Wednesday, August 5, 2015


 Q) Do you own a cat? The Black Cat Blog wants proof (a picture).
No, sorry. I'm allergic to cats.
My poor husband is allergic, too.
However, he did marry a veterinarian and three-legged Charlie is our cat.
(He's MY cat whenever he is naughty, I'm afraid. haha)

Q) WORST life advice you ever received.
The worst thing someone can say to me is – you can't do that. I have to prove them wrong.
***Ann here: I agree with you on that. I'd have to prove them wrong, too.***

(Q) BEST life advice you ever received.
A favorite Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Welch, taught me to question everything, even the religion I was studying with her.
Sounds like a good teacher.
Here's some more good advice.

Q) Please share a picture of your favorite shoes.
I love shoes, and picking a favorite was hard. You don't mind that I photographed them with my books. J

I love a wedge, especially a pink wedge, and in the winter, boots!
Q) What's your favorite Disney film? (We are watching Maleficent right now.)
John Carter, was panned by moviegoers and critics, but I loved it!
***Ann here: I keep hearing this title. Now I'm convinced I'd better check it out. I don't have any idea what it's even about. Plus, I often don't agree with critics.***

Q) How many years did you live in Alaska?
Only four, I sometimes wish I'd never left, but I wanted to finish my education. I met my husband in the process. He's a hot weather guy so we moved to Washington State as a compromise and lived there for 17 years. I love Washington as much as Alaska. Now we're back in Pennsylvania.

Q) What's your favorite part about living in Alaska? What's your least favorite part? It sounds both exciting and difficult.
I was young and full of the "I can do anything" spirit. I fell in love with the scenery, the openness, and the people. No one was a stranger. I hitchhiked for the first time, always with a male friend. I learned the importance of the Alaska perfume - Bug Off. I learned to fly fish, and became an excellent shot. I hiked the Brooks Range and the Alaska Range, and enjoyed grayling and salmon direct from the stream to the skillet or oven. Alaska was magical.
I guess the worst was having to use the outhouse in the bitter cold. No thank you, I moved from my first place, a brand new A-frame cabin with no plumbing to an efficiency apartment that had a large warm bathroom, small kitchen with running water. I don't mind roughing it on hikes into the mountains, but I love a hot shower in the morning and a warm seat too!J
Q) How did you survive being stranded alone on a mountain at 30 below?
To be honest I panicked, and ended up with mild hypothermia. My little car made it over the mountains to Clear Air Force Base, 80 miles south of Fairbanks. I was helping a friend move, but on the way back, when I was alone, the car was just too light. On the mountain it kept sliding backward, no matter what gear, I put it in, and no, I didn't have chains. The road was nothing but ice. Even before this happened I was cold because my car's engine couldn't produce enough heat to keep the windshield clear let alone heat the interior. I had to scrape ice off the inside of the window while driving. It was a foolish idea to make the trip in the first place, especially in that little car, but I did.

