New Author Webpage

Meanderings and Muses isn't going anywhere.


I do have a new webpage which will focus mostly on my writing.

If you're interested in reading more about my books, anthologies, and events, please click over to

There are a few videos of me reading from "Whimsey: A Novel," and from other favorite authors' work.

With more videos still to come.

The new page is a work in progress with plans for still more to come
- I'm just still trying to figure out exactly what that might be -
so check back from time to time, please.

See you there!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

"Oh, Kaye!"

okeey doke, my friends -

'tis the first Sunday of the month and you know what that means.

I get to play as "Oh, Kaye!" at Jungle Red.

So scoot on over there by clicking right here and we'll chat about me being "Bouchercon Bound."

Any of you planning on being in Raleigh next week for this wonderful annual event??

Friday, October 2, 2015

Guns - Oh, GOD, How I Hate Them

The NRA, while once a reasonable voice regarding responsible gun ownership, is now nothing more than an evil entity fighting tooth and nail to boost profits for gun manufacturers.  Only my opinion, of course.  But no one's ever going to change it - don't bother trying.  I've already heard all the arguments.  They make me weary.  They're bullshit.

They're also, in my opinion, lining a lot of pockets buying votes to that end.  How many people now running for office are talking about the epidemic of mass shootings in this country?  
I want to hear what they've got to say. 

I want to hear a whole lot more than "our prayers are with the families of the slain."

And before any of you start shouting about the second amendment, I'm just going to say how very tired I am of so many leaving out a vital part of it while spouting off about the right of the people to keep and bear arms.  What on earth does carrying a gun when you're out taking a walk in nature,  or going to a movie, or going to a grocery store, a restaurant or a school  have to do with a well-regulated militia?!  Tell me, please.  It does say, after all,  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

You know those nights when you know there's no use in even closing your eyes? When you're sad, angry, frustrated about how things are but know there's just not much you can do to change them.  I had one of those last night.  I'm sure many of us did.

But as sad and angry and frustrated as we were, can you even begin to imagine how the parents and the loved ones of those killed and injured in yesterday's shooting felt?

Guns. I can remember when I really didn't give them much thought. You know, like liver and onions.  They were just part of the world out there that just didn't infringe on or even nudge into my own world.  They were just "there."  Something a little distasteful, but I didn't have to waste any energy thinking about them.  Now? Now I loathe the very thought of them. I don't much see that feeling ever changing.

Throw your best arguments at me.  They're not going to touch me.  My eyes will finally just glaze over because the weight of all the words - NOT the justification you think is behind them - will have me walking away.  The arguments are all worthless until this country actually does something to stop the violence that we do NOT see in other countries.  Sorry.  Worthless.  Just.  Worthless.

Tell it all to the mothers and fathers of the murdered children.

They won't thank you for the logical arguments.

Tell me what other country is comprised of citizens who shoot one another sitting in a movie theater.  

In a school?

We have become a country of barbarians.  Ruled by a governing body that does not care, as long as they can line their own pockets with blood money from the NRA.

Is our next step going to be issuing guns to newborns?  Prepare them to live in a culture ruled by guns?

Oh yes - I know there are kind, decent, loving people here.  I know them.  I love them.

But there's a whole element of people who have joined the less civilized amongst us and have to strap on a gun before going on a walk, to a movie, the grocery store, a restaurant.  A school.


For protection you say?


From those other people who also strapped on a gun to go for a walk, to a movie, the grocery store, a restaurant.  A school.

How do you tell the good guys carrying a gun from the bad guys carrying a gun?

Which one means harm? 

Which one means to gun us all down?

Do we also don a hat as we walk out the door with our guns?  White for the good guys - Black for the bad guys?

We've become a society where some people actually believe they can't leave the house without their gun.  

For protection.

God help us.

A sad spot to be #1, but . . . there we are USA





Note: don't waste your time and energy in leaving a comment containing your argument against anything I've said in this particular piece. I retain the right as owner of this blog to pick and choose what goes in it. If you don't like it, write your own blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Celebration of the Magic of Dragonflies

    A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, suborder Anisoptera. Adult dragonflies are characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, sometimes with coloured patches, and an elongated body.Wikipedia
    Scientific nameAnisoptera

Seems such a shame to think of a dragonfly as just an insect.

They're magical, and so, so beautiful.

Honestly, I haven't been lucky enough to see many dragonflies until only very recently.

Dragonfly season was apparently in full season while we were at Topsail Island and while sitting on our deck we seemed to have been directly in their migratory path, so we saw a LOT of dragonflies.

I tried and tried to get a picture, but they're just too quick.

When one of two did grace me with a brief hovering appearance, I was too slow, or my camera was just out of reach.

My mother would have loved it.

She was a lover of dragonflies.

She had quite a few pieces of dragonfly jewelry.

Some of which I recently sent to friends and family members who I knew would appreciate the significance.

I kept a few pieces for myself.

After we had returned to Boone, Donald found this wonderful little snippet and posted it to my Facebook wall.

How lovely is that?!

