Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Carvins Cove in the Fall

I've lived in Roanoke for over 20 years and this past weekend was the first time I've ever been to Carvins Cove Natural Reserve. The 12,700 acre park is located in Botetourt and Roanoke counties. There are over 50 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. A daily pass will set you back $2 per person. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, kayaks, Jon boats, and paddle boats are available for rental, prices vary. You can fish all year. For more detailed information click here.

My husband and I hiked on one of the easier trails and then we just sat and watched the water. So peaceful, so tranquil, so beautiful. I liked it so much I suggested we get a fishing license next time we head there. I wouldn't mind sitting on the shore, rod and book in hand, just relaxing...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall Foliage in Botetourt

We drove through Botetourt County yesterday on our way to Fincastle to see if anything was going on in that town. We vaguely remembered going to a restaurant there many years ago which I felt was haunted. I couldn't tell you anything about the food, but remember it was a pretty "classy" joint with white tablecloths that had a crystal chandelier above our table. What was strange about our experience there was that if you looked at that chandelier in the mirror at the end of the restaurant you could see it swaying every so slightly, back and forth, back and forth. Not so underneath it.

We tried to find Main Street where we assumed it would be but didn't see anything like it. We parked the car and went into the Botetourt Museum where the saddest mannequin in the world resides...

She's sitting in a jury duty box, but she looks so freaking miserable. I think it's because her breasts are sagging.

I asked about lunch options, specifically about that restaurant, but the lady in the museum said if it was the place she was thinking about that closed a couple of years ago. She said there was another one too, but that also closed a couple of years ago. The only place she knew of was of a pizzeria down the block from the museum. Since we weren't in the mood for what I'm sure would have been sub-par Italian food, I pressed her for any other recommendation. Sadly, she said that was the only place in town. Wow, that's one reason I could never live in a town like that. Even with all the crappy Roanoke restaurants at our fingertips, good or bad, there's at least options. Disappointed, I suggested we head back towards the interstate and hit the Cracker Barrel.

On our way there we stopped along the sides of the road to take some pictures. The fall foliage was absolutely beautiful! Here are a couple of shots...


I don't know how the idea of visiting Carvin's Cove popped up, but it did, and after Googling it we decided to check it out on our way home. Pictures to come in another post...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Canoeing in Explore Park

This past weekend we went searching for some brilliant fall foliage to, that's a tongue twister...but none was to be found. Instead, we wound up at Explore Park to see what was going on there. New to me was the visitor center, which was very nice, but I was disappointed that all the other buildings that I had visited with the children during numerous school trips, were shuttered. There's still 14 miles of hiking and biking trails for those who love the great outdoors, but they are of little interest to me.

As we were getting ready to head back out, we stumbled upon some folks carrying a canoe out of the woods so figured something was going on in the river down below. Yup, there was...

He made it!

Roanoke County is still deciding what to do with the park and is offering citizens a chance to let them know what they'd like to see up there. Until October 31 you can complete this survey to give your opinions. Since the only thing that would interest me is re-opening the historic Brugh's Tavern restaurant, I'm not going to bother, but if you're an outdoors enthusiast you might want to weigh in. Let me know if one of the options is to put a casino up there...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Pillowman

After spending yesterday in the great outdoors searching for the brilliant colors of autumn, which I never did find, I thought I would do something a little more up my alley...staying indoors to enjoy a play. I attended my first performance of an Off the Rails Theatre Production, "The Pillowman." It was the first time I've been in the Community High School Theatre and let me just say those seats are the most comfortable I've found in the Roanoke Valley -- better than Showtimers, better than the Salem Civic Center and way better than the Berglund Center.

I almost didn't make showtime because as I was about to cross the railroad tracks the gate came down and I waited at least five minutes for a train to pass. I'm glad I did get there in time. The theatre was not as packed as it should have been, and I hope that's only because of Sunday football, or some other outdoor activity being held, and not because of the play's subject matter.

I mainly went because a Facebook friend, Chris Shepard, sent me an invitation, and I have seen him in other productions and was impressed with his acting ability. Once I read another local blogger's review of it where he stated he didn't like it, and the reasons why, I knew I had to go see it. As with most things in Roanoke, what's popular and well-liked usually do not translate into my "tastes." There are those who love a play like "Nunsense" which I loathed, (too much over-acting) and then there's those who don't mind something dark and disturbing like "The Pillowman" which kept me riveted.

Although I guess I could understand why disclaimers such as the use of four-letter words have to be announced for those who are easily offended, I could have done without the forewarning that a gun would be used on the stage. Really? Have we come to that point? I'm not "spoiling" anything for potential attendees as there are notices announcing that in the program and on the walls leading to the theatre.

I'm not exactly certain as to the time period or location where this play takes place. Maybe I missed that, or maybe the playwright could have been a little more clearer, but it doesn't really matter. The stage is sparse, the four actors' abilities are not. I didn't think the three act play was too long, even with the two intermissions. Those comfy seats and wide leg room really help too.