My car ended up sideways in the middle of the highway on a mountainside. It wouldn't go forward, and I panicked as it kept sliding backwards. I wasn't in control, so I ended up straddling both lanes, which I thought was better than hanging off the side of the cliff. I had no choice but to get out and wait near the guardrail. If not for my winter gear, things would have been a lot worse. Standing on the side of that mountain, I was certain a semi would come around the curve up ahead and wipe us all out.
But God answered my prayer and sent a Jeep from the south. The Jeep got behind me and pushed, then followed me the rest of the way. When I climbed in bed that night, my entire body was bright pink. I was chilled to the bone. Despite using every blanket I had, I shivered all night. Did not think I would ever feel warm again. I was lucky.
Q) I've always thought burning alive would be better than freezing alive, but you mention living through a winter of fifty below for weeks at a time. How Hellish was that? It sounds like Hell to me.
Freezing is more humane, first you shiver, then go a bit crazy, some folks even get naked, and then you simply go to sleep. Burning to death would be so painful.
In Alaska, you simply dress for the weather. That first year I wore jeans, boots, and sweaters. The first time I decided to buy a skirt for a date, I didn't recognize my own legs. J
The other thing about Alaska that made it wonderful was that no one was a stranger. Everyone banded together, you knew who your neighbors were, and everyone was willing to help. During the brown-outs, scheduled shut downs of electrical power, due to over usage we'd all gather in one person's kitchen with our kerosene lamps and talk or play cards and keep warm together.
Honestly, ice fog is a remarkable sight. Car exhaust would almost solidify. Ice crystals float in the air like little flecks of diamond. After 50 below, 30 below is like a heat wave!
Q) On your Murderous Imaginings website ("A blog for writers who kill their enemies and their darlings." at you list numerous poisons (arsenic, ethylene glycol, and mercury, etc.) and now I have to ask--what's YOUR favorite poison to write about? ***On a side note, since insulin is obtained without a prescription at so many pharmacies right now (which I truly wonder at) I wonder if this will soon become (or is now) a convenient way of killing someone in their sleep. Gruesome thoughts, I know.***
I have such gruesome thoughts all the time, but motivations are what interest me. My favorite weapon to write about is the knife. But if I were to poison someone write about poisoning someone, I'd probably find a plant in the garden like Autumn Crocus, Oleander, Angel’s Trumpet or Foxglove and make a lovely tea. Some of the prettiest of flowers are the most deadly. I'd also attempt to make the death look like an accident, so I'd use a slower acting poison. With an accident, there's a good chance there'd be no autopsy, but it's all a gamble with today's forensics experts.
As far as Murderous Imaginings it's a blog in process. I'd like to find like-minded murderers, in writing of course, at least three or four other writers, to contribute one blog post a month, all about murder and writing it. Book reveals, reviews, guest posts and 'how-to's' for writing a great mystery. If anyone is interested, please contact me at
(Q) What event would you call your breakthrough as an author?
The query contest that Sharon Bayless and CQ held and I won. I had an agent, but she'd done nothing with my books, except sit on them for an entire year, and I thought why not.
(Q) What do you know now that you wish you knew much earlier on as an author?
How truly wonderful the right editor is. Just like any relationship, you have to find the right fit. Barbara Sachs Sloan is the expert I go to after I think my books are done; she straightens me out real quick with structure and content. Her advice has never been wrong. Editors are the folks that make me look like the author I always wanted to be. They are awe-inspiring!
If it's allowed I'd love to give a shout out to Mollie Wiesenfeld, with CQ, she did an incredible job with Murder & Obsession, my third novel due out in March 2016.
Q) What's the best marketing advice you can give other authors?
There's so much available information and resources out there now for new authors, it can be overwhelming, so join a writers group, especially a local one where you can network and learn. Help is there soak it up!
But the best advice is and always has been – write, write, write!
Q) Name 5 books you wish you'd written (and not just for the money and fame).
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee's ability for setting.
Gone With the Wind, and Margaret Mitchell's attention to detail, language, and strong women.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – JRR Tolkien's world building.
It - Steven King's ability to scare the crap out of anyone.
Chesapeake – James A Michener – description says it all.

Q) List 5 books you loved as a child.
We didn't have access to books when I was really young. We learned about fairy tales from Saturday morning cartoons. I won my first book, a Bible by memorizing Bible quotes. I read everything I could get my hands on, the newspaper from front to back, and I'd read my mother's True Story magazines and Readers Digest. As soon as I was old enough to apply for a library card, I devoured everything on the shelves, and was quickly hooked on mysteries.

The Secret of the Old Clock, a Nancy Drew Mystery written by Carolyn Keene.
The Vanishing Shadow, a Judy Bolton Mystery written by Margaret Sutton.
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.
And my all-time favorite – Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
As you can tell by now, this is one of my favorites as well.
I remember reading my mom's copy in the rocking chair as a child,
with the dictionary beside me because
I had to look up approximately one word per page.
I loved the challenge.

Thanks Ann, this was great fun, I apologize if I got a bit long winded, but ask me about Alaska and I'll talk your ear off. J

The Keystone state couldn't satisfy my adventurous spirit, yet Pennsylvania will always be home. Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, hike the Brooks Range, and traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

When I left the corporate world to seek my next adventure, writing, this beautiful state and it’s most primal spirit, inspired me to feature Alaska in my newly published mystery trilogy. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left my soul.

The story weaves a rich tapestry of love, obsession, mystery, and murder…

Life is full of many journeys, and I look forward to the next adventure on my bucket list…

Blogger at Defending the Pen

Decades ago, the seeds were planted …

Today, dark, fathomless eyes rake the image before him. One final task and the transformation is complete. Steady fingers screw intricately carved horns on each side of a stiff brow, and a gargoyle suitable for Notre Dame scowls from the smokey mirror in satisfaction.

A jagged smile rips through his smooth, hairless face, and inked, reptilian scales caress his naked body.

A laugh of hideous resonance emanates from his gut as the demons of hell welcome Lucifer into their fold.

In a dungeon-like chamber, his Lilith awaits. The kidnapped daughter of a nun, groomed to fit the final piece in the complex puzzle for world domination. Will Lucifer marry his bride, on the summer solstice?

Only two things stand in his way ...

His greed ...

And ...

Detective Steven Quaid.


  1. Thanks, Ann, loved the questions, books have always been an important part of my life. In fact, one of the reasons I bought my first pick-up truck was to haul around my collection of books. I had no furniture, but hundreds of books, oh yeah!

    1. You're most welcome. I very much enjoyed your answers. Alaska has always fascinated me, but I've never been adventurous enough to take that kind of leap. Oh, well. :)