Monthly Archives: September 2017

Does God send us plagues?

I wonder if I could go off my blood pressure meds if I stop reading Facebook. This morning I read about recent devastation from Hurricane Maria. Some of the comments denying global warming and claiming God is just angry with us—this is our punishment, so to speak—well that got my blood pressure spiking.

In the last 600+ years we really have not changed.

When the most devastating pandemic swept through Europe killing up to 200 million people, it also spiked religious persecution—because they had to have someone to blame. God must have been angry. Considering their lack of knowledge on hygiene and infectious diseases, it’s no wonder they turned elsewhere to put the blame.

That blame was placed on foreigners, Jews, and others. Which of course meant these people must be put to death to appease God. And they were.

Just like over 600+ years ago, so many people don’t even consider looking to science for an answer. Like our ancestors, they are suspicious of science and prefer to cling to the belief that is the wrath of God. I suspect one reason for this, it is comforting to them to feel validated for whatever prejudices they may have against those groups they believe responsible.

While I believe in God—or a higher power—I have a different take, which I discussed in a recent blog post.

 

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Halloween is around the corner—be prepared!

Ghosts aren’t just for Halloween. They can show up any time of the year—especially in the cozy mystery series, Haunting Danielle.

But if you would like to read a Halloween themed ghost cozy mystery, that would be The Ghost of Halloween Past, the fifth book in the Haunting Danielle series.

So, if you haven’t started the series, you should probably start now with the first book, The Ghost of Marlow House. I suggest you read the books in order, and when Halloween rolls around, you will be ready to read The Ghost of Halloween Past, which is probably one of the darker—spookier books in the series—fitting for a Halloween read.

And when you are finished with book five, you can move on to book six, in time for Christmas, with The Ghost Who Came for Christmas.

Well…what are you waiting for??

Maybe our prayers have been answered.

Just two years before I was born over 3,000 people died in the U.S. from polio. One of my mother’s close friends contracted polio when going through labor. She spent the next year in an iron lung.

My sister, who is four years older than me, came down with symptoms of polio not long after I was born. My terrified parents prayed she didn’t have the devastating disease. She didn’t.

I suspect my parents were not the only ones praying about polio. And in 1955, a year after I was born, prayers were answered when the first polio vaccine came into use.

For those who believe in God, I’d say God answered the prayers with science. He gave us the gifted scientists who were able to solve the problem. And if you think about it, if God is our parent, as many people of religion believe, does a good parent do everything for a child? Or does the parent give the child the tools and let him or her work out the problem?

Now we come to the last few weeks—record breaking hurricanes hitting our shores—changes in our weather that many believe are the result of drastic climate change.

Some may claim God is punishing us for an imagined crime. Yet, I wonder—perhaps God has already answered our prayers. Like with polio, he has given our scientists knowledge, and they are ready to help us alleviate some of the man-made stress we’ve put on our planet, before it’s too late.

I think it’s about time we start taking care of the magnificent gifts our creator has given us, and stop acting like spoiled children and abusing those gifts. As a parent, if my children trashed something I gave them, I certainly wouldn’t buy them another one. But, I would encourage them to fix it themselves.

Trying to figure out the Havasu Burglar.


These days I write about crime—mostly murder. Due to a recent rash of local breaking and entering, I got to thinking about another sort of crime—burglary. If I was to create a character who was a burglar, what would be in his or her head? What makes the burglar tick?

Apparently, the modus operandi for our local burglars, they knock on the front door first to see if anyone is home.

This is the part I don’t get. Surely, I am not the only one out there who often does NOT answer the door when someone rings the bell. Let’s be honest, when someone stops by—especially a stranger—not everyone bothers answering the door. And even if it is someone you know, how many of you will confess to ducking behind some piece of furniture so the visitor won’t see you and know you are home. I know I have.

There are many reasons for not answering the door.

I might be in the bathroom, taking a shower, or having wild sex.

It’s possible I haven’t gotten dressed yet, despite the fact it is way past noon. After all, I am a writer and work from home.

