Check the Sky

Have you looked outside today? Did you check the sky? Does it change within hours? Minutes?

At the moment I write this, the sky outside my window is a beautiful, summer-blue with a rare high, white cloud.

This morning, as I drove to a meeting, the clouds were gray and even had the audacity to sprinkle a few raindrops on my windshield.

According to the forecast, clouds will return in a few hours — it was nice that the clear sky coincided with daylight — and spill rain in a scattered pattern across the St. Louis region.

On this day in May, when I was visiting Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, the sky displayed reversed proportions of cloud and clear than this afternoon. It did not rain that day — only stayed cool and pleasant. Sunglasses optional.

When was the last time you looked at clouds and imaged animals, cartoon characters, or other shapes? Do you tend to find dogs? Or perhaps faces?

The open spaces of parks are a great vantage point for sky-gazing. Find a bench. Dream a little. Read the book you brought along.

Kindle edition:

Duck! Duck!

No, I’m not playing a children’s game with poultry.

This would be a wise command in the Missouri village of Athens on August 5, 1861.

For a battle was raging between two militias of different opinions in the recently begun war. While the conflict proved to be small, and far from a turning-point in the war, items like that would matter little to the town residents during the two hours of conflict.

For example:

Cannonball entered near kitchen door.

Can you imagine? Here you are, possibly going from window to window trying to get a rifle shot off at one of the cannon crew. And…

Cannonball exits on back porch.

Yikes! Too close for my comfort.

This is only one of the interesting, historic, and/or scenic items in Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.

While this particular location is not featured in Morning Tryst, you can be sure our heroine photographer visited and captured multiple images in the various seasons to tempt Missourians and others to visit.

What is Morning Tryst? I’m so glad you asked.

Join Serena and Zack in this sweet, contemporary romance set in California and Missouri.

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Fish, Fish, Fish

Or perhaps I should say: trout, trout, trout.

Montauk State Park is all about trout. Hatched, growing, carefree, and hooked.

Fishermen of all sizes have options. Come for the day. Rent a cabin. Rent a motel room. Camp in comfort ranging from tent, to small trailer, to luxury motorhome.

At the park store, you can find last minute supplies and the all-important trout tag. Be sure to pin it to your hat or shirt.

Future fish (trout) dinners grow under the watchful eye of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources.

A coin and turn of the vending machine knob gives you enough pellets to start a brief feeding frenzy. No hooks allowed in this portion of the park.

Caught your limit for the day? How about a tour of the old gristmill? A hike on a well-marked trail? A little time watching children on the playground? Or a friendly chat, trading fish stories, with you temporary neighbors?

Fictional photographer Serena Carter had an adventure worth recording in “Morning Tryst” in this park.

Check it out with a Kindle pre-order here:

Official release date = June 20


The Table is Ready

Guests for dinner. How delightful. Come. Sit. Eat.

Set in the French style, the dining table at Felix Valle House State Historic Site is ready for guests. Located in Ste. Genevieve presents house, trading post, and grounds as they would have appeared in the early 19th century. Charming to see that clear glass, blue & white china, and a white tablecloth never go out of style.

Fair or foul weather, this is a delightful stop for a little history lesson made interesting. Can you imagine voices in the mercantile discussing the quality of the fur brought to trade for an iron kettle? Or the joy when a letter from a New Orleans acquaintance arrives?

Keep a careful watch on the river. Spring floods can damage the crops in the “great field”. Live is not all work — a lively religious and social life filled the days of this thriving settlement. Did you know — at one time, Ste. Genevieve was larger than St. Louis?

Parks and historic sites — photograph them all in all seasons — quite an assignment. But fictional photographer Serena Carter is up to the task in the sweet romance “Morning Tryst.”

Countdown: six days to the June 20 release.

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Park in Two Parts

You can’t get there from here. Well, technically that’s a false statement.

However, sometimes an obstacle makes it very difficult, or perhaps time consuming to get from the spot you are standing to the spot you see.

Allow me to show you the “old bridge” across the Meramec River in Missouri’s Route 66 State Park.

To get from this end of the bridge to the other: retrace your route to the Interstate Highway. Drive to the next exit, re-enter freeway going opposite direction and take first exit. Then wind your way under the freeway to part 2 of this unique (for several reasons) state park.

