Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks 

peggyI guess you could say that November is the perfect time to give thanks. And we should. But will it be a blanket thanks that covers just about everything you’re grateful for? Do you really mean it? Or are you actually going to sit back and really think about exactly what you should be grateful for? I do, all the time.

I am so very grateful to have been blessed with a mother and father who taught me respect for others, even those we disagree with. They are no longer here, but their love, which was a constant, still surrounds me everyday. I know it goes without saying that I love the rest of my family to death, even the ones who annoy me and drive me crazy. Of course, my friends are also included in that. But what I’m really talking about, are the things that occur when you are too busy to think about at the time, but are still extremely grateful for, nevertheless.

I am grateful to my husband for rubbing my aching back when I was hustling to get an approved and final edit of one of my books out. But in the sheer ecstasy of the massage, I pressed the wrong key and didn’t discover that zzzzzzzzzz blunder until just before my book was to go to print. I made a panic-stricken call to my publisher, who I am also grateful for, who caught it and corrected it in time.

I’m even grateful to my critics who point out my faults and shortcomings…chuckle.

And here I thought that was strictly my husband’s territory.

John Locke said it perfectly when referring to one of his novels. “…Who’s gonna get hurt if you brake a flippin’ rule once in awhile? I get a lot of criticism from purists for my writing, but I can live with it, because English teachers aren’t my target audience. Not all English teachers. Just the cool ones…”

I’m grateful for several authors whose friendship and sage advice over the years has meant so much to me. More than they will ever know. Thank you!

I am so very thankful to all my followers, many friends, and all the other wonderful multi-talented authors I have met on Twitter. You know who you are.

I am also appreciative for all those wonderful people who left such heartfelt comments on my website to my posts, and the many thousands of readers out there who really do enjoy my books and give me great feedback and constructive advice. You are valued!

But most of all, I am grateful for every day that I am lucky enough to wake up and write knowing so many wonderful people who are a part of my life. And as long as my fictional characters, I’m not mentioning any particular names, they know who they are, restrain themselves and stop telling me their dialogue is better than mine, I am good to go.

Be grateful. Life is too short. Give thanks.

Chase your dreams, not someone else’s.

Remember, every day is a blessing. Don’t take them for granted.

 

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Sleuth Samantha Jamison is Interviewed by another mystery Sleuth protagonist

peggySamantha, you’re an author who gets caught up in real-life mysteries that you then turn into books. Love that idea. Think we could ditch your real author, Peggy, and my author and keep all the royalties for ourselves?

“Great minds think alike! I knew there was some kind of karma thing going on between us the minute I sat down. What a novel, forgive the pun, idea! We deserve some payoff, don’t you think? We’re the ones taking all the risks out there. The way I look at it, it’s a win-win situation that tips in my favor. Peggy may get all the glory, but I get to have all that fun. Who do you think is the one whispering all those crazy scenarios in her ear, especially after she’s had a glass of wine? Trust me, she’s not so uptight then.”

In your books, you’ve dealt with ice storms, bikers, a mysterious cat lady, antique enthusiasts, drug dealers and, of course, murderers. Who knew writing and sleuthing came with so many occupational hazards?

“Hey, even Peggy surprised me with some of those unusual mysteries. She’s running me ragged, even dragging me over to her old house in France on the Riviera. I believe that was Book 3, 86 Avenue du Goulet (Sam pauses and smiles) …Okay, I must admit that wasn’t so terrible. I mean some of those French guys were really hot! And she did eventually invite my girlfriends, and then Clay over, who also happens to be very hot.”

In Book 1, The Puzzle, you initially began solving mysteries when the details of your husband’s death didn’t add up. What’s kept you sleuthing since then?

“I guess my life and my crazy friends have not exactly been what you call normal. But I kind of liked that. It made everything so unpredictable. They kept dragging me into capers that I found I was good at solving. Now my author, Peggy? I could bend your ear with a few of her escapades over the years, but since I don’t wish to end up like some of her antagonists in the series, my lips are sealed.”

Were you surprised to learn you were good at cracking tough cases?

“Yeah, I was. It was empowering, taking charge and shaking things up. It became addicting, figuring out all those angles and details, and then watching them fall into place, sometimes neatly, and at other times, sort of on the messy side. Between Peggy and I, we always managed to come up with a great whodunnit ending!” (Sam looks both ways, whispering,) “Those endings are mine, but I let Peggy take all the credit.”