I am now convinced that one of those dragonflies was carrying my mom - flying by to say "Hey!"

And, by golly, she brought a whole lot of friends along with her.

My dad, for sure.

And probably my Aunt Belle, Michael Dean . . . .

and oh so many much loved and dearly missed family and friends.

This brave soul stopped by for a visit with Donald one morning while I was still sleeping and stuck around long enough for a picture.

Thank you - whoever you were

"Dragonfly" by Susan Elliott

And now, I think it just might be time for me to pull out my pens and coloring pencils and make some of my very own dragonfly art.  Wish me luck!

And the next time you're lucky enough to see a dragonfly, be sure and let them know how much you appreciate them flying by - you just never know who it might be coming to check on you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Books, Authors, Essays

I love to talk about  books.

I love to share favorite books and authors with others who might not have discovered them yet, and, in turn, I love learning about them.

One of the people I learn from is Lesa Holstine.

If you're one of the last people on God's green earth to hear about Lesa and her marvelous blog - here's a link:  -  jump on over there!

Lesa and I seem to enjoy many of the same authors and books and have shared names and titles over the years.

The latest "share" I got from her was Rick Bragg's "My Southern Journey."

Now, I have read some of his work before, and love it.  But I don't think I was really prepared for how much his essays would touch me.

I have gone back and re-read the introduction he wrote for this book a half a dozen times.  With more to come, I'm sure.

And I learned something new about Lesa during the Rick Bragg conversation at her blog.

She loves essays for comfort reading.

And so do I.

I write them for that very same reason.  Essays have long been my first writing love.

There have been periods of time when I just simply have not had enough sense to read a novel.

These have been periods of stress when I've been concerned about loved ones and can't seem to hold a thought in my head for long without worries nudging it aside.

And there are times when I've been sitting on a deck, or on the beach, watching the waves and all I want is a little literary comfort to go along with the peace I'm feeling.

Rick Bragg's "My Southern Journey" is a book I'll add to my already fairly substantial pile of "essay comfort."

The pile, off the top of my head, includes:

Anne Morrow Lindberg's "Gift From the Sea"

Joan Anderson's "A Year By the Sea" and "A Walk on the Beach"

Mary Oliver's "Long Life: Essays and Other Writings" (and all her poetry)

May Sarton's "The House by the Sea" and "Journal of a Solitude"

Anything by Anne Lamott and Anna Quindlen

and finally -

Pat Conroy's "The Reading Life", and his cookbook.  Yes.  His cookbook.  It's not just a cookbook (although it can stand alone as one that cooks and cookbook aficionados would love. It's full of some of the most delicious essays written with the pure poetry that you would expect from this master.

If you're also a lover of essays, I'd love if you would share some of your favorites with me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

RIP Bronson L. "Bo" Parker

I have just heard about the death of Bronson Parker, known to many of us as "Bo." My heart is broken. Bo contributed many thought provoking pieces to Meanderings and Muses over the years. He was there from the beginning. He was always, ALWAYS, in my corner - even when I didn't deserve him there. He was always available as a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader when things went well and always someone to discuss books and authors with. We shared a love of many of the same authors and finally got to meet up face to face a few years ago in Raleigh when Don and I went to one of Margaret Maron's book launch/signings at Quail Ridge Books. Bo published his PROVIDENCE OF DEATH in 2010, and the 2nd in the series, THE WEIGHT OF EMPTINESS, published just this past June. RIP Bo, I will miss you, my friend.

In Celebration of Dreams and Magic and Glitter and All Things Sparkly ! ! !

If you're a stealer of dreams you are kindly asked to move along.

Close out this page, please

and just move along.

This is not the spot for you.

We ALL know people who cannot, for the life of what they hold dear, give a compliment.  It just seems to stick somewhere deep down inside and it's not going to come out.  No matter what.  They even profess to love you to bits - but tell you your hair looks nice?  That they love your cute new little dress?  Or kick ass new shoes?  Pfft!  Don't wait on it.  You know who they are, easy to figure out after all, so just ignore them

We all know people who love you when you're down and out - can't wait to lend you a helping hand.  But when you're on top of the world?  Not so much.

Sad souls when you get right down to it, and you have to kinda pity them.

Thing is, I hate pitiful people.

And negative people suck the life out of me.

I came here today to talk about how much I dislike negativity, but first I did a search and it would appear that I've written several pieces here at about that very subject.

Hmmmm, methinks this could possibly be a topic I just "might" be a wee bit obsessed with . . . 

Oh, well.

'tis a worthy obsession.


Since I've done it.

To Death

I decided to dedicate this particular post to all things sparkly.

And what better way to do that than through some fun little sparkly memes.

I do love a good meme.

They're usually trite,

but some are also quite true.

Enjoy and take them for what they're worth

Celebrate the Sparkle!

And, speaking of dreams and magic,  here's a couple of books I recommend -

The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams by Frederic Clement

Everything by Sarah Addison Allen

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Those are only the books that popped immediately to mind.  I'll add more as I think of them.

Here's to Magic!

And to Dreams!