Friday, November 17, 2017


Pride invites you to excuse yourself from doing the right thing.

While reading the scriptures this morning I came upon some passages explaining why a truly blessed people fell into contention and strife. Their lack of unity split them into factions and classes.

Pride invites you to set yourself apart. It allows you to excuse your actions. The story that pride promotes is that you are entitled to feel better than your neighbor. Pride creates false intimacy with others as it invites them into your story. I know about pride. It blinds. A clue that pride is rising up comes when I can't truly see others, when my story is running in my head  24/7. 
   I need to excuse myself from writing so passionately. The scriptures pricked my conscience.


 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Writing Wednesday- Rubato Chapter 3

"It was a lovely October evening. A breeze gently moved the trees up the hillside. Waves lapped in and out below the house. She wondered how a life full of comfort and beauty had ended so abruptly"

November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. 
My first attempt to write a novel is called Rubato and it is a mystery about a piano teacher who's suspicious death leads detectives into the world of old music manuscripts and a scramble for prestige and accolades.

Reggie Watts and Stevie Dangerfield are homicide detectives called in to investigate in the suspicious death of a piano teacher. A link to chapter 1 and chapter 2 is available.

  As Judith’s phone opened in Stevie’s hand, she scrolled through recent calls. There were several  calls from Tony Chavez and one from Dominik; no saved phone messages. A blue business app  contained her calendars. The space before Jon Taylor had a large red canceled line through the 10:00 am time slot. T. Chavez was the piano student listed there as she scrolled through the previous weeks. So, Mr. Chavez, whoever he was, was canceled this morning. Stevie wondered why Jon Taylor, the young boy in the kitchen, was listed at 11:00 and G. Taylor, which was likely the mother, had the time slot from 11:45-12:30. Was Jon’s mother also taking piano lessons? 
    Commotion from upstairs indicated that the coroner was moving the body out to the ambulance. She waited quietly showing respect. When the body was securely in the ambulance she noticed Reggie motioning her outside. Reggie was all business and looked like he had just come from the neighbor on the left.
    “The husband was last seen seen by the neighbor yesterday afternoon so he is on-island, or was on island. Joey, in the squad room called the closest car rental agencies and has located a rental agreement made with Dominik Horak. We called in a bolo alert and notified the local county policeman. According to the neighbor, the car he was driving was a dark blue Toyota Camry.”
    “That was really fast and efficient, Reggie. He has likely left the island by now. Did you speak to both neighbors?”
    “No, only the one on the left,” he motioned to the large modern home sitting out on the water. It seems to be floating on stilts.
   “Let’s visit the other neighbor, shall we?”
    Reggie nodded his head and started around the backyard. His tall lanky body was full of energy. Being his partner demanded that she be wiling to be tenacious. Reggie never quit. 
    Everything was well landscaped and groomed in both yards. Stevie made a note to check if they hired a gardener. As they rounded the other side of the house Reggie stepped up onto the neighbor’s lawn. He gave Stevie his hand to help her up. They looked for the front door. Everything seemed shuttered. Where Judith’s home was open and light-filled, the neighbor signaled privacy at all costs. They rang the doorbell.
    “Who is it?”, a gruff, low voice asked.
     “Detectives Watts and Dangerfield. May we have a word with you?”
   The door opened a crack and an older man, unshaven, with distrust written over his face, looked at them.
  “What do you want?”
  “We would like to ask you some questions about your neighbor, Judith. Can we come in?”
   “Is she in trouble? Is…it.. drugs? Are those supposed piano students really her buyers?” 
  “Can we talk inside?”
   The door opened wider and Alexander Patchett let them in. The entry opened to a high ceiling where a fan slowly moved the air. The living room was busy but not dirty. Books were stacked on end tables and next to chairs. 
   “Do you know Judith Whitesides very well?”
   “Well, she moved here a year ago and paid an ungodly price for that house. She is a bit prissy with her six foot grand piano and fancy paintings. Her constant piano playing drives me bonkers. All day long students come and go. I hate the coming and going of cars. She might actually be a drug dealer!”
   “Are you saying she teaches everyday?” Stevie asked unbelievingly. It would be unusual to have that many private piano students. 
    “Well, she actually only teaches Wednesday through Saturdays. The other days she is at the university.”
   “You seem to know a good deal about her comings and goings.” Stevie said snidely.
  “I’m a good neighbor. We talk about things. She has some kind of master’s degree in music. Why are you asking me so many questions?”
   “I am sorry to say that your neighbor was found dead at home this morning.”
    “What?” His voice faltered. He took a seat slowly. “ You’re kidding me? Is that why the ambulance is there?” 
   “Yes.” Stevie couldn’t believe he hadn’t known what was going on outside. “Have you seen any visitors that seem new in the last few days? Has her husband been at home lately?”
   “That foreigner? He is a piece of work. He comes and stays a few weeks and acts like he is master of the household. I think he is here illegally. “
   Stevie ignored his provocative comments. “Has he been here this week? “
   “Come to think of it I did see him yesterday. He unloaded a bunch of boxes. I didn’t see him later in the afternoon or evening. Did someone murder her? Is her husband a suspect?”
  Reggie suppressed his irritation. “The cause of death is still unknown, sir.”
  After finding that all three neighbors used the same gardener, Stevie and Reggie left their cards and started back to Judith’s home.  The cell phone in Reggie’s pocket buzzed and he answered. Stevie turned away and wondered what had gone on here in the last twenty-four hours. It was a lovely October evening. A breeze gently moved the trees up the hillside. Waves lapped in and out below the house. She wondered how a life full of comfort and beauty had ended so abruptly. She remembered the ten thousand dollar income. They would need to trace her income and outflow. There were many people to interview. Who did she see during the days before her death. A visit to the University was also in order. How many students did she have there?
    “That was the boss.” Reggie interrupted her thoughts. “Dectective Holland has a hit on the license of the rental car. It was spotted in Seattle.  They think they’ve located Domink Horak and are bringing him in for questioning.  They want us back in the squad room tonight.”
   “Really? I thought I’d spend the night here and start some interviews tomorrow morning.”
    “It can wait. Let’s head to the ferry and see what boat we can catch.”
    “Okay. I’ll stop off in West Seattle for a change of clothes and meet you at the precinct.”
    Reggie gave Stevie a long look. He enjoyed working with her which made him feel a little uncomfortable. It wasn’t a good idea to involve himself with his partner beyond their work. The last year went by quickly and their intellects were well matched. She had a peace to her that left him feeling grounded. He got into his vehicle and gave her a quick wave. 

