Category Archives: General

Cozumel, Day 8

Again, I spend considerable time in jail. Griffin’s thrilled with my capture—repeatedly. He is judge and jury, it seems.

It’s laundry time, and after studying the machine, I ask Kat to check and make sure I’m interpreting the Spanish controls correctly. Fortunately, I am, so we get that going.

JR and Griffin having some screen time. Photo by Kat.

Reading time for me. It’s overcast, breezy, and just fine for sitting out on the patio. If I look up, I see bits of the gulf, a boat flying by through the trees. The grackles come to drink and shower.

Time to hang the laundry, so BW fetches coat hangers from upstairs. We use the rungs of the chaise umbrellas, and the rail on one of the second floor terraces. A nice, bright sun now, so it shouldn’t take too long.

Why not make a pitcher of margaritas?

I read some more, enjoy that margarita, deal with some email. Inside Kayla, Colt and JR are playing three-handed hearts. Jason has some work and uses the quiet second house for it. Kat gets pulled into the game to make it four-handed. For awhile, I enjoy rounding the table to look at everyone’s hand.

I substitute for Kat a few hands while she tends to Griffin. Kayla immediately runs them—and very skillfully. I do more jail time. Locked in jail, Griffin says, gleefully.

Why only me? I wonder.

The incredibly long game of Hearts comes to an end, Jason’s returned, so we consider dinner—where to go. Jason’s found another restaurant in town, so we’ll try that.

Clean up, clean ourselves up and off we go. Colt rides with us this time, and as with Kayla, Griffin has a fine time with him.

This little place is across the road from the gulf, but you can still see it—and those HUGE cruise ships. Colt and I are going to split a flank steak, but it turns out they have chicken strips, so the steak will be mine alone.

Margarita portrait by Nora.

This is a small operation with a semi-open kitchen. I like watching the cooks—and the server works in there, too. Chips, salsa and drinks to sustain us while they work.

Airy decor. Photo by Nora.

We have a loose plan for the upcoming days. JR will practice snorkeling, see if he enjoys it. We’ll book a snorkeling trip for either Monday or Tuesday. There’s a small water park near here, so that will serve on the alternate day. Griffin’s all about that one.

Wednesday for a group shopping trip.

On vacation, loose plans work best.

Food comes out and the servings are as big as the cruise ships.

I barely make a dent in my steak, but it’s wonderful. Kayla says the same about her nachos. As far as I can see, others made serious dents, so we head out full and happy.

Masive steak. Photo by Nora.

There are chases and jail time. But no jail time for Nana! Tonight, it’s JR, Kayla and Colt who are pursued and incarcerated as Griffin is again arresting officer, judge, jury and now occasionally cage door. He detains them in the alcove outside Logan’s room with his sturdy little body.

New prisoners. Photo by Nora.

They’re finally released.

For Poker Night.

Logan wants Texas Hold ‘em only, but is overruled by the majority. It will be dealer’s choice.

Once again, Jason wins the first hand, and it’s a rich pot.

JR holds his own, Colt is losing fast. I win a couple of very nice ones—and Jason’s luck continues. For the last hand, Kat proposes a Pong Family style of five-card draw. You get to draw twice, deuces, One-Eyed Jacks and Suicide Kings are wild.

The pot is beyond rich, Kayla, down to her last chips, has to go all in to call. And wins it on four of a kind.

Raking it in. Photo by Nora.

She and Jason are definitely the big winners, but I am not displeased as I again leave with more than I put in (in fake money).

A fun family night, and bed time calls.

A hot one this morning. Rumor is Logan will make pancakes.

Going to gear up and workout, then we’ll see about that.


Payback in Death cover reveal

Payback in Death will be in stores September 5. Here’s the first look at the cover, and the description.

Lt. Eve Dallas is just home from a long overdue vacation when she responds to a call of an unattended death. The victim is Martin Greenleaf, retired Internal Affairs Captain.

At first glance, the scene appears to be suicide, but the closer Eve examines the body, the more suspicious she becomes.

