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, November 26, 2010


Dogs. Sleds. Races. The Iditarod. While in Denali, we visited Jeff King's Husky Homestead. Jeff is a four-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a 1,000-mile-race over frozen Alaska territory where competitors push themselves and their huskies for ten grueling days. I get tired--and cold--just thinking about it.

If a dog must be chained to a dog house, I think this is the way to do it. Note the pole with chain that allows a dog to run 'round and 'round his house without getting hung up. Fortunately, our dogs aren't on chains, but when you have 75 Alaskan huskies to care for, well, you do what you need to do. And these huskies receive lots of attention, care and love.

Sled dogs are trained daily. Even during non-snow months, each dog is harnessed every day and runs at least five miles while pulling an ATV. When the temperature gets really high, they train in Husky Homestead's lake. I watched these dogs. They LOVE what they do.

Unlike the big, muscular animals we see on TV, these sled dogs are Alaskan huskies, animals bred for speed, endurance, and their love of mushing. And they are gentle, sweet.

Goose Lake Kennel at Husky Homestead allows visitors to hold and snuggle young puppies. As you can tell, I was in heaven in the picture above.

Jeff King explained the trials of sled dog racing, told us how cold it gets, how hard it is. The person in the cold-weather clothing above would still get cold in the -40 degree temperatures!

In the gift shop I bought a red Husky Homestead shirt signed by Jeff King himself. That's Jeff signing my new purchase. When you see me wearing my shirt, wave and smile. Or just bark.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Ron and I posed outside the world-renown Talkeetna Lodge before leaving Talkeetna, a sweet town, a nice place to visit, but . . . it gets BRRR COLD by mid September! The entire town closes down.

Our group left Talkeetna and boarded another glass-domed train for the little town of Denali. Views from the train were spectacular.

The two windmills above generate enough power to supply several homes with electricity. To survive in this country one must be self-sufficient.

Our train crossed the Nenana River as we chugged into Denali. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see a man fishing and a woman waving.
I waved back.

View of the Nenana River Canyon from the Grande Denali Lodge.

The road with sharp switchbacks to Grande Denali Lodge curves up Sugarloaf Mountain. When tour buses meet all riders hold their breath. We spent one night here. The Lodge itself offers fine dining, a bar, a snack bar, internet hook-up, and a gift shop. Laundry facilities are available in one of the buildings; I washed and dried two loads of laundry. Each room has either two queen beds or one king, nice bath, coffee/tea, TV. Six cabins on the property are also available. As you can tell from the above picture, the views are incredible. Because of the severe winters, the Lodge closes around the middle of September.

Ron and I in the Grande Denali Lodge.

While strolling through the town of Denali, I saw this dog outside a shop. I looked up to see what had caught his attention.

The squirrel on the wood carving is real. He was watching the dog.

Intrigued, I watched the dog watch the squirrel who watched the dog. Neither animal moved. I imagine the drama ended without, well, without any drama at all!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Athenian Society for the Arts and Sciences

This week I double-dosed on signing books and talking about writing. And I loved every minute of it. On the 16th, I signed books at the Franklin County Library. On Thursday, November 18th, I spoke to the Athenian Society for the Arts and Sciences in Roanoke in the WDBJ TV community room. The Athenian Society is a group of women who wish to further the arts and sciences in the community by creating opportunities for enrichment and education. I am honored that they wanted me to speak at their November meeting.

My stuffed Labrador retriever King and me. Photo by Athenian Society member Christine Jordan.

Some of the Athenian Society members. Photo by Christine Jordan.

This was a fun and interesting group. They laughed and asked lots of questions. I enjoyed their company so much that I talked longer than my allotted time. Pat, a delightful lady, gave me some good ideas to work into a book, possibly my third "Secrets" novel. Athenian Society member Christine Jordan took all the pictures.

Peggy Davis introducing me. Photo by Christine Jordan.

Christine from Ram's Head Book Shop in Roanoke brought books and took care of the selling so that I could concentrate on signing books.

That's me in the red jacket. Photo by Christine Jordan.

Labels: ,

Book Signing at Franklin County Library

Tuesday, November 16, I left the house at 1:15 for a 3:00-5:00 book signing at the Franklin County Library in Rocky Mount. Usually this drive takes about 45 minutes, but I had planned to stop by the Westlake Library and say a quick hello to author Fred First, who was speaking there at 2:00. That didn't happen. I dropped off the garbage, stopped at the post office to mail a letter, and then encountered fog. Even though it was daylight, many patches were thick. I slowed, afraid I might not see deer crossing the road or cars without lights. When I passed Westlake Library my watch read 2:05, too late to stop. I reached Rocky Mount only five minutes early.

I like the Franklin County Library. From where I sat I could see the front and rear entrances. I chatted with library patrons, some who already owned one or both of my books and wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed reading them. Others knew some of the same folks I knew. A 10-year-old boy wanted my autograph, even though he wasn't old enough to read either of my novels.

Traffic through the library was heavy. Fifteen to twenty computers on the first floor stayed busy the entire time I was there. My guess is that the five computers on the second floor were equally busy. I was impressed. The librarians tried their best to answer any and all questions library patrons asked. I hope Rocky Mount and Franklin County realize what an important treasure their library is.

I left promptly at 5:00, hoping to get home before dark. Not. I drove home in rain and thick, pea-soup fog. Some vehicles had no lights on. In some areas I struggled to stay in my lane. Even in the fog, blinding oncoming lights seemed to make the center line and edge-of-road line disappear. I prayed. It was 6:30 when I walked in my house.

Labels: , ,