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I composed this blog while on the road to an emergency management Mass Care Symposium. Sound intriguing? Let’s begin with the definition of “mass care.” It’s the capability to provide immediate shelter, feeding centers, basic first aid, bulk distribution of needed items, and related services to persons affected by a large-scale incident. You may be comforted to know that the Federal Emergency Management Administration — FEMA — has a mass care strategy, and that FEMA, along with the American Red Cross formed a National Mass Care Council around 2010/2011. That council is co-chaired by the American Red Cross, FEMA, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD), and is comprised of members from Big City Emergency Managers (, federal Department of Health and Human Services, Feeding America (, North American Mission Board–Southern Baptist Convention (with their Southern Bap…
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The number one rule writers are taught in the hard-knock school of writing is “write what you know.” Which is all fine and good, unless you are a middle-class, pushing-social-security-age, rule-following female who writes about murder. I am going to put this out there to all of my past, present and future readers, I HAVE NEVER KILLED ANYONE just to research a book (or for any reason, for that matter). Nor have I ever stumbled across a dead body lying in the garden or sitting in an empty garage or floating in the surf (my husband has, but that’s another story for another day.) The only dead bodies I have seen/touched have been prettified, with hair styled, dressed in their best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, lying in a casket.
          But I will admit to having done a few things, all in the name of research. For “Best Friends Help You Move the Body” in Virginia is for Mysteries, we were tasked with using a Virginia landmark as our setting for our short mystery. Living—and loving—life ne…


Recently, I was asked, "How much research do you actually do for fiction and how much of your work is true?” There’s quite a bit of research that goes into writing mysteries. I want to make sure that my stories are plausible and as accurate as possible. Readers notice when writers make mistakes. I mix quite a bit of “real” in my short stories and novels. All of my settings are actual places. I tend to put my works in Virginia cities and counties because I write what I know.  If a crime occurs, I make up that location's name. I wouldn't put a horrific or violent event at a real restaurant or store. But if you've been to the cities, you'll recognize landmarks, neighborhoods, and street names. I get ideas for crimes and capers from real cases, but I usually take liberties with the details. In my short story, "Washed up," in Virginia is for Mysteries, a beat up suitcase washes up on Chick's Beach, and it's filled with some mysterious contents. Back in …


If your club is reading To Fetch a Thief, Four Fun Tails of Theft and Murder, then be sure and check out discussion questions to help you foster lively discussion. Questions are on the "THE QUESTIONS" tab of this blog, or click here to be whooshed away immediately.

"THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK" by Rosemary

Barks and woofs overlaid snarls and growls coming from the shaded depths. Adam followed the noises, scanning the ground for a hefty stick. Each one he chose broke apart, raining particles of rot onto his shoes. He took the ball launcher out of his pocket. The sound of rattling chain link alarmed him, and he extended the handle as he ran to the park’s boundary. Not a sturdy weapon, but it served.
Mary approached and retreated from the fence repeatedly, barking furiously. On the other side a yipping and whining animal tracked between a mound of leaves and the fence. It snarled, lunging at the fence with teeth bared as if to attack Mary. “GEE-Yah! GEE-Yah!” Adam screamed in the time-tested bellow his father taught him that never failed to scatter unfriendly—and friendly—dogs. Adam dropped the flinger and used both hands to throw sticks at the animal. From his recent park kiosk lesson, Adam identified the threat as a coyote. Two runners drawn by the noise also hurled sticks and added to the …

IT'S ALL ABOUT OUR DOGS, Interview with Rosemary

Hi, Jayne. Thanks for asking questions about my Mutt Mysteries story, “This is Not a Dog Park.”
Tell us about the furry members of your family. The last furry one in my home is my aging dog Current. He’s the best, especially now that he no longer runs full tilt all the time. He’s quite a laid back old guy now, although walks and his backyard life in a big, treed yard brings out the pup in him. He’s a mutt with predominant hound tendencies. He began life with all black fur, but now he’s much grayed in the face and up the fore- and hind legs. He has sweet deep brown eyes.
How did your dog(s) pick you to be his/her/their fur-ever mom? We selected Current as a puppy for my then 12-year old daughter. She wanted a puppy, and I thought our “puppy project” would be a perfect way for her to have a wholesome, young teenager focus and distract her from pre-teen angst. It worked! She’s nurturing anyway, so Current got a great mom. Once my daughter left for college, my son was happy to become Current’…


     "What’s all the fuss?” Catt Ramsey asked her Yorkshire terriers, Cagney and Lacey, who stood on their hind legs barking at something out the bay window. Catt slid her desk chair toward the window of the small apartment she rented over her sister’s cottage in Virginia Beach. A man approached, taking the outdoor stairs two at a time. After a few quick knocks, the man pushed opened the screen door. “Is this the dog-walking service?” Catt recognized the man. Brock Randall was a city council member who’d voiced his opinion to the local media about annoying residents who criticized the council over animal rights. “Yes, Mr. Randall. I’m Catt Ramsey, owner of the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers. How may I help you?” “Have we met?” “No. I’ve seen you on the news. How can I help you?”      “I’d like to hire your service.”
Cagney and Lacey jumped from the window seat to the floor.  In tandem, they made their way toward Brock and began sniffing his shoes and pants. “Please, have a seat.” Catt indicated a…