Posted in behind the scenes, Pea Body

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

[No spoilers, I promise!]

Earlier this year, for the first time since publishing Pea Body, my husband and I returned to the book’s setting — the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina, home of awesome beaches, seafood, and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.


Not only was it great to be back alongside the Atlantic Ocean, but I was eager to revisit those special places that got mentioned in the book and — especially! — eat some key lime pie! Continue reading “Returning to the Scene of the Crime”

Posted in behind the scenes, writing life

Write Where? Right There!


Being a full-time RVer and traveling the country means I’ve been able to experience some amazing places, meet fascinating people, and store up enough ideas for my writing for a few lifetimes.

When these sorts of places are right outside the door — it’s hard to sit down to write.


Every town we pass through conjures at least one story idea. Every RV park delivers at least a half-dozen more. Continue reading “Write Where? Right There!”

Posted in writing life

Where in the World…

…has this blog gone? Why such a long silence? What have we been up to?

As my southern dad used to say, “A little of this, a little of that.” We’ve been here and we’ve been there. Most people don’t move from home to home very often. As full-time RVers, we’re moving all the time. Just this spring we drove through five states in one day to move our “house” from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.*

RV1 Continue reading “Where in the World…”

Posted in behind the scenes, Pea Body

What’s Real? What’s Imagined? Behind the Scenes of “Pea Body”


It’s an odd experience to read a novel — a work of fiction, something imagined — by someone you know. As a reader and writer, I’ve been on both sides of this. When I’m reading a novel or short story by someone I know, I can’t help but compare what I know about the author to what I’m reading.

And readers of my books who know me wonder the same thing. They see a lot of Walt and Betty in my husband and I — but they are two fictional characters, with plenty made up about them.

So what’s real? What’s imagined?


[Nope — no need for a spoiler alert; I promise I’m not giving anything away here!] Continue reading “What’s Real? What’s Imagined? Behind the Scenes of “Pea Body””

Posted in writing life

Unexpected Twists

Have you heard this one?

How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Two. One to screw it in, the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Life is like that, too. We think we’re headed down the right road when we realize we’ve made a wrong turn. And because my husband and I live and travel in our RV, we’ve made many wrong turns. The best wrong turns (oh, yeah — there are good ones and bad ones and downright awful ones) deliver up the kinds of unexpected experiences that usually become the best memories.

Sometimes it’s something small. Like a day this past spring, on our way from Boise to Nampa on the back roads, when we made a wrong turn. We found ourselves driving alongside a river, always nice.

And then: Continue reading “Unexpected Twists”

Posted in writing life

Reading the Road

Avid readers talk about how many books they read in a year. But there’s another type of avid reader: someone who reads EVERYTHING. Sitting in a restaurant, they read the entire menu, every poster on the wall, each placard tucked between the salt and pepper shakers.

I’m one of those avid readers. Which means I also read every single sign along the highway as we travel.


This past June we drove across a portion of central Nevada and up into Idaho, from Great Basin National Park to Boise. Despite spectacular scenery around us, few other vehicles crossed our path.

But there was found plenty to read. Continue reading “Reading the Road”

Posted in writing advice

Being a Bag Lady

Tony Hillerman once said, “A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick, collecting stuff.” Sitting next to me is a pile of papers, clamped with one of those binder clips — my version of the pointed stick. I confess: it’s not so bad being a bag lady.

Often I’ll come across just the right tidbit that frees me from some tight spot I’ve wedged myself into. And the rest of those bits of flotsam and jetsam?

Well, I save those for you, of course! Continue reading “Being a Bag Lady”