In a nutshell, the play is about a writer and his mentally challenged brother being questioned by two detectives for the murder of three children. And that's all I'm going to say about it. Yes, it's dark, it's disturbing, it's not pretty, but neither is life sometimes. You're not going to walk out of the theatre feeling upbeat and lifted, but so what? I, for one, can still like a play, a book, a movie, etc. even if the subject matter and characters are not "likable." Heck, sometimes those are the most interesting people. I'd much rather watch and feel something that makes me think instead of watching women dressed as nuns running crazily around a stage. But hey, that's just me.

You can still catch The Pillowman next weekend, October 22-24. Click here for their Facebook page.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mets Win, Chinky Showed!

The minute the Mets clinched last night my husband and I gave a loud "yeah!" followed by "See, chinky showed!" You're  probably wondering what the heck that means. Well, my husband picked up the expression from me, who picked up the expression from my mother. When I was young anytime we were playing a game and someone wasn't playing "fair" or "cheated," or someone thought someone "cheated," and the "cheater" denied it, my mother would say, "Chinky'll show." So if the accused lost the game, my mother would proudly state, "Chinky showed, chinky showed!" as if the universe was watching that person and karma came back to bite them. We never really knew where the expression first came from -- I'm figuring somewhere in Italy -- and my cousins, from my mother's side, and I used it throughout our lives. It was like our secret code since most people didn't understand what we were saying.

Whenever I said it to my kids they would look at me like I'm crazy and ask, "What does that even mean?!" I told them how it was an expression from my Brooklyn youth that meant if you cheat, you are not going to win. The boy asked, "Why don't you just say cheaters never prosper?" My response was, "Chinky showed sounds better." He'd get exasperated, "But what the hell is chinky, there is no chinky!" When I would smugly say, "Sure there is, it shows" he'd shake his head at me like I was crazy.

Anyway, back to chinky showing on the Dodgers. When Utley from the Dodgers performed a dirty slide, well, really a tackle into the Mets' shortstop in game 2 breaking Ruben Tejeda's leg and ending his post-season baseball days, and basically "got away with it" (that two game suspension was probably more for his protection from Mets fans on their home field) I pronounced, "Don't worry, chinky will show. The Dodgers are going to lose this series."

Although I had hoped the Mets would have clinched it in game four on their home field, I was still convinced that they would win the series. It was a nail-biting game for us. Utley wasn't in the starting line-up but was brought in to hit in the 9th inning. The Mets were on top 3-2 and I felt he was brought in for psychological reasons more than anything else. He popped out and I could practically hear the roar of New Yorkers all the way to Virginia getting louder and louder until that final out when the Mets prevailed.

Chinky showed! Chinky showed! Bring on the Cubbies...

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Troll Fed Me...A Sequel?

Wow, it's been over a month since I last blogged. Don't know when I went from daily posts to sporadic ones. Life is funny that way. So it's a shame that this post is the one I break the dry writing spell with.

In a soaked Virginia, I awakened to Facebook notifications of comments from an ex-husband I am not "friends" with, the same one I divorced 28 years ago. The couple of picture "likes" from him seemed innocuous. It wasn't until I opened the "read more..." of a comment left on a picture of the cover of my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse (FREE!) that I realized I was being attacked by him.

I know, know, know I shouldn't respond. Don't feed the troll. Everyone knows that. But I had already tried that a couple of days ago when the first comments were left on posts open to everyone. I didn't respond. Didn't even give a thumbs up. Didn't remove them either. I know from the past, I can't give an inch. And I don't. But then, this morning's rant just riled me the wrong way. Maybe it's because I've been under the rain for what feels like weeks lately, sprinkled with reports of impending doom of flood waters, that I'm testy, perhaps short tempered. Or maybe he just pushed my buttons a little too far that I was compelled to respond.

I know it was a mistake, but if you come at me out of left field I'm gonna swing my bat. I'm tempted to post the exchange here for those who aren't my Facebook friends, but if I did, I would be validating his narcissistic behavior. Who contacts an ex after almost three decades, not with a reaching hand, but with a balled fist? Ok, you twisted my's a snippet from the beginning after he sees the cover of my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse (FREE!):

"...i couldnt read it in its entirety because the devil invaded my moble device when i downloaded it to read , actually costing me work and money from the fact thatbit corrupted somthing in my phone andvscrewed up all my data i was forced to exercise my phone by deleting your story... "

After his mention of the devil, I do believe he meant "exorcising" his phone. But, imagine me being blamed for him losing work and money, me, from 475 miles away, me, from decades away. It's my fault, again, as it always was. It's clear we will never agree to each other's scenario as they are as opposite as can be. So let it go. Heal thyself already. But hey, one more thing, thanks for providing material for a possible sequel to The Valentine's Day Curse (FREE!).

In case anyone wants to read the short story that created such an uproar it's free everywhere, and here's a link to Amazon (FREE!). Other links are above. Let me know what you think...a sequel?