In The Delta

In The Delta
In The Delta

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Cross Country Trip

I had good intentions.  I planned to write daily posts with pics detailing my trip from Union Station L.A. to Union Station Chicago and then up to Marinette/Menominee.

As you can see, I did not get around to it.

I take really bad pictures so had none to share from the train trip itself.  I can report however that I really enjoyed the train as always.  Watching the vast arid expanse of the west give way to the lush greenery of the midwest from my cozy roomette and enjoying visiting with other travelers over meals in the dining car.

Chicago was amazing - a city full of energy and excitement.  Enjoyed amazing Chicago style deep dish pizza and Elliot Ness Lager at Exchequer Pub on Wabash.

Drove up to Menominee and arrived mid afternoon at AmericInn on the bay and settled into a beautiful room with balcony right on the shore.  Immediately turned off AC and opened the door and window to let in the bay breeze.  It stayed open for the duration right through a couple of rain storms.

Found something completely unexpected - a good little authentic Mexican restaurant with Margaritas as good as Viva's, enjoyed my favorite Jozwiak's pizza, had a truly splendid fine dining experience at Berg's Landing on the bay, and partied with friends multiple times.

My friend Marilou and I drove up to see my friends Mary and Russ Kralovetz at their Waubee Lake Lodge.  Check out the pictures and if you're ever in the area, it's the place to stay.  Actually, it's a reason to come here.
Georgie & Joe's Beach House

View from my room

Menominee Yacht Harbor

Menominee Waterfront
Menominee Waterfront

Waubee Lake Lodge

Waubee Lake

Waubee Lake Lodge Bar

Lodge Suites Facing Lake

Outdoor dining on the deck

Fireplace on Lodge Deck

Georgie and Joe hosted the most fun get together.  Drank lots of good beer and watched the waves roll onto the beach at numerous locations.

Also came very close to talking Ingolf into buying 9 acres of land on the bay with darling little house and great big pole barn for the horses. I was all set to move here for good until I discovered there were no close riding trails which would mean loading the horses into a trailer for every single ride.  Had to accept it wasn't meant to be.  Perhaps for the best given the long winters here.  Maybe some day.

We had a great reunion dinner and dancing to that old time rock and roll.

One final big party this afternoon at my dear friends the Popkeys at their place on the bay.  I realize that "the bay" is mentioned in almost every sentence.   The bay is Green Bay.  I could call it Lake Michigan but the Sturgeon Bay Peninsula separates us from the lake proper.

The end of my stay is nearing and I will miss being here.  This is about the prettiest place in the world.  But I'm sure that one of the reasons I love it is the fact that it is home - the place I was born and raised.

Posting a few of my less bad pictures that don't do it justice.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Just after breakfast, we arrived in Gallup New Mexico.

I intended to post pics of various stops but made the mistake of taking pics of Fullerton CA station with my phone and now cannot post those.

Lovely trip so far but nothing of interest to report other than that my internet connection is SLOWWWW.

Oh, and there are still people on the train who do not get the No Smoking Anywhere rule.  Last trip, a woman was put off the train at the next stop after repeated warnings.  She was really screaming about how unfair it was.

This trip, we have had one cigar smoker so far.  He was warned.

AMTRAK is serious about this no smoking stuff.

Very busy writing so will keep these posts to a minimum since this one is so boring it put me to sleep

L.A. to Chicago on the Southwest Chief Right This Minute

Wow - I have not blogged since June.  I am so bad.  But I have been busy working on a new book titled Mandolin Wind - a real departure from my usual stories - it begins when a young soldier is lost behind enemy lines in Normandy in 1943.  And that's all you get for  now.

At present, I am on the Southwest Chief.  Left L.A. at 6:10 last night and right now we are sitting in the desert between Winslow AZ and Gallup NM waiting for a freight to go by.  Freights take precedence.

The train is great as always -  new people to visit with in the diner - a cozy roomette - lying awake and watching a million stars go by in the sky out my window.

Up early for a hot shower and now off to breakfast.

More to come including pictures.

Stay tuned.

Work on the new book continues - Part One was written at home in L.A. - Part Two was started there but will develop on the train and while I am in Michigan.

Promise almost daily posts.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Comments From A Reader Always Make My Day

I'm guessing that most writers out there write for two reasons.  

The first is that we cannot not write.  Stories just keep filling up our heads and we have to get them down on paper or go crazy.