Thinking of the future, when perhaps more than a talented squirrel (or other creature following the below-deck girders, will be able to cross the river at this spot again. Citizens have created an organization with the goal of re-decking this bridge as a bike/walking trail.

In the more immediate future, check out “Morning Tryst” a sweet romance using the backdrop of several Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.

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Stay Protected

Ice. Sleet. Snow. Rain. Mother Nature can be wearing on man-made things, like bridges.

Our ancestors had a solution. Build a cover, actually a shed, which will incorporate a design to add strength and protection.

Once popular, four such bridges remain in Missouri. Each of them is protected with the status of State Historic Site and has been restored.

I’m not even close to an engineer — but informational displays at the sites explain the construction types with advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps a future engineer will be happy to explain the information to you.

I get a special feeling as I walk through one of the structures. Stepping back in time. Life moved at a different pace. You can imagine the clop clop of horses pulling a wagon. Did you bring a coin for the fee? (Many covered bridges charged a toll for maintenance.)

Postcard perfect Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site is an easy day trip for St. Louis residents.

Bring a picnic. Prepare to sit and LISTEN to nature’s music. Pack a book to read. (My recommendation is Morning Tryst a sweet romance featuring several Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.

Available June 20. Pre-order for Kindle here:


A New Day

At sunrise, the world displays a moment of hope and promise.

My normal, daily routine does not include taking fifteen or twenty minutes to appreciate dawn.

On the occasions when I make the effort, the reward is worth more than the time.

The sunrise above, taken from a St. Louis County Park with a view of the Mississippi River does not show the early morning birdsong. Or the deer rather startled to find a human at this hour.

Hope and promise. Fictional photographer Serena Carter is onto something. At dawn, the day is not marred by petty arguments with another human. Or frustration with mechanical or electronic gadgets.

No matter if your view is city skyline, rural fields, or majestic mountain — the world appears to pause in anticipation of what the new day will bring.

Have you paused to watch sunrise recently? Where?

For more of Serena’s sweet romance and adventures in Missouri State Parks, check out Morning Tryst.

Available June 20. Preorder for Kindle here:



People leave traces. Even when they don’t plan to let others know they passed through a space. This is the basis for much detective work — fiction and non-fiction.

Other people, and organizations, put items of substance in their wake. Often these are easy to spot. Often you can even identify the builder by the style.

By style and materials, this picnic shelter is typical of work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the mid and late 1930’s this organization of young men build hundreds of structures, bridges, and roads in state and national parks throughout the United States. Ninety years later, many of their projects are still in use — and appreciated by the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (plus all their friends and relatives) of the workmen.

This photo was taken at Missouri’s Arrow Rock State Park. While not mentioned by name in Morning Tryst, this location would have been visited either three or four times by the fictional photographer.

Want to read the story? Click on the link below to pre-order your Nook copy. By magic (modern electronics) it will appear for your reading pleasure on June 20, 2022.

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Think back for a few minutes to elementary school social studies class. Got it?

Did you learn about explorers?

The Spanish fleets entering the Caribbean. French ships traveling the St. Lawrence. Fishermen from Portugal in the North Atlantic. English mapping the east coast of North America.

Daniel Boone leading settlers into Kentucky. Lewis and Clark following great rivers to the Pacific Ocean.

Neil Armstrong and other astronauts setting foot on the moon. (They didn’t teach this one when I was in school — but a little later it was under “current events”.)

Reading about explorers always interested me. Visiting some of the wonders they discovered is memorable. Do I want the hardships? No thanks to the danger, near-starvation, or unexpected blizzards.

Missouri, and several other Western states, are Lewis & Clark country. After winter camp in Illinois, the expedition crossed the Mississippi River and followed the Missouri River. On a current map you’d say they crossed Missouri from east to west, took a right hand turn to the north, and continued to their next winter camp in North Dakota. It was a little more complicated. Aside from scattered trading posts in the early portion of the voyage, this was unsettled land, populated by semi-nomadic Native Americans.

Regardless of your opinion of their actions — they explored, mapped, collected plant and animal specimens, and laid a foundation for future actions — good and bad.

While photographing Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites in Morning Tryst, our heroine, Serena Carter enjoyed many vistas similar to those experienced by Lewis & Clark.

Twenty-four days to book release. Pre-order your Kindle edition here: