Monthly Archives: June 2016

Guess what Sadie is wondering…

Sadie WaitingSadie is anxiously awaiting the release of The Ghost and the Mystery Writer, which goes live July 17. Sadie wonders, Do I have any good parts in this new book? Or do I have to share the spotlight with that stupid cat, Max?

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m an animal lover. When writing my dog and cat characters I tend to rely on real life dogs and cats I’ve known—because like people, each one is unique, while at the same time, share common traits with other members of his or her species.

Both Jake from Coulson’s Secret (written under my Anna J. McIntyre pen name) and Max, from my Haunting Danielle series, are patterned after my own black cat, Spooky. I chose the name Max, for my parent’s beloved black schnauzer. I also gave Max the cat white tipped ears, because in the story, he needed distinguishing markings.

In While Snowbound (also written under my McIntyre pen name) I patterned the Aussie after our own Lady—including the fact Lady is a special needs dog who has always had issues being unable to jump up, and occasionally her legs give out, and she rarely barks, even when someone knocks on the door.

When selecting a dog for the Haunting Danielle series, I felt the golden retriever was the perfect personality for what I was looking for. Goldens I’ve known tend to be loyal, playful, and somewhat goofy. As for her name, I borrowed that from fellow author R.W. Peake, whose beloved lab is named Sadie. I felt the name Sadie fit with my character.

The question now—will Sadie and Max ever bond in the same way my dog and cat have? To be honest, I can’t see them getting all lovey and snugly with each other, as do Lady and Spooky. I suspect they will simply reach an amicable truce and come to some sort of friendship. Perhaps, they already have.

The Good Old Days: Were they really?


Maybe it is the sceptic in me, but when people long to return to another time, another place, I can’t help but conjure up the reality of that era.

It’s just not returning to a simpler time (you know, when women had few rights and people of color were told where to sit, and where they could live, or what water fountain they could drink from)—but people often talk about a time when it wasn’t financially necessary for both spouses to work outside the home.

Families didn’t need two jobs. Today, both spouses must work to support a family in today’s economy. Ummm….or do they? Is that really true?

Last week we switched some television sets around in our house, which left us with a perfectly good RCA color television that we no longer need. It has its own remote, works with the cable service—but it is not a flat screen.

We didn’t try selling the TV; we tried to give it away. I offered the free TV on Facebook, on a local yard sale Facebook site, Don sent emails to his fellow Realtors in his association (thinking it would be good for a rental), and we offered it to the local thrift shop. No. one. Wanted. It.

Sure it is not a flat screen, and it takes two people to carry, but it has a good picture and works.

When I was a kid, I was thrilled to have a black and white television. Today, I can’t give away a free color TV. Why? Well, it isn’t a flat screen, silly!

People talk about how it’s more expensive to live these days, compared to when I was a kid. But personally, I think we simply have more expensive tastes.

Growing up, families often had just one television set in the house. Telephones? We had a landline the entire family shared. There weren’t expensive electronic gadgets we HAD to have, like pricy computers, tablets, video games, cell phones—the list goes on.

We didn’t pay for a cable service to get our TV, we had an antenna on the house and were happy with the few channels we had. There was no reason to pay for Internet—it wasn’t a thing back then. In many communities, houses with air conditioners were a luxury item, yet today many of those same communities see air conditioning as a standard amenity.

Our first house had 1 ½ baths. The half bath was in the laundry room off the service porch, and the full bath was in the hallway, shared by all three bedrooms, which included the master bedroom. Basic tract houses back then didn’t have master baths.

Sure, our cars were cheaper back then, but a car was just a car. It didn’t have TVs and backup cameras and seats with built in heaters.

I could go on and on—such as mention buying our pricy cup of coffee at Starbucks or how when I was a kid I can only think of one family who owned a microwave oven. Now, who doesn’t?

So, maybe the cost of living hasn’t gone up as much as you might think. Perhaps it would be possible to live on one income as your grandparents did, providing you are willing to live as they did—often with only one car in the family, no dryer (use the clothes line), forget the microwave, cancel cable, install an antenna, get rid of the cellphones…

What? Get rid of the cellphones?


Real life ghost stories, do you have one?

Coming July 17!

One of the more interesting comments I get in Haunting Danielle reviews, is when a reviewer says the stories are realistic. That’s a high compliment for stories many would consider fantasy as opposed to reality.

Of course, many people believe in ghosts. Do you?

Personally, I have never seen a ghost. Yet, I’ve spoken to people who claim to—including one person whom I deeply trust. She doesn’t broadcast her several encounters, fearing others will simply think she is nutty. But, I believe her.

I did have one sorta ghostly encounter—which will explain why the ghosts in my stories, especially those who haven’t mastered harnessing their energy—can usually screw with electricity.

After my father passed away, our family was living at Havasu Palms. Havasu Palms, a resort located on Lake Havasu, consisted of a mobile home park, marina, store, and restaurant. For some thirty years my parents (then just Mom after Dad died) were major shareholders, and for the last almost decade of owning the park, my husband and I were its general managers.

We were living in a mobile home down the road from my parent’s. Dad had recently died, and my mother was visiting my sister in Bishop, California. My husband, kids, and I had just returned from our house in Wrightood, California.

The first thing I did, was check on my parent’s—well technically it was just Mom’s—mobile home, to make sure everything was okay. I did a walk through, and everything was just as we left it.

About an hour or so later, we decided to go back over there—so my husband could sit in the spa and the kids could watch TV.

The minute we walked into my parent’s mobile home, the kids yelled, “Hello Grandpa” and I yelled “Hello Dad.” Yes, we were weird like that. Dad had not been gone long, and we felt compelled to say hello…just in case.

In the next moment—right after we shouted our greeting—the VERY next moment—the hall light (which I had turned on when I went over there earlier) literally exploded, and the clock radio in the master bedroom went off—and the music started to blare. Did I mention, no one ever used that clock radio as an alarm? And no one had been home to set it.

It was a little freaky. But we all laughed, and I asked, “Dad, did you have to break the light?”

Do you have a real life ghost story? If you do, please share it here!

(What does the image have to do with the blog post on ghosts? Nothing really!)

Countdown: 20 days until live!

Girl reading a book on the beach. Flat vector.
In 20 days the ninth book in the Haunting Danielle series, The Ghost and the Mystery Writer, goes live! If you purchase your eBooks at Amazon, you can pre-order now, and it will be automatically delivered to your Kindle on the day it goes live.

Readers have asked, will there be a Book 10? Yes!  As long as I have more stories to tell about Danielle, Walt, and the rest of the Frederickport gang–and as long as my readers continue to want the stories, I will keep on writing!

I was hoping to get up to Oregon this summer to visit our son and daughter-in-law, and to visit the coast for some inspiration, but it looks like that will have to wait. Yet, we will be visiting up around Morro Bay in October. Not exactly the Oregon coast, but at least it gets me to the ocean!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and getting in some good summer reads.


Life threatening dangers of swimming during times of excessive heat: Naegleria fowleri amoeba

IMG_0579A few days ago, a brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria fowleri amoeba ) claimed the life of a young Ohio woman after she went whitewater rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The threat is not the Whitewater Center—but any body of fresh water during a time of excess heat.

In 2007, I wrote the following article after a teen died after swimming in my hometown lake—Lake Havasu. I’m not bringing back the article to scare anyone—but to help educate people, especially as our country experiences record heat. Understanding the threat can help keep us safe while we cool off in fresh water lakes this summer.

Naegleria Amoeba

How we can keep future swimmers safe in Lake Havasu

In the recent news has been the tragic story of a young Lake Havasu teen who died, suffering from a deadly infection of  Naegleria fowleri, a free-living amoeba which is commonly found in warm water lakes.

We’ve received a few calls and emails asking us if it is dangerous to swim in Lake Havasu, and wondering if they should find a new fresh water lake.  Our answer, if you want to avoid the Naegleria fowleri completely, then avoid ALL warm water lakes, hot springs, ponds, rivers, and a few swimming pools.

Of course, that is a bit drastic, and according to information from the experts, unnecessary.  Yes, you CAN swim safely in Lake Havasu and other warm bodies of water, but there are some things you need to know.

First, in spite of the fact the Naegleria fowleri is found world wide, including a majority of the fresh water lakes across the United States, incidents of infections are extremely rare. According to one source, only 23 cases in the United States were documented between 1995 and 2004.

Naegleria Amoeba isn’t Confined to a Particular Local

This amoeba is commonly found in warm, shallow and stagnate water.  How warm is warm? 80 degrees and higher is the temperature reported in articles I’ve read.

Yet, simply swimming in warm water is not enough to cause a problem.  The amoeba needs to enter the body through the nose, and according to the literature, it needs to enter the nose via a violent water stream, such as diving.

The fact is, no matter where you are, if the water is very warm, is not moving, and shallow, there are going to be some unpleasant things growing.  Simple biology.

I don’t like to dunk my head under water, yet if kids are insisting they want to do some violent slashing, I would find cooler waters (which is even possible in Havasu during the warmer months, by simply changing locations), or have them wear a nose clip.

Yet, going under the water is not enough to be infected.  Normally, the amoeba needs to be forcefully inserted up the nose, either by diving into the water or some other means.

What about waterskiing if you take an unexpected wipe out?  Normally we ski in cooler and deeper waters, where the amoeba is not typically found.

Protect Yourself through Education

Bottom line, I believe it is important to understand possible dangers, learn about the threat, and then take steps in prevention.

I know the father of the young teen who died stated he would never let his children swim in Lake Havasu again.  I understand his feelings. If my child drowned in a particular swimming pool or body of water, I would never want to see that body of water ever again.

This particular threat, although extremely rare, is not unique to Lake Havasu.  If our goal is to protect our families, we need to take certain precautions when visiting any fresh water lake or other bodies of water.  In Havasu the weather is already cooling, which means our water temperatures are also dropping.  But next summer, when those water temperatures get above 80 degrees, we should be wearing a nose clip if we want to swim with our heads under water or do any major cannon ball jumping.

What do experts have to say on this issue? According to a recent quote by Dr. Rebecca Suneshine, deputy state epidemiologist of the Arizona Department of Health, “I would swim in Lake Havasu…and I would let my children swim there.” She went on to say the infection was incredibly rare.

Bobbi Holmes, October 5, 2007