Coming Soon – Cache, Cache

A love story spanning decades…

Sarah’s life is upended when her husband whispers on his deathbed, “My death frees us both, Butterfly. Cache, cache…” David’s voice was low, a mere whisper, then he covertly slips her a gold key. A key? At the funeral, a mysterious note—You don’t know the whole truth, is slipped into her pocket. How should she react to such unexpectedness? With three clues, Sarah, a mystery author, journals her past to solve this, only to end up more confused and filled with heartbreaking regrets. Can Sarah forgive, move on, and accept the past after she finally discovers the truth? Does she want to know the truth?

A Contemporary Romance 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: So far I’ve written a mystery series. My protagonist is Samantha Jamison, an author, who solves mysteries with her crew. Although I did write a French Memoir, The Riviera Is Burning. It’s a true story about me, and my family fleeing fires from our home in France. It is told in the first person, just like my series. 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. I also make sure I keep a small journal handy (a gift from my son) to jot thoughts down when a particular idea strikes me, or some dialogue pops into my head wherever I am.


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 after I get that first basic idea of where I want it to go. 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, they’re like family. Like I’ve mentioned in interviews over the years, 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? The idea is to enjoy what you are doing and the process. When it becomes a chore, I get up and walk away for a few hours, a day, whatever it takes to refresh and recharge my imagination. I do something completely different.


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, or articles 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. Then I throw in my crew and let them have fun with it, sometimes with a serious side, 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, #9, Too Close For Comfort 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, (forgive the pun) was history.


Your series is always seems to be evolving. Why?


Peggy: To give it depth on a more personal level. Starting with #1, The Puzzle, 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. With each mystery, Sam morphs from a hesitant sleuth to a strong-minded woman, who realizes she is good at solving mysteries. In #10, Saving Sindia, I take a striking departure for Sam. She takes a timeout for some self-perspective and the reader learns more about her on a more personal level. Sam 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. After that there is #11 Diamonds Are Not A Girl’s Best Friend, which explores collecting canes and discovering some startling true facts about the diamond industry with an unexpected turn of events at the end.


What is on the horizon?


I am working on 2 books at the moment. I’m ambidextrous…chuckle.


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 mine…

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Part 2 of 2: TSA, Tomato Juice w/a Twist of Lime, Please!

We arrived at our gate and settled in at the waiting area with a sigh. My husband and I looked at each other, knowing what the other was thinking. We were down to minutes before boarding, having missed a leisurely lunch before our flight and were both starving.

“Why not stay with the dog and I’ll grab lunch with a drink for us?” he suggested.

“Sounds great! I’ll call you if they begin boarding early,” I said, holding up my phone.

I glanced about me, already studying the passengers nearby for character traits, dialogue, and anything else that caught my eye. As an author, I was always on the lookout for that. I kept glancing at my watch as the minutes ticked by, becoming antsier the closer our boarding time approached. The airport was packed. What was taking him so long? Lines?

Finally, he came rushing over with a bag in his hand. “I grabbed burgers and a water.”

Personally speaking, at that point I would have eaten the paper bag he carried them in.

We wolfed down the small burgers in record time and shared the little bottle of water.

My husband eyed me. “Hope you enjoyed your mini burger. They were $8.99 each!”

“You’re kidding!” I said then stared at the small bottle of water.

He shook his head. “You don’t even want to know what that cost.”

I nodded. “Irrelevant, right?”

“Exactly,” he said, savoring his last bite of burger.

After my experience at security I was looking forward to our flight. We had splurged on First Class seats for our Anniversary that was coming up: New Year’s Eve. His marriage proposal was straightforward and simple. “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” I liked that about him. But as an addendum, he added, “Trust me, it will never be dull.”

I should have paid more attention to that part of his proposal.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t live an ordinary life. Odd things happen to the both of us, and they usually end up in my mysteries. Like I’ve mentioned many times before, when handed lemons, make lemonade, right?

They announced boarding. We got in line and proceeded to the plane, looking forward to sitting in the second row. After stowing our things in overhead with the pooch down at our feet, we settled in, grabbing my husband’s earphones, his iPad, and my e-reader.

While everyone shuffled passed us, my husband ordered tomato juice with a twist of lime. I had flipped my Kindle on and ordered a glass of white wine. I deserved it after my memorable experience at security.

After my husband’s drink was delivered, I said, “Look, instead of a slice of lime floating in your juice, your ticket includes two chunks of lime on a wooden stirrer.”

Listening to his playlist on his earphones, he smiled, ignoring my attempt at humor.

