Okay, so we had a 10+ pound ham and there’s just 2 of us and even after delivering meals to 4 friends on Easter, I still have a lot of ham.  So I was asking folks what they were having for Easter and Traci Hall said she was making Monte Cristo sandwiches.  So, that was the meal for this evening.  Never made one . . .


Ingredients: (for 1 sandwich – do what you will for the correct number)

  • 2 slices of bread – try to get a whole wheat white, it just plays better with the sweet/savory of the sandwich
  • 1 t Mayo
  • 1 t mustard (I use Dijon)
  • 2 slices ham
  • 2 slices turkey (optional – just add another slice of ham)
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • Oil for cooking




  • Smear mustard and mayo on bread
  • Alternate ham, Swiss and turkey
  • Whisk milk and eggs together
  • Dip sandwich in egg mixture
  • Heat a pan over medium heat
  • Brown on both sides & serve hot




The OCD Writer

I like to think I’m a pretty organized person.  My husband will tell you I’m OCD.  In fact, he told me the other day that he was afraid to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear I’d make the bed.


I don’t think I’m that bad.  But I am famous for color-coding and making notebooks.  This is especially true when it comes to writing.  I use 3-inch binders for series (The Rose Tattoo, The Landry Brothers, Finley Tanner Mysteries), then 2-inch binders for each individual book.  I use two writing programs, Power Structure for keeping my plot organized and WriteWayPro for characterization.


When it comes to characters, I usually start with a visual.  I’ll hunt around the internet until I find an image that fits the person in my mind, then I’ll create (in WriteWay) a full character sheet – everything from eye color to nail polish preferences.  I make up a backstory and try to build a dimensional person out of that initial picture (it can be a famous person or just someone on a Facebook page – no one sees this but me).  Once I finish, those character sheets get filed into the color-coded binder in the character section.  I also print out pictures of their cars, house layouts (I go to builder’s sites and download floorplans), I try really hard to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.


But, like everyone else, from time to time I make mistakes.  I’ve been writing Finley Tanner mysteries for more than a decade.  I’ve also done other projects in between those books.  So even though I try to get everything right, it doesn’t always happen.  As was pointed out by a recent review left on Amazon.  Please don’t think I’m whining about a bad review, trust me, if I could write a book that made the whole world happy, I’d be a very wealthy woman.  What struck me was the assertion that I somehow was lazy.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I simply made a mistake.  I went back into my ‘bible’ binder (the thick one that holds all the info on the major characters) and corrected the mistake so it wouldn’t happen again.  So that makes the criticism good because it was constructive in that I did have to address that for the next Finley book.  But I still have trouble with the assertion that I’m lazy.  I am a lot of things but lazy is definitely not one of them.  And while I appreciate the heads up on the error, I could have been delivered minus the personal attack.


It’s 4:45 AM, time to get to work on the first book of a new trilogy.

Losing my mother badge on Throwback Thursday



My mom role is changing.  This Easter my daughter is going to Disney with her boyfriend and his family.  Lovely people and I really am happy for her but . . . it’s the first holiday she hasn’t had her feet under my table.  I’m trying to take it like a big girl since I’m sure this is just the start of things to come.  But it got me to thinking. . .


There are certain things you do as a parent that I won’t miss.  One has to do with Easter – I loathe dying Easter eggs.  Messy and at some point everyone gets bored and starts dipping the eggs in all the colors, making a bunch of brownish-purple eggs.  I hate carving pumpkins.  I hate the smell and the slime.  Yes, I did it, but not one of my favorite activities.


Then there is the worst, IMHO.  The trip to the petting zoo where some goat eats your clothes while you try to convince it to chow down on the $5.00 worth of pellets you just bought.  They smell, they have e-coli and in general, I’m not a farm girl.  Hell, I won’t even plant a flower – that’s how much I hate being dirty.  And man do you feel dirty when a goat has slobbered all over your clothes.


But, those days are over for me and for that I’m thankful.  Knowing my daughter has taken another step toward independence is a tad harder to get used to.


Happy Easter!

Death in the computer family

Why is it that just when you need it most, your printer commits suicide?  Mine bit the big one last night.  Just as I was copying stuff for the tax accountant.  But on the plus side, my printer, which I love and have a drawer full of ink cartridges for, is still available, but it’s discounted from $250.00 to $99.00 because they have a newer model available.  So I opt to go pick it up in the store.  But no, not that easy!