An unlocked open window, a loving wife and family, a too-perfect suicide note—Eve’s gut says it’s a homicide. After all, Greenleaf put a lot of dirty cops away during his forty-seven years in Internal Affairs. It could very well be payback—and she will not rest until the case is closed.

You can pre-order Payback at these retailers. Please note, Audible pre-orders are found in the Amazon link.

Turn the Page:
Apple Books:
Google Play:


Desperation in Death Teasers

We’re three days away from Desperation in Death arriving on shelves, to your house by mail or to your e-reader by magic, so that means it’s time for a few teasers. Not spoilers, just a few little things to notice as you read.

Usually I have some ideas of what will work as teasers when I first read an in Death — in this case, January. But this is a case that is worked in fewer than five days. There’s a lot pushing Eve in Desperation from every direction. Even scenes that lighten the mood momentarily could spoil the experience.

Here’s the official cover copy:

As Desperation opens, two girls plot to escape The Pleasure Academy – a place of living nightmares.  Dorian, a thirteen-year-old runaway might never have made it out if not for her fellow inmate Mina, who’d hatched the escape plan. Mina may have been the more daring of the two—but they’d been equally desperate.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get away fast enough. Now Dorian, injured, terrified, wanders the streets of New York.  Mina lies dead near the waterfront while Lt. Eve Dallas looks over the scene.

Mina’s expensive, elegant clothes and beauty products convince Dallas  she was being groomed, literally and figuratively, for sex trafficking—and that whoever is investing in this high-overhead operation expects windfall profits. Roarke worries about the effect this case is having on Dallas, as it brings a rage to the surface she can barely control. No matter what, she must keep her head clear–because above all, she’s desperate for justice and to take down those who prey on and torment the innocent.

In the end, I decided that it would be best to share some questions I pondered during the read and reread. Next time I may go back to riddles, or in a real challenge, haikus.

  • There’s a person who DOESN’T know Eve from the vid?
  • Should I rename my bras? (you’ll see)
  • Who would you choose as the next cop to step up for an an exam?
  • Is Roarke allowed to apply Master of all He Surveys practices to work the Marriage Rules?
  • Who knew our favorite entrepreneur carried warm weather gear?
  • Who would come out on top if Eve and Mavis ever really had a fight?
  • Nannies can come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Finally, in a departure, my favorite line: “Uh-oh. Mom’s home.”

I’ll open the discussion thread early on Tuesday, so you can discuss any and all thoughts there.


Recovery, rest and a REALLY annoying puzzle

I thought it was time to change things up and post an update from the CP, instead of Nora.

I’m nearly six weeks out from hip replacement and will honestly say the hip is doing great. (My right knee — the first site of arthritis — doesn’t like things right now, but PT and massage and ice/heat help in that respect.) The surgeon’s office said I could leave the cane at home 10 days ago (and honestly, I was carrying it most of the time). There are a few restrictions and I try to be careful about weather and walking outside.

Back in the fall, Nora proposed a smaller girls’ trip to the spa for a respite from winter and life. Once I ascertained games would play NO part in the spa week, I was in. So last Sunday, Nora, JoAnne and I set out west to Nemacolin.

It was a pretty simple plan: some treatments, room service meals and time to chill. Plus, maybe construct a puzzle or two.

Those first three things fell into place nicely. That last one? Nearly broke our will to live.

On Sunday night, Nora asked us to choose which puzzle to do first.


JoAnne and I opted for the cheerful, colorful, spring-like cupcakes. We soon learned that was a front for the depths of hell.

Monday evening before dinner we poured out the pieces then commenced the search for the edges, dividing the rest among colors. Since there are four yellow cupcakes, five red/pink ones, two greens dividing into color was the first exercise in frustration.

At one point, one of us noticed there were letters on the back of the pieces, but we thought using them would be “cheating.”

Poor, deluded puzzlers.

Four hours in, JoAnne looked at the instructions: divide into letters. 🤦‍♀️

Honestly, it still didn’t help.

I decided to gather the purple pieces – there was only one purple cupcake. Which should have helped, but really didn’t.

