Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

My Photo
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.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Folks who weren't at the Westlake Library the night of January 28th missed a treat. Becky Mushko, author of the recently released book Ferradiddledumday, and book illustrator Bruce Rae, put on quite a show. After the introduction by librarians Pam Palmer and Marilyn Amerson, Becky and Bruce performed parts of Ferradiddledumday, an Appalachian version of Rumpelstiltskin.

Pam Palmer, children's librarian at Westlake

Becky Mushko as Gillie; Bruce Rae as Ferradiddledumday

Even though I have read drafts of Ferradiddledumday and the published book, I laughed hard and often. Becky played the part of Gillie, an Appalachian farmer's daughter who spins hay into gold. Bruce acted as Gillie's father, as well as the character Ferradiddledumday, a little magic man who granted Gillie the ability to spin the hay into gold. If you ever get the opportunity to see Becky and Bruce perform this, do it. You won't be disappointed. And if you want a good read, go buy the book. I own 11 copies! They will make great gifts for my grandchildren.

Marilyn Amerson, head librarian at Westlake, and Becky Mushko.

To visit Becky's website, go to To read her blog posts, go to


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

Writers conferences are often dull, not worth the effort or time it takes getting there. I attended a 3-day conference in Philadelphia ten years ago. At that time I didn't know enough about writing to benefit much from it. I do know that it cost me over $300.00 plus travel costs. A year later, I went to a writers conference in Athens, Georgia. That, too, was expensive, but at least I learned a lot and met a delightful new author, Ellis Vidler. (Her novel Haunting Refrain is a murder mystery whose protagonist has psychic abilities.)

This past weekend, I attended the 3rd Roanoke Regional Writers Conference at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Unlike the two conferences mentioned above, this one cost only $50.00, which included a reception Friday night and lunch Saturday. I saw writers I hadn't seen in ages, i.e. Darrell Laurant, Gene Marrano, Kurt Rheinheimer, Keith Ferrell. I also met some interesting folks.

Any event organized by Dan Smith is always a success, and this one was no exception. Speakers talked about blogging and using other social media such as Facebook and Twitter (too technical for me); self-editing; writing plays, fantasy, historical fiction, essays, local history, and short fiction; how to get rid of writers block; photography tips for freelancers; freelance writing and the law. Some classes were better than others, but that's not uncommon. I wish I could have attended more classes, but so far I haven't learned how to be in two places at once.

L to R: Dan Smith, Doug Cumming, Rodney Franklin, Becky Mushko, Sally Roseveare, Jim Morrison
Photo Courtesy of Dan Smith

From Noon to 1:15 on Saturday, I served on the self-publishing panel with Dan Smith, Doug Cumming, Becky Mushko, Jim Morrison, and Rodney Franklin. Those attending asked lots of questions and made some good comments. I wish we'd had more time.

Dan Smith, Conference Organizer
Photo by Karen Wrigley

L to R: Doug Cumming and Rodney Franklin
Photo by Karen Wrigley

Becky Mushko
Photo by Karen Wrigley

Sally Roseveare
Photo by Karen Wrigley

Jim Morrison
Photo by Karen Wrigley

Traveling to and from the conference with Lake Writers Jim Morrison (our leader), Rodney Franklin, Becky Mushko, and Karen Wrigley, an animal communicator whose book Beyond Woofs and Whinnies will be available by mid February, was a hoot! (Y'all should buy Karen's book!) We talked, laughed, had animal communications, and solved a couple of the world's problems. Thanks for driving, Jim.

Labels: ,