But the real reason that I write and that I imagine other writers do, is you, the reader.  It's all done for you - and as an indie author I can tell you it's not the money - it's the thrill of talking to someone who's read one of your books or getting comments from a reader like the e mail I received today from Patty Bowman.  Patty is an excellent writer in her own right (sorry I could not resist).  She authored Valley Village Vampires - a marvelously inventive and original take on the genre of the Undead.

"Just wanted to let you know I finished "The Disappearance of Dulce and Bonita" and loved it!  I'm really liking Charlie Parker as a character and also Maria, an excellent addition and love interest for him.  I thought their shared experience of loss was a touching bond for them to share, and I actually like Charlie better with Maria than I did with Annaliese.  Totally enjoyed the mystery of the missing girls and I was particularly impressed with the resolution of it.  Didn't see that coming and I LOVED the provocative conflict.  Good stuff!  Glad Charlie's hanging out his P.I. sign and hoping there will be future Charlie stories to come.

Also love the picture on the cover, assume it was taken in Echo Park.  Your forward explaining your attachment to Echo Park and history with it floored me.  I got choked up reading it.  

Thanks again for another wonderful book!"

Thank you Patty.

Of course, there are the occasional bad reviews - even famous authors get them.  I cringed when I read a review of one of my early books that said and I quote "I bought this to get a feel of the Delta and it did that but it is so badly written I couldn't finish it. It really is very earnest but lame."

I consoled myself with the fact that the reviewer had titled his review Amature.
Maybe it was a deliberate misspelling to make a point?

I include that review because it is the worst review I ever got and it hurt.  Still it was one of my first books and I may have gotten better over the years - more polished etc.  However, when I go back and read In The Delta which is the first volume in The Delta Mysteries, I still think it's a pretty good story and introduction to characters that a lot of people seem to like.

So I just keep putting out books - for better or worse.  Not everyone will like them.  Some people will love them or at least tell me they do.  

Whichever it is - I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Whenever there is a natural disaster, and the news crews show people evacuating their homes, what are they carrying with them - aside from children and pets, of course?

Pictures - boxes and boxes of pictures.  Nowadays it's all digital, easy to store thousands of memories and carry them around on your laptop.  But the old photos are a different story.

In addition to the thousands of pictures stored on our computer, we have an entire closet devoted to photo albums that predate the age of computers and digital photography.  Someday, I often say, I will scan the photos that mean the most to me and preserve them the new and modern way.

But I will never destroy those old photographs.  It is an amazing thing to hold in my hands an ancient picture of some ancestor of mine whom I never met - some long lost great grandparent.

It is even more overwhelming to take out the pictures that show my mother as a beautiful young woman, long before my time, and my handsome young father, looking a little uncharacteristically ill-tempered at having been awakened for a photo when he was trying to get some sleep before his night shift at the paper mill in the days before he took up his life long profession as a bartender (which is the way I always saw him - dapper and charming in a white shirt and tie, serving drinks and charm in equal measure at Goodfellows or The Red Brick).

Fast forward through my youth - awkward pictures from grade school and Junior High - followed by those beautifully dated high school pictures - that make me ache with nostalgia for those wonderful, lost times.

Then suddenly - here I am as a mom with my breathtakingly beautiful baby girl and the photos that show the years racing by until she is out of high school, off to college, on to her own life.

And now I am looking back over 37 years spent with the love of my life - my husband Ingolf - here are the photos of us as friends, then lovers, on the bluff in Santa Monica, on a beach, on family holidays with my daughter and our parents.

Here we are on a houseboat in The California Delta - sometimes just us - sometimes accompanied by our parents.  And always , somewhere in the pictures are our dogs - those who passed over the Rainbow Bridge long ago.

Looking at pictures takes me back to the days when, every summer, we would pack up our car and drive cross-country, again accompanied by a changing parade of dogs, to Wisconsin where we would settle in at my mom and her husband's wonderful home on the shore of the Peshtigo River - sleeping on the porch, driving in to Marinette to eat those incredible Mickey-Lu burgers - Friday night fish fries at a variety of places like The Pines - long gone - and Shaffer Park Supper Club - another place that no longer exists  - except in our pictures.

My father who raised me and who was everything a father should be, my mother, her husbands, my husband's father - all gone now - except for their faces in those fading photographs.

Here we all are - sitting around a table on a houseboat - laughing together.  It's easy to forget the little spats and disagreements.  Or remembering, we laugh about those things - they fade into insignificance.

