Category Archives: General

Descriptions & Grammatical Errors

Descriptions & Grammatical Errors – Excerpt from The Lush Life #8

lush-life Definition of an anomaly: Something that deviates from what is considered normal or expected, an inconsistency. That pretty much summed up my relationship with Clay, which wasn’t exactly what you’d call normal. We stayed in the same place with irregularity. Our whole relationship was a definite-maybe.

Clay and I go way back to when I was chasing down leads to find out why my husband, Stephen, had died under suspicious circumstances. Little did I know at that time when I first met Clay, he was not only a quaint bookshop owner, but also a very sly PI: a private investigator.

With and without Clay’s help, I solved that mystery. Of course, we both had commitment issues. So we eventually worked through my lack of trust in his slick segues in what was really going on back when we first met by managing some great undercover moments since then.

I’d say my relationships with my crew are ones for the books: my books. Each time we all get together to solve a another mystery, it ends up in my next novel. My agent usually fields my sometimes outrageous stall tactics, while my editor thinks up red side-margin, spot-on comments that are not only helpful, but give me a chuckle or two, while she critiques the believability of my mysteries and sentence structure. I love her to death, but…

Hey, we’re talking fiction, right? I always counter, many people and characters speak grammatically incorrect.

* * * * *

Take note of the following:

“This was the most unkindest cut of all.”

(Marc Anthony – Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Double superlative)

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

(An intro to each episode of Star Trek: split infinitive)

“You ain’t heard nothing yet, folks.”

(Al Jolson – Movie: The Jazz Singer: Double negative.)

P.S. Thank you, James Harbeck for those fine examples.

(I could go on and on.)

Hopefully, you understand the essence of my point.

(Adverbs first, tend to show the speaker’s attitude)


Hope you enjoyed this short excerpt from The Lush Life #8 Mystery

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Questions I’m frequently asked on being an Author.

Questions I’m frequently asked on being an Author. 
What is your specific genre?
Peggy: I write a mystery series. My protagonist is Samantha Jamison, an author, who solves mysteries with her crew.
Although I did write a French Memoir called The Riviera Is Burning. It is a true story about me and my family fleeing fire from our home in France. It is told in the first person. So you only see it playing out from my point of view. It was a frightening experience I wanted to share with my readers. Trust me, what we experience stays with us and affects how react and think in the future, which is a premise I base my 10th mystery on.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
 Peggy: Don’t let it stop you! Try to write everyday, even when the words are not flowing. That to me is important. Keep things moving along, no matter what. I just keep plugging away. I don’t set hours or have a rigid schedule other than writing each day. Of course I may delete a lot of it, but feel it’s important not to give up. I will consider anything, even swapping dialogue to do a change up for an unexpected twist, providing the chemistry works. Many times it does!
What’s the best thing about being an Author?
Peggy: I get to start each book with a blank slate, making something out of nothing by writing whatever flows from my fingertips. I thoroughly enjoy my characters constantly vying for my attention, telling me what they should say and do. They have become so familiar to me, their like family. Several times I’ve had to yell, “Stop! I can’t write fast enough to get what you are all saying.” Sometimes it gets ugly and we have disagreements. That’s when I have put my foot down. After all, I’m the author, right?
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Peggy: Make a commitment. Become very familiar with the genre you’re interested in. Read and learn from the styles of other authors, but most importantly, create your own style. Make your own footprint. Have confidence and don’t ever stop believing in yourself. Surround yourself with things that motivate you to write. Your writing space is (your) space no matter how big or small.  Network with other authors of all genres. There is a wonderful community of talented people out there that you can learn from. They can give you valuable advice and guide you in the writing process. Read some of their blogs. Learn from their mistakes and advice. Only you can make it happen. Once you’ve made that plunge and are ready to publish, get a good EDITOR! I cannot stress that enough. A good Editor will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!
What inspires you?
Peggy: Many times what happens to me in real life experiences or places that I’ve been to, inspire me to write a particular mystery. Each of my mysteries takes place in locales that I am extremely familiar with, which keeps the details and storyline accurate and true. I just throw in my crew and let them have fun with it, even at the expense of Samantha, my protagonist, who is constantly riding that learning curve of life.
Where did you get the idea for your 9th mystery in your series, Too Close For Comfort?
Peggy: After researching my last mystery, #8, The Lush Life, I fell down a set of 150 year old Victorian steps, breaking and fracturing my right leg, which led to a wheelchair, crutches and physical therapy. Well, it was while I was in my second round of therapy for back damage from being in a wheelchair for so long, that I got to thinking. What if someone were to approach me while I was in therapy, dragging me into an unexpected mystery from my past? Thus, Too Close For Comfort #9 was born. That Vertigo attack in that one actually happened to me, including my ER visit. I just wasn’t poisoned by a cookie, and as they say, the (rest) was history. (Forgive that pun)
Your series is always evolving. What are you currently working on?
Peggy: Starting with The Puzzle, which is the first in my series, I explain how Samantha starts solving mysteries by trying to find out who killed her husband and how she meets her sleuthing crew. With each mystery, you follow their escapades and sleuthing capabilities, or in Sam’s case some humbling blunders along the way.
I am currently working on my 10th mystery in my series, Saving Sindia, a striking departure for Sam. I am in the homestretch. This time Samantha takes a timeout for some self-perspective and the reader learns more about her on a more personal level. She solves this mystery while recalling some of her past and discovers we are who we are for specific reasons. It shapes how we think and react. 
Any last words of advice?
Don’t take your  life for granted. Make the most of it!
Life is one big mystery. I’m still trying to solve it…chuckle
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Mother, A Portrait

peggyI couldn’t have expressed this homage to my mother and to all the mothers out there better.

