“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

This year marks the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the first printing of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderful, commonly referred to as Alice in Wonderland.

“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

The late rabbitWhen I was about five, my mother read me both the Wonderland book and the Looking-Glass one, and I loved them so much, I begged her to read them over and over again.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

But until this year, I never checked into the background of how the Wonderland book came to be written. I thought I’d share some of the interesting facts I found out about the author and the book here.

“Have I gone mad?”
“I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”

Mad Tea PartyFirst, probably a lot of people know that Lewis Carroll is a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, but I didn’t. Or that he based a lot of his characters on real people and places, even images. Because he stuttered, he said his last name Dodo-Dodgson, and thus the dodo bird in the book was created. The rabbit hole was probably a symbol for the stairs, called the rabbit hole, in the back of the main hall in Christ Church where Mr. Dodgson was a mathematician.

“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”

Just AliceMr. Dodgson first told many of Alice’s adventures to three little girls on a boat ride with their father, Henry Liddell. Lorina Charlotte, aged thirteen at the time, Alice Pleasance, aged ten, and Edith Mary, aged eight. They loved the stories so much, he later wrote them down, expanded on them, did his own illustrations, but later hired an illustrator, John Tenniel. The first draft was 15,500 words, but then he added more material such as the Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter tea party (one of my favorite scenes) and it became 27,500 words.

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
“Off with their heads!”

Red QueenThe author had a rare neurological disorder that causes hallucinations and affects the size of visual objects, which can make the patient feel bigger or smaller than he is. This of course became a major part of the book. The disease is now often called the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

I have to say that Mr. Dodson’s life was almost as fascinating as his stories. Happy Anniversary, Alice!

As the Cheshire Cat said, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” And now you know why I love to read and write. What is your favorite book? What was the first book you remember being read to you or that you read yourself?


I love Newport, RI, so it was logical for me to set my Tina Tales mystery series in that city on Aquidnick Island. And I thought it would be fun to share some facts about Newport here on my blog from time to time.

clutteredatticsecrets-08Today I’m going to talk about a famous drink served there, which is mentioned in my latest novel, Cluttered Attic Secrets. It’s not unusual for a drink to become famous, but usually they’re alcoholic drinks. This one is free of alcohol, bigger than any cocktail you’ve probably ever had, and almost a meal in itself.

It’s called an Awful Awful™. A little known (almost secret) fact about the Awful Awful™ is that it originated in a town next to the town where I grew up in in New Jersey. The Newport Creamery bought the trademarked drink’s secret recipe way back in the 1950s, and when I first visited Newport, I was amazed to find I could get one there. The small chain, Bond’s in New Jersey. is long gone, unfortunately—they had the best hamburgers, too.

An Awful Awful™ is a blend of a secret frozen ice milk mix, whole milk, and flavored syrup, and is very, very cold. It’s obviously patterned after milk shakes, cabinets (what milk shakes are called in Rhode Island), and frappes. They can be made from any flavor. If you drink three, you get the fourth one free. It used to be (maybe still is) a rite of passage for young boys to do that in high school. Only five hundred calories each.

So, if you’re ever on Aquidneck Island, stop by the Creamery on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, or go just down the road a way to Middletown, and have an Awful Awful™. You’ll be glad you did.


I’m sorry to report, my new novel, CLUTTERED ATTIC SECRETS, did not make the cut in the Kindle Scout program. Thanks to all of you who voted. I will be publlishinng it myself in the next week or so, all going well. Thanks again!


 If you like suspense.
If you like interesting characters.
If you like an intriguing plot.
If you like a little romance with your mysteries.
If you like crime in high places—

SecretsofHonor_front_1600x2400_May2I have a book to recommend.

Carol Kilgore’s latest crime fiction with a kiss novel involves beautiful women and beautiful jewelry. It features the President of the United States and his first lady. And a hunk, Dave, for the main character, Kat Marengo to hanker for. Kat and Dave are working for a secret agency with ties to Homeland Security. They are tasked with watching out for suspicious persons at an event the President is attending, and they each have special skills for doing that, Kat in particular.

The stakes are raised when the First Lady secretly places a note in her hand asking Kate to meet her later. When she does, the First Lady tells Kat a friend’s daughter has been kidnapped. That’s when things get dangerous. For the First Lady who is willing to trade herself for the safe return of the girl, and for Dave and Kat who decide to locate the child and bring her home.

Well, of course you’ll have to read the book to find out if Dave and Kat get together. And if they accomplish the First Lady’s mission. The jewelry adds an interesting note, as does Kat’s expertise with disguises.

Grab a copy here either in print or ebook format:

You won’t be disappointed.


Grammarly, the grammar checkers, did a study, which was posted on Huffington Post not too long ago.

Grammarly proofread 400+ freelancer profiles from all eight categories of the Elance platform for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. To adjust for quality of work, they only selected freelancers with an average rating of four stars or above. Then they looked at correlation between earnings and number of mistakes. They hope the direction of the data spurs some thought and conversation about the importance of good writing. Their goal is to raise awareness for the importance of good writing. Here’s the chart with their findings:

grammar infographic

Here’s the link to the Grammarly site in case you’d like to check some of your own writing for errors: It couldn’t hurt!

Here’s to good writing!


I woke up to the news today that P.D. James, at age 94, has passed away. I was very sad to read this since she is on my personal list of top ten writers, so unless they pull some older works from a drawer or trunk, I won’t be able to read anything new by her ever again.

What made her stand out for me was that she delved deeply into her characters’ lives, especially their psychological lives. Then there was the mystery, of course, always extremely well plotted. If you haven’t read anything by her, I strongly suggest you do.

Here are some links to learn more about this amazing woman and writer.

Her official webpage (check out the library tab for a list of all her books):

The Wikipedia entry:

Her Amazon author page (in case you didn’t realize this, most authors have a separate page on Amazon that lists their books, a bio, and other info about them and their work—yes, including me):


Fabulous quotes with many pictures of the author:

And sadly, a few obituaries:

Anyone else have a great link to share? Rest in peace, Phyllis.


Out this month, A BROKEN LIFE is now “live.” Click on the cover image anywhere on this site to learn more.This is the second book in the Paula Mitchell, PI, series. Treat yourself to a new mystery novel. And of course, reviews very welcome.


Happy Friday. And thanks to all of you wonderful people who participated in my poll. Your votes and your comments were wonderful.

And here’s the lucky winner picked by

Meg Opperman

Meg, please get in touch with me at about your free copy of BLACKOUT. I’ll need to know what version you would like and how to send it to you.

What I learned: First, all the blurbs were too long. The votes were about evenly divided between 2 and 3, so I’m going to go with my gut, pick the one I think is best, but shorten it. You’ll have to wait for me to get the book out there to see which one I chose. When I do, I’ll announce it at my usual social media spots and on my website so you’ll know. And of course I’ll let Meg know her copy is on its way.

Thanks again, all. You were a huge help!


Today I’m over at Carol Kilgore’s Tike Hut talking about, what else, how to get organized if you’re a writer. Hope everyone will stop by and let me know if my post is at all helpful to you. I will be popping in at the Hut to comment on comments as the week goes by. Oh, and there’s a giveaway of ORGANIZED TO DEATH for the commenters. So get there before Thursday, 10 p.m. to enter!

Free drinks for all! Wear your beach hat; I did! Come on over, the weather’s fine and the water nice and warm.