The pieces were either horizontal or vertical IDENTICAL SHAPES so a piece could fit in one of many places.

And let’s add that the clear photo on the box did not translate into the magnification to make the puzzle.

The fates were stacked against us. Nora, as you’ve learned from other puzzle sagas, is not one to leave a puzzle undone so we were all bound to finish.

The puzzle mat, the extra working pads took over the dining room table. We’ve eaten off the catering table every night. The housekeepers, the butlers, the room service people all got caught up in the excitement of watching the puzzle grow.

“Look how far you’ve gotten!”

“The colors are so pretty!”

They cheered us on every step of the way. We met their enthusiasm with jaundiced expressions.

It took two days to get the purple cupcake finished.

Fortunately we had those services to get us out of the room. Nora worked every morning and got a nice chunk of vacation pages done. JoAnne and I got some reading done. I snapped some photos.

On Thursday afternoon we had a paint class. I just wanted to play with colors that would bow to my expectations. Nora and Jo found a pretty tropical scene they loved. We all walked out of the studio happy.

See? Colors CAN make you happy!

And yet, we kept heading back to the dining room table, determined to beat that puzzle into submission. On Thursday morning – day FOUR – I finally realized the letters had to go from top to bottom. That key helped for about 5 minutes because the pieces STILL fit in more than one place.

You know it’s bad when Nora threatened to take a scissor to pieces just to get them to fit. She took to calling it The Puzzle of Satan.

I referred to it as that F-ing Puzzle. I’d have a massage and the therapist would ask what I had planned for the rest of the day and all relaxation would flee as I explained the puzzle and it’s hold on us. I kept saying “at least I didn’t buy this one.” And I believe at one point I said it was worse than playing games. All true.

We persevered. Until we reached our limit and just left pieces where they fit, picture be damned.

Seriously, DO NOT mention that some pieces seem out of place.

We finished on Friday afternoon and left the puzzle in place so our cheerleaders could see the finished product. Tonight we may take it apart and safely burn it. Or not.

In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the last few hours of relaxation (or is it really the ONLY few?) before it’s time to head home.

On a different note, I must offer a correction: Nora challenged me to a dance-off at the May Girls Spa Week when she shared that my surgery went well. In her excitement that it was finally done, she forgot that I will not attend Girls Spa this year as I’ll be playing the role of Mother of the Groom that week. So I’ll dance, but not for any scoreboard. 💃

That’s all for now! I have to cram in that last bit of relaxation.


Forgotten in Death excerpt

A little surprise on this Tuesday morning — the Forgotten in Death excerpt!

The body was left in a dumpster like so much trash, the victim a woman of no fixed address, known for offering paper flowers in return for spare change–and for keeping the cops informed of any infractions she witnessed on the street. But the notebook where she scribbled her intel is nowhere to be found.

Then Eve is summoned away to a nearby building site to view more remains–in this case decades old, adorned with gold jewelry and fine clothing–unearthed by recent construction work. She isn’t happy when she realizes that the scene of the crime belongs to her husband, Roarke–not that it should surprise her, since the Irish billionaire owns a good chunk of New York. Now Eve must enter a complex world of real estate development, family history, shady deals, and shocking secrets to find justice for two women whose lives were thrown away…

Forgotten in Death is out September 7. You’ll find the excerpt here: Chapter One.

EDITED TO ADD on August 31: As a little surprise, here’s a small peek at Chapter Two.


The adventures of a cranky publicist

Well dear readers, I won’t bury the lede:

Elaine played a triple word score on the third play and never looked back.

The final score was 323-235.

Oh look! I just played bilker and tripled my score!

My luck with letters vanished. The last four pulls from the bag gave me seven vowels. Elaine pretended sympathy, but I sensed her delight in finding her ground on the Scrabble board. Fortunately I still like Elaine. And I was relieved of the stresses of winning.

Before a certain NYT best-selling author gives you her side of the story, I’d like to share a few pertinent details.

