1 Year, 100 Pounds: A Report Card of Sorts
One of My Stories / March 30, 2017

Me at the Beginning: Hair washed,earrings in place and a pan-fried disaster This time, a year ago, I weighed 285. I’m not whining about this, and I’m certainly not bragging; I’m just stating a fact.  A year ago my extra weight brought my life crashing to a halt.  This seems like a good time to take stock. If you had asked me, back then, if I could lose 100 pounds in a year, I would have cried and told you “No.” It takes energy to burn extra pounds off, and I didn’t have the “oomph” to clean my house or keep up at work, much less exercise. My house and yard needed cleaning and maintenance, my in-box was 7 inches thick, and  I was in the middle of the disaster area, exhausted and overwhelmed. Get my life and my world back on track?  I wasn’t sure how to begin! That’s me on the left at 30 pounds down.I can tell even if you can’t! I couldn’t have made it through those first few months without the help of Weight Watchers.  They didn’t judge me, they taught me to consider what I ate, and they rejoiced over every ounce I dropped….

The Mystery of the Mystery Lady
I know a Good Story / March 28, 2017

Sorry if you’ve missed updates of this blog for the past week or two.  The combination of seasonal affective depression, a back injury and poison oak knocked me out for a bit.  Hope you enjoy the return! Civilization’s changed a lot in the last hundred years. (That’s an understatement, wouldn’t you say?) We’ve gone from flimsy, barely airborne planes to walking on the moon and probes exploring the solar system; wooden wall phones for the well-to-do to computer smartphones attached to practically everyone; tiny circles of close friends and family to global communities.  With all of that change, a lot of formerly private life have become increasingly public.  I’m not sure if Elizabeth MacKintosh would have liked the world today.  As a mystery writer, she was better than average, but the best enigma she ever created was her life. You say you’ve never heard of Elizabeth MacKintosh?  Tell you the truth, I hadn’t much either until I ran into J. M Henderson’s Josephine Tey: A Life.  And that is the name mystery lovers recognize.  Josephine Tey, the creator of the Alan Grant mysteries and Brat Farrar.  The lady who entertained us by breaking the rules laid out by other mystery writers. …

Murder Amongst the Scribblers
I know a Good Story / March 14, 2017

One of the things fiction readers love is something Stephen King described as “pulling aside the curtain”.  Grisham fans get a peek at the lives of lawyers because that’s the world their author had known before he picked up a pen.  Val McDermid and Patricia Cornwell delight devotees with their stories of police and forensic detection because, as former crime journalists, they knew the turf.  But it takes someone like Josephine Tey to pull aside the curtain on that most nefarious tribe – the writers – and give readers an eyeball into the world of professional scribblers.  To Love and Be Wise may be sixty-seven years old but when it comes to describing the workings of a writer’s community, this story feels like a vat of fresh, hot, gossip. The plot is simple: Leslie Searle, an American photographer, has gone missing.  Since Leslie Searle is a celebrated photographer, no one is surprised he was staying at Salcott St. Mary, an English-Village-turned-Artist-Colony, when he disappeared. What is striking is how this unassuming, interesting, attractive young man managed to upset every creative mind within its borders! It isn’t enough for Toby Tullis, that imperious and pompous playwright, that the young and attractive Mr. Searle…