I did mention that there would be bodies, but I wouldn’t kill off any of the horses. Hmmmm, maybe the horse will be the murderer?????

The next booth brought me to Win Star Farms, and the same woman who had been our neighbor at the Retired Racehorse Project, a couple weeks before. After chatting for a while about how I had met Justify, (he ran under Win Star Farms), I mentioned that I was a writer and wanted to set a book on a Kentucky horse farm. She gave me her card and told be to call her. She’d give me all the information I needed on how one of the largest thoroughbred racing farms operates.

Looks like I’ll be spending more time in Kentucky.

NOVEMBER proved to be a giant challenge as I worked with a new company to do the formatting for A Beacon In The Dark. Each week brought more proofreading, corrections and more proofreading. However, the hard work paid off and I am now looking forward to seeing my book in print.

Peluche  ––  3 lbs. of fight

on August 27, 2018

Much of my writing time this month has been sidelined by this little guy. His name is Peluche, a Spanish word meaning plush, also stuffed toy, cuddly toy, stuffed animal, teddy bear, etc.  I call him Teddy. He came to me last December after having liver shunt surgery in Michigan. Little Yorkie Rescue, in Lorain, Ohio asked me to foster him since I had experience caring for my Yorkie, Hemingway, after his liver shunt surgery. I agreed to the 3 – 4 month rehab until he would be well enough to be put up for adoption.  It was slow going at first. He didn’t seem to understand anything I said. Then I found out through a Facebook post that he came from a Spanish only speaking family. Yikes!! I Googled the words and phrases I needed to communicate, but I think my accent was off. Fortunately he was leaning English faster than I was learning Spanish.

He needed regular blood work done to determine his progress. All seemed good at first then he went downhill. Five months later he wasn’t even at a healthy enough point to be neutered. His liver wasn’t working. After more blood tests and an ultrasound, it was determined that he needed ANOTHER liver shunt surgery.

On August 22nd he had his second surgery. It was supposed to last twenty minutes. Due to excessive scar tissue from the first surgery back in December, the procedure lasted almost three hours! We got the word that evening that he was in critical condition and would be monitored throughout the night. He may weigh only three pounds but he’s a little fighter. He’s now happy at home, in his own bed and doing better every day. He even likes chilling with the ice bag. Keep fighting little dude.

CALLING THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE 500 MILES AWAY . . . ABOUT MURDER!!!

on July 6, 2018

Being a writer who believes in research and accuracy sometimes puts me in interesting situations––like today.

I’m working on the final pages of revisions for A BEACON IN THE DARK. This scene takes place in Charles City, Virginia and I’m at a point where I bring in the local police to help with a murder. I’d assumed when I’d written the original manuscript that it would be the closest major city––Richmond. Charles City stretches along the James River and isn’t very big. But today as I put the final touches on the scene, I begin to wonder if I’m correct. Google is a wonderful thing. I pull up the official website for Charles City, Virginia looking for the police department. Guess what? No police. I find the number for the Charles City Sheriffs office. Oops!! Well now, who comes to the scene of the murder? Is it the Sergeant I’d written about or does the Sheriff himself come? So I did what any conscientious writer would do ––I called.

Maybe I could have given the dispatcher a little more background about myself, and the fictional book I was writing. Instead I merely told her that I was researching a book that takes place along the James River and who would they send to the site of a murder in one of the plantations like Shirley or Berkeley. The word murder got her attention and she asked for the spelling of my name. Yeah, I need to work on how I approach law enforcement.

Well, once I’d explained how I’d actually done the initial research for the book on a trip there and mentioned the places I’d visited and who had helped me, our whole conversation turned around. She gave me the whole chain of command, and who would show up at investigations. We ended up having a great conversation and she invited me to stop by on my next trip. I promised an autographed copy of the book for the department.

The wheels are already turning for another book along the James. It’s great knowing I’ll have friends in the Charles City Sheriff’s office to help me with the bodies that always seem to turn up.

No I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth!!

on June 12, 2018

Just got lost while finding my way through the world of writing, then got sucked down into the depths of everyday life.

I’m sure many writers have gotten lost along the way . . . well, maybe not for a whole year. But now I’m back in the saddle and heading to the finish line, and that would be seeing A Beacon In The Dark published this year. Justify made history yesterday wining the Triple Crown and I can make my own history.

This weekend I attended Killer Heat: A Mystery Writer’s Weekend Getaway. The event was sponsored by Northeast Ohio Sisters In Crime, of which I am a member, and certainly lit a fire under me.

My life won’t suddenly become less frantic, nor will unexpected problems and situations go away. But I was reminded of one important rule of successful authors this weekend and that is to hold fast to a specific writing schedule. Oh yeah, I learned that rule years ago. Problem is I haven’t followed it. I sit down at my computer and begin typing away. Then that evil demon called Distraction rears its ugly head and I’m off in another direction.

Now, it’s time to begin typing!!!!

Meet Hemingway

on June 8, 2017

It’s been two weeks since we welcomed this little Yorkie, named Rocky, into our home. It was amazing how quickly the adoption from Little Yorkie Rescue transpired after being notified that the little man was available. He’d just been picked up from his vet appointment after being neutered, had five teeth extracted and treated for a UTI. Not even two years old and the poor little guy was severely underweight and needed lots of TLC.  Donna Rickard of Little Yorkie Rescue met me at her house last Thursday night in Lorain. I’m new to small/toy breeds and the little guy was so thin and fragile I was afraid I’d hurt him. Donna was wonderful and made sure the tiny Yorkie was kept warm with a new shirt and blanket. He slept in his new crate and bed for the hour-long drive home. We arrived after 10:00 and had just enough time for me to read his medical/prescription needs and then tuck the little guy into his bed for the night.