Here's to non digital photos and family albums - sit down with the ones you love who are still with you and share some memories.

For anyone who's interested - and I don't know who would be outside of the family - here's a little album from The Delta.
                                    Downtown Stockton Yacht Harbor before all the changes
                                Walking to Al the Wop's the back way from Walnut Grove Marina
                                                       Boon-Dox in Walnut Grove
                                                            Lost Isle with the parents
                                                         More Lost Isle with the parents
                                            Herman and Helen's - another place that is gone

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Disappearance of Dulce and Bonita - A Charlie Parker Mystery

Former DEA agent Charlie Parker is back in this sequel to The Two Way Shake.

On a downward spiral since the loss of Annaliese, Charlie is drinking too much and not doing much of anything else. The only thing that keeps him going is his last link to Annalise - the Thoroughbred Jackie Black.

When his landlady Blanca asks him to find two girls gone missing from the neighborhood, Charlie reluctantly agrees.

The quest leads him through a twisted maze of lost and abused children which ends in a rumor - There is a man, or so the story goes, with a ranch in the mountains - a man who rescues girls from the streets and takes them to a safe place.

Does the man exist?  And if he does, is he a kindly rescuer or a madman who lures girls with stories of a magical place?

As Charlie searches for the truth , he meets Maria Arroyo, a woman with her own secret past.

Together, they set out to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Dulce and Bonita. What they find is an unexpected revelation.

Just a taste - Currently doing the final proof  and anticipate publishing within the next month.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sweet Water Ranch Agua Dulce CA - Polo Pony Rescue

This is an open invitation to any horse lovers in the L.A. area who are interested in volunteering at or donating to Polo Pony Rescue located at the historic Sweet Water Ranch in Agua Dulce, CA.

This is a worthy cause which is giving many horses a second chance at life.

Check out the Facebook page for further information.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


What I Write:

I write fiction.  I have to pick a genre for my books although I find they don't really fit any of the categories.  So I choose Mystery.  That is not entirely inaccurate.  Most of my books do contain a mystery of one kind or another.  Most, alright all, do contain some element of romance although I hate to use that word because none of my books are romance novels.  So let's settle for some element of love.

I currently have three separate and unrelated series of books -

The Delta Mysteries

The L.A. Mysteries - originally subtitled The Rick Sandler/Katie O'Hara Mysteries - but that is no longer accurate for reasons which would necessitate a Spoiler Alert.

The Charlie Parker Mysteries - There is currently only one of those so it is not yet a series but is about to become one with the publication of the second book in the near future.

Several readers commented that they enjoyed the Delta Mysteries although they usually like a little more action.  I am guilty as charged.  If you want action, you should probably read the Jack Reacher Series written by Lee Childs.  Lee Childs packs more action into one chapter than I can muster the energy to pack into one whole book.

One reader of The Two Way Shake - the first book in the Charlie Parker Series - was disappointed that the story didn't focus more on horse racing.  The cover did feature the legendary mare Zenyatta, but although a few scenes are set at Santa Anita Racetrack and one of the main characters is a racing fan and owner of an off the track Thoroughbred, the book is not a book about racing.  I leave that to Steeplechase Jockey and very successful writer Dick Francis.

The title is a reference to a term in Thoroughbred racing defined as follows:
Claiming races constitute the majority of Thoroughbred races. Each horse entered in such a race is subject to sale, or claim, at the value stated in the conditions of the race. 
If more than one person wishes to claim the same horse, a random selection system is used to decide the new owner. The system is commonly referred to as a shake. 
If two people wish to claim the same horse, it is a Two Way Shake.
I liked it and used it as a title because it rather perfectly describes the interplay between the two main characters, both of them want something but only one of them is going to get what he or she wants.

I am a little concerned that the slower pace of my books could put off some readers in the go-go world of today.  James Patterson commented recently that he recommends that authors write shorter books since readers today don't have the attention span to deal with lengthier stories.

In one of Jerry Seinfeld's opening monologues, he says the following in reference to TV shows -

"It's horrible when you sense the "to be continued" coming. You know, you're watching the show. You're into the story. There's like five minutes left and suddenly you realize, "Hey, they can't make it. Timmy's still stuck in the cave. There's no way they wrap this up in five minutes". I mean the whole reason you watch a TV show is because it ends. If I want a long boring story with no point to it, I have my life."  Maybe that's how some people feel about long books.