More people filed by us still boarding. I moved my husband’s napkin and tomato juice to place another napkin next to it, maneuvering it so I wouldn’t yank his wire out of his ear, then went to place a second napkin on our center console for my expected wine.

Well, that is when all hell broke loose. My hand hit that damn stick with the limes protruding from his tomato juice and the whole thing toppled in my direction.

I swear, I never knew a plastic airline glass could hold that much liquid!

Trying to save my little jacket with all those zippers, and my jeans, I yelled and arched my back, unable to remove myself from my seat because the dog carrier was blocking my feet. In my panic my flailing arms became entangled in my husband’s headphone wires that were roughly ripped from his head, nearly strangling him.

“What the…?” he said then turned to me, shocked by my frenzied contortions.

Always on the alert for the unexpected, he grabbed my rear and shoved me up in the air, away from the Red Niagara of all drinks now cascading onto my seat. People stopped in the main aisle to watch the free entertainment, as I was teetering toward falling backward, staring back in horror at the thick sea of red on my seat, my seat belt, the console between us, drippy splotches on my jeans and jacket, and on the floor by my feet. Attendants came rushing over with cocktail napkins. I finally pivoted around.

I looked at them like that guy did in the movie, Jaws, when he realized the situation was worse than anyone expected. “We need a larger napkin!” I said.

Meanwhile an amused passenger going by said to the people behind her, as the boarding line came to a halt from the commotion, “Someone spilled a Bloody Mary!”

I looked her square in the eye. “No, a tomato juice with a twist of lime!” Which was probably a ridiculous thing to say. But as an author, I’m a stickler for accuracy.

Meanwhile, I was still in a tilted position under the overhead. The attendant handed us large paper towels from the restroom, and my husband and I frantically sopped up all that tomato juice. On the side of the console between us was a hollow well with floating tomato juice as well, daring me to sit back down. I grabbed a wad of paper towels and jammed it in there. Then I wiped the soaking wet seatbelt numerous times. I wasn’t sitting down until the Red Sea had departed from the area.

The attendant came back, scooped up dripping towels from us, then handed me a plastic wrapped blanket they offer for those who would like one, saying, “Put this between you and the wet seatbelt to keep yourself dry in flight.”

I thanked her and inspected my seat one last time before sitting down. It sparkled. It was cleaner than when we first boarded the plane.

Hey, maybe I was onto something with this tomato juice. Could be a real moneymaker.

The attendant came back before I was about to sit and said, “Want that wine now?”

I gave her that intuitive woman’s eye women speak wordlessly to each other.

Without missing a beat, she said, “Well, Champagne it is then instead of wine!”

I sat down gingerly. She returned with the “bubbly” and a wad of large paper towels.

“Very funny,” I said. I won’t need them again. My drink won’t last that long.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about this one,” she said, winking.

I froze. In her other hand she was offering my husband his replacement tomato juice with cut limes on a stirrer on a tiny cocktail napkin. I eyed her then my husband, now on high alert, ready to bolt from my seat on a second’s notice.

I kept eyeing that tomato juice with its twists of lime. “Think I need a raincoat?”

My day so far really wasn’t going that well…

My husband gently patted my hand, offering. “Now, come on, what are the chances?”

Ha! Who was he kidding?

Like in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series, Sam asks herself, “Now, come on, what are the chances? And you know what? It happens, often with hilarious results, and documented via smartphones for posterity by her sleuthing cohorts!

P.S. I am so using this incident in a mystery too! Oh, by the way, we eventually landed without further incident.

Remember, everyday is a blessing. Whether they are funny, ridiculous, or otherwise, don’t take them for granted.


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TSA and Tomato Juice w/a Twist of Lime, Please! Part 1of 2

We were on target: an uneventful ride to the airport, carry-on bags intact, and our arrival was well before departure. I grinned. I could do this. My husband checked us in at the desk and purchased the tickets for our Miniature Schnauzer, who was in her carrier, small enough to ride at our feet during the flight. As we walked to security, we pulled out our passport cards, which let us use the TSA PreCheck line. (No removal of laptops, shoes, sneakers, jackets, or jewelry.) Having done this many times before without incident, I was still grinning, that is until I walked through the checkpoint and an alarm went off.

Although surprised because it never happened before, I noticed they chose others too.

One woman said, “I have an artificial hip.”

Another said, “I have an artificial knee.”

One more said, “I have pins in me.”

I sucked in air. Well, hell, I didn’t have an artificial anything.

