new docA year ago, in an effort to stop me from gnashing my teeth about things I couldn’t change, my doctor took the (extreme) step of forbidding me to engage in politics. Since I live outside the States and can no longer participate directly, this effectively slammed the door on reading about politics, or talking about politics, or even listening to other people talk about politics.

Unlike my previous life, where I was a player, now geography and my physician were forcing me to sit on the sidelines and not… Continue reading


Before I begin my post I would like to say how happy I am to again be an active participant in this wonderful blog.  Beginning in late Spring and extending over the summer into September, I first underwent manic preparation of a manuscript for Thrillerfest, followed by a lingering family illness, followed by an all-consuming interest in the subject of this post. Those things combined led me to take a hiatus from the blog, which is now, happily, concluded.

Regarding the post, I experienced for the second time in my life what it is like to be drawn into

Nerd Arise!

I love this month’s topic. In my previous life (maybe in this one, too), I must have been a real nerd. The card-carrying kind, with the pen clip for my blouse pocket and a baseball cap turned the wrong way, bill forward.



I probably had red hair in kinks that stuck out all over. And definitely freckles.

My idea of fun was to collect “Resources.”

Maybe I landed a job at MI-5. Or maybe I was a librarian, before they got cool… Continue reading


dangerous jungleLinda’s suggestion that we write about Settings this month was a welcome one, as I’ve been deep in the jungle this week, researching Panama’s dark and fearsome Darien Gap for my new thriller, ESCAPE TO PANAMA. Once upon a time, all of Panama was like the nearly impenetrable Darien, though today sections have been so hacked and burned that you can’t tell much difference from the U.S.

hacked 4

Not much jungle here.

But if you leave… Continue reading

Pixie Dust

Back in December, when the world was all golden light here in Panama, when the bougainvillea were pouring over rooftops and spilling down hillsides, and the coffee plants were bursting with fat crimson cherries everywhere you turned, it seemed that nothing could go wrong. How could it when the next month brought rainbows — three, four, five every day — and when the skies were so clear the glinting Pacific beckoned in the distance?

Oh, be wary of decisions made when the world is wonderful!

In a moment of stupendously unfounded optimism, I made the decision to attend… Continue reading

Christmas Panama Style

This will be our 9th Christmas in Panama and, after 34 years in the snowy, icy environs of Washington, DC and its suburbs, seeing all the palm trees with little lights still makes me think wistfully of past Christmas Eves by the fire, the caroling in the neighborhood while the fluffy white flakes came down, all that Currier and Ives stuff that we actually lived.  You hear this lament all the time from folks who’ve moved far south, particularly from those in Florida.  But, after all, we did make the decision to come to Central America and we… Continue reading


I just heard the first rumble of thunder.  It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we’ve been blessed with a mostly sunny day until now. Soon, the rain will begin and if yesterday’s lightning storm is any example of what to expect today,  I’ll have to go inside and watch from there.

I’ve noticed recently that I work better when the weather is inclement, which is good since Panama is in the middle of the rainy season.

parakeetsPerhaps the problem is the distraction of unending bird songs when it’s… Continue reading