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 20, 2015


With a title like "Reflections," you probably think I'm blogging about the things in my life that I reflect upon, thus giving you wise advice or inspired words. Not so. This afternoon hubby and I launched our kayaks and actually got out on the lake for the first time in eons. Instantly I felt my worries and stress drain away. I relaxed, and armed with my paddle and my Canon camera, I struck out to photograph whatever came my way. Today I photographed reflections in the sky and the water.

 You'll see a splotch of red in the distance. 
 That's hubby in his kayak. 
Be sure to double-click to enlarge the pictures.

Looking up Witcher Creek and at Ron in the red kayak.

 Cedar Key on Witcher Creek. I love the reflection of the clouds in the lake.

 Another Cedar Key photo.

Contrails in the sky and the lake.
 That's our house and boathouse on left.

 On shore shooting through Winter Jasmine that my 
good friend Carol Downey gave me years ago.

 I heard a whoosh in the Winter Jasmine, and out flew 
a male cardinal. He tried to hide in a nearby tree.

I love nature: the trees, water, birds, critters. 
Here's Mr. Cardinal, who thinks I can't see him.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015


Many of you know that we've had 11 family members living with us for several months. Not because of marital problems. Not because of financial problems. "So why?" or "Are you nuts?" you might ask. The whole problem for this Christian, home-schooled family is that they developed mold and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitives) and had to move out of their home, get rid of all their furniture (including two pianos), clothes, keepsakes, books. They have bought acreage and are building a barn with an apartment. Once the barn and apartment are finished, they'll move their farm animals from their old property. They will live with us until then. If the barn apartment works okay for them, then they'll build a house from the same materials.

Did "doing without" put a damper on their Christmas or ours? Nope. They bought white felt and made simple stockings which were then filled with gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and preservative-free treats such as apples, chocolate bars, potato chips, etc., and small, non-food items.

Did they miss the creche I put up every year, which was stored in the attic and not safe to use? Nope.By knitting, tying and squiggling yarn and using an occasional wire twister, they made Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a shepherd girl and a lamb. The larger figures took seven to eight hours each to create.

Did they miss the large, artificial Christmas tree and all its shiny ornaments that we keep stored in the attic? Nope. We set our 32-year-old Schefflera in the spot usually occupied by the tree, strung mini-lights on it, and decorated it with little silver bells tied on with red yarn.

The custom for their family of eleven is to each draw a name of a family member instead of buying something for everyone. They bought a large roll of brown paper, and each person decorated their gift package. 

This gift was decorated by Jacob, a music major. 

Rebecca wrapped this gift for her mother.

 Sarah dug up a scrub cedar to put on the deck. We'll 
keep it watered and plant it when the time is right.

As in past Christmases, Ron adorned the front porch steps with strings of lights, and placed LED candles in the windows. The customary wreath hung on the front door.

At 4:05 on Christmas, Rebecca, Micah, Jacob and Sarah hurried to the dock for a quick and frigid Christmas swim. The air temperature was 51 degrees.

So did we suffer by not celebrating Christmas as usual? Nope. Even though it was a different Christmas, it was a wonderful and special and creative Christmas. And the cleanup was really easy! 

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