Writers Police Academy--Looking Back

Three years ago, I attended my first and only (so far) Writers Police Academy. At the time, the conference was held in North Carolina. Four of us from my Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime piled into my Subaru Forester for one of the wildest road trips I've ever taken!

What happens in the Subaru STAYS in the Subaru. Just ask Martha Reed, Susan Thibadeau, and Mary Sutton. You won't get a real answer, but I bet you'll get a big reminiscent smile.

Writers Police Academy is a crime fiction writer's Mecca...a weekend of high intensity workshops and hands-on training sessions led by experts in law enforcement, EMS, and fire, among other emergency responders.

The weekend is like meth to this research addict. I learned a LOT, much of which went into my books.

Next week, I'm going back. WPA is now held in Wisconsin, so there will be no road trip. I'll be flying solo to Green Bay where I look forward to participating in the Shoot-Don't-Shoot Scenario Training, t…

The Search for a Chair

After years of hiding my furniture under afghans, quilts, and throws, it's time. Out with the old and in with the new.

Except I don't want the new to look old within two days, which is exactly what might happen.

This is the old.

Skye started the shredding years ago. Then Kensi came to live with us and joined in the fun. I tried deterrents. Nothing worked. I tried slip covers. There's a reason they call them SLIP covers. They slip all over the place. What's uglier? Clawed furniture or bunched and twisted cock-eyed slip covers? It's a toss-up.

Lately I just threw blankets over everything.

Why buy new when Kensi's just going to use it as another scratching post? (She has three of the real things and uses them all, so redirection isn't the trick.) Because the old chair has lost so much stuffing and has gotten so saggy, it's no longer comfortable. Hubby would rather lie on the wood floor than lounge in his recliner.

So I went shopping. I haven't bought a…

But it's a DRY heat

I'm running a little behind lately. Being out of town (out of STATE) for over a week will do that to you.

Back on July 4, Hubby and I flew out to Durango, Colorado, by way of Denver, to visit my best friend, Leta Burns, who had helped me with the details of No Way Home.

While there are no immediate plans for a follow-up to Zoe Chambers' New Mexico adventure, I'm definitely not writing off the possibility. Maybe even a short story to revisit those characters. That makes this a research trip. Right?



The flight was lovely. While I was hemmed in for the Pittsburgh to Denver leg, I had a window seat for the flight over the mountains to Durango. Still snow-capped in July!

We arrived safely at the Durango Airport, where Leta picked us up for the 45 minute drive south to what's become my second home: Aztec New Mexico. Prettiest drive ever.

Meet our housemate for the trip. Elsa is Leta's fur baby. She's shy--run first, ask questions later--but she quickly ac…

Date Night

After 34 years of marriage, Hubby and I discovered we both love baseball.

I grew up watching the Pittsburgh Pirates on television and listening to the games, announced by the legendary Bob Prince, on radio. I had an uncle who was a rabid fan. My dad just loved the game. I celebrated the team led by Willie Stargell. I marveled at Kent Tekulve's arm. I mourned the loss of a true hero, Roberto Clemente. We claimed the song We Are Family as our own.

But that was well before I met my husband, who has his own tales of attending games at the long-gone Forbes Field as a small child.

Last night, we went on a date night to our little minor league franchise's ball field to watch the Washington Wild Things.

Meet The Wild Thing:

It was a hoot! There were foot races between a doughnut, an iced latte, and a cup of coffee. Another foot race involved the team mascot and a small boy. The boy won. A couple of kids competed in a hula-hoop contest. We all sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame during th…

Book Jail

It's DONE. I have sent Zoe Chambers Mystery #6, titled UNEASY PREY, to my editors. Another deadline met.

This one was a challenge. Lots of obstacles fell in my path over the last year. But I made it with much thanks to my friends, especially Ramona Long, who invited me to her writer's retreat in eastern Pennsylvania. I affectionately dubbed it Book Jail.

I traveled with my frequent road trip buddy, Martha Reed. Kensi was very unhappy with Aunt Martha for coming to take me away.

What a face!

And this is it! Officially it's "Clare House" but to us, it was our home for a week of writing. It was also Book Jail for those of us (ME) on deadline.

The grounds were lovely, with lots of statues of St. Francis of Assisi.

We had a trio of deer who visited us daily.

While we holed up in our own private spaces all day to write, we each took turns cooking dinner, which we shared as a group. Most evenings, we dined outside. Here is Martha Reed and Edith Maxwell about to dig into…