I drove to the Timbuktu (kinda)

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If you have ever wondered how far it is from Miami to Chattanooga and how long it takes to drive it ….

Here is your answer:

P1070143I went to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. It was a delightful get away and a mini-reunion of sorts for the Cuban side of the family.. Two of my tia abuelas (great aunts) were there along with several cousins. We were 15 total and four generations.

The mountains of Chattanooga were spectacular and the wedding took place against the backdrop of a bend in the Tennessee river. There was great fun had by all despite there being no alcohol or dancing at the reception. My aunt’s faith is different from the rest of ours. Despite the more traditional values, the liberals (raises hand) in the group felt welcomed with open arms and open hearts.

Now you know how writers are when they get to be an observer of a sub-culture … right?! So, I began to think ‘What if?’. What if there was a dead body on the grassy path to the river behind the hedge of fairy lights? What if in this tight-knit, joyful community of faith there was a murder? At first, all eyes would turn to the non-members at the reception dinner.  But when they were cleared, who ,then, would fall under scrutiny? The doctor passing out spinach squares? The nurse that made the cake? The groomsman that pour the sparkling cider?

A writer’s life is a grand life because we can make entertainment out of the simplest of crumbs!

And on that note I leave you with this fabulous drinking glass i picked up on my trip:

P1070146My poison was a frothy mimosa after my 11 hour drive.

 

Two Library Birds

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A dear friend of mine, I’ve know her for ten plus years yet we have never met in person, is a very talented illustrator. Holly Braffet (aka Holly McIntosh).

Kekoa and the Egg Mystery

Keala Up a Tree

Maka the Magic Music Maker

No Slippers

Maile and the Huli Hula Chicken

She, also, has a deadly wit which makes her even more alluring. Some people just get cosmically lucky and are blessed with buckets of charms. Anyway….  Recently, I was reading her blog about her family, knitting and glamorous day job (librarian). She had posted a image from her sketchbook that I fell head over heels for. I commented that I wanted to posses it as it hit my particular nerd obsessions : Birds and Libraries! Guess what winged itself across the Pacific and the continent to my mailbox on the Atlantic? I am in heaven and in a complete fangirl faint. Somebody get the smelling salts!

Holly Braffet Library BirdThe above is library bird 1.  Library bird 2 is the little bird that told me a TRUE CRIME tidbit that I have to share with my sister mystery writers. Truth is always stranger than fiction and this gem begs to be put in a book.  Last night, I was at my local library for an art event. The streets were clogged with police vehicle of all sorts. (Think crime scene vans and patrol cars.) The church up the street was having a ‘viewing’ for a slain police officer. Death by unnatural causes is always sad and yet our curiosity as to the hows and whys often trumps our good manners. My little bird sang the scenario before I could ask for the details myself. This is how the story was told to me: The officer was killed (allegedly – I’m putting that in for the lawyers) by his girlfriend with his service weapon. They were arguing over it when it went off. Here is the part the writers will like… she did not report him dead for two whole days! She eventually turn herself into her lawyers. Reading the news articles in the above hyperlinks the story might be a little different from what my little bird told me but is that the thing that gets our writer brains humming? The gap between fact and community perception.  So,  writer friends, what was she doing for those two days? You’re welcome for that writing prompt. Thank me on your acknowledgement page when you publish the story.

 

Mother’s Day is Beach Day

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Since my mother’s death, the 2nd Sunday of May has become bittersweet. So to get away from too much remembrance, I  have made the day a beach day. For me a beach day is get there at dawn, walk in the surf and leave before the masses arrive. That is exactly what we (me, my husband and the teen) did today. This will have been our 3rd Mother’s Day/beach day. We choose to visit Delray Beach, a lovely town with a sand dune beach about 50 miles from Miami.

RVRwriterAfter working the callouses from our heels, we left the sand and had breakfast al fresco.  I opted for Bellinies instead of coffee as  they went better with the ocean view. Our hunger satisfied, we strolled up Atlantic Ave and window shopped. The store I really wanted to visit wasn’t open yet so we entertained ourselves by cooing at gopher turtles, nurse sharks and a baby alligator at the little Sandoway nature center.  The slow hands of Sunday time finally reached opening hour and I boogied over to Murder on the Beach. I have shopped at this wonderful independent bookshop before but never at their brick and mortar store. It has always been at their booths; either at the Miami Book Fair ( I got Donna Andrews’ signature and a photo with her one year.)  or at Sleuth Fest. This only MYSTERIES bookseller hosts the Sleuth Fest author meet and greets. I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful authors ( the list is long) that way as well. Look at the gift I gave to myself this beach day:

P1060783Hide & Snake Murder by Jessie Chandler

Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer

Murder in the Choir by Joelle Charbonneau

Afoot on St Croix by Rebecca M. Hale

A Dollhouse to Die For by Cate Price

I don’t know which one to start reading first. It might come down to a tin marin de dos pingue choice. If you are really curious as to which I start first follow me on GoodReads.

On the way back to Miami, we stopped at yet another nature center. This one has a turtle rehab hospital within it.  The  Gumbo Limbo  center is big on educating the public on how to protect the endangered sea turtles that nest along our South Florida coasts. The 20 acre site has a 45 ft observation tower that we didn’t make it to and a lovely gift shop with these incredible stained glass windows.

P1060779 P1060780 The shop also stocks some whimsy:P1060781Hope that gives you a laugh until my next Florida adventure. Now back to the manuscript.

 

 

Saturday is fiddle with the website day.

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My old blog ¡Viva la Vida! is history. The host company I used retired the format and required I upgrade (at a cost). So, I left those meanies for a really fabulous host server that has wonderful customer service, easy installs , user-friendly interface and is wind powered! I really love that green part.

So, today, Saturday is my time to fiddle with the look and feel of the new blog. Tell me what you think of it so far. There will be updates and maybe a whole ‘theme’ change. I am just getting my feet wet in the new format so be patient as I learn to swim.