            More to come on Writing Wednesdays 


Monday, November 13, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Loving Writing

The treasure I've discovered is a deeper love for writing.

Almost two weeks ago I made a quick decision to join National Novel Writing Month. A novel is a huge jump in my usual writing pursuits. I write for my blog but to try to write 50,000 words in one month is mind blowing. 
Fortunately, I have this One Little Word that is guiding me this year. The word is 'nurture'. Why not nurture this skill and jump in the deep?

When I reached 10,000 words, NaNoWriMo sent me an e-mail. You see, I log my words everyday on their internet site. The statement that somewhere in my words I've discovered treasure rang true. The treasure is the power of nurturing my intentions and following through. Even if my novel stinks, I will be pleased with the process of getting up each morning to write more about my own little world. 
    The main characters in my novel are two detectives who investigate the death of a piano teacher. Oh, you want to know more. Okay, just a peek.............Click here for a preview.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click  here.

Friday, November 10, 2017


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. 
Aldous Huxley

In music silence is called a rest. Rests are counted just like notes and there are symbols for rests with the same value as notes. So, silence is equal to sound in importance. 

     I forget that principle in the comings and goings of life. I fill the awkward silence in conversation with mutterings, I turn on music to cover the silence in my house, and disregard the silence I hear in prayer instead of asking, "Why aren't you answering?" I've asked it before and the answer was silence. But it was laced with love and reassurance. 
  "Be still and know that I am God."

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.   

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Writing Wednesday- Rubato, Chapter 2

 “So which one of you is the student?” Stevie said lightly, noticing the nervous expressions on both faces.
   “I am.” said Jon. “Is Mrs. White dead?”

November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. 
My first attempt to write a novel is called Rubato and it is a mystery about a piano teacher who's suspicious death leads detectives into the world of old music manuscripts and a scramble for prestige and accolades.

 Introducing Stephanie Dangerfield and Reggie Watts
fictional detectives from Seattle Metro Police Department.

Read chapter one here.....

