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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: RED SOLSTICE by Franz Beisser

I'm not sorry I read this book. I'm sorry I finished it! It was one of those books that you don't want to finish because it is so good but you just have to keep reading until the end because, well, because it is so good.

I bought RED SOLSTICE: An MIA's Hell, Lust and Life by Franz Beisser primarily because I like Franz. He's a nice man, a friend, and I've enjoyed hearing the short pieces he's read at our Lake Writers' meetings. However, I didn't really expect his book to be exceptional. Boy, was I wrong!

Born in 1940 to German parents, Franz last saw his father, a World War II German infantry soldier, when he was four years old. Listed as missing in action, his father's body was never found; he was declared dead in 1950. Franz' mother remarried and the family moved to the US in 1955.

Franz has always wondered what happened to his dad. Did he really die? Was he injured or taken prisoner? Had he been searching for his family? RED SOLSTICE is Franz' account of what could have happened to his father. Impressed with Franz' descriptions, imagination and writing style, I was hooked after reading the first paragraph on page one. Judge for yourself after reading the italicized paragraph below.

Steel crashed against steel. I shuddered at its finality. Blindfolded and prostrate, I lay limp on the floor, beaten--inhaling the filth under my chin. I heard the trucks roar away. The pounding stopped.

If you want to read more, you may order the book by going to Franz' website at To order by e-mail, go to and say "Order Book" in the subject line. The cost is $10.00 plus $4.00 for shipping/handling. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Losing grandson Jonathan nine years ago today was something we never expected. It shouldn't have happened; he was only two years seventeen days old. But none of us, not even his doctors, knew he had come into this world with AVM (arteriovenous malformation), that the blood vessels in his brain would suddenly rupture.

Jonathan at 5 days old.

I wonder what he would be like now. He loved to hug, to snuggle, to play with his siblings, to ride in his granddad's truck and boat. I can picture him helping feed the family chickens, goats, sheep, alpacas, planting seeds in the garden, helping harvest the winter kale. And making us laugh.

 Jonathan in Granddad's truck.
 Riding in Granddad's boat.

 Big brother Jacob and Jonathan at a Celtic Festival in Sedalia.

Jonathan, Jacob and Charlie dog.

I miss him so much. But I'm so glad we had him those short two years and seventeen days. My life, and the lives of those who knew him, were enriched because of him.

Grandmother loves and misses you, Jonathan.

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