You solve your mysteries with the help (and sometimes hindrance) of some wonderful friends. They don’t mind the dangerous situations you sometimes get into?

“I hate to spread rumors, but I think if I left them to their own resources, they would be worse than I am. But maybe that’s why we bond so well, accepting each other’s idiosyncrasies and are willing to overlook our imperfections, although, sometimes we can’t help pointing them out. The way I look at it, age has nothing to do with how well we get along. In my books, if we’re all crazy-minded to begin with, accept each other for who we are, and look out for each other, then that’s the glue that binds us. Oh, they complain, including me, but I think they love it just as much as I do.”

One of your ‘senior consultants,’ Martha, is rowdy and fashion challenged to say the least. If you could give her a makeover, what would she look like?

“I wouldn’t. I figure Peggy’s made her an older, pushier version of me, but with short, spiky white hair for contrast. Otherwise dialogue and storylines would be so boring. Where would the clash be? The arguments? I just love it when street-wise Martha gets right up in my face and goes at it. It keeps me on my toes. Besides, I like being shocked and blinded by all that color, flair, and exuberance of hers. I must say sunglasses do help.”

Mona’s reappearance in your life in Book 2, Without Any Warning caused all kinds of chaos. So when you got her cryptic message in Book 5, The Mouth of the Rat, were you tempted to just hit delete?

“Tell me about it. She was the last person I expected to hear from. But that dead part of her message said, gotcha and I was hooked. And as usual, she was trouble from the get go, lying, sneaking around, deflecting and bending the truth. It just about drove me crazy until I realized I loved every minute of it. I just had to outwit her so I could stay on top of things. You know, I still have that raincoat and hat I wore for my surveillance of her in Without Any Warning. I do have a sentimental side.”

Your adventures mean a lot of packing and unpacking. What are some items that you never leave home without?

“My Spanx. For you guys that are reading this, it’s kind of like a body shaper. They make them for men too. It holds in all that uneven stuff we ladies prefer not showing off (like bulges where they shouldn’t be) I buy it one size too small, hence my size 2/4. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to breath, but I time myself for the evening, you know, it’s like how long I can wear certain shoes, 1, 2, 3 hours or, if I’m lucky, the whole evening. Oh, I mustn’t forget my iPhone for Facebook, Twitter, email, texting my girl friends…”

Your author, Peggy A. Edelheit, has, in addition to three sons and a husband, a Miniature Schnauzer. My author grew up with Miniature Schnauzers. Think that makes them kindred spirits?

“Isn’t that the oddest thing? Maybe we are! I do have to admit I’m still rankled about one thing. Peggy’s dog’s name is Samantha, Sam for short. Can you believe it? I mean, come on! She gave me her dog’s name? (Samantha pauses, leaning back) …Well, I do have to concede one point in Peggy’s favor. She did buy the dog before I came along. But I’m still touchy and feel kind of foolish when she calls her dog and I come running.” (Sam winks at me) “Trust me, one day I will get even….”

Peggy’s life as a novelist seems to mirror your own in a lot of ways. How are you alike and how are you different?

“Oh my! Come to think of it we are very similar in that we think out of the box and see humor where other’s might not. That spills onto the pages a lot, especially when we are both trying to be serious, but hey, you can’t take everything seriously, right? (Samantha looks both ways, once more) To tell you the truth, I think I am Peggy’s alter ego. That sure would explain a lot, don’t you think? It’s spooky sometimes.”

What does Peggy have planned for you next? Or should I say, what do you have planned for you next? Or what does Peggy have planned for you to have planned for you next? My head’s spinning a little.

The Riviera Is Burning was a pause for Peggy for a quickie. And no, it’s not what your thinking. I meant a brief personal memoir from France. In Book 6, Death Knell In The Alps, (Sam sighs loudly and rolls her eyes) once again, involved a plane plus skis. Then in the subsequent books in the series they included some of the, and I use this term lightly, girls. So, what Peggy has planned for us, I can never predict ahead of time, but we always have a meeting of the minds to discuss the plots over a glass of wine. Who knows what’ll happen after the second glass? I know one thing. They always have surprise endings. That’s guaranteed!”

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. And remember, everyday is a blessing. Never take any of them for granted.

Happy reading, Peggy.