Chapter 2

    Stevie pushed back her irritation. She hated ferries and having a suspicious death on an island was annoying. She glanced at her phone and noted the time was almost 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. At least the worst ferry traffic was avoided. 
     Google maps announced that her destination was on the right. Several cars were parked on the non-existent shoulder. A policeman stopped her from driving down the steep hill to the crime scene. 
    “Sorry, ma’m. We can’t let you come this way.”
Stevie flashed her badge at him and muttered that she was going forward. 
    “I apologize, ma’m, but the road is very narrow below and there are already too many cars. Please park along the side and I’ll accompany you down to the house.”
   As she walked toward the house she caught a glimpse of Reggie Watts, her partner walking through the house. How did he make it over here before she did?
    Stepping over the entrance her eyes took in the view of the waterfront home. She noticed the modern art on the walls and wondered how the furniture could meld into the colors of the artwork so perfectly.
    “The victim is upstairs.”
     She heard Reggie talking to the medical examiner about what time of death. 
     “I’ll just walk around the residence first.” Stevie said to the sergeant. “Who found the body?”
     “The victim was a piano teacher, ma’m. Her student and his mother found her dead when they arrived for lessons.”
      “Are they still here?”
       “Yes, they are waiting in the kitchen wondering when they can go home.”
     “Okay, I’ll talk to them.”
     Before going into the open, light filled kitchen, she walked through the living room. A grand piano was visible beyond in what she guessed was the music studio. A flash of memory caught her off guard. How many times had she come to a piano lesson? And how many teachers had pushed her towards a career as a pianist?
    She gently touched the keys and listened for the rich bass notes. If she could sit and play for a few minutes it would calm her nerves. By the side of the piano a fancy cupboard with many thin drawers caught her eye. She pulled on the middle drawer to see sheet music neatly tucked into place. Behind the cupboard rows of piano scores stood at attention on several shelves. Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Scarlatti, and other composer’s work were shelved neatly a row. She recognized them all. A black wooden metronome stood on the edge of the piano, next to the music stand. The lid was off indicating that someone had used it recently. She remembered the piano student in the kitchen.
    “So which one of you is the student?” Stevie said lightly, noticing the nervous expressions on both faces.
   “I am.” said Jon. “Is Mrs. White dead?”
    “Yes. This must be very difficult for both of you. Could I ask you a few questions?”
    Jon and his mother nodded their heads in unison. 
    “Do you have lessons every Wednesday? “
    “Yes, I come at 11:00.”
    “And I come with him every week.” Said Jon’s mother. “What has happened to Judith?”
    “We are not sure yet. Did you notice anything strange when you came to lessons today?”
     “Her car was here. We waited twenty minutes before we got alarmed.”
“Do you always come right in unannounced?”
“That is what Judith tells us to do. Sometimes she is with a student but mostly she is in the house somewhere and she comes to greet us. She likes me to warm up without her.” Jon said defensively. 
“How long have you been taking lessons, Jon?”
“Six years. But only one year from Mrs. White.”
“Is Mr. White ever here when you come to lessons?”
“We haven’t seen him, ever. She says that he travels a lot. He is from Prague. Judith often shows us antique music scores she brought from there.”
“Is there anyone else around when you come to lessons?”
“Just the student before. A Mr. Chavez, her adult student. He is older and lives on the island.” Said Jon’s mother.
“Was he here today when you came today?”
“No one was here.”
“Okay, my partner Reggie Watts will likely have a few more questions for you. But, you should be able to go home soon.”
“Are we in any danger, Dectective?”
“I shouldn’t think so. Thank-you for waiting and being so forthcoming.”

   Stevie left the kitchen and  walked up the deeply carpeted stairs. The bedroom was to the right. Judith White’s body was still on the bed. The medical examiner was putting away his bag. Reggie was writing in his notebook with a puzzled look on his face. 
  “Time of death estimate?”
  “Between midnight and 6:00am.”
   Stevie picked up Judith’s hands and admired her long fingers. There was no visible sign of trauma. No blood on the sheets. 
      She looked at Reggie and asked, “Drug overdose?”
   Reggie rubbed his head. “He’ll get us a tox screen soon. We are taking fingerprints and looking for drugs in her bathroom. There is nothing to see, yet.”
   “Any info on the whereabouts of her husband?”
“What husband?” Reggie asked. “How did you hear about a husband?”
  “The student downstairs said she talked about a Czech husband. They never actually met him.”   
  “Okay, Stevie, you follow up on that and get a list of piano students. She is sure to have a roster laying around in the office. Anyone find a computer?”   
   “I’ll check. Let me go talk to some neighbors.”
Stevie walked back down the stairs and into the music room. She opened the desk drawers to check for a student roster. Bills were neatly stacked inside the drawers. Stevie picked up a bank statement. Judith’s name was the only name on the account. The total amount deposited for August was $10,943. That seemed a large income for a piano teacher. She noticed a cell phone haphazardly dropped under the desk. Wouldn’t you know that it was password protected? What would a pianist use for a password. Hmm…..forte? Crescendo? Legato? Rubato? The phone came to life under her hand.

                         More To Come On Writing Wednesdays



Monday, November 6, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Thankful for My Word Of The Year

Some words expect us to chase them while others sit benevolently waiting to serve.

Choosing the word 'nurture' this year has really blessed my life. I am thankful for having a word that served me so well. It sub-divides easily into subjects. Right in January I made a list of things I wanted to nurture. Since it is a verb it opens up to action. 

