Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Brave Deeds of Derring Do**

How very strange that taking a plane trip should count as an act of courage! But these are strange times. I got back on Friday from a plane trip! I considered it a brave and daring act.



I flew to DCA to visit my daughter's family. There were so many firsts on that trips. Well, the firsts since last March anyway. On the way there, I had a three hour layover in Detroit. I ate at the Longhorn Steakhouse in the airport --another feat of bravery, and something I hadn’t done since March of 2020. It was odd seeing all the bare naked unmasked faces. It felt like we were all looking around at each other. That peach tea, loaded potato soup, and chicken Caesar salad tasted a lot better that I ever thought they could.




When I got there, my daughter met me and we had a big hug. Another first-for-the-year. Then the grandkids! I hadn't seen those two grandsons in over a year. I got lots of snuggles and hugs and they fed me TONS of food. I think I gained 10 pounds. I insisted they give me hugs, and snuggled were all them. We have a couple of traditions which they had not forgotten one little bit. They crawl into bed with me in the morning and the little one chatters on and on while we huddle beneath the covers.




The other tradition is something we call Birdies. I don’t remember exactly how it started. I think I was trying to teach the older boy about birds, and what they eat. Maybe we were on the blowup bed when we had the conversation. At any rate, the “game” is that I’m the mama birdie and they are the babies. They hatch out of their eggs and I forage in the blankets for worms for them, if we’re robins. If we’re cardinals, I have to get bugs and seeds.



I flew home on Friday, having a stressful time of almost-missed flights, but I mad it. The next day Delta started filling the empty rows and middle seats that were left vacant on my flights. It'll be a while before I attempt that again, because of that. There are no requirements to be vaccinated or even test negative to fly domestically. I’m very glad I squeaked that trip in.


I feel like we’re traveling out of COVID, bit by bit!



Oh yes, I did one hour of editing on the trip one afternoon.


** late 16th century: from late Middle English dorryng do ‘daring to do’, used by Chaucer, and, in a passage by Lydgate based on Chaucer's work, misprinted in 16th-century editions as derrynge do ; this was misinterpreted by Spenser to mean ‘manhood, chivalry’, and subsequently taken up and popularized by Sir Walter Scott.




All images from

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I’m Exhausted!

 3 31 20201 


I had a new book launch on March 9th and, of course, I’m doing what I can to promote it. I never feel like I do enough, but…when I put it all together for my newsletter yesterday, I realized how much I’d done!



I won’t repeat all of that here, but I do want to give credit to two women who are going above and beyond to help authors. Tiffany, the host of Cozy Mystery Author Chat, and Leah Bailey, host of Cozy Ink podcast.


I was nervous about both of these because I haven’t done anything quite like this before. Hopeton Hay had me on his radio show live, in Texas, twice, and that was nerve-making, too. But, like both of these talented women, he set me at ease immediately.


Tiffany and I went on for a while. It was like we’d known each other for ages. I didn’t have a script, but she must have. We never ran out of things to say. I don’t know if this is as interesting to watch as it was to do, but it was so much fun! This one was video and audio, recorded and shown later, so there would be a chance to edit if we fluffed.


 My only problem was my lighting. I can NOT seem to find a place to do online stuff where something doesn’t reflect in my glasses. If you watch this and see me moving my head all the time, I’m trying to get rid of the reflection. The image I see on my screen is backwards from a mirror, so I kept getting it wrong!



The other was recorded with video, but only the sound has been broadcast. It was also pre-recorded. That makes it so much more relaxing! Leah, too, ran a great interview. It’s much shorter, but never dragged, and I think we got everything in that we wanted to.


 (If you really want a list of all my other “appearances” in March, sign up for the newsletter and I’ll shoot it out to you.


 I’ll close with saying I have such admiration for these women and am so glad they choose to spend their time doing this! I won’t be very nervous if/when I do this again.




