Minnehaha Falls


When recalling my childhood and one of my most precious dreams, I think of Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN. My folks brought us here all the time for picnics. There used to be an area called the, ‘deer pen’, and it was filled with them. The water flows from Lake Minnetonka to  Minnehaha Creek where it joins with the mighty Mississippi River. The confluence is near Fort Snelling.

I have a number of old photos of the falls. One is from the mid-1900’s with my grandma standing behind the falls with some other people. Now, of course, that wouldn’t be possible to do. Here are photos of early picnickers. IMG_005428472175_10213965022612772_6980510268159835098_n

Growing up, we had class picnics there, attended the Syttenmai (Seventeenth of May, Norwegian Independence Day) celebration, Svenskarnasdag, (Swedish Day) reunions and many other gatherings, or just go for a lone stroll. It’s so serene.


There’s also a statue of Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha across the creek, right out of the poem, Song of Hiawatha, by Longfellow. There’s also the old depot built, 1875. As if that isn’t enough, the home of John H. Stevens is on the site. It is purportedly the first wooden framed building built in Minnesota, 1849 or 1850. I’ve added a photo of the Longfellow library which was built similar to Henry W. Longfellow’s house. It is located nearby.




I hope that you enjoyed the little bit of history about the most beautiful place on earth. Where is yours? Write about it. I try to put some of my favorite places in my writing.

Here are pictures of famous people who have visited the Falls.  President Johnson, VP Hubert Humphrey, President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, just to name a few.










A few years ago, my husband and I were able to take a road trip out East. It was so much fun to spend time in Philadelphia and see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall as well as the first post office. Hail to Ben Franklin!

After Philadelphia, we continued to Boston. Of course we walked the Freedom Trail and saw so many things, that it’s hard to remember them all.  However, I’d always wanted to see Orchard House.

What is Orchard House and where is it located, you ask? It’s the former home of one our most beloved authors: Louisa May Alcott. The house is located in Concord, MA, near Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s house.

On display were the dolls they played with as young girls, props used during their theatrical performances, original furniture, and a wonderful video about the family.  During the guided tour, I learned about transcendentalism, which is to stand up for equality and social justice. Ms. Alcott’s parents believed in social reform and supported the Underground Movement.


Ms. Alcott’s books taught us the value of family and working toward the common good for all. In Little Women, Marmie (mother) brings food to a neighboring family without expecting anything in return. The patriarch, Mr. March, served as a chaplain in the Civil War.

During the long nights of winter, why not purchase a copy of Little Women or rent the movie. Either version is wonderful. The first movie was made in 1933, the other two versions were made in 1949 and 1994. The 1933 stars Joan Bennett and Katharine Hepburn. The 1949 version stars Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, June Allyson, and Margaret O’Brien.  The 1994 is so delightful staring: Winona Ryder, Christian Bale, Kirstin Dunst. It’s a wonderful story and fun to watch. The latest version is so real and now that I’ve toured the home, I feel like I know the sisters, the Little Women.


Many thanks to Orchard House. Here is the link to their website. I encourage you to have a look and visit, you won’t be sorry.  http://www.louisamayalcott.org


I write mysteries, poetry, and children’s picture books. Please take a look at my website where you can learn more about me.








The long month of January


January is the Latin word for door.  It literally means the beginning.  You open a door and enter, which is exactly what we do for the new year.  January brings cold, wind, and all sorts of turbulent weather across the land.  The old north wind blows strong and hard up here in the northland of Minnesota.  It chills you to the bone and it doesn’t matter how many layers of clothing you wear, but I like it.  I truly do!

The snow twinkles across the yard.  I can look out my window and watch the wild animals explore the woods.  The Mississippi River is frozen for the deer to meander across.  I have seen a deer walk down the opposite side of the river, and climb up our side of the river.  The squirrels are busy scampering and foraging for nuts. While I keep an eye on the animals from inside my warm house, I realize that it’s chilly, and time to get cozy.

It’s time to cuddle up with a good book or two along with a nice warm cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or something else.  I prefer hot chocolate but when I settle in with a crochet throw around me and sip my hot chocolate, I tend to fall asleep.  When my nap is over, it seems it’s time for me to fix supper.