…Uh-oh. Not good.

I was told I had to go into the x-ray machine, widen my stance, and raise my arms to be checked out. No problem, just a minor blip on my (pardon the pun) travel radar screen.

The alarm went off again.

The female TSA agent smiled at me. “I’ll have to wand you, Ma’am.”

“No problem,” I said, still smiling, stepping over to another area she directed me to.

She ran the wand all over me then wiped my hands. The warning had gone off…again.

I looked at the TSA agent, my smile waning, as was hers.

She tsked, shaking her head.

My smile vanished. “What?” I asked, trying to muster up another smile.

“Ma’am, I’m going to have to pat you down. You know, it might be your cute little jacket with all those decorative zippers that are causing the problem,” she said then explained exactly how thorough she planned to pat me down.

Hey, wait a minute. I didn’t know her that well.

I silently cursed my stupidity for wearing it. “No problem. Should I take my jacket off?”

“No, Ma’am, that won’t be necessary. Just widen your stance again and raise your arms.”

Meanwhile, my husband and dog were already waiting for me with my purse and luggage at, what I like to call, the finish line, frowning. I was lucky he was there guarding it all.

After the pat down, she then took what looked like a wet wipe and wiped my palms. She then ran it in front of a small security scanner and guess what? That damn alarm went off, spewing a printout. A few more security agents gave me the eye. Meanwhile, all the older women behind me were long gone.

I sighed, not liking where all this was heading. “What now?” I asked the TSA agent.

She consulted with another agent. Apparently there was a chemical agent on my hands.

What the…!

She then walked me over to my purse and luggage. “Sir,” she said to my husband. “Can you place her things on this counter so I can check them?” She turned to me. “Oh, I need your sneakers too. Do I have your permission to go through your things?”

I wanted out. I gestured toward them. “Go for it!” I said, gritting my teeth, smiling.

She then opened my laptop.

“Please be careful,” I said, even though it was backed up on the cloud and my flash drive.

She gave me the eye.

“I’m an author,” I said. “All my books, plus my new one are on it.”

She smiled, “What kind of Author?”

“I write mysteries. Eleven so far.”

She smiled broadly then went on about a man she knew who also wrote mysteries, while she searched everything. Were we bonding? I smiled, listening and nodding. Maybe I knew him. Afterward, she ran another wet wipe inside my luggage, sneakers, and purse.


She then ran a wet wipe along the upper and palm sides of my hands.

That damn alarm went off again.

She frowned.

I frowned.

“Ma’am, I’m going to have to give you a more thorough hand pat down. Would you like to step into a private room?”

I forced another smile. “I’ll stay right here,” (near my husband), having visions of never coming out of ‘that’ room.

“Ma’am raise your arms for me and widen you stance.” She then proceeded to explain why she was touching this place and that place. “Is that okay with you?” she repeated.

My husband said, “I’m jealous. She doesn’t let me do that in the airport,” he said.”

The TSA agent and I gave him the evil eye. Men…

She then continued checking all my curves and angles.

Midway, I swiveled my head to her and joked, “You know, I expect a ring after all this.”

She laughed. She really was trying her best to be nice and polite. She was just doing her job. It was the machine I had evil intentions toward.

Finally, she said somewhat mystified, “Nothing.”

She then reached for another wet wipe and swabbed my hands, and this time, my neck. The machine gave her another read-out of a chemical substance. We were at a standoff.

She eyed me again, thinking. “Did you put on body lotion this morning?”

I nodded. “All over my body, like usual, why?”

“That must be it. There’s a chemical in your lotion. You can go.”

I stood there. Was she playing me? “…I can go?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

I was free!

“Thank you!” I said, snatching my sneakers, as my husband took my purse and luggage. Originally, we had 2 ½ hours before boarding. We were now down to thirty minutes.

I felt thoroughly violated and jubilant simultaneously, already plotting in my head how I could add this to my next book in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series.

This scenario was right up Sam’s alley. Her sleuthing cohorts would have a ball with this.

I paused…

Was I turning into Sam, or was Sam turning into me? I shrugged. Either way, I was using this event to my benefit. I continued on toward our gate. Boarding the plane would be a piece of cake, right?

I should have known better…

Stay tuned for part 2: Tomato Juice w/a Twist of Lime, Please!