 Stay safe. Take care of yourself and each other.

photos from


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cruising with Vicki and Handsome Today

I'm thrilled to welcome Vicki Batman to my travels today! Also thrilled to be able to take a vicarious cruise with her, since I haven't travelled for a good, long time now. The Rhine River tour has been on my wish list forever. Thanks for taking us there, Vicki!

When our boys hit teenage years, Handsome and I decided to try cruising. We fell in love. Great food, unpack once, travel to awesome places, and told us interesting things about what we were seeing.

A river cruise brochure crossing my threshold entranced me. Small ships docking in towns as we cruised the Rhine River. Gourmet meals. For a monumental anniversary, Handsome treated me.  Our pre-cruise began in Lucerne, Switzerland, three days later, we boarded our ship, and eight days later, ended in Amsterdam for a few days of post-cruise.


From the moment we arrived at our hotel on the shore of Lake Lucerne, the trip felt magical. The perfect weather. Tasting outstanding food-watermelon gazpacho, anyone? Say yes!

The people everywhere rode bicycles. Getting a hug and sharing treats with a family from India on a mountain lift. Cows standing in the river. Amazing flowers abounded, even in the sidewalk cracks.

Cookies in Strasbourg. Hiking the Black Forest and eating cake-yum. Drinking hot chocolate and sailing the castle district.

Touring the windmills. Navigating the tram system in Amsterdam. Crashing in a park. Visiting amazing art museums.

All of the fun stuff was accomplished in not quite two weeks. My heart overflowed so much. When we stood in our stateroom, waiting for our call to depart, I asked Handsome if we could go again.


What is your favorite mode of travel? Are you a cruiser?


Great job. What man? And murder. Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister, who is planning her own I dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident, the same loser who was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?


Find your print or ebook at Amazon:

Author bio: Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor and romance and will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.


Find Vicki Batman at:






Author Central:  





Wednesday, March 3, 2021

An Embarrassment of...

The phrase is, an embarrassment of riches, right? 


But this is an embarrassment of blogs! But I’m not a bit embarrassed.



Okay, pay no attention to that title. But you should look in on these places.

I have a new book coming out in mere days, about a week. So, with a little help from my friends and their blogs, I’m trying to give away copies of the new book! I’d love for some of you to enter the two contests going on. They end tonight!


The first blog is MYSTERY LOVER KITCHEN. This is where I make the recipe from my upcoming cozy mystery, INTO THE SWEET HEREAFTER, take pictures while I do, then post them, then eat what I made. I admit, I gave some of the Clark Bars to my son’s family. I thought they were terrific, and pretty easy to make. Here’s how to get there, to comment to win a copy:



PS. Even when I’m not there, you should visit this place. It’s always a lot of fun.


The second place featuring me is Kings River Life. This e-zine has published my short fiction and reviewed my long stuff. The staff there are good people and great friends. If you read to the end of this one, you’ll see me give a shout out to my writing partners in the small group we call Plothatchers. I don’t know what I’d do without them. There's a giveaway here, too!


Batman and Robin from

Last, but not least, Debra Goldstein, former judge and current mystery writer, has given me space to talk about cooking versus baking. I have a definite preference! Her Sarah Blair character does too—neither.


author picture from Debra's site


It makes me so happy to give away my e-books, that I’d like to do some here, too! Make a comment on this blog and I’ll pick someone for a book on Friday night.


Meanwhile, stay safe. Take care of yourself and each other.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Old and The New

Our government is gearing up for big changes and so are many of us. My own changes should not prove as tumultuous as the national ones, but one of them is giving me trouble, never the less!


The old, for me, is finishing up the Vintage Sweets series. The contract with the publisher, Lyrical Press, was for three books and the third is coming out in March. My writing work for this project is done, but now I need to do some promotional work to make sure the readers of the first two will notice it’s there. They came out in March and June of 2020, so it’s been a while! Just a few days ago, the cover for INTO THE SWEET HEREAFTER was finalized. I’ll share it here—and everywhere else I can think of, since the book is available for pre-order as an e-book right now. Soon, the paperback version will be listed. Then, eventually, audio.