But a story is a story - it has a beginning and an end but mostly its a middle - it's a journey.  As a writer, it is my hope that once a reader starts one of my stories, he or she wants to know what happens next - whether the journey takes two hours or two days.

If someone asked me to describe my writing, I would say it is almost entirely character driven.  In the case of The Delta Mysteries, it's Nick and Jessie and the entire Red Cloud family.  Somewhere in my own past (so I'm told) my mother's French Canadian family included Native Americans.  I am really proud of that.  And I am proud and happy to have created characters who are three dimensional, diverse, believable Native American people.

In the L.A. mysteries, the characters are mostly cops.  My background is such that my relationship with the police was always a positive.  That's not to say that there aren't some bad cops nor does it excuse good cops closing ranks around bad cops.  My writing focuses on both the personal and the professional lives of police officers and on the job they do - a job which most of us wouldn't want - a job where, on any given day, you can't be sure you'll be coming home that night.  I hope that in some small way I can illuminate what it's like to live that life.

Finally, for me, it's all about the story - not car chases and explosions.  I was a fan of Patricia Cornwall's Kay Scarpetta until, for me, the plots went over the top.

I do a lot of research, am merciless when it comes to plot holes, and try to always keep it plausible, always believable - even if some people find that too much like boring real life.

That's pretty much how I write and why.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Do a Google search for telemarketers and you will find a picture of a lovely young woman with a big smile.  She looks harmless enough.  But she and her kind are driving me insane and maybe you're on the bus to the asylum with me.

Do Telemarketers ever manage to sell anything to anyone other than the people who are addicted to the Home Shopping Network and appear to use it to fill the emptiness in their lives?

My particular favorites are the pre-recorded messages.  They don't even use a real person to harass me in my own home.  The latest is The Department of Solar Energy Efficiency or some such bullshit pseudo governmental sounding title designed to make people think they are being contacted by a real official government agency.

The caller tries to hook you by telling you that there is going to be a rate hike for electricity but if you press one now to talk to a live person (thank god, I thought I might have to talk to a dead person) you can help stop the rate increase.  If you aren't interested and wish to be removed from the call list, you are told to press three now.  Want to guess how many times I've pressed three?  But they're still calling.  They're calling multiple times a day and night.  I've finally decided I'm going to have to press one and speak to that live person.  Perhaps if my language is bad enough, they will stop calling.

Then there is that sweet real estate salesperson who tells me she just sold a house in my neighborhood.  "Congratulations" I say.  "Why are you telling me about it?"  She would love to help me sell my house.  But I'm not interested in selling my house.  She's still calling.

And once you attend any kind of play, opera or ballet, you can bet someone will call multiple times to try to sell you a subscription.  Sorry, but being bothered in my home is not going to increase my attendance.

Like all or most people, we have Caller I.D.  It doesn't just come up on our phones, it flashes on our TV screen - announcing loudly that the call is from Unavailable.  Guess what?  We're unavailable.

People that think they are going to get a new customer by constantly interrupting something we are trying to enjoy uninterrupted will never get our business.

The worst, of course, are those who call at night.  When the phone rings late, my first thought, being a pessimist by nature, is that someone I know and love has died.  When I'm finished with my response to them, they'll wish they had died.

Someone posted a wonderful suggestion for the unwanted caller - simply answer without identifying yourself and say "It's done but there's blood everywhere."  A friend of mine actually started using it.  She gets fewer uninvited calls than she used to.

Another favorite - the guy who tells me he's not selling anything but I may have won a trip to Acapulco.  Yeah, right.  Probably the place selling Mexican food over on Pacific downtown.

Some of it is more serious and amounts to illegal attempts to scam people out of money - like the guy who has been calling around hoping to encounter someone gullible enough to believe that he represents the IRS and, unless Mr. or Mrs. Gullible pays money, he or she is going to jail.  Someone should be going straight to jail and it isn't Mr. or Mrs. Gullible.

I'm not too happy with the door to door people either.  I do not need someone to help me get into heaven, or to deliver food to my door (I'm not a shut-in yet).  If I want someone to buy my junk car, clean my house or mow my lawn, I'm capable of finding them on my own.  It is a pretty simple matter to buy a No Solicitation sign and install it on your gate.  Some people will ignore it but you can always remind them that they've just broken the law by doing so.