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


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Unforgettable Christmases #3 of 3

This 3rd Christmas tale was downright nightmarish. Again we headed to our vacation log home in the Nantahala National Forest in Highlands, NC, the setting for my 1st mystery, The Puzzle. All the ornaments were packed in the trunk (this time) of our diesel sedan, and as usual, we were packed to the hilt. But after arriving in Highlands the winter weather wasn’t very conducive for a snowy, wintry Christmas. The day of Christmas Eve the weather ventured all the way to 70 degrees! So we went for a hike in the valley only to see the weather turn on a dime sooner than was warned. The temps plummeted like a stone in water. We couldn’t get back to the house fast enough as it began to thunder, lightening with heavy downpours just as we shut the door to our cabin. A cold blast swooped in and the rain changed to chunks of hail bouncing off the driveway, then it turned back to a downpour. Now picture our electricity abruptly went out, which included our well water (The pump needs electric to get water). Our mainline phone went dead and we had no cell service when the storm hit. With travel impossible, we hunkered down and started both of our fireplaces, one in the kitchen and one in the living room, and lit several candles so we could see our way around.

Let me share with you a slice from one chapter to give you an idea of what some of those dicey conditions were like. In my mystery, my protagonist, Samantha Jamison was in Highlands to find out who killed her husband. She’s alone, inexperienced in situations such as this, and not sure what to expect when everything goes south.                                     A sample from that storm chapter:

Chapter 12

Resolutely, I set off for the front door, opened it, and clung to the frame, as an arctic blast assaulted my body and face. Its unexpected force stung on impact, whipping my hair wildly about, while I weighed my odds for escape.

Bewildered at first, I stared further out, stunned. Solid ice was everywhere. The trees had grown grotesque frozen fingers that swayed heavily back and forth. I stepped forward and lost my footing. I barely managed to grab hold of the doorknob to get upright. I found myself staring directly at my car. My car! I turned and tore a heavy jacket from the coat rack, grabbed my car keys and gingerly made my way to the car. The wind propelled me backward as I tugged hard on the handle, finally opening it, and jumped inside. Shivering, I jammed the key in the ignition and turned it. Nothing. I tried again. Dead. How could that be? I pounded the dashboard.

With my fingers going numb, I ditched the car, inched back to the house, slammed the door behind me and slid the lock back in place. I stood there, shaking from the cold and rock-solid fear. Sneakers (my cat) anxiously ran around my ankles. I tried to catch my breath, feeling my world closing in. I knew I couldn’t walk up the ice-coated steep driveway and I couldn’t escape through the woods. I might get disoriented in the dark and freeze to death. Besides, even if I did make it to the road, who in their right mind would be out there at this hour and in this weather?

I scanned the interior of the house. The candles were barely flickering and my flashlight was dead. I could wing the rest, but I needed heat if I were to survive. I quickly threw the last scrap of wood into the fireplaces, frantically taking a quick look around. What else could I possibly do? I came up short and stood absolutely still when it finally hit me. … I was trapped.

The actual story for us was: Having already bundled up in layered sweaters, socks, pants, and gloves, (I could not feel my fingertips) what I never mentioned in my book was that the water froze in our toilets just before they cracked. We were using Dixie cups lined up on the back of the toilet. (Too frigid and icy to step outside to go) Being Christmas Eve, I decided we should open up our gifts, and then we burned the wrapping paper and boxes in the fireplaces after running out of firewood to keep us warm. We wrapped the boys in blankets by the burning fireplace.

The trees did have grotesque frozen fingers that swayed heavily back and forth. A coating of that thick ice covered our car door lock, so my husband ran to the fire, placed the fire tongs holding the car key in the fire then ran outside to slip it into the door locks to get in the car to try to start it. The diesel engine was too cold and would not turn over. Trying repeatedly had killed the battery. As we began to have sporadic electricity, he hooked up a battery charger to an extension cord from the house to jumper cables attached to the car battery. But it was so frigid the diesel fuel had turned to gel. (Diesel fuel gelling occurs when the paraffin usually present in diesel fuel begins to solidify when the temperature drops. At 32 degrees the wax in liquid form begins to crystalize, leaving the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees it begins to gel clogging the tank.) It was well below that. We had to wait it out for higher temps. The driveway was a steep sheet of ice, along with recurrent freezing rain/hail with high winds and a low wind-chill factor.

Every thirty minutes my husband would run outside to try to jumpstart our car, as the temps began to rise slowly to try to start the diesel engine. Finally, it came to life. Afraid to turn it off, he left it running, cranked up the heater, raced into the house and told us to get packed up. We were driving back home, rather than risk freezing to death. In thirty minutes the tree was stripped and thrown over the cliff into the woods to decompose, we were packed and loaded, and by daylight we slipped and slid up our steep driveway and made it to the main road, cheering as we slowly headed down the icy mountain roads toward home from that colder, higher elevation.

