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No Escape from Covid

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

My newsletter this month was going to be about our return to travel after two long years of Covid. In 2020, we signed up for an ocean cruise to Norway and Iceland, figuring by 2021, a vaccine would be developed and Covid would be under control. We figured wrong, so we postponed the trip for another year, until August 2022, along with our travel buddies, Robert and Joyce. Nothing was going to stop us now. We got our second booster shot. As an extra precaution, I wore my mask in public places and stopped going to Zumba class at the Y because all the huffing and puffing spread droplets like crazy. I packed my suitcase weeks in advance and followed our destination cities on the weather channel every day. I bought new waterproof hiking shoes. I packed gloves, a wool hat, and my zip-in fleece lining for my rain resistant jacket. I was ready for anything!

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Book Review Murder is as Easy as Pie

Video: Summer Reading Picks

Gaston the Poodle books by Janice Detrie are mentioned at 9:00 minutes into the video

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Newsletters

The True Confessions of a Bibliophile

“If you want to be a writer, your first stop should be the library.”
Angela Shelf Madearis

I confess: I’m never without a book (or two or three) nearby. I love sniffing new books. The sound of a turning page calms my jangled nerves. The feel of a book in my hands is a comfort and a joy. I’m a true bibliophile. This past month I’ve probably touched almost a thousand books. No, they weren’t books sold at my book launch in May. If I sold that many copies of my titles, I’d pop open the champagne and indulge in a triple caramel cashew sundae! I’ve been organizing books for my mission of getting kids to read over the summer called Books to Grow On.

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Newsletters

Move over Thelma and Louise II

My favorite Mother’s Day memory involves a red Solera, a cell phone, and the Interstate highways. In 2013, our daughter, Megan, newly returned to the states from eight years in the Middle East, was graduating from a radio documentary program at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine. Our delayed celebration coincided with her institute showcase and required a flight to Maine. My husband, Michael, returned to Wisconsin alone, because on the Monday after graduation, Megan and I began our epic Mother/Daughter Road Trip. She had accepted an internship in Marfa, Texas, 2,377 miles away, and needed me to drive with her. It’s great when your adult child professes a need for your company. Since I was newly retired from teaching, I enjoyed ample free time, so I jumped at the chance to travel with my daughter.

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Newsletters

My Fall from Grace

In my last newsletter, I wrote about how nurturing gratitude in challenging times can lead to an inner condition of grace.  As we experience the ups and downs of everyday life, we have two tools at our disposal to transform our practice of gratitude into a state of grace. First we have knowledge which provides the vision and understanding of how grace reveals its presence in our life. We also have direct experience that offers us validation that grace is manifest in daily living.  Knowledge and experience guide us on the path of transformation.

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Newsletters

Gratitude in the Time of Covid

As we enter into the third year of Covid, I’ve been working on my mental outlook. When the vaccines came out last year, I thought we’d turned a corner. Soon we could hug relatives, travel, eat in restaurants, attend plays and concerts, and rid ourselves of the ‘Have I got Covid?” panic every time we got a runny nose. The return to ‘normal’ was short lived. Even if we are so done with Covid, the virus isn’t done with us. So instead of dancing until dawn, I’m listening on Spotify to 21 Days of Gratitude, a meditation series with Deepak Chopra and Oprah.

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Newsletters

Putting the Pro in Procrastination

Research shows it can have emotional and physical costs, like insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. Waiting until the last minute can produce lower quality work which can impact personal and professional relationships. Unresolved stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

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Newsletters

Inside The Mind of a Murderer

I wrote the following piece from the point of view of the murderer in my forthcoming book. I wanted to explore the motivation of the killer to make it believable to my reader. This was solely to inform myself of the antagonist’s mindset, which I found helpful when I was moving up the story arc toward the climax.


I’m putting it in my newsletter, but not in the book.  Hopefully, it gives my followers some clues the general reader won’t have when reading the book, but not enough specific clues to pinpoint the murderer before the climax.

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Newsletters

Misadventure on Tivoli Island

“Mosquitos started hovering around Vlad like he was the last bargain picture book at a teachers’ conference and he slapped at the ones on his face and neck. As he strode deeper into the woods, small branches struck him in the face. Sweat started to sting his eyes. He glanced in alarm at a small dot that latched onto his bare leg. Was it a tick? He frantically brushed it off. He stumbled on a root, and caught himself before he stumbled over another and fell headfirst into a patch of some plant with three leaves.

When he heard the roar of rushing water, he knew he was nearing the old dam. Where the hell was that dog?

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Newsletters

Not as Easy as Pie

The murder weapon in my third Gaston the Poodle mystery is a pie. Not just any old pie, but a Cherry Berry Peach Pie. My character, Beatrice, enters into a pie contest at the county Fair, but instead of winning a prize, her pie kills the judge. Dessert pies were invented by American housewives, and my character, Beatrice, is following a long tradition of pie baking. When I was growing up, no Sunday dinner was complete without one of Mom’s pies. She mastered the art of a perfect pie. Not only Mom, but all the church ladies at ice cream socials, baked delectable pies. Still warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side, dissolving in your mouth like a piece of heaven. Beatrice’s pie could be no less.