Category Archives: Restoration Projects

Third Book

The third book in my current series is nearing completion. The working title is “7 Rook Lane”. This is exciting as it brings to a close the story arc of Madeline Abbott and Scott Cooper that began with Unkindness of Ravens.

I’ve enjoyed these characters a lot and I suspect they will show up from time to time in further books. They have both had a great deal of hardships, but they have managed to handle them well—at least most of the time!

I am toying with the idea of revisiting the original characters from Unkindness, the employees Madeline first introduced us to: Nadine and Jamal, Charles and Cally and possibly Jamie Bradley, their intern.  I think they may meet with disaster while restoring an old home. I wonder how they’ll do?

In my personal life, my husband and I are concluding the restoration of our 1936 English Tudor/Cottage style home. Continue reading Third Book

Vintage Homes and “Renovations” – Where Do You Stand?

My husband and I recently watched an episode on HGTV of Home Renovations. As a devout old house fan, I have to say, I was, well, infuriated by the program.

The show had a (very) young and inexperienced first time home buyer looking for a Spanish style home in a Los Angeles neighborhood. She had the neighborhood picked out because she wanted to remain in proximity to her mother and twin sister. She found one she liked, a smallish 1930 stucco home Continue reading Vintage Homes and “Renovations” – Where Do You Stand?

What is Your Favorite Architectural Style?

Like the main character in my last two novels, Madeline Abbott, I am an old house fanatic. I’ve loved old houses all my life. I am saddened to see so much of our architectural history being destroyed, either by being demolished or razed, or by being gutted in a misguided attempt by home buyers to have (what looks like) an old house, yet inside there is not one scrap of history left to admire. Why do they do it? This is a question that plagues all of us old house lovers. It literally makes no sense.

Potential home buyers say they want ‘the charm of a vintage home’ yet in the next breath they insist everything looks ‘dated’ and must be changed or ‘updated’, to the latest and greatest. Continue reading What is Your Favorite Architectural Style?

Writing at the Speed of Life

It is the end of the first week in May, and I’m a little disappointed.

My next book (at least in my mind) was to be published NLT (that is military/aerospace speak for ‘no later than’) 15 May, 2016. I’m sorry to say that deadline will not be met. Not for a lack of trying. The current expected publication date will be 31 May, 2016.
We are in the midst of a large restoration project in our home. Of course we have been restoring our 1935 English/Tudor Cottage home for just about all of the sixteen and a half years we’ve owned it. This is nothing new, not at all. But this is just a huge undertaking, time consuming and expensive: all our downstairs original wood floors are being refinished. The downstairs space is at least 1700 square feet. I’m sure I don’t need to say what a huge hit to the budget this is. So, we elected to do it in increments.

That sounds good, doesn’t it? Really smart, financially speaking. In truth it has played havoc with our day to day quality of life. None of 5_part done-part to-dothis ‘tough it out for a week and just get it done’. No…Since the beginning of December—after the first segment was finished– our home has been in a constant state of unmitigated chaos. There is so much stuff stacked in the laundry room, you have to squeeze by to open/close the washer or dryer. We had to move out of our bedroom temporarily (into one of the BRs from the first segment) because our room was included in the second segment, just recently completed. Whew!

Of course we have a full bath upstairs as well as down, but while the second segment was being done everything—everything—was out of bounds, if you get my meaning. Trefinishedfloorhe last segment will include the living room and dining room. Two very large rooms which, thankfully will not impede use of the downstairs (or upstairs) bathroom! I keep reminding myself of how beautiful they are, which they are, and that
it’s all worth it.

All of which is to say, that I got a little behind in my work, frustrated and distracted. My latest book, Gate 6—Murder at Black Oaks is finally in its draft mode. What that means is that I’ve finished the story and it is now undergoing editing and final re-write! It is exciting to have this work completed, albeit a couple of weeks behind schedule.

“Gate 6” is another novel featuring my character Madeline Abbott, which takes place a year after the extraordinary events of my previous book, Unkindness Of Ravens. During the last year, Madeline has tried to move on after losing her mother in the horrific conspiracy and murder at Raven’s Nest. She seeks to renew her relationship with the virile and magnetic Detective Scott Cooper, but even that cannot go right. Nothing is as simple as it looks on its face. Scott encounters trouble of another kind and is forced to make hard choices—the question is: will he make the right one?
Unfortunately for Madeline, she once again gets caught up in a twisted series of events including a con man’s hoax, kidnapping, treasure hunting, a vicious attempted murder and a murder, where she herself is a prime suspect.

The new book is suspenseful, fun and even funny from time to time, of course that depends on the character’s point of view!


Remodel or Restore

My husband and I have been watching a television program called “Property Brothers”. This program was originally produced for HGTV. That may tell you something right there. While we have found it interesting, even funny at times, I’ve also found it quite irritating and it can very quickly make my blood boil.

The premise of the show for those not familiar with it is this: A pair of twin brothers, one a realtor, one a construction guy, pick a couple that are looking for their ‘dream home’. They ask the couple what are their ‘must haves’, and the (realtor) twin proceeds to show them a home for sale that has every single thing on their list. Everything. You guessed it. The price tag is too high, usually by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Next scene you have the couple looking hang-dog and unhappy while the twin brothers convince them that all they need is to broaden their search into the realm of the ‘fixer-upper’. Continue reading Remodel or Restore