Now if it was only possible to hang a No Solicitation sign on my phone, life would be a lot simpler.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Masa of Echo Park - And A Sneak Peek at the new Charlie Parker Mystery

The Disappearance of Dulce and Bonita is the second volume in a new series featuring former DEA agent Charlie Parker.  Charlie made his first appearance in The Two Way Shake.  At the end of that story, Charlie was adrift and damaged by the loss of the woman he loved.  His only remaining tie to that lost love is Jackie Black, an off the track Thoroughbred who is all that keeps him going.

Charlie is sidetracked from his path of self-destruction by his landlady Blanca who insists that Charlie is the right person to search for two young girls gone missing from the neighborhood. 

Charlie’s investigation into the disappearance of Dulce and Bonita leads to the discovery that they are only two in a series of disappearances – downplayed by the authorities as typical teenage runaways.

His search will lead him through the backstreets of L.A. and into a heartbreaking world of lost, damaged and forgotten children preyed upon by people who Charlie believes don’t deserve to live.

Ultimately, the truth that Charlie uncovers is completely unexpected.

There is a very personal reason that a lot of this story is set in one of my favorite L.A. neighborhoods – Echo Park.

Many years ago, when I first came to L.A. with my friend Georgie, we lived with my beloved Auntie Eva in Echo Park.  Her apartment was on the second floor above a branch of the Bank of America, just a couple of doors from the intersection of Sunset and Alvarado.  The apartment was big.  It even had a formal dining room.  All across the back was a room resembling an enclosed porch with louvered windows all across the outside wall. Georgie and I used to sit on the back steps overlooking a weed strewn empty lot.  It was not the most scenic of views but there was an undeniable charm to the area.

I left L.A. for awhile but ultimately I returned.  When we drove into town, I insisted that we get off the freeway and drive to the corner of Sunset and Alvarado.  I wanted to get out of the car and kiss the ground.  I wasn’t born here but L.A. is home and Echo Park is my special neighborhood.

The building that housed my Auntie’s apartment is long gone and sad to say, developers are taking over Echo Park.

Every time we drive down Glendale Boulevard on our way to The Pantry, there is a new multi-unit building which seems to have appeared overnight.  No matter how steep the hillside or how tiny the lot, builders are managing to cram some charmless building that is totally out of harmony with the character of the neighborhood.

People call it gentrification.  That’s a polite term for pricing out people whose families have lived there for generations. 

The area’s proximity to downtown and the jewel at its center – Echo Park itself and its beautiful lake – plus the steep hillsides with their breathtaking views of the downtown skyline are all drawing people who a few years ago would not have considered calling it home based upon a reputation for gang activity and crime.  Interestingly enough, according to the L.A. Times, the most recent figures place the crime rate as lower than nearby Silver Lake.

There are plenty of people out there who believe that the remaking of Echo Park into a neat middle class community of overpriced fancy boxes is a good thing.  I am not one of them.  I miss every little old frame or stucco home, every unique apartment building.  It’s enough to make you long for graffiti or at least, artistic street murals.

You will continue to see my Echo Park in this and future books in which I will single handedly attempt to celebrate and preserve the character of one of L.A.’s most picturesque neighborhoods.

A special reason to celebrate the neighborhood is Masa of Echo Park 1800 West Sunset Boulevard L.A. CA.  Masa is a delightful restaurant with a large and eclectic menu.  I wanted to try everything but settled for what brought me there – the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  It is simply the best deep dish pizza I’ve ever eaten and that includes the original that I enjoyed in Chicago.  Most deep dish pizza that I’ve tried in L.A. has a thick, doughy crust.  Trust me, that is not what deep dish is supposed to mean.

At Masa, the cornmeal crust is thin and crisp on the bottom and sides but with a beautiful crunchy roll of crust all along its edges.

Order as soon as you sit down because this true Chicago Deep Dish takes at least 40 minutes to bake. While we waited, we enjoyed a Guinness Stout.  With the pizza, we switched to Blonde Ale.

We were really satiated after the pie, but had to try the signature dessert - The Warm Croissant Bread Pudding made from chocolate and almond croissants in a vanilla cream custard drizzled with caramel sauce.  My review -  it’s even better than it sounds.

As if all of this isn’t enough, the staff is warm and welcoming, the place is pet friendly with outdoor tables.  It was delightful to see staff rush out with a bowl of water, a big biscuit and a rug for each doggy guest.

Wait, there’s more – this is a restaurant which is vegetarian and vegan friendly as well – with lots of choices for non- meat-eaters.

This kind of research is one of my favorite parts of writing.  Masa of Echo Park makes its first appearance in this book but I’m pretty sure Charlie is going to be spending a lot of time there in the future.

