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 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.”…/…/ref=sr_1_1… …

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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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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.
I step back from the canvas for perspective and close my eyes and my skin feels a warm caress of a priceless treasure. She has scooped me up and sat me next to her on the stool in front of the piano, my legs dangling, not quite able to touch the floor. She starts to play and we sing an oldie: “Daddy’s Little Girl” then she turns to me and smiles and starts to play and sing, “Peg Of My Heart.”

I now take a deep breath and swallow the lump in my throat and continue the strokes of my portrait of recollections. I am running in from school, breathless and excited. Wonderful aromas envelope me in a blanket of security and contentment as I grab for the cookies hot from the oven. She hugs me and asks, “And how was your day.” It made me feel so important.

I tested her patience more than once, always tugging for her attention. “Mom, guess what?” She had a way of doing ten things at once and carrying on simultaneous conversations with two individuals. I know, I’ve done it myself. I had a great teacher.

My canvas takes shape now and feels fluid as I continue to paint. I am newly married and my parents are visiting us. My husband and I have an argument and I am very upset and walk out. He comes and gets me and brings me back. My mother, who never interfered in our marriage, spoke up and defended my husband. Shocked, I said, “How can you take his side? I am your daughter!” She gave me a level gaze and said, “I know, but he is right. Now, kiss and make up.” I remember bursting out laughing. “I think you love him more than you love me!”

I lovingly fill in, for this portrait is important to me. I must get it just right. My first-born son arrives and my mother flies in, taking over the house like it was her own. My husband ate like a king. He came up to me one day and said, “What a woman! She never stops to rest! She is now up in the attic cleaning that out too!” One evening, my father calls up from their home far away, sheepishly asking her, “Honey, I have run out of your dinners in the freezer. When are you coming home?” Then he finally admits, he really called because he just plain missed her and she was on the next plane home in a heartbeat. She was always there for my other two sons too, demonstrating patience, tolerance and armfuls of love and kisses with lessons in compassion for others.

Her advice, sound and sought after, was given willingly and lovingly. Growing up, our house was always full of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. My mother always had room at the table for one more. She reacted positively, always looking beyond a person’s imperfections and flaws, seeing only the goodness in them. She was unselfish and loving to a fault.

Well, I am finally finished. A tear slips and dampens my canvas and I still see…

            Her wiping of noses and rubbing of toeses

            Her kissing scraped knees and her violets and roses

            Her laughing and crying at jokes and sorrows

            Her hugging and talking of yesterdays and tomorrows

            I am trying to attain her strength and grace

            And aim to reach it at length, but must face

            The fact that sadly occurs to me each day

            I can’t. (She’s no longer here)

            “Hi Mom. It’s me. I just called to say……”

Peggy/Mother first & foremost, then Mystery Author

Remember to chase your dreams, not someone else’s, everyday is a blessing.

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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.

There was a constant stream of family filing out the side door with goodies and gifts to take home, as hugs and kisses were exchanged. My husband and I sighed from happiness and exhaustion as the last one filed out. We turned out the lights and made our way up the stairs to our bedroom delighted everyone had a great time.

Two days later I was walking up our stairway to our bedroom busy reading a card I received from a friend, opened our bedroom door then shut it.

I heard my husband yell from downstairs, “Holy shit! There’s a bat in the house!”

I stopped cold and peeked out, yelling, “What? …Where?”

He said, “It just flew down our bedroom stairs.”

I sucked in air. I had just walked up those stairs reading a card and walked right passed it. My mind wouldn’t accept that, so I yelled back reassuringly, “It was probably a bird.”

I could deal with a bird. A bat? Uh-uh.

“I know the difference between a bat and a bird!” he countered.

Then panicky thoughts gripped me. Could it be rabid? Where in the world did it come from, one of the fireplace chimneys? No, we had screened caps on them.

I yelled to him from behind the safety of our bedroom door, “Well, where is it now?”

He called up to me, “When I approached the first step it flew passed me over my head. I don’t know where it went! I don’t see it anywhere down here.”

Well, there are only two rooms in that area, my office and his then the hallway that leads from his office out to the rest of the house. I cautiously made my way down the steps and we both searched our two offices from top to bottom. He did the heavy lifting and moving, while I gave instructions.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

We then proceeded to check the rest of the house and were walking back to our offices when I spied the basement door standing wide open.

“Let’s go,” said my husband. “We need to check down there too.”

I stared at him like he had two heads. “What do you mean…we?”

He gave me a look. “You’re kidding, right? You write murder mysteries!”

Then I gritted my teeth and gestured, “You first, my good man. I’ve got your back.”

He shook his head and I followed closely. You guessed it. No bat. So we reluctantly made our way back up to our bedroom. I firmly shut our stairway door to our room behind us and repeated, “Are you sure it wasn’t a bird?”

All I got back was, “Remember our barn in New Hampshire?”

He was right, of course. We had a horse farm in New Hampshire a while back with a large barn, and bats were always congregating in the cupola. He could identify one.

Several days passed. Though we searched when we could, we never saw it again.

One night after bathing and watching the news on TV we were about to make our way through his office when I said, “Oh! I almost forgot. I left my laptop on. Let me go in there and shut it off.” I turned on my office lights by the stairway and guess what flew right in front of me across my office? You guessed it, that bat. I started screaming like a wild woman.

I think they heard me all the way in California.

I raced out and smacked right into my husband rushing in. “Help! Get it out! I can’t believe I have been going in and out of my office all night to check emails and that creature was in there with me. Find it and get rid of it before it disappears again!”