 I am on the lookout for another word that will offer ways to grow and change. I was first attracted to OLW because it seemed like a fun activity. I liked joining Ali Edwards group of fellow 'worders". But, I found my words in years past to be elusive. I literally found myself trying to change to fit my word. So here is my dilemma. What word will serve me in 2018? What word will allow me to grow and naturally fi into my present life? I am on the lookout. 

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click  here.

Friday, November 3, 2017


      What do I need at this stage of my life?

I don't need fame, I don't need to change the world, I don't need to be popular, and I don't need influence. 
I do need connection.
I can deal with aging, less physical prowess if I have people I love around me and if I have a rich inner life.
By inner life I mean positive thoughts.
These would come from God, from good books, from music, and from telling stories.

I should mention that I need to help others and let them help me. I was assuming you might see that in the word connection but I don't want to leave out that very important aspect of service. Service revolves around my family, my students, my friends and my community.
  Oh, and before I forget, I need to just accept some things the way they are, period.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

I'm Writing My First Bad Novel This Month

I'm back on the floor again, trying to write a mystery.

November is NaNoWriMo , National Novel Writing Month and why not try it this month as I'm used to writing everyday for my 31 Days in October challenge.
My novel is called Rubato and it is a mystery about a dead piano teacher who may have been involved with the acquisition of a posthumous waltz written by Chopin. To peak your interest here is part of chapter 1.

“Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words.” 

Judith sat on the floor of her music room. The light from the window scattered dapples of light over the hardwood floor, bleeding on the thick rug under the piano. Scattered around her were sheets of typewritten pages, music scores, and in an archival see-through plastic sleeve the worn and carefully guarded fragment of the first 34 measures of The Rhapsody No.8. Her secret treasure, brought from Europe, hidden among other editions of Liszt music. She picked up the manuscript, looking at the handwritten music from so long ago. The first strong chords were rich with color and texture. It gave her the greatest of joy to play the F Sharp minor scale feeling the melancholy announcement before the beauty of the change of key. The change from minor to major left the soul lifted and energized. There were fragments of the rest of the piece in the Library Of Congress, Franz Liszt Collection in Washington D.C. but no one knew she possessed the first measures. And, no one must know until she could document her find and make it presentable to the experts. It must never again, come into the his hands. 

Chapter 1

As Jon and his mother approached the house they both stopped to comment on the beauty of the sun on the water.  Gold, red, yellow and orange sparkles dazzled their eyes. This was an outside adventure day, instead they were coming to take a piano lesson from Judith. Jon remembered her attack on his note reading skills the week before. 
“Don’t bother coming back if you don’t seriously buckle down to read notes!”
The sting of her words still left their mark. But Jon practiced all week, endlessly working on computer flash cards. He was ready to show her the work on the Chopin waltz. 
They didn’t need to knock. Judith instructed them to walk in and wait in the living room if she was with a student or warm-up on the piano if she wasn’t there. 
Her house was immaculate. Graceful Georgian furniture, spaced generously shown with a gleam that showed they were prized. 
No sound came from the music room just beyond. Jon approached the piano and fingered the Steinway ivory keys. He glanced out the picture window to see the water. He wished he were on the beach.
“Go ahead and warm up, “ his mother encouraged. "She will be down in a few minutes. You have worked very hard this week. She will be impressed.”
Jon opened the Henle Edition of Chopin works and started the waltz in A minor. The Steinway had such mellow tone that he found he had to play with more weight. His Yamaha at home was bright and crisp.
The first time through the waltz was slow but as the sun played on Judith’s mirror Jon lost his awareness of time and he quieted his thoughts to be one with the motion of the piece.
“Where can she be?” His mother interrupted his reverie. Ten minutes had passed and still no Judith. This was unusual, even for the eccentric woman.
Jon played a sonatina and felt glad to have time alone at the piano. As he finished he noticed his mother walking around the bottom floor of the house. 
“Mom? Are you snooping?”
"Well, it’s been twenty minutes and we either go and ask for our money back, or we figure out if she is here. Judith? Are you here? Surely she has heard you playing where ever she is.”
They looked out the back window towards the garage. The garage door was open and inside an older Mercedes showed off it’s gold color.
“She is here somewhere. Let’s peek upstairs.”
“No! Mom, let’s just go home.”
His mother mounted the stairs slowly and carefully. Jon waited at the bottom. When his mother disappeared down the hall a foreboding feeling hit the pit of his stomach.
“Judith!” His mother’s voice sounded insistent. “Jon, she is asleep. Come up here.”
As Jon walked into her neutral bedroom he saw his teacher laying under her satin sheets. 
“Mom, this is creepy,” he whispered. “Let’s go.”
His mother reached to touch Judith’s arm and shake her.
“Let’s call 911. She is unconscious.”
“Do you think she……is dead?”

More to come on Writing Wednesdays