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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A True Blessing

Ron and I are delighted to welcome a new granddaughter, Anna Faith, into our lives. Born July 9th, she is our daughter and son-in-law's 9th child (our grandson Jonathan is in heaven) and our 13th grandchild. We rejoice. And we look forward to watching her grow, being part of her life, sharing her ups and downs, seeing her personality develop. Her brothers and sisters already adore her, want to hold her.

We spent a few days helping with meals, laundry, the usual household jobs. But we also got in lots of loving and holding time with Anna, and visiting with her brothers and sisters.

Welcome into our lives, Anna Faith. You are a true blessing.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Yesterday I lost a friend, one of those exceptional buddies who loves unconditionally, a friend who comforts you when you're sad, who rejoices with you when you're happy. I loved his smile, his big brown eyes, the way he liked to play. Maybe the fact that he had four legs and a cold nose made him even more special. Anyhow, I loved him. I always will.

I first saw this black and tan fellow peeping from behind our stone wall in 1996 as Ron bush-hogged the front pasture at our New London/Evington area home. Our black Lab Kushi welcomed him. I groaned. Not another stray dog to worry about, I thought.

When Kushi brought him to the kitchen door, I noticed a bad cut on the dog's left leg. I cleaned it with peroxide. He winced, but never growled or tried to bite. I was impressed. At that moment, I heard mooing from the black Angus cattle on the adjoining farm. Perfect, I thought. I dubbed him Angus. The vet said he was a Rottweiller mix. He sounded like a Rottie; he could bark ferociously and growl at the same time.

Because he'd been neutered, his tail cropped, and he sported a tattoo in his right ear, I figured it wouldn't be hard to trace his owner. Wrong. I spent days searching. I looked up dog registries on the internet. I called all the dog pounds, humane societies, veterinarians within a 50+ mile radius. I sent out faxes and fliers with his picture. Nothing. Weeks passed. The local newspaper, The News & Advance, wrote a story on him, plastered his picture in the paper. Again nothing. And by then I was madly in love with him. So were Kushi and Ron. You guessed it; we kept Angus.

After we moved to Smith Mountain Lake, Angus developed a passion for fishing and swimming. And he loved our children, our grandchildren, and all their dogs.

When Kushi died, Angus was a great comfort. And two years ago he readily welcomed Yellow Dawg, who just showed up and never left. Now Yellow, who is also grieving for Angus, is comforting us.

I haven't yet told my family about Angus' passing. I'm not ready to talk about it yet. But I can write, and for some reason I feel that Angus would be pleased that he is now immortalized. Thank you all for "listening" to me.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010


On June 28, Lake Writer buddy and local author Becky Mushko spoke to the Pearls of Wisdom Book Club located at Smith Mountain Lake. She talked about her novel “Ferradiddledumday, An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin.” I liked "Ferradiddledumday" so much, that when it was published I bought 10 copies. Of course, with my 13th grandchild due as I write this blog, I knew I could use lots of copies.

Pictured are Gay Carpenter, Becky Mushko, and Dot Crossan

After discussing about "Ferradiddledumday," Becky wowed the ladies with readings from her soon-to-be-published YA novel “Stuck,” which will be published in early 2011. The publisher for both books is Cedar Creek Publishing. I highly recommend both books.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


On Friday, June 25, my college friends Sallie Bette and her husband Tom, Honey, Harriet, and Mary Jane arrived late that afternoon for our second mini-reunion. Three of us had been roommates many years ago; the other two lived across the hall. I could hardly wait to see them. Ron likes being with them, too, and he and Tom always have a lot to talk about.

After dinner, we took a boat ride, saw the sun set over the lake. I like to show off our gorgeous Smith Mountain Lake, so I love it when the sunsets are spectacular. Our friends were impressed.

I like how the sun reflects in the boat's wake.

Saturday morning we visited Emerson Creek Pottery in Bedford County, and bought berry bowls, flower pots, mugs, liquid soap dispensers. I discovered that the lady working behind the counter was the mother of a boy my son Bill played with in elementary school. Marie is just as nice as ever, and still as pretty. I hadn't seen Marie for at least 25 years, maybe 30. Small world, isn't it?

Harriet, Honey, Mary Jane, Sallie Bette, Tom, Me

The antique boat show at Parrot's Cove Marina was our next destination. The boats were gorgeous, and I saw a friend from Lynchburg. Did I mention this is a small world?

Next we went to Bridgewater Plaza, shopped in Gifts Ahoy, one of my favorite shops at the lake, and bought some of their delicious, made-on-site fudge and a few other items. We trudged down the steps to the water and fed the carp, then bought hot dogs at the Ice Cream Cottage. While eating, in walked my son-in-law's mother, Judy, who was accompanied by another of her sons and two grandchildren. The world just keeps getting smaller.

Mary Jane, Harriet, Sallie Bette in corner, Tom, Me, Honey, Ron
at the Ice Cream Cottage

We piled back in the minivan and drove a few miles to The Cottage Gate, another shop I enjoy. They play great beach music, and I sometimes sneak behind displays and dance right by myself. Sometimes I dance in grocery stores, too. In case you hadn't guessed, I like to dance. We bought stuff there, too.

That afternoon we put on our bathing suits and dashed down to the lake. Honey even went down our grandkids' sliding board. No, you're not going to see pictures of us in our suits.

Harriet, Me, Sallie Bette, Mary Jane, Honey and Angus my 18-year old dog

I hated to see them leave on Sunday, but our cheeks hurt from laughing and needed to rest. If I have more facial wrinkles than normal, it's their fault. We know we'll stay in touch, see each other often. And we'll be there for each other. We're friends. And that's what friends do.

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