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The Woman At The Window

Each night the woman sat at her second floor bedroom window. She loved staring out into the darkness. She always did this before going to bed. After a long day she would gaze down at the street, stars, everywhere, because the night was different. During the day things were hectic and noisy. Nights were peaceful and serene. Her husband never chided his hard working and loving wife: whatever made her happy. If sitting at the window at night brought her comfort that was fine with him.

One night as she scanned her and the neighbor’s front yard including the evergreen bushes that divided their two properties, an oddly shaped shadow caught her attention. Something wasn’t right. The end bush, which lay in shadow from the streetlight across the street, appeared altered from the night before. It was larger.

She leaned in, straining her eyes. Was something there? Was she imagining things? Should she wake and tell her husband? She sat very still in her darkened room and waited. It felt like forever, but was merely minutes. Could the larger shadowy shape be a crouching figure hiding there? Instinct kicked in. Better to be safe than sorry.

She woke up her husband. Slowly and still groggy from sleep, he finally came over and took a look. But there was nothing there but shadows. She relayed what she had seen. Her husband had never seen his wife so upset. She was convinced someone had been there and was concerned for the safety of their neighbor, who often came home very late with cash receipts from his store. Trusting his wife’s instincts her husband promised to go to the neighbor’s house and repeat his wife’s story to at least warn their neighbor to be on the lookout just in case.

Another hectic day passed and the woman sat at her window in the dark staring out once again. She sat in relative silence feeling better about warning their neighbor. Had she just imagined that moving shadow? This was such a safe, peaceful, and quiet neighborhood. But then her breath caught. There it was again: that moving shadow behind that same bush. Something was definitely there. Before she could react, a familiar car drove up the street and turned into the driveway next door. Her neighbor. Her eyes darted back to that bush. The shadow moved. Her eyes shot back to her neighbor’s car, as a police car pulled up and a scuffle ensued.

The next day her neighbor couldn’t thank her enough for warning him to be on the lookout. Her instincts were right. That moving shadow she’d seen behind the bush wasn’t the wind ruffling the branches, but an armed man waiting to rob him.

That woman, my mother, always loved sitting at her window staring out at night…

With Sam, the female sleuth in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series, I continually stress, trust your instincts. Let them guide you. You know yourself better than anyone else. When something doesn’t feel right, don’t be complacent. Do something. Pay attention to your inner voice. Let that guide you. I did in my memoir, The Rivera Is Burning.

Remember, everyday is a blessing. Don’t take any of them for granted.

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Life lessons: Have a plan, a 2nd plan, a 3rd plan, and most of all, have patience.

Out of my three boys, I guess I expected my third son to have the no problems adjusting to nursery school. But then children are unpredictable, aren’t they? He was the house tuffy, independent, refused to cry, and would take on anyone any size. He was a joker and loved to put you on. I guess that’s because he always had to fight for whatever he wanted because he was the youngest of my three boys.

So it was a shocker when we went to his first day of preschool, he suddenly decided he wasn’t getting out of the car.

This couldn’t be my independent youngest saying this!

After some convincing, I finally coaxed him to the classroom door. He hesitated in front of it, but as other parents brought their children inside, somehow we were maneuvered into the classroom in the shuffle. You’d think it was a snake pit from the look on his face. I knew I was in for trouble when I felt him grip my leg. That gesture set off alarm bells. I glanced around. Some children were clinging to their mothers, but I could feel mine digging gouges into my leg.

We placed his lunch in a cubby. Then I quickly walked around with him showing him all the nifty things there were in the classroom and how fun it was all going to be.

Then the teacher announced, “Well, it’s time for the parents to go now.”

He glanced up at me then calmly walked over to his cubby, pick up his lunchbox, came back to me, and nonchalantly announced without stopping, “I think I’m going home now,” and headed for the door. I made a mad dash and blocked him. All of a sudden it wasn’t a three year old I was dealing with, it was a football linebacker as he tried to make a break for it.

All I heard was a firm, “I’m. Not. Staying.” Then tears began trailing down his cheeks. He gripped my leg again when the teacher approached, saying things would settle down and maybe I should go. She gently pried his fingers from me and firmly, but lovingly, escorted him away. My last glance back I caught him aim a kick at her shin, but she expertly dodged it and patiently smiled down at him, talking a blue streak.

I was on pins and needles eyeing my phone all day, but no 911 call came.

