Friday, June 24, 2022

At Last:

 I know I have been silent on this blog for quite a while, but two big things were going on: My publisher was putting together a promotion video for my new book, and I was posting events of the Sao Joao Festival in Braga on Facebook. Quite a festival - 10 days - and quite a video. I'll share the festival posts later, but here is the video. Please do watch. I'm thrilled with it.

Let me know what you think. 

PS: I would welcome opportunities to guest post and have interviews if anyone is interest.

Monday, May 2, 2022

My Own Cozy News

 My other news is that my new cozy, Deadly Verse, will be released in June. The build up begins this month, but my publisher told me to feel free about splashing the cover around, so here you are:

Who is this man dressed up in Renaissance garb who looks like he is winking? Luís Vaz de Camões, a Portuguese renaissance poet and some say Portugal's greatest poet, who is famous for  Os Lusíadas, his  epic poem about Vasco da Gama's voyage to India. 

Why does he look like he's winking? He lost an eye when, as a soldier, he fought the Moors. As was not uncommon, back in the day, he was a soldier and wrote poetry. His sonnets are considered on a par with Shakespeare's, Dante's, etc.

What does Camões have to do with a cozy mystery? Well, someone in Braga, Portugal, claims to have an original manuscript of one of his sonnets, possession of which leaves a trail of death. And, you guessed it: Carla is a suspect. 

How the heck do you pronounce Camões? Hah! When the book comes out, you'll have to read it to find out. 😊

Gave you read any cozies lately? If you do enjoy cozies, do you prefer mysteries with a travel angle? Historic? Contemporary?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Another Book Review for Those Who Like Cozy Mysteries: Birthdays Are Murder

 I'm an afficianado of cozy mysteries, which is why I write them instead of thrillers or suspense, etc. So recently I read this delightful cozy by Cindy Sample, Birthdays Are Murder:

It’s always fun to discover a mystery full of both suspense and humor, which is why I like Cindy Sample's earlier "Dying" series. (Dying for a Double, Dying for a Daquiri, etc.) In the first book of her new mystery series set in Spindrift Cove, Birthdays Are Murder, Sample offers ample doses of both.

Protagonist Sierra Sullivan, aging actress and longtime widow, has moved to Spindrift Cove a small coastal town in the Pacific Northwest, to be near her married daughter. Formerly a cruise ship director who sang and danced in productions at sea, Sierra has taken a gig performing at a children’s birthday party to make ends meet. After the party, still in costume, Sierra discovers the body of the host. Soon after, Sierra discovers she is a prime suspect. To make matters worse, her daughter works for the police department. To make matters even worse, a new corpse turns up while Sierra is sneakily trying to find out who killed the first one.

It is hard to say more about this delightful book without dropping spoilers at every turn. And there are turns aplenty, as well as a colorful and well-rounded cast of characters. An added bonus is the wry humor that permeates Sierra’s observations as she tries to track down the killer without becoming the next victim herself.

You can get a copy of Sample's book HERE  . It's available in Kindle and in paperback.


I am hoping to get an interview with her later, but you can learn more about her on her WEBSITE

In a future post I have news about a cozy of my own that is going to be published in June. Stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, how is your own reading going? Do you have any cozies to recommend? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

So Here is What Has Been Happening . . . .