He settled right in to life in his new home and now has us on a schedule that works for him. He had that grumpy old man look with his head full of silver hair . . . he was definitely not a Rocky. He was a Hemingway!  It’s hard to believe that so much joy could come into our lives all packed in a four-pound package.

 

 

IT’S TIME FOR A COMPANION

on May 11, 2017

I know it looks like I’ve been MIA for months now. The truth is, I’ve been in a kind of funk. Oh sure, I’ve been writing, actually rewriting, attending my critique group, participating in INDIE panel discussions and running CANTER Ohio. CANTER’s kept me busy with everything from fundraisers to the daily issues revolving around the care and adoptions of our horses. But the spark’s been missing––that mental jolt that sends me flying into each new day and ending it with a contented sigh.

It’s been four years since our Golden Retriever, Murphy, made the journey over the rainbow bridge at the age of thirteen. He was the best dog ever and we just knew we could never replace him. Oh sure, we dog sat for family, and pets were always welcome for a visit, but they went home at the end of their stay. But as the years passed the house became lonely, cold winter days dragged on, and I’ve been noticing how many tiny little dogs are tucked lovingly in their owner’s arms.

I’m now searching for a little buddy. Being the Executive Director of CANTER Ohio I understand the importance of rehoming our four-legged friends. Okay, so I’m talking 1,200 lb horses and 5 lb dogs. But it’s really the same thing, so I’m watching the local dog rescues for a little Yorkie. A little ball of fluff who will keep me company in my office as I struggle with multiple plots and not complain when I kill off his favorite character. A little tyrant who will say “Enough! Time for a walk.” when I’ve been sitting at my computer for hours.

 

And a little guy who will jump into his tote bag when it’s time for a trip to the barn or book signing or days spent keeping me company in a booth at a fundraiser.

Yep, I’m getting my spark back.

 

 

Serendipity at work . . . AGAIN

on October 30, 2016

funny-cideI saw the signs for Lexington on I75 while driving back from the 2013 RWA conference in Atlanta. I’d been admiring the beautiful countryside when I passed the exit for Man O War Boulevard. Suddenly there’s a new story in my head. It’s a paranormal. I don’t do paranormal. I already had one finished book that needed polishing before publishing and two more in various stages. But some things you just can’t control and I couldn’t make the story go away. By the time I reached Cincinnati I had a book to get on paper. But to my chagrin, it was a story about a ghost horse . . . really? I wrote the first draft and decided that someday I’d get around to the research needed to make my premier thoroughbred horse farm believable.

Race ahead three years and I’m working out the details for coming down to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Retired Racehorse Project. I’d be working the CANTER booth for four full days so just maybe I’d have time to visit one of the farms in Lexington. I was given the contact information for a “friend” of CANTER who may be able to help me with research for the book that I didn’t have time to finish.  CANTER Ohio had two of our adopters who were competing, Smuggler’s Hold (polo) and One Wild Kitty (dressage) so I spent my days between manning the booth and racing back and forth to the barns for photos and visiting. By Saturday morning I’d crossed off trying to call my horse farm contact.  But heck, it would be at least a year before I could get around to finishing a story about a ghost horse. Today was grueling and I was exhausted after dismantling the booth and loading the vehicles. I had just one more thing left to do before heading out and that was to finish conversations I’d had with an organization where we have a horse in permanent retirement. Hot, sweaty, and out-of-breath I arrived at their booth to find they’re talking to a lovely woman with a warm, infectious smile. Yep . . . she was the contact I’d given up of ever finding.

We had a great chat and she’s intrigued with the story.  We’ve made plans for me to come back next summer, after the foaling and breeding season in the spring. She suggested that I check out the Keeneland library tomorrow for history on the thoroughbred racing industry.

That darn ghost horse is back in my head. Serendipity has, once again, stepped in.  I think a ghost is telling me that he wants his story told.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serendipity at work

on October 24, 2016

bassisls-002I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on In the Shadow of The Lighthouse. People want more stories set in the Lake Erie islands.  I love history and doing research so my stories, although fiction, are based in real places with some history thrown in.  I love Kelleys Island and decided that my fourth book would be set there. Of course I need at least one contact person who I can pump for the bizarre and gruesome that will trigger a story in my head. Not an easy task when the island is only about four square miles in size with a population of just over three hundred permanent residents. This wasn’t going to be easy, but heck, I still have books two and three to finish.  I thought about hanging out at one of the B&Bs on the island for a week or two, travel the back roads (really?) in a golf cart and look for an old-timer with stories of dead bodies, smugglers, and horrendous storms. That plan got put on a back burner.

stormy-dude-going-homeAs the Executive Director for CANTER Ohio I see a lot of adoption applications from all over the country from people wanting to adopt our horses. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the potential adopter lives on Kelleys Island. Horses on Kelleys? Who would have thought? Even as a fiction writer I wouldn’t have put horses on Kelleys. Not only did my contact come to me, but she brought a resident of Marblehead with her.  Oh yeah, she loved the horse.  Stormy Dude, the tall chestnut ex-racehorse, left today for his new home. I wonder how he handled the twenty-minute ferry ride with the scents of Lake Erie and the raucous call of sea gulls overhead?

So, serendipity stepped in and I have my contacts. I’ll be spending a lot of time on Kelleys Island searching for my next story. It may even contain a horse named Stormy Dude.