When I arrived for pickup later that day, the teacher explained what bewildered everyone was that after he cried for thirty minutes he was an excellent student in every possible way. Maybe we should try another approach the next morning to make separation from me less traumatic. She suggested I stay longer until he became acclimated to his new environment.

Well, after delaying my exit the next day, every time I rose, so did he. Every time I started to walk slowly to the door, so did he. Final result? A teary encounter.

The subsequent morning as I eyed the exit, the teacher said to my son and another child, “I need help carrying some lunch boxes to the kitchen today. Please help.”

So my son picked up two boxes, turned to me and said, “Aren’t you coming?”

I told him, “No, parents have to wait out here.”

He turned every three or four steps to see if I was still there all the way back to the kitchen. Then when they were out of sight, another teacher waved me out. I raced to my car and drove out: guilt trailing all the way, realizing I couldn’t stay there all day.

Later on, the teacher informed me that when they came out from the kitchen, he registered shock and made a run for the parking lot to look for my car. She almost had a heart attack, but finally caught up to him just before the main door.

Week one: every possible tactic was tried on both sides.

Originality award: He unraveled all the toilet paper in the bathroom in protest.

It was gridlock as to who would win the nursery school separation battle of wills.

On the first day of week two as we drove to school, I contemplated forgetting the whole idea of nursery school. It wasn’t worth it. But then out of the clear blue sky, my youngest announced, “I think I’m not going to cry today.”

Be still my heart.

He walked into the class holding my hand, asked me to stay for a few minutes, which I did, and then he sat down at his table. I leaned down, gave him a kiss, whispered goodbye, and headed for the door. But then I felt a little tug on my clothes. I turned and held my breath. He stared up at me. My heart sank, as his eyes turned a little teary. But then he reached up and gave me another kiss and hug then walked back to his seat. Now I was teary-eyed as the teacher winked and closed the door between us. I waved through the glass panel of the door, so proud of my youngest.

I walked to my car beaming with relief. This battle was over. I had at least two years to prepare him for riding on a school bus. I stopped dead in my tracks.

He’d be two years older, stronger and faster, wouldn’t he?

 

P.S. Life lessons: Have a plan, a 2nd plan, a 3rd plan, and most of all, have patience.

 

As an author I try and plan for every scenario, twist, and stumbling block when weaving my mysteries. I have a basic goal in mind and don’t give up. I keep trying different scenarios until it works out. Of course that’s easier said than done on some days. My mantra to my protagonist, Sam, the female sleuth of my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series: Expect the unexpected. And even though the two of us constantly fight over dialogue, we manage to reach détente by the end of the book.

My delete tab warning works like a charm every time…

 

Remember, everyday is a blessing. Don’t take any of them for granted.

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Inspiration from my repertoire of visuals, scenes and dialogue

The Spiderman Party

 Okay, so we thought, since our son (first born of three sons) was crazy for Spiderman, it would be a natural to have that as the theme for his 4th birthday. So we set about buying and ordering the invitations, napkins, paper plates, you name it, everything had to have the Spiderman theme: including the gift prizes. We even found a woman who made specialty cakes in her home and she agreed to make a spectacular Spiderman cake.

Trust me. Besides that cake, there was red and blue everywhere: even the balloons.

Then we hired someone to come to our house to give pony rides to the twenty children at the party. We also bought our son a cowboy hat to wear as the first rider on the brown and white pony. (I have no idea how this related to Spiderman, but as parents of their first child, it sure seemed like a good idea to save our sanity rather than having all those 4 yr. olds running around going crazy for something to do.)

Games were played, while goodies were consumed from the picnic table in our backyard. The pony rides were out front on our street. We took pictures and presents were opened: one of which was a large figure of Spiderman from us. Spiderman and the pony were a hit. Our son thought his birthday was perfect and couldn’t get much better.

Ah, but as parents we knew better…

As a final surprise for our son, my husband snuck up and decorated his room. He draped webbing everywhere, even up in the corners and by the window with another smaller Spiderman caught up in it. When everyone had gone home, we brought our son upstairs for his “final birthday surprise.”

Well, our son was speechless as he stood at his bedroom door: his mouth hanging open. His eyes darted around nervously. His father then explained in an excited voice, “Wow! Spiderman must have visited your room for your birthday!”

Our son, eyeing all that webbing, froze to the spot, freaked out, started crying, and refused to enter his bedroom.