Dear friends:
So here is what has been happening that has kept us so busy: Difficult and wrenching as the decision is, we are going to move back to Sacramento in August. We LOVE Portugal. Living here has been a wonderful experience. And we love our friends here. If we were only feeling homesickness (and we do, despite how much we love it here), we would stay.
But we have to be honest with ourselves and our capacity to become truly proficient in the language. We are making progress and MAY become conversationally fluent (we plan to keep learning Portuguese.) But we probably never will be proficient enough to read through documents and papers and forms without hours and hours of translation efforts, and even then we may not get it right. (After 13months, we still are not able to fully use our oven; and we can’t make head or tale of the customs forms – I have lost a birthday present and a book by clicking the wrong information.)
What daunts us, though, is the future: We are having a great time now, because the two of us can share everything. The day will come when there is only one of us and having to navigate everything alone in a sea of not understanding is scary. The medical care we have received is outstanding. We have only used private health insurance and a private hospital so far, because our SNS (national health) clinic and the SNS hospital are a good distance from our flat. But the hospital we go to doesn’t perform major operations, deferring cardiac surgery, for example, to a hospital in Porto. (Rajan does have a cardiac condition.) SNS may do the surgeries that could come up, but eventually, one or both of us will not be able to drive. In emergencies that require an ambulance that whisk a patient off to the hills or another town, one’s spouse is not able to ride in the ambulance. Visits to the patient would be problematic.
We know friends would help if they could – but they have parents and relatives of their own they to take to doctor appointments, hospitals, visitations, etc., all around a full work week with long hours. They are not retired.
If we were about 20 years younger, with time to become throughly immersed in the language and the system, assuming we could figure out the transportation part when frail, we would risk staying; I can’t stress enough what a high point in our lives it has been to be here. But we are not 20 years younger. That's the reality.
On another note, my next book will be coming out soon, which I’ll save for a later post. The publisher sent me a mock up of the cover, which I love, but I'll wait for the cover reveal.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting a lot about our beloved Braga and Galicia for the remainder of our time here. This is the season of fiestas and festivals in both places. No pictures today, but there will be soon.

Friday, April 1, 2022


 I don't mean to be unsociable, but a lot is happening right now. Good stuff, but a lot. See you soon. 

Monday, March 14, 2022




Hello dear friends. I hope this post finds you well.

We are back in Braga; we returned a week ago Sunday. Once home, we were busy finding out how to send donated goods to the Ukrainians, and two of our friends were able to send us a contact organization and pick-up locations. (Citywide, there are several collection points for hygenic goods, food, and other supplies being taken to Ukraine and border countries. So then we were busy shopping and dropping off things.)  I also was trying to find an icon to show support for the Ukrainians. My friend Isabel in Galicia had put the image with the dove in her profile picture and told me to feel free to use it for my own. And so, I pass this on to you. I also pass on the "frame" (the little flag) to show support, supplied by my friend Carla in Braga: (The sunflower was from my collection of pictures my husband shoots, and then the little flag came from Carla's frame.) 

In Braga, the organization that is collecting is SOS Ucrânia. I know things are going on in other countries as well. It is good to do whatever one can do, no matter how small. Everything will make a difference to someone. And, as the men (and many women) stay to fight, it will give them courage to know loved ones, children, elders, are in safe hands. 

Flowers always lift my spirit, and the gardens along Avenida da Liberdade are so vibrant right now with color! I don't know who plans the gardens in Braga, but they are works of art. Here are some more flowers for you this Monday morning. Hopefully they can replenish your spirit with a similar urge to keep blooming in these troublesome times. Enjoy!

How about you? Is there an organization in or near your town that can help? 

And, as for flowers, do you have a favorite flower? I have always loved (not necessarily in this order) sunflowers, lilacs, daffodils, tulips, roses, peonies, irises . . . .


Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 Yesterday we went to Trasulfe, the village where we had our house for 16 years, almost 17. We wanted to meet the new owners of our house, and we enjoyed them so much. They love the house as much as we did, which is exactly the kind of persons we wanted to move into it. 
From the galería window, the scene was ever changing, due to the configuration of the land—all hills and dales. Cloud cover would drift down, then lift, then roll against slopes like ocean waves. You could sit at the window for hours and watch it constantly shift.


Oh, the memories!


Many of our neighbors in the village are gone now. (I have written a poetry chapbook about our years spent in the area—on extended trips. We never did live there.) Everytime we go to Galicia, we do take a day to visit the village. So many of our neighbors are gone, and the health of the ones in this photo has become frail. We used to have these three wonderful neighbors over to the house for "meriendas" (snacks) a day or two before returning to Sacramento. In this picture, don't be mislead by the soft-drink bottles. They held home-made wine!

How about you? Do you have a special place that you return to again and again? Have you had home-made wine? Are you mesmerized by ever-changing scenery?