Mother. A word so easily taken for granted because mothers are always there to support, comfort and encourage. In a mother’s eyes, nothing is insurmountable. I now brush what I’ve seen, felt and experienced, framing it in love, compassion and faith, while others will fill their own with other shades and hues. Continue reading

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A Peek at Too Close For Comfort

Chapter 1

Too Close For Comfort

too-close“Ouch!” he protested, flinching in discomfort.

“That was a warning,” I said. “Touch me again and…”

“It’s this cold cement floor we’re sitting on,” he griped.

I was furious. My red silk dress was probably ruined.

“Man up,” I said. “Have you heard me complaining?”

“Being such a hot broad, how would you understand?”

“Keep your compliments and hands to yourself,” I said.

He sighed. “I was just trying to shift my position.”

“Uh, huh. Right. Like I really believe that.”

“Can’t blame me for trying to keep my hands warm.”

“They were traveling where they shouldn’t. Watch it.”

“Now is not the time for you to be so touchy,” he said.

“Or you, feely,” I countered, losing my patience.

“Any guess on the time?” he asked. “Feels like hours.”

“With it being pitch black here and no windows? No!”

“My throat is getting scratchy too,” he grumbled.

“After all your hollering and yelling, I’m not surprised.”

He exhaled loudly. “I need a good stiff drink.”

“You aren’t going to start that again, are you?”

“Hey, you did your fair share of hollering too.”

I frowned. “Yeah, and no one heard either one of us.”

“Wherever we are, it must be somewhere remote.”

“Pray tell. Why do you think that, oh wise one?”

He chuckled. “Your screams could’ve roused the dead.”

“Look who’s talking?” I shot back, elbowing him hard.

“Hey! What’s with you? That hurt!”

“Wandering hands again,” I hissed. “I warned you.”

“Are you always this moody or is it a moon phase?”

“You are so lucky my hormones aren’t in play.”

“None of this is my fault,” he stated emphatically.

Our bodies were tied back to back, ankles taped in front, wrists taped behind us, and we were anchored to the floor.

I was fuming. “I was perfectly positioned, but then you go and sneak right up behind me, yell my name, and draw attention to me. Amateurish at best. This is all your fault!”

“What about the guy behind you?” he asked. “I guess I was supposed to ignore he was about to chloroform you?”

“There was someone behind me?” I asked, surprised.

“One about to pounce, cloth in hand, I might add. What I didn’t expect was someone right behind me. That ether-like sweet odor…everything went black, then I’m here.”

“Oh,” I said, digesting this latest news. “I didn’t know.”

“Do I detect an apology somewhere in that sentence?”

I blew strands of hair off my face. “Ha! You wish.”

“There’s a lot of things a fella can wish for, such as…”

I cut Tony off. “Don’t hold your breath, buddy.”

He laughed. “That’s what I love about you, Samantha.”

“And what’s that?” I asked, expecting more acerbic wit.

“We have this love/hate thing going on between us.”

I laughed at his compliment/jab. “In your dreams.”

He laughed too. “Kind of a ‘fatal attraction’ thing.”

Thirtyish, tall, dark, handsome, and over six-foot Tony was similar to my very personal undercover PI: private investigator, Clay, but in Tony’s case, in a dangerous way. Tony was dressed ‘to the nines,’ as Martha, another of our sleuthing cohorts says, always wearing his signature, flashy Hugo Boss suits, Ferragamo shoes, and Louis Vuitton ties.

I yelled, “Hey! I swear, if you touch me again…”

He snickered. “Just checking if you’re still there.”

I lapsed into silence, thinking.

…Maybe I should just kill him off in my next book.

Then I heard loud sniffing.

What was he up to now?

“I think my cologne is wearing off,” he grumbled.

I sighed. “What is it called, ‘Eau de Drive Her Crazy’?”

He laughed again. “Admit it. It does, doesn’t it?”

I pinched him hard.

“Ouch! Not only am I cold, but I’m being abused too!”

“I warned you…”

Then he moaned loudly.

I blew out a breath. Here…we…go…again.

“Now what?” I asked, sighing once more.

“I’m getting a headache,” he complained testily.

I shut my eyes, speaking low. “If I only had a gun…”

“I need aspirin and a stiff drink to chase it down.”

My nerves were already frayed and my temper was now running short. I was about to blow big time.

