Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cruising with the Eclectic Book Club

A couple of months ago, Carolyn Hart called to tell me that the Eclectic Book Club had read my first novel, Secrets at Spawning Run, and wanted me to join them for a book discussion on the Virginia Dare. I felt honored that they read my book, and was delighted they invited me to join them. A few days before the event, Eclectic member Mary Jane Morgan called to give me the boarding time and other details.

The Virginia Dare

Yesterday, October 14, King (my stuffed black Lab complete with red collar) and I joined 21 delightful Eclectic ladies and three other book club girls for a luncheon cruise on the Virginia Dare. Also on board were two tour bus loads of folks, some of whom were from a senior center, and other miscellaneous people. The book club ladies were absolutely delightful. I enjoyed getting to know them, although I hope they will forgive me if I can't remember all their names.

After a good meal, Lake Writers buddy Marion Higgins and I walked to the bar area where Marion was handed a microphone. After a great introduction (I am so lucky to have friends who give wonderful introductions--see the previous blog post), Marion turned the mike over to me. I read a little from Secrets at Spawning Run and from my second novel, Secrets at Sweetwater Cove.

I really liked being with these nice ladies, the food was very good, and cruising on the Virginia Dare again was lots of fun. However, I would not advise any group the size of ours to try to have a discussion in that type of setting. One woman--not from our group--at the table closest to me started telling me that I had said enough. And that was after I read one short paragraph! I ignored her for five minutes, but then decided that it wasn't fair to her for me to keep speaking. After all, she paid for a luncheon cruise, not to hear a murder mystery author read and speak. So even though other non-book club people were enjoying my talk, I quickly wrapped it up and returned to my seat.

I've cruised on the Virginia Dare several times, always loved it. Unfortunately, yesterday was cold and wet. Even though the cruise was still fun, I wish we had had a nice, sunny day. Luckily we were on the lower deck, which is glassed in and out of the wind. I didn't notice if the upper deck was now enclosed or not. It was not enclosed in the above picture that I took two years ago from our boat. But I did enjoy myself, and would love to talk with these nice gals again sometime in a place more conducive to a good discussion.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Virginia Dare, she is a faux paddlewheel boat, a reproduction of the boats that used to travel our Southern rivers such as the Mississippi. She was built in Lacrosse, Wisconsin in 1989, is 63 feet long, 20 feet wide, and can accommodate 112 people for a seated meal or 135 for a sightseeing cruise.


So Much Fun!

I had so much fun speaking and signing books at the Westlake Library on Tuesday, October 13! Thanks to the library's fine organizer Claudia Nagel, and to friends telling friends, lots of people attended. Lake Writer buddies Bruce Ray, Betsy Ashton, Becky Mushko, Claudia Condiff, Phyllis Conrad, and Karen Wrigley came to support me. And there were other folks I knew, too. I even met a lady who first saw my book on my daughter-in-law's mother's coffee table in Blacksburg!

After a fantastic introduction by Betsy Ashton, I was revved up and ready to talk and read. I could not have asked for a better audience! They asked great questions and laughed at my goofy spiels about researching material for my books, i.e. stuffing bodies in porta-potties.

Yep, this was a fun evening. Many thanks to all who came: to Betsy for her introduction, to Marilyn Amerson, Claudia Nagel, and Kellyann Gordon from Westlake Library, and to Shirley and John Yates (Friends of the Library) for providing refreshments.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Lake Writers Sign Books

Six of us authors from the Lake Writers group enjoyed ourselves at The General Store in Moneta, Virginia, on October 10th. We sold and signed books, talked and laughed with customers and each other, and feasted on yummy snacks provided by The General Store. Several folks I know stopped by to shop and chat. Some bought books.

Becky Mushko (standing), me, Tad Parker, Curtis Nester, and Marion
Higgins. Rodney Franklin, one of the authors, is not pictured.

Lake Writer buddy Karen Wrigley took the picture. We all had so much fun that Vicki and Rita (co-owners of The General Store) invited us to do a repeat performance on November 21st. Yay!

One of the highlights for me was meeting talented artist Shelley Koopman. I love her paintings, which are available for purchase at The General Store.