Check out the website for all details.

 And watch for updates on The Disappearance of Dulce and Bonita

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Hollywood Blues

The Hollywood Blues  - the 6th volume in the L. A. Mysteries series was published today and is available in both soft cover and Kindle Editions -

The deaths of five young women, all of whom frequent the same dance club in Hollywood, are attributed to accidental overdoses of heroin until D.A. Althea Knight gets a tip from a confidential informant. 

Althea's investigation convinces her that a serial killer is responsible. Against the odds and with little backing from her superiors, Althea puts together a team to go undercover at The 80's, the club that is the hunting ground for a killer. 

How best to catch that killer? Create a temptation that he cannot resist. 

The Law of Attraction is best stated as "Like attracts like" but, in this case, Althea gambles that lightness draws darkness like a moth to the flame.  

The enticement is a woman that Althea feels is synonymous with light - Katie O'Hara. After all, Katie was the lure for Sam Spencer - The Movie Murderer. Perhaps she can bewitch another killer into a trap. 

Katie joins forces with Augie, a self-described "cholo from East L.A." who's been working undercover too long; her fellow San Pedro Blue John "Travolta" Travers and Sheriff's Deputy Vicky Darling to undertake a mission with a deadline.  

Althea's skeptical bosses have reluctantly granted her one week to find a man that they don't believe exists although Althea and her team are sure that,in an ironic twist of fate, the killer has accelerated his timetable to coincide exactly with the night that their mission will be terminated.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I love this show and I am not alone.

When I first heard that Starz planned to air a new show about Pirates created by Michael Bay, I think I may have laughed out loud.  Pirates?

But I watched and by the end of Season One - I had a favorite character - Charles Vane - played to perfection by Zach McGowan.  How does a native of Brooklyn convince us so completely that he is a pirate? He had it all - swashbuckling good looks, a voice to die for,  sex appeal to the nth degree.

When it appeared as though he may have died at the end of the season, I was heartbroken.  But he returned in Season Two and throughout that season, I crossed my fingers that he would live to see Season Three.

Things looked so dicey in Season Three, that I did some research on the real Charles Vane and learned that he died by hanging - in Jamaica - years after the events portrayed in the show.

What a relief - I thought.  By now, Vane was the character I longed to see in every episode.

Don't get me wrong - this show is worth watching for a variety of reasons.  It is amazingly original, all of the characters are true originals - Silver, Anne Bonny, Max, Billy, Jack Rackham.  You may notice that I did not include Flint.  For me, he is the least interesting character on the show.  They could have killed him and I wouldn't have missed him for a minute.

But they didn't.  They killed Vane. I ranted.  I raved.  I was inconsolable.  I started to hate Billy for not rescuing him.  I don't care if it was a good dramatic choice to move the story forward.  I want Eleanor to die a horrible death for her part in the whole thing.

I can't remember the last time I was so upset by the death of a character.  I even google searched for fan reaction but didn't find much.  Am I alone????

I hate the writers.  I hate whoever came up with this idea.

I hate it to the point where I feel like never watching the show again.

I will, of course, because it is that good.

But it will never be the same for me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Two Way Shake - begins a new series with a new lead character

The Two Way Shake is the first book in a new series featuring Charlie "Bird" Parker.

DEA Special Investigator Charlie Parker aka Bird, a native of warm places, is bleeding all over the floor of a log cabin in the coldest place he has ever been. How did he get there?  

It begins with a low level drug dealer who trades information for a new identity, information that leads to Marty Mathison, an attorney with a talent for making and moving money for a select group of investors. 

The way to Marty is through his wife Annaliese and who better to get to her than Charlie with his solid gold reputation for never getting involved with the target of an investigation.  

But things change in a hurry when Charlie meets Annaliese. 

Before long, Charlie is running a Long Con on her, using her passion for horses and thoroughbred racing as his way in. But he will soon find out that Annaliese has an agenda all her own. 

Look for the sequel - The Disappearance of Dulce and Bonita coming in Fall 2016.

The L A Mysteries

Updating the synopsis of the L.A. Mysteries in response to a reader who asked for the order of the books:

Book 1 - The Movie Murderer

The newspapers called him “The Movie Murderer”. Like “The Hillside Strangler” or “The Night Stalker”. You know what I mean. In L.A., every psycho gets a stage name.  