My husband approached my office door and walked through, while I followed peeking over his shoulder. He turned on all the overhead lights and that bat went crazy flying across my office. I screamed again and promptly slammed my office door shut leaving my husband alone in my office with me yelling, “Don’t let him escape!”

I heard all kinds of commotion then nothing. Then I heard, “I can’t find him.”

I leaned against the door dumbfounded. “…What! He’s got to be in there!”

“Well, he’s not here anywhere.”

I whipped the door open. “We can’t just leave him in here. That’s way too creepy.”

“I agree,” he said. You’ll have bat shit and urine all over here in no time.”

Then I recalled the last week. Where did he go in our house all that time? Ugh…

After a few minutes my husband said, “We might as well go up to bed. He’s not here.”

I looked back at him. “Over my dead body. You expect me to write in there?”

I couldn’t even muster up the thought of the bat relieving himself in there either.

My husband looked at me and smirked, daring me to come up with an alternative.

I marched passed him entering my office. “We are finding him together and tonight!”

My husband grabbed a flashlight and started peeking under furniture, behind my bookcase… Me? I’m a Virgo: very methodical. I started on the first thing on the perimeter of my office: blinds first, nothing. Next, my closed drapes. While keeping my body as far away as I could, I reached out and vigorously shook the heavy drapes back and forth. Out tumbled the bat rolling onto my carpet. He went airborne and so did I, right out of my office, slamming the door firmly behind me.

“Get him out! I know you can see him now!” I shouted through the closed door.

I heard more commotion and cursing from the other side.

I wasn’t sure if it was my husband or the bat.

I was so proud of my brave husband duking it out in there. Of course I was hanging onto the doorknob tightly. So even if he did try to open it he couldn’t.

He had a job to do and by golly he was going to do it that night.

“Grab a towel from my powder room in there and trap him in it,” I suggested.

I heard more commotion: one of my French doors opening and crunching footsteps outside then that door closing.

Oh, I forgot to mention it had snowed heavily, was below freezing and my husband was wearing only his pajamas and slippers.

Suddenly the door separating us was ripped from my grasp. My husband stood there grinning, his face flushed from the freezing cold and his victory. “He’s out!”

I jumped into his arms and kept kissing him, saying, “My hero has done it again.”

My husband earned the title of Batman as I kissed him again in thanks. We aired out my office for several few days regardless of the frigid weather.

The smell that was in there… We never found stains anywhere in my office only that foul odor.

I must admit that this family story rivaled many others: the Crazed Woodpecker one, the Plague of the Crickets, The Attack Of The Skunks story, My Son Riding Into The Sunset On The Back Of One Of Our Sheep, Sleeping In Our Car Under The Eiffel Tower one and The Dog Locking My Husband Out In The Pouring Rain From His F150 Truck story… Oh, and their was that time… 

 P.S. This particular story I adapted to be included in my 8th mystery, The Lush Life,  & people wonder where I get ideas for my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series…chuckle.

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Peggy’s Post: When Handed Lemons, Make Lemonade

lush-life Do you remember the old adage: when handed lemons, make lemonade? Well, that is exactly what I did while writing my 8th book, The Lush Life, in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. I was trying to tie up that mystery and could almost see the end in sight, but unfortunately, a terrible accident happened. As I was researching a scene in the book (which involved climbing & descending 150 year old dimly lit steps in an old Victorian cottage) my foot went off the edge of a lower step on the way down. My right foot twisted to the side and bent sideways. I heard bones crack as I fell hard to the enclosed landing in a heap after bouncing off the walls.

I literally saw stars, rocking back and forth, breathing in and breathing out, practically biting my lip to the bleeding stage just to deal with the pain trying to straighten my useless swollen ankle that was clearly broken. I was lucky I had people there with me to practically carry me to the car and take me to the ER at the hospital immediately.

I had suddenly found myself sidelined from finishing my mystery, seeing weeks and months of recovery ahead of me. After x-rays, I found out my ankle had a clear break on one side laterally and was fractured going up on the other side. But in a way I was lucky. I didn’t need surgery with screws implanted, just a leg cast to my toes, dealing with excruciating pain, being wheelchair bound, using crutches, and eventually ending in rehab learning how to walk all over again.

After a week of being flat on my back with my leg elevating my purple toes and thinking, I figured I had to make this work for me somehow. So I did the unexpected. I changed the ending of my mystery to incorporate my whole experience, which included being wheelchair bound and being confronted with the antagonist at the end in a climactic scene. It was very cathartic to express my emotions and my experience at the hospital (which included going into mild shock) and getting all those details down before they became hazy with time.

I had found my ending!

Who says you can’t save the day on your ass after the evildoer steals your wheelchair from you?

too-close As a matter of fact, I began my 9th mystery, Too Close For Comfort, while still in rehab learning how to walk again, taking the reader through what I went through to keep it true to what I (I mean, Sam) was experiencing, having someone approach me while in rehab and dragging me back in time to a mystery from my past and it worked perfectly!

To this day, I marvel at how I was able to turn the tables on an unfortunate situation into one of a creative process that kept me from going stir crazy and also stayed true to the facts at hand as I merged it into my fictional mysteries.

And I did it with humor to boot!

When I was handed a bunch of lemons, I turned them into lemonade with a sweet finish!

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

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Descriptions & Grammatical Errors


lush-lifeExcerpt from #8 The 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)


I hope you enjoyed this brief peek inside The Lush Life!

Peggy/Sam – Author/Sleuth


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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.” 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.   Continue reading

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