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How can I say thanks...

...For the things you have done for me?
Things so undeserved,
Yet you give to prove your love for me...

That's my favorite contemporary hymn. I loved it the first time I heard it, and I love it a little more each time I hear it. I have my own "variation" of it that I have played for special music countless times.

Perhaps my favorite saying is "Into every life must fall a little rain--and a little sunshine."
Both of these things apply to a very special couple. They have become "cyber friends" to the utmost. They are NDK and Marcelle La Cour. They have given me some wonderful gifts, including this picture of a unicorn.
You see, unicorns are special to me, too. I used to dislike unicorns. That was before I dug into my paternal grandmother's genealogy in Switzerland. Annie Marie (Hurner) Hallett, my grandmother, was the daughter of a Swiss man who came to America in search of his dream. In order to get to Nebraska, where he had friends, he made a stopover in New York City, where he played with John Phillip Sousa's band in order to make enough money for his trip westward. Perhaps that is where I got my musical talent. (Yes, I play the piano, the organ and even--don't laugh--the accordian.) When I got the information on our Hurner family from Thune, Bern, Switzerland, I learned that every family is assigned a crest of their own. The Hurner crest was a sort of belted circle--with a unicorn in the middle. Obviously, I had to like a unicorn; it was ours.
But let's get back to NDK. When I first "met" him on some of the e-groups we both belonged to, I frankly did not bother to read his posts. They were long, and I just wasn't into reading a bunch of technical garble. However, bit by bit, I began to see hints of things that were very helpful. I started skimming NDK's posts. Then, as I saw the depth of this man, I began reading all of his posts. Then I began making copies of them. Then I began to put into practice some of his advice. Then he made an offer of a flag, which had been painted by his wife, Marcelle, and which she gave freely for anyone to use after the events of Sept. 11th, and which graced the top of my website for months.
I have now gotten to "know" (cyberly speaking) both NDK and Marcelle. They are just about the warmest, kindest people I have had the honor of meeting for a good long time. So, it is with deep humility and heart-felt thanks that I offer my tribute to NDK and Marcelle.
For more about them, as well as samples of their writing and artwork, please take a few minutes to go to . I know you won't regret it.


Into our lives, by way of the Net...
Come some very special people we would never have met without today's modern cyber-world. Such is the case with Billie Williams.
Traveling back in time a couple of years, I think we were on a Yahoo! e-group of some sort, probably one for mystery writers. I remember asking her if she would be the guest author on one of my mystery chats I was hosting at the time. I admired her from the moment she replied. She told me that she would love to, but that her husband was a long-distance over-the-road truck driver and that was the time he called her every night so she couldn't tie up the computer. Yup, that's when I first knew I liked the woman.
I don't remember exactly how the friendship matured after that, but it did. We now talk on the phone at least once a week--when she gets her "Call Wave" message in time so she can run clear across the house to answer the phone before it cuts off! We have shared good times--and bad. We have griped about our kids and our men, and we have decided that we will keep all of them anyway. We have gone through rejections, acceptances, exchanged writing ideas, yelled at each other a time or two (that's the way you can tell a TRUE friend!) and still remained friends.
A few months ago Billie asked me to join her e-group, called Word_Mage. This is not just any ordinary group. Billie has gone above and beyond the call of duty by creating a very special web-page for each of the members of the group! (Click here to view it.) You see, Billie is a firm believer in the magic of the written word. Her books are proof of that. She writes mysteries, primarily, and while she might kill off one of your favorite characters...well, I hear tell that you can never be sure a person is really dead. Sort of like in soap operas. They might have been missing at sea for years, or dropped off a cliff, or most anything else, but that leaves the door wide open for a "resurrection." I hear that one very special lady from one of her books just might put in an appearance next Christmas! I can't wait!
The other thing that has developed between Billie and me revolves around one of each of our books. My Patrick and Grace Mysteries have been out for several years. Billie has a new book that came out a few months ago, called Knapsack Secrets. Billie had sent some suggestions for her idea for the cover to her publisher, but when she got the proposed cover of the book, it was nothing like she had envisioned it at all. Still, anxious to get the book released, she approved it. It was only after it came out that we realized that my first Patrick and Grace Mystery, In St. Patrick's Custody, and Billie's book Knapsack Secrets both centered on the theme of homelessness and both had a picture of a park bench on them. So, we are now cross-promoting each other's books, along with our own, of the "Park Bench Mysteries."
I also have it on very good authority that our mutual friend Ingrid Taylor has a new book in the works. And guess what is in the book? Yup, a homeless person and a park bench! Welcome to the "Park Bench Mystery" club, Ingrid!


A great book is like a great mind; it keeps on giving
over and over and over again!
Check Janet's books out here.