billboards outside Vidor, Texas, inspired Martin McDonagh to write the film 3 Billboards

James Fulton wants his daughter’s murder solved.  Kathy Page was strangled in 1991.  Nothing got done about it. No one arrested. No one locked up. No one convicted. Sound familiar?

James Fulton’s decision decades ago to put up billboards along I-10 as it goes through the small town of Vidor, 100 miles east of Houston, is the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Martin McDonagh spotted Fulton’s billboards from the window of a bus on a ride through Texas. That was two decades ago, and yet, the pain in those messages calling out the police, triggered a gut-reaction for the playwright that stayed with him long after the road trip ended.

But for James Fulton this is real life. His pain. His loss.  His daughter was murdered and justice has evaded him ever since. It’s true, art often imitates life. But James Fulton doesn’t much care about Oscars or Hollywood. All he wants, after all this time, is his daughter’s killer brought to light. Mr. Fulton is 87 but refuses to give up hope that somewhere in Vidor justice will prevail. Who could blame him? If it were your loved one who’d been murdered, giving up wouldn’t be an option.

James Fulton, the real-life character trying to keep his daughter’s case from fading away. Read the full story at the Houston Chronicle.


Coyote Wells Mystery series delivers for fans of the genre

Murder with a side of chocolate.

The 2nd book, Shadow Canyon, keeps readers coming back to Coyote Wells.

Look for it February 27th

Murder with a side of chocolate

Exhausted after the Sun Bringer Festival, Gemma Channing and her ex, Lando Bonner, are hanging out at the beach, trying to recover from the three-day event when her longtime nemesis is found dead on the dunes. As rumors grow about Mallory’s demise, many in Coyote Wells feel like Gemma is responsible.

Determined to find out who did it, Gemma goes into overdrive to find the real killer. With the help of Lando and her friends, they dig deeper into Mallory’s past, hoping to uncover all of her secrets. But they get more than they bargained for when the tables turn. The new theory brings a longtime mystery to the forefront, one that’s been hanging around for three decades…unsolved. What does it mean for the people in Coyote Wells when the secret’s uncovered? And will Gemma be able to figure things out before anyone else dies?

get in the giving mood with a twist

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”        Maya Angelou


If you’re like me, Christmas has become about a huge pile of gifts that no one really needs or wants. Sure, those soft, furry slippers will come in handy on cold, winter nights, same for the new pair of gloves. And I promise to find somewhere to show off that new sweater. But let’s get real. If you want to do something special this year, maybe try giving to people who really need it. I’m not talking about re-gifting the can opener Aunt Mary sent after the fact.  Nope.

There are lots of ways to give—bake something for a sick neighbor, make a donation to a food bank, hand over your saved pennies to the Salvation Army kettle, make a donation to UNICEF. With all the disasters we’ve had this year, it’s a perfect time to write out a check to the Red Cross. Or try my favorite, a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you’re stretched too thin to make a financial contribution, volunteer to read to a group of kids at your local hospital. Their little faces will light up in delight as soon as you open up that book and begin to read to them. You might have to wear a mask, depending on the ward, but if you speak up and speak clearly, trust me, they won’t mind at all.

flu shots, Halloween, & teal pumpkins

Every fall I try to do the right thing and get a flu shot. Bad move! Twenty -four hours later, I broke out in hives—a reaction I’ve never had before—and for several days I was splotchy red, itching, and feverish. Not only that, the site of the shot still hurts like blazes. And it isn’t just me. My hubby, who never has a reaction to anything, also broke out in hives and experienced terrible arm pain. Which tells me something is really seriously jacked with this year’s vaccine.


Image Credit: Amazon

Anyhoo, after alternating between slathering aloe vera and cortisone cream on my arms and legs for several days, I’m now getting ready for Halloween, dragging out the witches and building my traditional hay bale stack with pumpkins for the front porch.

Which brings me to a question. Anyone out there know about teal pumpkins? I had never heard of them until last week. Yes, I know, I must’ve had my head buried in the sand. However, I prefer to think of it as having my head down, hard at work on my next story. But I digress.


Image Credit: Google 

Displaying teal pumpkins on the porch means you’re offering non-food items in lieu of sugary candy or chocolate. Now even though this breaks this chocoholic’s little heart somewhat, when the doorbell rings Tuesday night, I’ll be offering trick-or-treaters, not one but two bowls. One with the tried and true assorted chocolate candy bars I love, AND another with trinkets I picked up at Target near the Halloween section. Corny stuff like plastic fangs, glow sticks, little plastic bracelets, costume necklaces, spider rings, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, Halloween erasers, mini notepads, and stickers. Cool huh? It’s not a bad plan trading orange for teal. If this chocolate lover can switch out Butterfingers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for a few  nontraditional giveaways that cut down on sugar, I’m all for it. And it  might actually be cheaper. Amazon offers a 100-piece toy assortment for only $18 bucks. Not a bad deal instead of buying bags and bags of sugar-laden candy.

Image Credit:

Whatever you decide, is okay by me. Here’s hoping you have a happy and safe Halloween!!! And if you must get a flu shot, ask them ahead of time if your arm might fall off before they stick that needle in you. I wish I had.


New series: A Coyote Wells Mystery

As Halloween approaches and with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I’m settling in for a long winter of writing. For starters, I’ve outlined three books for my new series, A Coyote Wells Mystery.

First up is Mystic Falls scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 7th.

Emotionally reeling after the death of her grandmother, Gemma Channing is settling into Coyote Wells, her hometown where she grew up, after a ten-year absence. While coming to terms with the loss of her Gram, MYSTIC FALLS FINAL coverdisturbing things begin to happen. Women are disappearing. Just when she begins to realize Coyote Wells has changed—and not for the better—she’s forced to bump heads with Lando Bonner, her ex, a man who still carries around a grudge. You might say Lando despises her. But since she’s digging for answers in an effort to explain exactly how her grandmother died, she needs his help. It won’t be easy. Lando has never forgiven her for leaving him. Tensions between the two rise as a killer grips the town in fear. Is it kill or be killed? Who will the killer target next? And when will it all end?

I love dabbling in mysteries and figuring out how to solve them. As you can tell by the continuing theme, Gemma and Lando will have a homicide or two to solve in each book. They’ll have help from an array of quirky characters. I hope you come to love Gemma and Lando as much as I do and hope you settle into the town with all the other odd characters who make Coyote Wells home.

summer lavender

Does anything smell better than a summer stroll through lavender? It’s taken a learning curve for me to grow it—bright sunlight and the right kind of soil. It likes its own space, Lavenderdoesn’t like to be crowded into a pot or a flower bed. I guess you could say it doesn’t like to share. But what I’ve discovered is to prune, prune, prune. Deadhead all the brown stuff and do it quickly, otherwise the part that’s just bloomed and wilted will take over your entire plant(s). As for the soil, I was told to add in limestone or sand to let it drain, drain, drain. So don’t spend years making the same mistakes I made. With a little research you can come up with the right mix to grow lavender. Just remember it doesn’t like to be neglected. But when it blooms, the fragrance is well worth the fuss. And you can’t beat the purple color that invariably brightens up a spot where white daisies and hydrangeas thrive. If you’re hesitant to grow lavender, take the plunge. What used to be a failure in the garden, is now a summer staple for me. I love the aroma. For that alone, I make the extra effort.

summer + nature = redwoods


No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.

~ John Steinbeck

Summer along the California coast is inspirational, nothing more so than the Redwood National Forest, enjoying it so much I’m making it a feature in the next series.