We stayed in a private house (called Arden Estate) on the Nemacolin property instead of the fifth floor of the Chateau. While everyone in the house had been vaccinated, we opted to keep the house reservation as a cautious way to return to travel.

It’s a huge house with decks running on two levels on the back, providing gorgeous views of the Laurel Highlands. With six bedrooms, a huge dining area, an even huge-r deck with picnic table, a game room, a pool table, fireplaces, two hot tubs, Arden offered enough to do, enough space to sit and read or talk, that you didn’t even need to leave for spa treatments. (Though everyone did at least one.)

Just a portion of the lower deck.
The view from the dining area.

BTW, in the fall of 2020, the most recent season of The Bachelor was filmed entirely at Nemacolin. The resort was closed to guests for two months, all employees of the resort who worked during that time as well as the entire cast and crew were sequestered on the property and subject to two Covid tests per week.

Arden was used for group dates and one-on-one interviews in front of the fireplace. I’m not a fan of the show, but it was a conversation starter with everyone I met. And it seems to be a lure for visitors to the resort now that spring has arrived.

Oh, the one thing I DID know was our friend Claire Hardy created the vivid, engaging rose paintings that were visible on the show. Nora owns several of Claire’s pieces and she had a show at Gifts Inn BoonsBoro in March 2020.

While I mentally (and maybe somewhat vocally) bemoaned the Stupid Scoreboard, I firmly put my foot down about playing Hearts with Kayla. “That,” I said grandly, “is a Greenbrier activity.”

Shows me what I know. My plan was to bed by 10:30 on the first night, but as I was about to say goodnight, Kat had to go downstairs to Griffin and I was dragooned into sitting in her place in a game of — you guessed it — Hearts. I proceeded to tank on purpose, but still didn’t get to bed until 11:30. Sigh.

On the positive side of the Stupid Scoreboard tally, we bowled with the Ninendo Switch instead of the Wii. Turns out I have mad skills bowling with the left Switch remote in the right hand.

The time Laura entertained Griffin by bowling with both hands. Please note the strikes.

Eventually I helped the group learn that six strikes in a row are called a six-pack. Unfortunately, my talents only showed up for exhibitions to delight Griffin who chortled whenever anyone bowled a strike.

Overall, the days were lovely. Forecasted cold weather and rain never materialized. We had enough room on the decks to take in the magnificent sunsets (instead of crowding at a hotel window).


Even though it’s not everyone’s idea of a vacation, I really wanted to get my hands on the grill on one deck and make dinner for everyone. (I enjoy cooking for larger groups and it’s been a long, long time.) The group was all in so Kayla and I went out to buy chicken and vegetables and the ingredients for Nora’s Roasted Potatoes.

Since everyone will ask: Nora took the boatload of Yukon gold potatoes I bought her, washed them, quartered them, coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped garlic and rosemary. Put them in a 375 oven for 30 minutes, then took out of the oven and stirred them so nothing stuck to the pan. Then she rechecked/stirred them every 15 minutes until they were done.
When I’ve made them, I use Yukon Gold baby potatoes, do the same oil/spice thing, then start the stirring at 15 minutes instead of 30, since they cook faster.

I needed a tenderizer to get the chicken breasts around the same thickness. In the perfect example of #RandomKatness, she went out and found a rock for my approval. Then she washed it and covered with foil. And it was perfect fit for my hand, weight for the job.

Actually everything was pretty perfect. I grilled asparagus with lemon, broccoli, cauliflower while Nicole prepped portobello mushrooms stuffed with zuchini, squash and mozzerella.

Dinner time

Praise all around for our family meal. And we had leftovers for days.

As for the rest of our time away?

We painted.

Down the road a piece.

Went for walks.

Fireworks at sunset

Watched a surprise fireworks display.

Pat and Nora in the sunshine.

And took the time to catch up in person, rather than a monthly Zoom call.

Nora captures the magic of friendship and girl power far better than I do, so I’ll let her give you a fuller picture in her own post.

All I can say is it was a wonderful, restorative week away…

Until JoAnne screamed.

But that’s a story for next time.