Back then there was an old cafeteria just outside of Atlanta that was somehow miraculously open that Christmas day on our trip back home. We pulled in starving to death. Inside it was toasty. We were the only ones there. We grabbed a table, tray, and food from the Christmas Brunch buffet that was set up, the steam and savory smells tempting our palates. When we were settled with our food at our table, and after giving thanks for surviving our dangerous ordeal, I turned to my family (who were wolfing down their food) and smiled. We were safe. We (and I might add, my childhood ornaments) had survived an inconceivable nightmare.

“Merry Christmas,” I said, feeling grateful and truly blessed.

I hope you enjoyed my 3 true Christmas tales:                                                                                   ‘Ah, Christmases: some good, some bad, some downright nightmarish.’    One was a bit humorous, one upsetting, and one downright scary.

There was also another one about when I packed a small, decorated tree in our luggage for our ski vacation in Switzerland. I can imagine what the luggage handlers were thinking when they scanned our bags. The kids had no idea it was in there. We surprised them Christmas morning, saying Santa found us all the way over there, leaving a few wrapped gifts for them under it too. In Book 6, Death Knell In The Alps, Samantha experienced some true incidents that actually happened to me on one of those Swiss trips we took.

Oh, the stories I could tell… Hey, wait a minute! Come to think of it, I do…chuckle.

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


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Unforgettable Christmases #2 of 3

 We had moved into a new home which was exciting for all of us. It wasn’t huge by any means, but each of our three boys would have their own room for privacy. There were palladium windows with views of the street below from where our house was perched on the hill with woods behind it.

The minute I saw the house I knew just where my tree would go. I’d put it in front of the tall windows in the living room facing the woods under the fourteen-foot ceiling. I was overjoyed at the prospect of having a huge tree to do it justice. So when Christmas rolled around we went to hunt for the perfect ‘tall’ tree for that spot. We ended up coming home with a huge twelve footer. My husband kept reminding me it might be too big, but for me, the dreamer, it wasn’t tall enough!

What I didn’t mention was it didn’t quite fit into our old tree stand that always held our usual seven-foot tree. I hadn’t thought of that at the moment I’d spotted that impressive-looking fir. The five of us stood there looking at the tree resting on the hardwood floor trying to figure this out.

Never tell a woman it won’t fit.

I said to my husband, “Simple. Let’s cut a large chunk off the base.”

“Might work,” he replied, leaving to retrieve his saw.

That tree trunk was huge and heavy. It had taken all five of us to drag it in the front door. We weren’t dragging it outside again. We were cutting it in place on the hardwood floor.

Hey, that’s what vacuums are for: moments like this, right?

After much sweating and sawing, about a foot was removed. We all strained and grunted, but managed to fit it into place in the tree stand, which strained under the weight of it. To our amazement, it held. We all cheered and began decorating it. When it was done it looked majestic and magical.

Pleased with the end result, I went to the kitchen to make dinner while the boys set the table for me, and my loving husband vacuumed up glitter and sawdust at the base of the tree. The tree lights were left on so I could turn and see through the archway from the kitchen table our beautiful tree.

We were busy laughing and talking when suddenly we heard a crash. We turned, gaping at the spectacle. The tree had toppled over. We jumped up, hustled over to it, and with grunts and groans, set it upright.

My husband checked the base. A screw was loose. He retightened it. I observed the damage: a few broken ornaments and some loose garland. To my relief, the broken ones were not any of my older, cherished ornaments.

We then returned to the kitchen to eat our dinner. But within minutes, we heard another loud crash. The tree had fallen again. We hurried over and repeated the same process of uprighting it, but this time my husband used a wrench to tighten all the screws at the base, which had come loose.

“I guess the added weight of the ornaments didn’t help,” I said, as I surveyed the damage on the floor. Although saddened by more broken ornaments, none of them were my prized ones. Again, we cleaned up and returned to our dinner. I stared at that tree for a full minute. It held.

The others were already talking and laughing. Every once in a while I took a covert glance back at the tree that was still thankfully holding its own. I finally relaxed and resumed eating and joined in on their dinner banter.

But then the unthinkable happened: another loud crash.


I dropped my head into my hands as tears began to fall. “I can’t do this.”

