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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


The 2011 Smith Mountain Lake Business Expo held in downtown Moneta last Saturday was only 20 minutes from our house, so how could we not go? Besides, I wanted to stop at Kitty's Little Book Shoppe, and we needed plants and other stuff from Moneta Farm & Home Center, and a few groceries from Shop Rite Grocery.

The professional sign above, designed and created locally by SML Signs & More, welcomed us. The tents were packed with vendors and folks looking for all kinds of information on products and services.

Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery hosted a display. That's Wendy Furrow-Scott, daughter of owners Roger and Judy Furrow. Many of their wines have won medals. Click on the picture to see the wines better. They don't carry just wine; there's also a gift shop with unique items for sale.

John and Micki Singer are manning the Bedford Memorial Hospital booth. I've received excellent medical attention there several times--at the hospital, not the booth.

Diamond Hill General Store was represented by Robert Matzuga (garden center) and Christine and Carl Brodt, owners of Diamond Hill General Store.

This huge sign immediately caught my eye. I mean, who wants a nasty crawl space? Not I! Since we don't have a crawl space we don't need to worry, but if I did I think I'd go to this company with the catchy sign. The man was nice, too, but I didn't get his name.

We learned a lot and met some interesting people. We plan to go to the next SML Business Expo.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I last blogged about my love affair with Alaska way back in February! (See blog post LOVE AFFAIR WITH ALASKA: Part 8.) Leaving Fairbanks on our way to Anchorage, we flew over Mt. McKinley. We'd admired McKinley's 20,320 feet from ground level a few days earlier, but it appeared even more immense from the air. The picture below was taken through a really dirty window with fog closing in. We were flying at 30,000 feet. Remember to click, even double-click, on the pictures for more detail.

After landing in Anchorage, we boarded a bus and traveled to Seward to catch our cruise ship. The drive was gorgeous. Even though the following three pictures were taken from a moving bus through unclean and smudged windows along a two-lane highway in the rain, I didn't mind the drive at all.

We pulled into Seward in pouring rain,

turned the corner, and saw for the first time (drum roll here) . . .

. . . our ship, the Celebrity Millenium! Built in France in 2000, she weighs 91,000 tons, has a passenger capacity of 2,449, and is 11 stories tall, not counting what we couldn't see below Deck One. That's a lotta ship! Eighty percent of the 975 staterooms have ocean views.

Although small, it had all the necessities we needed. I took many pictures through the stateroom window.

The tiny bathroom above had sufficient storage space and a good supply of that all-important item, toilet paper. The toilet is to the right, the shower to the left. Behind me is a huge closet. We unpacked quickly and took off to explore the ship and find Ron's brother Bob and his wife Nita. Below is a view of Seward from one of the decks.

We almost always ate breakfast and lunch in this cafeteria. Meals usually lasted longer than they would have at home because we could feast and watch ever-changing scenery, relax, not worry about meetings, doctor appointments, etc. And being with Nita and Bob made it even more special.

The ceiling in the cafeteria was comprised of mirrored panels. I couldn't resist taking this distorted picture of the ceiling. Note camera in my hand.

After catching up with Bob and Nita, we continued to explore the ship, stopping on each deck to snap more pictures.

Although it was still daylight, we went to bed at 11:00 p.m. Tomorrow promised to be a busy day.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011


Hooray! Becky Mushko's latest novel Stuck is out and available for purchase. I love this book, have read several drafts. But there's something so exciting about a newly-published book that after holding the two copies I bought for granddaughters, I sat down and read it again. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again.

A middle-grade story, this book is one any 10 to 12-year-old girl will enjoy. In Stuck, the reader will sympathize with Jacie when her mother dies, cheer Jacie when she stands up to a bully, rejoice with her at horse camp. And perhaps the reader will see that pouting is, well, ugly, that all step-mothers aren't wicked, and that working through hardships brings happiness. And a surprise . . . .

Nope, I'm not going to spoil it for you. But if you're just about to have a fit to read it, you can buy Stuck from Cedar Creek Publishing,, and bookstores. You'll be glad you did.

Becky talking about Stuck to a group at Westlake Library.

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