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.

Monday, January 13, 2014


On January 12, 2006, I took advantage of an unusually warm winter day, and armed with my camera, launched my green kayak in Smith Mountain Lake. In one of the coves I saw this red-tail hawk, snapped lots of pictures of this handsome fellow before I paddled back to the house and viewed my pictures on the computer. At his feet lay a snake, Red's dinner, which is why he hadn't flown away.

"There could never be a more perfect day!" I said aloud. I haven't repeated those words.

 Red and his dinner.

Two hours later we received the phone call no parent nor grandparent ever wants to hear. Our precious two-year-old grandson Jonathan had been taken to the emergency room, and was now being flown to Charlottesville to the UVA Medical Center. Ron and I immediately drove to Charlottesville. Jonathan went to heaven the next day--eight years ago today. The cause of death? Arterial venous malformation of the brain.

 Jonathan and Ron enjoying themselves on the dock.

We still miss his smiles, his giggles, the way his arms felt when he wrapped them around our necks. He loved his parents, his big brother and sisters, his chickens, sheep and goats, his dogs. We had him in our lives for only two years and 17 days. We miss him so much, but feel blessed to have had him in our lives.

I usually blog about Jonathan on December 27th, his birthday, but didn't do it this year. Instead, I'm celebrating his freedom from pain, and his journey into heaven eight years ago. 

Grandmother and Granddaddy still love you, Jonathan. 

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Sunday, January 05, 2014


Going through all these old books brings back so many wonderful memories of reading to my children and my grandchildren. Where is Christmas by Rosalind Welcher and Samson R. Diamond, illustrated by Rosalind Welcher, was published in 1944, and was one Mother read to me.

Copyrighted in 1964, The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary by "the Cat himself and P.D. Eastman," was a good teaching book for my children. Grandchildren have enjoyed it, too.

Solomon Shag by Daphne Hogstrom and illustrated by Rosalind Welcher was a favorite in our house. The story of a homeless dog who looked everywhere for someone to love him never failed to elicit a tear or two from me, even though Solomon finally found the perfect home. I choked up reading it to myself a few minutes ago. It was copyrighted 1965 by Western Publishing Company, Inc. This book is a keeper, one I hope to read to great-grandchildren in a few years. 

My Father Can Fix Anything by Mabel Watts, illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, copyright 1965 by Western Publishing Company, Inc., is another favorite. The story of a sweet boy who is proud of his father who fixes things for everybody (as does my talented husband), this book is also a keeper.

And then there's the delightful and fun-to-read There's a Mouse in Our House by Ethel Wynn, illustrated by Florence Sarah Winship, copyright 1966. This is "A Whitman Tiny-Tot Tale" and I bet I've read it a couple hundred times.

So which of these books will I keep? All of them except Where Is Christmas, which I think is too musty for my allergy-prone grandchildren.


Saturday, January 04, 2014


I learned to read sitting on Daddy's lap while he read Tarzan comic books to me. He'd place his finger under each word and say it aloud. Lone Ranger comics were his second favorite. I liked the horses--Silver, the Lone Ranger's white stallion, and Scout, Tonto's pinto. I would lose myself in those pictures and stories, dreamed of someday owning a horse.

Anyhow, I've loved books all my life. Books are my friends; I don't give them up easily.  If you looked under my beds (7) you'd find boxes of books. Two large bookcases in the family room are crammed with books. Bookcases flank each side of the fireplace in the great room. Two more bookcases line a hallway. Several desks in the house hold books, as do bookshelves in the office.

With the coming of the New Year, I resolved to no longer hoard all my reading materials, so today I started working on the bookshelves in the family room. I haven't gotten far because I've found treasures I don't want to give up.

This version of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses is copyrighted 1964.

This version of the same book is copyrighted 1965. Both were illustrated by Ruth Ruhman.

Hopalong Cassidy Takes Cards by Clarence E. Mulford has a copyright date of 1937, so it is older than I am! Daddy liked westerns, so I assume this was once his. I think Hopalong's horse's name was Topper, but can't be sure. I do remember that he was white, but not as pretty as Silver. Guess I need to read the book. Can I ever give up a book that was Daddy's? Hmm. I'll add it to the "To Think About" pile.

This Little Red Riding Hood, copyright 1957, was priced at 19 cents! I always liked Little Red Riding Hood, often read it to my children, probably read it to my little brother, too. On the inside cover it says "Pictures by Zillam Lesko," but there's no mention of the author. If you know the author, please let me know.  

On the inside of this 1949 Johnny Appleseed book, it says "Walt Disney's Johnny Appleseed, Illustrations by The Walt Disney Studio, Adapted by Ted Parmalee from The Walt Disney Motion Picture 'Melody Time'."

I liked Gene Autry, the original singing cowboy. His "singing cowboy/actor" career was interrupted by World War II. While he fought to protect our country, Roy Rogers took his place. Kind of sad, but I liked Roy and his horse Trigger, wife Dale and horse Butterscotch. Gene Autry became the owner of the California Angels. To learn more about him, go to

So how many books did I put in the "Give Away" pile today? Three, maybe four, but none of the above.

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