A Little Thought Off-topic…

I initially wrote this about 5 weeks ago. In light of recent developments, I felt pressed to complete and post this personal statement.

I was re-reading the title of my previous post, Never Promise What You Can’t Deliver..., within the context of current headlines and social media.  It struck me that that is where America is now. We can’t deliver on any  of the promises we have made. Not the ones our Founding Fathers made, not the ones made by our recently past presidents (even ones I was not fond of), not the ones made by our social institutions, our education system, our health care system. None of us can deliver to our children the America whose image we held up to them in the past. We’re foundering. We have promises broken and promises yet unfulfilled.  There are NO CURRENT PROMISES WE CAN TRUST that will be helpful to any of us. And although they themselves don’t realize it, they will not even be helpful to the promisers.

In light of calls to action by so many, I had to wonder, what promises am I fulfilling? What am I doing to help? Not as much as I should. And so I recommit, to take the action of putting my talents to use to make this a better country and a better world. In our fears, purposely cultivated to keep our  eyes trained on them instead of on finding solutions, we have allowed ourselves to be paralyzed. No more.

We are here (whether by accident or design) to make this a better place for all who inhabit the planet. YES. Check your prejudices – and even your religions – at the door. We Are Here to Make this a BETTER PLACE for ALL. Because if it’s not better for some, it’s not better for anyone, and we will fail. No matter who or what you believe in, even if it’s nothing. Our job is to make  this a better place.

That is the promise we need to keep.

Think about it.


REMAINDER (my newly-published novel) has as its background the firsremainderFrtcvrt year of war following the events of 9/11. It was the year when we tried to assimilate the shock, realized we were in a whole new world, and attempted to pull  together to cope, even as emotions tore at the fringes to rend us apart. It is one of the reasons, I think, that agents and publishers didn’t quite know what to do with it and so rejected it.

But I was intrigued by what we were going through, even as we went through it. We are a large family, and all the kids were in some form of school in 2001. We had a lot of holding and talking and loving and strategizing to do. At the same time, as any parent – particularly a mom – knows, despite everything, when the sun rises the next day (and it does), the laundry will need to be done, groceries will need to be bought, the car will need to be fixed, and (eventually) we will all need to go to school or to work. After all, they say a return to normalcy is the best way to get past a traumatic event. Maybe so, but there must be time for grief and adjustment, as well.

The people of Remainder have made their initial adjustments, and now they are learning that life does go on, and we must engage in it and cope with it. For people farther away from ground zero than New York or Washington, DC, the war could seem remote. Everyone had to decide for themselves how they regarded the war. Everyone had to decide how to incorporate the surreal with the real as they took up their live again apace.

REMAINDER is about what it’s like to face personal pain and local community trial while still reeling from blows dealt by a world gone mad. It’s about the path each of us finds through the mess we have to conquer in our own lives.



I started writing REMAINDER some time ago, and I left it alone for a while before the final edits. I was surprised to find I’d done a little foreshadowing of reality as I was writing. While I missed where it landed our country, I picked up on the the distrust, the suspicions, the diminishing of others in our midst. I failed to see how far it would take us. Maybe just as well, because I don’t know that I wanted to write that book. But my hope is that we will come back together to be a different, a better people. That is something the people in Remainder could show us how to do.


What’s Your Inspiration?

It’s a question writers often get, and many don’t know how to answer. Reasonably so, because sometimes we aren’t so much inspired as driven towards writing about particular subjects.

In  this case, however, my inspiration is simple. I’ve always loved the mystery genre, but it wasn’t until I discovered antique boats through my husband and his family that I knew what kind of world I wanted to place my mysteries in (at least some of them.) The boats are beautiful, with deep histories that are sometimes violent. The wood gleams to draw the eye, and they look so natural upon the water.

Book #3 in the Mackenzie Wilder/Classic Boat romantic mystery series has further inspiration in the boat owned by a friend my mother-in-law made at the Annual Antique Boat Show held at Clayton, New York  , now into its 50th-plus year itself. Walter Predmore, Jr. and his wife Aggie made friends with Nea, who was the village librarian and liked to walk the docks with her dog. That long-lived friendship resulted in our getting to know Walt and Aggie as well, and provided us with standing invitations to ride aboard their boat, the Roscommon, whenever we were in Clayton at the same time as them. Today, some 40 years or so later, Walt still owns the Roscommon. He  told me recently that last year, with its extra rain, was the first time in nearly the whole time he’s owned it that the boat didn’t make it into the water. Wooden boats need a lot of attention, and his wonderful Chris Craft cruiser refuses to permanently recover from some of the wood problems it had even when Walt bought her.

Here is the Roscommon, captured by a local paper as it sails in the boat parade as part of the Annual Antique Boat Show years ago. It’s possible to see my husband in the back of the boat (barely), as the photo was actually from a couple years before it appeared.

Boat Parade Roscommon 1991

And here is a trial image that may (or may not) be used as the cover image for the upcoming  book #3, FLYING PURPLE PEOPLE SEATER. Walt was kind enough to grant us permission to work with an old photo of the boat to create the cover.

RoscommonFramed copy

The Sonny is the boat Dorsey Wegman sets off to retrieve from Bateauville for her friend and physician, Mackenzie Wilder. But Dorsey phones Mackenzie, and soon they are involved  in trying to track down who was where when, and who might have murdered whom. Against the backdrop of the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands between Canada and upstate New York, drama both personal and historical plays out, changing the courses of many lives in the process.

I’ll post an excerpt from each of the Mackenzie Wilder books soon, including from this book, even preceding publication.

If you have an antique or vintage boat, let me know,  maybe share a photo. We’re always looking for cover possibilities, and we love any excuse to look at wooden boats.

Many thanks to Walt for the rides on the Roscommon, and for allowing us to use her as our model as well.