I couldn’t bring myself to look. The odds that my cherished ornaments survived this last fall: impossible. I wanted to pass them on to my children and their children. Overwhelmed with the tree’s beauty, I’d chosen one that was too tall and heavy for our tree stand, and with the added weight of all the ornaments, it became top heavy. A major blunder on my part.

I heard the scraping of everyone’s chairs but mine. I couldn’t bring myself to move and face the disaster. I felt physically sick. All I heard were grunts, whispering then some hammering, and finally silence.

Then I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and opened my eyes and turned to see my youngest smiling. “Dad fixed your tree, Mom! We helped!”

I sighed and forced a smile. “We let’s see what you guys did!”

He dragged me over to the others standing in front of the upright tree.

My middle son pointed to the window frame, grinning. “Look!”

Then my oldest son said, “Dad wired the tree to the window frame.

My husband stepped forward. “This time it’s not going anywhere!”

“But I’m afraid to look closer,” I said frowning, teary-eyed, as I heard the crunching under my feet and everywhere around us.

That’s when everyone laughed then said, “Look down!”

I did, then up to the tree, and then back down to the floor again, my mouth agape. None of the broken ones were my cherished prizes from my youth. Not only had they survived that highway broken ornament box disaster, (in my 1st Christmas story) now this. How could that possibly be?

My family came close and hugged me. Then we all stared at our tree.

I touched each child, kissed my husband then eyed my old ornaments.

I guess Christmas miracles come in all sizes and shapes.

Next up: my 3rd Christmas tale, the one from hell. To be continued…


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Unforgettable Christmases #1 of 3

Okay, I guess the title of this posting could go either way, depending how much you want to read into it. And after looking back, recalling what my family and I went through out of these three Christmases, this first tale was somewhat humorous.

Ah, Christmases: some good, some bad, some downright nightmarish.

Let me first say that when we left our home to travel to our vacation log home in Highlands, N.C. (The one I used in my first mystery, The Puzzle) we were upbeat and excited for the holidays. Our log home was cozy, deep in the forest, and remote with spectacular views of the mountains and valley below. I had visions of toasting marshmallows, baking cookies, sledding, ice-skating, searching out that perfect Christmas tree, and decorating it with my family in front of a roaring fire.

The road trip there would be a breeze. We were jam-packed with our clothes and wrapped gifts in our Jeep Cherokee. But then my husband and I saw the ornament box still sitting in the driveway. Having run out of room inside the Jeep, my husband and I both eyed the luggage rack on the roof. We could put our Christmas ornaments in the large box strapped to it! Brilliant! It worked! Finally, we were on our way!

I had packed sandwiches and drinks so we wouldn’t be slowed down except for gas and bathroom breaks for our three young boys. Cruising on 85 northbound I heard some giggling and a lot of whispers from the backseat. I turned to see what all the commotion was about. Our boys were waving out the window at the passing cars. I then looked out the window too. People were waving. How nice!

My husband turned briefly to look and waved back. “Boy, they sure are friendly here in the South, aren’t they?” he said, grinning. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Well, this kept up for a few miles, people passing and waving, but then I noticed one woman drew alongside us and was pointing, first at us then behind us.

“Why is she pointing?” I asked. “Is our tire going flat? Did we hit something?”

My husband glanced at her again. “Hey, it looks like she pointing to our roof.”

Then everything clicked in place. I yelled, “Stop the car!”

After pulling to the side of the road, we all jumped out to have a look. Our large box of ornaments had blown open in the back, exposing the tightly packed ornaments for my not-yet-bought Christmas tree. I turned to look behind us and spotted one of them laying far out on the highway right before an eighteen-wheeler ran over it. My husband and I both jumped on the running board of the Jeep. Apparently, several of our ornaments were scattered between Atlanta and where we were now parked on the side of the highway. My children were staring at me, knowing mixed in with those ornaments were ornaments from when I was little just like them and cherished every Christmas, smiling each time I hooked them on our tree for Christmas. I had no idea if they were still in there. Teary-eyed, I pasted on a smile and said, “Well, it’s a good thing there is a Christmas store in downtown Highlands. We’ll pick out special ones to add to our collection for new memories. I hope you guys will find some special ones.”

My husband took down the box off the roof. Then the boys dragged it into the jeep and across their laps, refusing to let it go. I got it. Great minds thought alike. Why temp fate twice? Setting aside sentimental value, I knew things could be replaced, but not the people I loved. I smiled. “I am truly blessed.”

P.S. After checking that night, I found I didn’t lose any of my old ones.

Next up: a 2nd Christmas tale. I swear fate played a role in it. To be continued…


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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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