“Don’t start, Tony, or I swear, I’ll…”

He cut me right off midsentence. “Man, you are wound up tighter than a…”

“Always with the last word. Be quiet!” I said testily.

…Ah, silence.

…A damn chuckle.


“I just love feisty women. Why, I remember…”

Being a connected, armed and dangerous kind of guy, putting Tony on our payroll was supposed to be a semi-trial run after he helped us out with my last mystery, The Lush Life. Now, he was proving to be quite a handful. Literally.

So I’m asking myself, what in hell was I thinking?

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The Bat

peggyThis family story took place at our house during the holidays. As usual, the whole family showed up Christmas Eve for food and fun. It was a wonderful time with pictures taken, family stories retold of family pranks from years past. And before we knew it the hour was late. Little ones needed to go to bed, older ones were exhausted, so we all decided to call it a night. Continue reading

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An excerpt from #8, The Lush Life

An interview with Samantha

Looking Back At Vol.1 The Puzzle

An excerpt from the The Lush Life


the puzzle

First thing I noticed: my interviewer appeared nervous. Her foot was tapping a mile a minute on the floor, as she glanced down to reread from her notepad resting on her lap. Why the unease? I was the one being scrutinized here. Or did she think she was? Was she worried I was analyzing her? After several mysteries under my belt, I noticed I have that effect on people. She did admit it was her first interview with an author of my stature.

My stature? I had to laugh at that. No pretense here.  

I did just fine as an author. I had a great agent, terrific editor and a reliable publisher. I kept writing for my enjoyment and my fans. They loved my mysteries and blog/posts, leaving enthusiastic comments on my website:

With that in mind, I said, “I’m ready when you are.”

She gave me an eager smile. “Why mysteries?”

So I explained about my husband, Stephen’s suspicious death, unanswered questions, doing my own investigation, how I couldn’t move on until I knew the why of it all…

“Was there any apprehension or reluctance about taking on that task by yourself and what you might uncover?”

“At first, yes, but then the more I dug into his past, the more I learned about myself, as well and our relationship. It was a learning curve I never would have experienced if I didn’t take a leap of faith about my own ability in solving it. I always took a backseat to my husband. With him gone I had no choice. It was enlightening to say the least.”

“What did you gain and come away with from that?”

“Self-respect and self-confidence.”

“Were you ever plagued with self-doubt at any time?”

I laughed. “Just about every time I bungled an interview or blew an opportunity when it fell in my lap.”

“What did you lose from that experience?”

I smiled. “I lost my helpless attitude.”

“What did you gain from that experience?”

I didn’t hesitate. “Insane and crazy friends I cherish.”

“I noticed you sit back, listen and watch people.”

“I’m always looking for dialogue, deceit and evasion.”

“So when you’re solving a mystery, that helps?”

“Absolutely. You’d be surprised how people trip up.”

“In what way?”

“Can’t keep their lies straight, get overconfident…”

“Like you repeat in your Samantha Jamison mystery series.”

“Exactly. I’m always watching how people react.”

“To what?”

“When I push the parameters of their safety zone.”

She laughed. “And do you have one of your own?”

“I have a line in the sand that gets redrawn daily.”

“Who’s shocked most at the end? You? Your suspect?”

This time I laughed. “My readers!”

Okay, so I lied. Even I’m shocked sometimes…

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Gaining Perspective

peggyAccording to the dictionary, perspective is the ability to perceive things in their actual comparative importance. And by looking at the past, you are thus able to gain perspective on the present. But what is the point of gaining an accurate point of view if you don’t have the ability to see it for what it is? If you get lost in the details, you then lose the sense of the larger whole. You are ignoring the obvious. You miss the key point. You have tunnel vision. Continue reading

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The Diary

peggy I remember getting my first diary. It was one with a lock and key. This was an event. But what would I write? It didn’t come with a set of instructions. There had to be some magical secret because my sister treated hers like gold. She was an older sister: older enough in years for me to be constantly in her hair. But I was desperate to start writing and had to know that secret. I had no choice but to start spying. Continue reading

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Father, A Portrait

peggyFather. A word so easily said and yet, “Can one really fathom the meaning of such a powerful word?” To each one there is a different meaning, I guess. To me? It’s something that goes very deep, embedded in the depth’s of my heart, and the very root of my being.

When he died, I lost a father, mentor, best friend and confidant that was irreplacable. Continue reading

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Heartless And Heartfelt

peggyWhen those two words come into play in the same story, and they have countless times over and over, as an author, I am intrigued by the individuals, whether real or imagined, who get caught up in it. I also know that it is simply a matter of degree, how far or how little they play out. In my mysteries, The Puzzle, Without Any Warning, 86 Avenue du Goulet, A Lethal Time, Mouth Of The Rat, Death Knell In The Alps, No Hope In New Hope, and The Lush Life, human interaction is a constant. And so this timeless subject brings to mind a true story I’d like to share with you about how someone felt after a heartless and heartfelt scene played out in the Frankfurt train station of all places. Continue reading

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