In this case, it started with a very smart detective who was, among other things, a film buff, like a lot of Angelenos. He saw something that no one else saw but his theory was not taken seriously. Because of that, one of his colleagues mentioned it to a reporter from The Times, late one night after a few too many drinks in a downtown bar in a neighborhood teetering between gentrification and homelessness. 

Until then, there were just a series of killings of girls no one would miss. But once the reporter wrapped his imagination around the concept, it became news. 

Somewhere in the hills of Hollywood, the killer opened his morning copy of the L.A. Times and smiled. He had begun for his own amusement, sure no one would get the joke. He had despaired of finding a worthy adversary, or any adversary at all. But he had underestimated.  
And so the game began. 

The pawn in the game is sexy, sassy Katie O'Hara. Caught up in a passionate affair with LAPD Detective Rick Sandler, Katie unwittingly becomes the object of a killer's desire.

Book 2 - Acts of Contrition

LAPD Homicide Detective Rick Sandler and Katie O'Hara are back in this sequel to The Movie Murderer. Someone is leaving a trail of working girls strangled in motels along Sepulveda Boulevard, his signature a dark blue scarf. As Rick and John search for the killer in the Gentlemen's Clubs of the San Fernando Valley, they encounter a panoply of night people, a Russian who loves Bullwinkle the Moose, a duo of pole dancers whose act features their impersonation of The Jersey Shore's Snooki and Luscious Lily whose resemblance to Katie captivates John. 

Meanwhile, with the help of her friends, the Bravo brothers, Katie is investigating a series of suspicious suicides, tied together by a Catholic parish led by a pair of very different priests, the charismatic Father Jonas, who Katie privately believes is too attractive to be celibate, and Father Mark, an old testament cleric who believes in an eye for an eye.

Book 3 - Darkness

On Manhattan's Upper East Side, a desperate woman flees certain death, on a journey back to the only man she believes can save her. Close behind is the man dispatched to make sure she doesn't reach him. 

In L.A., Detectives Rick Sandler & John Cameron search for the serial killer stalking the massage parlors of East Hollywood, while restless and unhappy Katie O'Hara plans a houseboat getaway, seeking to recreate the passion of her early days with Rick. 

In The Delta, Sheriff's Deputies Jessie Red Cloud and Bodie McDonald welcome Rick and Katie to The Delta, unaware that they are about to become players in a drama scripted by the man called The Tracker.

Book 4 - A Blood Red Sky

The sun is just rising, painting the sky blood red in the East. It is a promise of things to come, intense heat, brush fires and death. A young husband, setting out for his morning run with his baby daughter in her three wheeled stroller, doesn’t notice. As he reaches the corner, he turns. His wife is watching them from the open doorway. She is smiling, a sleepy smile. She is beautiful in her gauzy nightgown. The next time he sees her, she will be dead, the gauzy nightgown 
soaked in her blood. 

Her's is the first in a series of unspeakably brutal killings. The man dubbed The Movie Murderer has returned to Los Angeles - his true motivation - to possess Katie O'Hara.  

And so, the game between Sam Spencer and Detective Rick Sandler begins again. But this time, it is Katie who will be Sam Spencer's nemesis.

Book 5 - The San Pedro Blues

Thirteen young women from Ukraine are smuggled into Port of Los Angeles inside a cargo container, victims of human trafficking, destined for a life of sexual slavery. Twelve of them will die at the hands of a machete wielding murderer. Only one will survive. Anichka Markovich who burns with a fierce hatred and desire for revenge. 

Rick Sandler and John Cameron, detectives in LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide division are assigned to the case. Working with U.S. Attorney Ray Manzarek and Vice Officers Angel Estrada and Roy Cooper, they search the streets of San Pedro and North Hollywood determined to find the people behind the trafficking operation, in hopes it will lead them to the killer. 

On the personal side, Katie O'Hara is now a graduate of the police academy, working as a patrol officer under the tutelage of her training officer. When she discovers that Rick has used his influence to gain her a relatively safe assignment, she puts in for a transfer and finds herself in San Pedro, a move that will irrevocably change her life. 

Katie soon falls in love with San Pedro, a very different beach town than Marina del Rey, a working class community that is home to Port of Los Angeles. After an act of heroism, she is accepted into The San Pedro Blues - a unique group of police officers - who take pride in their town and their way of policing it. 

In this case, The Blues has a deeper meaning. In referencing music, B B King says The Blues is rage and anger. 

Idiomatically, when someone experiences intense emotions, feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty, we say that person has 'The Blues'.  