There isn’t one available within a 50-mile radius of my home.  I’m crushed.  But then a window pops up and says they can ship one to me by today.  Do I actually think it will arrive today?  No. But this week – yes.  In my experience, Staples ‘overnight’ shipping is more like three-day shipping.  I’ll take that.


And what will happen to my old printer?  My husband will stack it in the garage like he has the last 3 printers.  I keep telling him to drop them off to the guy who works on my computer.  He might want them for parts, and if he doesn’t, find the closest dumpster.  But that isn’t in packrat Bob’s nature.  Everything has value to him.  I am not making this up – for all 34 years of my marriage, we’ve lugged a huge box around from basement to basement to garage.  What’s inside?  Some magical treasure?  No, Cheerios box tops.  Some of them have price stickers on them – ten cents.  Seriously? I ask him – what, are you saving up for a decoder ring?  He had a zillion slides and a slide projector, so last Christmas I had the slides turned into a 2 books that sit nicely on our coffee table.  But do you think he’s gotten rid of the slides or the slide projector?  Nope.  And the slides have started to deteriorate so he’s lucky I did what I did.


So, are you a saver or a neat freak?

Go ask Grandma

My husband and I went to vote last week (this is not a political post) we were walking into our polling place and we call my husband the stump whistler because he’ll stop and chat with a stump.  He chats with everyone.  So he held the door for this frail woman and her companion and of course asked her (jokingly) if this was the first time she’d voted.  Turns out she’s voted in every election since 1936 and spent her teen years picketing for woman’s suffrage.  Her mother was a suffragette in New York in the teens and so this nice lady said she remembered how hard it had been for women to get the vote, that she wouldn’t dream of not exercising that right.


Made me stop and think.  Her companion told us that sadly, at 98, the woman had outlived her spouse and all of her children.  Occasionally a grandchild will come and visit her, but that didn’t happen very often.  All I could think of was what an interesting life this woman led.  I asked her about flight and she told me she and her husband would take a plane from New York to Boston to see baseball games just because it was magical to fly.  As a writer, I’m thinking someone please sit down with this woman and turn on a tape recorder and let it rip!  My own guilt speaking – my grandmother lived until she was 2-weeks shy of her 100th birthday and I never thought to ask her about her early life.  Apparently neither did anyone else in my family.  What a loss.


My hubby is battered and beaten

I’m beating my husband.  Been beating him since Thursday.  But there isn’t a scratch on him.  Why?  Because we’re talking March Madness here. My DH spends hours reading and researching each pairing and then we meet in his office to fill out our brackets.  Easy for me, I make my selections based on whether or not I like their outfits, or their mascot, or I have relatives that live in that area, or I’ve visited that area and, well, you get the picture.  This, of course, makes my hubby nuts.

Is there something you do that makes your spouse/significant other crazy?

Happy 104th birthday Grandmother

Thursday2 001

Okay, so technically it isn’t her birthday, she passed away 2 weeks’ shy of her 100th.  But this photo was her 90th birthday party.  But this throwback Thursday is because of what happened when dear hubby and I went to vote.  As we were arriving, a spry woman with a cane was leaving.  Now you have to understand that we call my husband stump because no matter where he is or goes, he strikes up a conversation and if there aren’t people around, he’d chat with the closest stump.


So anyway, my husband asked her how long she’d been voting and her reply was Woodrow Wilson.  Wow – and she hasn’t missed a primary or a general election in her life.  Except for the first time when she was of age, but women didn’t yet have the vote.  The woman was inspiring and reminded me of my grandmother (hence the photo).  Except that this woman will be celebrating her 105th birthday in April.


So what did I learn?  Don’t put off those conversations with the older members of your family.  Hand them a microcassette and some tapes and make a list of questions and go for it.  These oral histories are easily forgotten (or twisted as they go generation to generation).  My mother-in-law performed in Vaudeville and I have 4 huge boxes of photos of her with other performers.  I recognize some of them – Jack Benny, etc. but the others are lost for time.  Such a shame.  So make this a priority!


Happy St. V’s Day!