Reluctantly, I get started in the kitchen and have to set my book aside.  I know that I’ll return to it later.

The long winter evenings are peaceful and charming.  I look forward to them when summer arrives because the short evenings don’t allow read time nor a nap.

What do you enjoy about the month of January?


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A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens

Francis_Alexander_-_Charles_Dickens_1842.jpegCharles Dickens in 1842, the year before the publication of A Christmas Carol

I used to read from this book to my children when they were young. I loved it. The Victorian writing made me think of days of yore. It also made me want to visit his home in London, England. Camden.


When I visited my pen pal in the mid-80’s, whom I’d been writing since we both were in our early teens, I toured the house. This Georgian terraced house was all one could imagine. His desk is on display, and the house is as it was in his time. Of course, this was before cell phones. Put it on your bucket list.



However, Mr. Dickens brought to the attention of the government, the treatment of the poor and meek. His father had been imprisoned and Charles had little growing up. He exposed child labor, orphanages, and prison conditions through his writing. He also was one of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the spirit of Christmas.


Dickens began writing the famous novel in September 1843 with 6,000 sold by Christmas upon completion. Since then, there’s been many, many versions of the famous novel made into movies, plays and various written adaptations.


Many thanks to Wikipedia and the Dickens website for the photos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol



0Barb 028

Ever hear of the Wolfe Pack?

All mystery writers and everyone else who loves a good read should know who Rex Stout is. He introduced us to the modern mystery by his characters: Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. The 70’s TV series was loosely based on his books, Ellery Queen.


Many years ago, when I first began to write mysteries, I was told by a well-known author to read Rex Stout. I did. His books are fun to read. We’re introduced to a private detective who never leaves his brownstone and his gumshoe, Archie.

Nero loves beer and orchids. Archie loves milk and chasing down the bad guys. It’s a fit made in heaven.

I recently had the opportunity to attendThe Rex Stout Banquet when I attended a convention in Toronto, Canada. It was fabulous. No words could explain it.

We toasted each other constantly with all the many guest speakers. The meal was to die for. The passed canapes included caviar. The salad was made from butter lettuce. The vegetables were also to die for. However, the peppered beef tende

rloin melted in my mouth. The desert almost dropped me to my knees it was so good, Hazelnut and caramel mousse. Can you beat that?



We also had fun with making up parodies using characters names. One group received a standing ovation. An older gentleman from our table wanted to sing solo, so we let him. We also had trivia questions to answer during the evening. It was so much fun. My friend, Carol Pouliot sat beside me and we had so much fun.

I encourage everyone to experience this banquet if the chance should ever arise. It was well worth it!

I write the First Ladies Mystery Series, historical fiction, poetry and picture books.

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Teddy Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear

0Barb 028It seems that Theodore Roosevelt was asked to hunt bear in 1902 with the governor of Louisiana. In those days, the bears weren’t protected like they are now. It’s my understanding that this poor bear was chased down until at last it snatched one of the president’s hunting dogs. A companion of TR raised his rifle and smacked the black bear on the head. He tied the bear to a tree and blew his bugle, summoning the president over.
President Roosevelt was asked to deliver the fatal shot.

Clifford Berryman’s famous 1902 cartoon of Roosevelt refusing to kill a black bear. (The Washington Post)

Cartoonist Clifford Berryman, drawing for this newspaper, documented what happened next: Roosevelt arrived, took one look at the feeble beast with its big, frightened eyes. And he walked away.

It became part of Roosevelt’s larger than life persona, evidence of his benevolence, his principles, his kinship with nature. And, when a New York shop owner decided to name his signature stuffed bear after the animal-loving president, it fueled the production of a million toys and a new kind of relationship to wildlife.     

In the third First Ladies mystery book, I feature Edith Roosevelt: the Clue of the Dancing Bell.  It begins with a National Park Exposition in St. Paul, MN where a murder occurs.   Many imposters factor into this mystery, including Teddy Roosevelt. image_2_39

Here are the links to my website, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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