In this story, almost all of the major characters, have 'The Blues' hence the title.

Coming Soon -  Book 6 - The Hollywood Blues

The San Pedro Blues are back - some of them, at least.

Katie goes undercover in a Hollywood club to find the man responsible for the deaths of five women.


I will say right up front that this did not originate with me.  I am not the author - do not know who is and will be happy to give full credit to the author if he or she comes forward - submitted for your entertainment"

Subject: Important! Please read

 Important women's health issue

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Margaritas.

Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions.

Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with Margaritas.

Margaritas may not be right for everyone.  Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Margaritas.  However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:

Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration
Erotic lustfulness
Loss of motor control
Loss of clothing
Loss of money
Loss of virginity
Attraction to the same sex
Table dancing
Dry mouth
And a desire to sing Karaoke

The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends; over and over again that you love them.

The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can Sing.

The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

If you laughed your ass off, have a margarita.  I understand they are the cure for everything.

Friday, January 22, 2016

IT'S THE PICTURES THAT GOT SMALL - Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard

Ah yes - truer words were never spoken.

What happened to movies?

Best picture nominees used to be Casablanca, Rebecca, Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Double Indemnity, Mash, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show,  Chinatown, The Conversation, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Network, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, The Deerhunter, Coming Home, Raging Bull, Gandhi, Tootsie, Terms of Endearment,  The Killing Fields,  Moonstruck, Mississippi Burning, Dances With Wolves, Unforgiven, Schindler's List, Fargo, L.A. Confidential, American Beauty, Traffic, Moulin Rouge, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds,

It's a long list but it's the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Movies used to really be "Best Pictures" - worthy of being nominated for any number of reasons, chief among them being that they would be remembered and re-watched.

No More.

2015 was another year of forcing myself to watch films seeking to be nominated, many of which were good, some of which were dull, and a few of which made me wonder why or how they got made to begin with.

It has been awhile since any film in that category was one that I would seek out to watch a second time.

As for last year's winner Birdman - I barely got through it the first time.

My most controversial opinion will probably be this one - I really enjoyed Argo.  I thought it was an entertaining, well made, well acted movie.  But BEST PICTURE????  Once was enough.  It used to be that movies like Argo got made every year - quite a few of them, in fact.  And very few of them even got a nomination.

So here we go again.  Another year of major disappointments.

It used to be that Oscar Night was so special, I told people do not call us.  We will not answer the phone.  We will stay up no matter how long the show runs.  We were excited.  We had our favorites.
They did not always win but we could see why the movie that got the award deserved it.

Now I can barely garner enough enthusiasm to turn on the show.  I will read while I wait to see who won what - although I find I don't really care anymore.

All I can say is Thank You Netflix - Showtime - HBO -Starz for giving us the entertainment of a lifetime.  There is so much great product that we don't have time to watch it all.  Too bad we can't nominate your shows for an Oscar.  Keep up the good work.
At last - finished The San Pedro Blues and published - available in soft cover or Kindle edition on Amazon - here's a taste:

Thirteen young women from Ukraine are smuggled into Port of Los Angeles inside a cargo container, victims of human trafficking, destined for a life of sexual slavery. Twelve of them will die at the hands of a machete wielding murderer. Only one will survive. Anichka Markovich who burns with a fierce hatred and desire for revenge. 

Rick Sandler and John Cameron, detectives in LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide division are assigned to the case. Working with U.S. Attorney Ray Manzarek and Vice Officers Angel Estrada and Roy Cooper, they search the streets of San Pedro and North Hollywood determined to find the people behind the trafficking operation, in hopes it will lead them to the killer. 

On the personal side, Katie O'Hara is now a graduate of the police academy, working as a patrol officer under the tutelage of her training officer. When she discovers that Rick has used his influence to gain her a relatively safe assignment, she puts in for a transfer and finds herself in San Pedro, a move that will irrevocably change her life. 

Katie soon falls in love with San Pedro, a very different beach town than Marina del Rey, a working class community that is home to Port of Los Angeles. After an act of heroism, she is accepted into The San Pedro Blues - a unique group of police officers - who take pride in their town and their way of policing it. 

In this case, The Blues has a deeper meaning. In referencing music, B B King says The Blues is rage and anger. 

Idiomatically, when someone experiences intense emotions, feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty, we say that person has 'The Blues'.  

In this story, almost all of the major characters, have 'The Blues' hence the title.