Maybe the house is a mess and I don’t want people to know what a slob I am.

Perhaps I have just murdered someone and am busy dismembering the body. No one answers the door when they are doing that. (Did I mention I write about murders?)

Or maybe I am a recluse—not too far from the truth since I am a writer—and I rarely answer the door.

Maybe I am hosting a wild orgy and the house is already filled to occupancy. (Did I mention I once wrote erotica?)

Anyway, you get my point. Just because no one answers the door, does not mean no one is home.

Apparently, some local burglars found this out first hand when they broke into a house and were welcomed by a the gun wielding homeowner. Oops…

Did I mention I live in Arizona? Everyone in Arizona has a freaking handgun. It doesn’t matter if you are a liberal or conservative; if you live in Arizona chances are someone in the household will be packing. And if it isn’t a gun, there is probably a camera or two hidden away recording every move—while the video is whisked away to some cloud to be retrieved should the need arise.

So, basically, this burglar character doesn’t seem to have the capacity to think ahead. Or maybe he or she just likes surprises and living on the edge.

How we leave our readers…


Before our family moved to Havasu in 1968, we spent summer vacations at the beach. It was either Newport or San Clemente. Each day there, I rode the waves on my canvas surf rider. The thought of sharks never entered my mind as I swam out to meet the waves. But then, when I was in college, I did something foolish. I read Jaws.

Jaws forever altered my relationship with the sea. Ocean waves became a scary, unsafe place. I suspect I’m not the only person changed by Jaws.

But, it isn’t just about sharks. Writers have been instilling fears—sometimes irrational, sometimes rational—into its readers—or movie goers. I imagine the fear of clowns came from creepy clown cinema. There are probably some people out there who cower behind a shower curtain, and no doubt the need for a child (or even adult) to check under the bed before going to sleep was probably inspired by some horror movie.

I’ve an active imagination, and I am fairly confident that if I wanted to—I could write terrifying books of horror. But, when I consider doing that, I ask myself, do I really want to inspire the type of fear that could possibly linger and prevent the reader from doing something he or she once loved? Like I once loved riding the surf.

A while back I received a fan letter from a reader, who told me she once had a fear of ghosts. The thought of ghosts—the possibility of ghosts—terrified her. But then she started reading my Haunting Danielle series, and she began seeing ghosts—even the possibility of ghosts—in an entirely new light. She was no longer afraid of them.

While it’s a writer’s job to stir a wide range of emotions in the reader—including fear—when the story is over, I rather like the idea of leaving the reader in a better, happier place.

Is Danielle too nice?

After reading The Ghost Who Lied, one reader suggested that Danielle might be “too good to be true.” She based this on Danielle’s seemingly blasé attitude regarding a potential lawsuit. However, I would have to respectfully disagree. I believe Danielle’s attitude was not borne from martyrdom selflessness—but practical reality.

My husband and I have owned businesses—and we have managed businesses. One thing we have learned over the years, a business is always open to a potential lawsuit. Like Danielle, we didn’t fret over the possibility, instead, we tried to take preventive measures, and we had insurance.

Danielle informing the insurance company of a potential lawsuit is something I have done myself—and in one notable case, we were as inculpable as Danielle.  An airplane had crashed when attempting to land on the dirt airstrip at Havasu Palms. Fortunately, no one was killed. One of the first things I did—after dealing with the crash—was to contact the insurance company. I didn’t believe we were liable, but I was not going to agonize over it—that is why we had insurance. The same was true for Danielle.

As it turned out, Havasu Palms was sued, yet the case was eventually dropped when it was determined that the crash didn’t actually take place on our lease land. However, the insurance company bore the cost of the lawsuit.

Over the years, we have seen other lawsuits where the insurance company opted to simply settle a nuisance case, believing it would save them money in the long run. It always bothered me that they are willing to pay scammers to get rid of them—but it’s not that unusual.

Therefore, I don’t believe Danielle’s behavior was indicative of some goodie-good Pollyanna, but instead of a practical realist.

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