I’ll admit I’m proud of this book. Well, I’m proud of all of them, but I stretched for this one and learned a lot about a grave problem affecting a lot of people, which I hope I can draw some attention to. No, I won’t discuss it here—until after the book is out. You have to read it to find out.


The new is also old, I guess! I put out two books in my Neanderthal murder mystery series, called the People of the Wind series, in 2013 and 2016. These books take a long time to write, as they require tons of research. I’ve had plenty of time to add a lot of research since 2016! I also have helpers who I appreciate so much. Several of my readers and friends make sure I see new articles that come out about that time period, 30,000 years ago, and about the beings and animals that lived back then. The research has been ongoing ever since 2016, even if the writing hasn’t.


You know, though, I’m finding it hard to get back into this project! You really should NOT let 5 years elapse between books in the same series! I’m finding that I have to go back and read the second book so I’ll remember what in the heck was going on with these people. I’ve started doing that and find that I love them just as much as I always did. Maybe, in a year or so, DEATH IN THE NEW LAND will join the other two books. I hope so!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Resolutions? Not this time

 I did those for 2020, and look what happened there. I’ll try to do everything differently so as not to jinx the whole world again, in case I did it last time.


I WILL make some goals, but I might (or might not) keep them private, just between me and whoever owns that voice in my head.


In the past, I did post about my exhortations to myself, and those years seemed to turn out better than this last dumpster fire. I keep a daily journal, Monday through Friday, so, okay, not exactly daily. But pretty close, right? I usually review what I got done the day before and set out what I want to accomplish that day, plus appointments and other stuff. Like, water the plants, get allergy shots—those recurring things that I lose track of if they’re not written somewhere. At the end of every day, I give myself a pep talk.


Was it Janet Evanovich who said she has a job and she works for Janet Evanovich? I think so. That’s genius and I like to tell myself I work for Kaye George. (There was that side gig for Janet Cantrell, but she didn’t keep me on after the contract was up. Oh well.) I’m an okay, so-so boss. I do prefer that my employee show up every day. That includes weekends, even though she’s not required to keep that daily journal on Saturdays and Sundays. There have been a few days this month when she didn’t show up to work and I wish there were a way to dock her pay. But I don’t pay her, so that’s out.


Anyway, in an effort

to be a good boss, I do like to encourage her. So I have her put a note of encouragement at the end of each page of the journal. This actually started years ago with the Nike slogan, JUST DO IT**. I think it morphed into YOU CAN DO IT the next year. I have yet to pick one for her for next year, but here are some of my favorites from the year and the past.







**historical footnote: I looked up when this slogan first started and found this startling article.***

***personal footnote: I read the book by his brother, SHOT IN THE HEART by Mikal Gilmore onto tape for a blind friend after it came out, in 1994 or so. If you ever want to know how to create an enraged killer, this book is practically a blueprint.

All images from





Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Covid nights and days

Covid nights and days


How are you holding up? I think I’m barely making it and I think that’s true of a lot of people. I recently complained, online, about my weird sleeping habits lately and the likelihood that they’re related to depression and anxiety. I’m thankful for all the responses, which were so encouraging and sympathetic. I now know that I’m not alone in this. (It’s good to be a complainer sometimes.) My practice, when I’m down, is to make a list of good things. So, here goes~~ 



The election


The vaccine


Two potential publications (those will turn into bad things if I get rejects, but I’m used to those)


My family (I dare anyone in the world to say they have a better one than I do)


My friends (ditto above)


My readers (I don’t even know all of them, but do hear from some of them sometimes—those are golden spots)


My present occupation/career/work, writing mysteries


My colleagues/fellow mystery writers, many of whom are friends, all of whom, as a group, are the best co-workers anyone could hope for


My health, such as it is. Good for my age, is what they say, I think. This includes my mental faculties, such as they are, too. Also good for my age.


My overall situation, being able to afford eat, drink, shelter, some presents for my kids and grands


Feel free to add to this list, or, better yet, make your own!

photo from