Couples Retreat Movie Offers Insights for Today’s Busy Couples


Last night we went with another couple to see Couples Retreat. We were in the mood for “funny” and this movie fit the bill — with a little couples therapy thrown in for good measure. Vince Vaughn plays the main character; a married guy who works twelve hours a day, attends his kids’ sports games, and is main problem solver/money man for his friends. He has little time for his wife. His wife is into remodeling their house, as well as making sure the kids are fed and homework done before driving them to their sports activities. Although their life is a maze of activities, they don’t see themselves as having marital problems.

Their friends, however, are experiencing all kinds of emotional turmoil, from extramarital affairs and divorce, to disillusionment at not being able to get pregnant. The infertile couple force their friends to sit through a Power POint presentation on an exotic Get Away that pledges to improve a couple’s relationship with their spouse. The other couples initially offer up excuses as to why they can’t attend, but eventually all eight men and women are stepping off the wonder boat and onto the fertile island of Bali. They assume fun and games are in their near future, but surprise, surprise. Drinking and partying are on a sister island that’s meant fo singles, only. The itinerary they receive is work, work, work, spelled “Therapy.”

It’s difficult to imagine that such a topic could be so hysterically funny. Yet the reactions of each couple as they deal with their own personal therapist and explore the implications of their actions hits home. I don’t want to give away the ending. Let it suffice to say that you’ll recognize yourself or a family member or friend in at least one of these couples. Let me know what you think….

Even Book Authors Experience the Blues


There I was, re-editing my third suspense novel for the zillionth time, when I realized I didn’t know where to set my third to last scene. At this point in the story, my amateur sleuth is in the hospital after being attacked. She’s just been visited by her best friend as well as interviewed by a police detective. She’s about to come face to face with the one person who can unlock all the answers. However she needs a new setting for this encounter– and she can’t be recouping at home.

It’s natural for a writer to peer over the precipice and wonder what lies beneath. At times there are a vast array of choices in which to paint the setting, at other times not nearly enough. This was one of those other times. Thus, the frustration.

Share your suggestion for a setting. We’re talking straight mystery here, not fantasy, sci fi, or romance. If I use your suggestion, I’ll put you in the acknowledgement section of the book!

Falling Behind


Ever feel like you’re falling behind? Bought a couple of condos as investments when economic times were good. After all, I’m a Realtor as well as a writer. I should know the score, right? Wrong. Not even the big whigs knew the true height of the cliff from which we were soon set to plunge. Yesterday’s Tribune said fifty percent of homeowners have run in the other direction rather than phone their mortgage lenders to ask for refinancing assistance. Not me, baby! I picked up the phone and dialed my new lender. the person I needed to talk to wasn’t available but the person who answered the phone was so courteous and caring that I went away feeling that I’d made the right decision to leave my message with him so that he might pass it on to the appropriate party. Just to make sure that, in fact, my message did reach the appropriate party, I hinted that I wouldn’t be making my next mortgage payment until I spoke to that person. The young man assured me that he’d e-mail his supervisor ASAP. Now that’s what I call service!

Driving to Bouchercon 2009, Indianapolis


I initially felt uncomfortable about driving the four hours from Chicago to Indianapolis but popped in an audio tape of Kill Me by Stephen White and was good to go. The idea was intriguing: if, while in good health, you could specify the physical and mental state of being that would make your life no longer worth living, plus you had all the money in the world, would you take out an “insurance policy” instructing a private company to kill you once you reached that stage? What would the implications be, not just for you but for your family and friends? The book definitely kept my interest on the way there and back. What do you think about this concept??

Halloween at Firefighters’ Swap Meet


After several days of co-habitating with a low-intensity virus which left me tired and headachy, I got it together for my book signing at the Firefighters Swap Meet at Mundelein High School. I’ve been doing the Swap Meet for three years and I didn’t want to break my stride. I was worried on four accounts::

1) Had the majority of EMTs and firefighters who frequent the fire fighting equipment antiques fair already purchase autographed copies of my Chicago-based suspense novel Deadly Choices?

2) Would the other vendors be decked out in Halloween costumes or those shirts with the cute little pumpkins or scary black cats? I hadn’t had the time or energy to drum up a costume.

3) Should I make a touchy/feely bag with gross things to touch as folks walked by my table?

4) Was one bag of candy plus a tupperware container of homemade chocolate chip cookies enough to lay out on my table?

All that worrying took up the early part of Saturday morning. By the time I arrived at the High School, it was 10:00 a.m. — would have been there earlier but for a McDonalds sausage biscuit and pancakes attack –and the event was scheduled to close up at 1:30 p.m.

Sure enough, there were different people here from last year and the year before. Heard some great EMT stories for my next book. The Citizens’ Fire Academy polo shirt I sported produced more interest than if I’d worn a costume. None of the other vendors dressed in costume. My homemade chocolate chip cookies made a better hit than my individual chocolate bars — in fact a 7-year-old girl waved the chocolate away and told me she was “pacing” herself for trick-or-treating later that day! She then proceeded to rearrange my Halloweend doo-dads on the table, but that’s another story!

Due to lack of time, planning, and energy, I’d foregone the gross touchy/;feeling bag. Nobody was worse for wear on that one!  All in all, it just goes to show: We can’t orchestrate every moment in life. Sometimes we just have to sit back and let life unfold  How was your Halloween??