I knew that look…

No way, no how, was he moving one inch into his room to sleep or otherwise.

“The real Spiderman might come back while I’m sleeping!” he shrieked.

Note to parents: When planning a surprise, try to think through the eyes of your child before telling them that a superhero with superpowers visited their private domain.

I think our son would have tolerated that pony sleeping there a whole lot better.

Note to writers: Draw from past visuals of scenes and dialogue to inspire drama too.

…I remember the time we were tramping through the train station in Brussels on our way to Switzerland to ski. It was called Brussels Nord (also known as Gare du Nord or Noordstation). My 5 yr. old (middle one of three boys) was pulling small luggage on wheels and carrying his grandfather’s expensive camera around his neck. About every few seconds or so, I would turn around to count heads. Three boys and my husband and me. I had turned just before approaching the platform and our 5 yr. old had vanished! I had just done my count! We did find him in seconds, but you get the idea of what was about to take place, right? The frantic yelling (by me) the pandemonium. Imagine the visuals from a panic-stricken mother.

When telling a story I try to incorporate as much visuals and dialogue as I can so the reader can just picture it themselves. A writer should always remember: don’t tell the reader, show them, a rule I try to follow when writing my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series and when I wrote my personal memoir of fleeing from our home on the French Riviera during some devastating fires that swept through one summer, told from my point of view only.

Remember, everyday is a blessing! Treasure them.

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THE RIVIERA IS BURNING – MY MEMOIR

The setting for my 3rd mystery: 86 Avenue du Goulet
TOP 500 REVIEWER: “She makes the reader see it, hear it, smell it, & FEEL it.”
“Truth more terrifying than fiction!”
“Thrillingly reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier” 
“Fear along with a burning sense of place was riveting.”
https://www.amazon.com/Riviera-Burning-Memoir…/…/ref=sr_1_1… …

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NEW! #11 DIAMONDS ARE NOT A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

Click image to purchase at Amazon

Who says, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend?’ Don’t believe all those clichés you hear.  If you want a friend, get a dog! Trust me, they are more reliable. Want another piece of advice? Trust, but verify! In this one, nothing is as it seems, as I end up in a double-blind conspiracy, resulting in a gem of a mystery!

CLICK ON COVER TO READ CHAPTER ONE!


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86 Avenue du Goulet

My friend in France said odd things are going on next door. Soon it’s misdirection, hostility, buried secrets, a gardener, a cat lady & house of red light. How do I solve it when I barely speak French? With humor of course! REVIEWERS: “Loved it!” “original style” “protagonist turns around and talks to the reader” “Great read!”
“You come away feeling like you know the people in her books personally.” “This 3rd novel by Peggy is like the first 2, hard to put down!” “I have read everyone of her books and love them all.” “The villain’s identity was a well-kept secret until the end.”
“The third Samantha Jamison Mystery is a fast-moving, unpredictable, totally enjoyable novel.”
“Never saw the end coming! I can’t wait for the next adventure!”
“I love the chaos of getting a result. the Mix of “detectives” is a riot.”
“It’s a somewhat funny romantic mystery. A combination I love!”

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Marcia Carrington Interviews Author Peggy A. Edelheit

peggyAuthor Peggy A. Edelheit is interviewed by Marcia Carrington in a new post on Marcia’s website.

As Marcia says “I have the great pleasure of welcoming Peggy Edelheit, author of the Samantha Jamison mystery series, and non-fiction memoir THE RIVIERA IS BURNING, to Marcia’s Book Talk.”

Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: All of my mysteries have some true life experiences weaved throughout them. I’m not admitting to which experiences or how many of them are…chuckle. I leave that to the imagination/enjoyment of the reader deciphering those mysteries….

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Uvi Poznansky Interviews Author Peggy A. Edelheit

peggyAuthor Peggy A. Edelheit is interviewed by Uvi Poznansky in a new post on her website.

How much truth comes into play when writing your continuing mystery series?

Samantha made her debut as my protagonist in Book 1, The Puzzle, which takes place in Highlands, North Carolina. As a widow, Samantha Jamison, an author, revisits her husband’s past to solve the mystery surrounding his questionable death. The reader is shown how Samantha grows and changes both as a woman and author. By the end of the book, as a novelist, Sam decides she enjoys, and is good at, solving unusual mysteries.

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