Tag Archives: women detectives


Three days ago, last Saturday, I participated in Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue’s Holiday Bazaar. I planned to dash off a quick blog post about the experience as soon as I could access my computer at home. After some thought, I decided I wanted to take time to think about the bazaar and to write something real about the experience. Today I sat down at my computer and wrote.

As a local author, I had rented vendor space and a table from Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue for their Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, October 25th. Since my wife, Deva, and I didn’t want to make the long trip from Darrington, Washington to Tenino, Washington on the day of the bazaar, we stayed overnight at the Motel 6 in Tumwater that allowed pets. Nothing fancy, but the young lady at the front desk was friendly and the room clean.

Our older German Shepherd dog, Katrina, has been afflicted with Sundowner’s–a symptom of dementia–for some months now which is why she couldn’t be boarded like our other three GSDs. The change in routine and being so near the freeway, kept her awake and anxious most of the night; Deva graciously took care of the dog while I slept. Pixie and Mindy slept well, except when Katrina’s panting woke them.

Saturday dawned with scattered clouds. After feeding the dogs, Deva and I loaded Mindy, Pixie and Katrina into the backseat of the truck and headed to Tenino for the CCR Holiday Bazaar. On the way, we looked for a restaurant for breakfast. Nothing turned up until we hit Tenino and found Scotty’s ‘50’s style diner. Holiday bazaar 007 The coffee was hot and plentiful, the water glasses stayed full and the food tasted great. Replete we made the last couple of miles to Cross Creek.

Weeks earlier, we had been involved in an alpaca rescue operation initiated by my 76-year-old sister, Lois. loisDeva had found CCR and Shari Bond and Jackie Glover had trailered to the rescue of 48 alpacas whose 84-year-old owner had died. Now, as we drove in we spied one of the alpacas, Leonardo, in the front paddock. The older male had been so starved down and loaded with parasites by the time Lois became involved in their care, that there had been talk of having to put him down. Shari and Jackie had worked a miracle. The poor old guy was walking without stiffness or pain; had put on a few pounds and seemed quite content. The four elderly female alpacas, Lady Jane among them, had settled into their forever home with CCR. They looked so content standing in the field with the other “girls”.

We parked and unloaded books and flyers. I set up my table–situated between Detricks’ Farm and Chicken Coop display of delicious and unique jams, jellies and pickles, Holiday bazaar 012and a table of beautiful handmade jewelry–while Deva made sure our dogs were comfortable.

A little later on, four spinners arrived, set up and began a spinning demonstration turning alpaca fiber into yarn. Holiday bazaar 015The wonderful smell of citrus and apples and cinnamon drifted through the building from the cider set to warming on the back table.

Throughout the day, people wandered in and meandered from table to table. I met and chatted with many readers. We talked about different authors, the different styles of writing and books we loved.

Dorothy Royce, a 90-year-old from California, visited with me for quite a while. What an interesting woman! When I learned she’d had a recent birthday, I autographed and gave her a copy of Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, of my Special Crimes Team series. Since she’d never had a Kindle, I fired mine up and showed her how to make the text bigger and some of the other features. The device was so lightweight that she had no problem holding it–she sometimes had trouble holding larger books while she read–and the built-in stand of my Kindle cover delighted her.

All day long, folks came by and talked for a while, tossed their name and addresses in the Giveaway jar for a chance to win my latest mystery, Run or Die, and purchased books.     Holiday bazaar 023  (Tracy Redmon and Aya)

Holiday bazaar 009  (Christine Rose and Aya)

About halfway through the day, Deva brought out our Papillons, Mindy and Pixie, who immediately became people-magnets, charming everyone who glanced their way.

It was nearly closing time for the bazaar when Diane Vasarkovy stopped to chat. We talked murder mysteries for a while then we segued into talking about her own writing project: the story of Wolf Haven International. Here is part of the introduction to the work-in-progress:  “We think it’s important to show how ordinary people, with a passion, even without knowledge or resources, can make a tremendous difference in the world.  Magic can happen to people who follow their inner knowing…..Canis Lupus (the wolf) and other wild canines are in crisis in North American wild lands. In competition for habitat with human encroachment, they are unfortunately still seen as vermin by resource hungry people who can’t see the larger picture of our total eco-system. We now have proof that wolves change eco-systems for the better….”

Diane left with the first two books of the Special Crimes Team series, and I was left with a deep respect for her project.

At the end of the day, we packed up the remaining books and flyers and put the dogs back in the truck. A light rain fell as we left CCR. For the next few days, I thought about what I had learned during the bazaar.

  1. I learned that readers are delighted to share ideas about the books they read and love; and it gave me new perspectives on books that I’d read.

  2. I learned that connecting with readers recharged my “creative batteries” and renewed my determination to write the very best books possible; to honor the unwritten contract between reader and author: to write an entertaining story.

  3. I learned how very interesting these readers are; how many are involved in important projects such as alpaca rescue and writing the history of Wolf Haven, International.

  4. I learned, once again, how honored I am that readers invite me into their homes, into their lives. When readers open my novels and enter the fictional worlds that I create, they give me the most precious thing they have: their time.

I have designated November as my Attitude of Gratitude Month to My Readers. Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, Special Crimes Team, EBOOK is FREE on AMAZON from NOVEMBER 1 through NOVEMBER 5.

Grab your free ebook copy of Sketch of a Murder. Go to: http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Or use the Short link: amzn.to/1tBgqhx

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

For my listeners, the first ten fans who agree to write reviews on Amazon and Audible will receive a FREE download of the audiobook Sketch of a Murder DURING the month of NOVEMBER. Get your coupon code now! Email Aya at ayawalksfar@gmail.com In the subject line write “Will review audiobook for free download”

ALL of my books are available as print books. http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

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1.  Become part of something great that will last for decades and bring positive changes to thousands of lives.

2.  Do something that will make you feel great. There is nothing as good as feeling that I have participated in a project that will have positive ripple effects for many years to come.

Unity Church in Lynnwood DSC01692

It isn’t often that ordinary people have the opportunity to become part of something truly great. I was gifted such an opportunity this past Saturday.

Barb Keogan, the administrator of the Unity Church in Lynnwood, made me aware that Tanzania needs a children’s hospital. Now, most of the time when I hear something like that I know there is nothing I can do that will affect the situation. It’s too big; costs too much; is too far away. In short, it’s frustrating and depressing; however, in the same breath that Barb told me about the situation, she presented a way for me to make a difference.

The Unity Church in Lynnwood is holding an auction on October 25, 2014, at the church. The money raised will help them send a Humanitarian Outreach Team to Tanzania to labor (literally) in the building of a birthing center. They will partner with the International Health Partners of Tanzania headed by Mary Ellen Kitundu, President, Dr. Denny Lofstrom, Vice-President, and his wife, Paula Lofstrom.

If you would like to attend the auction purchase your tickets NOW! Tickets MUST be purchased by October 18, 2014! You can purchase the tickets by going to the Unity Church in Lynnwood 16727 Alderwood Mall Parkway or call 425-741-7172. Tickets cost $35. Silent Auction opens at 6 p.m. Live auction follows.

To learn more about this project go to   http://www.ihptz.org/Zinga_Project.htm

This project will eventually encompass a Maternity Complex and Hostel, an Orphanage (for children whose mothers die in childbirth–not uncommon in Tanzania), a Pediatric Ward, a Laboratory, a Birthing Center and Neonatal Nursery, an Xray, a Maternal Child Health Center and a Laundry.

For those of us in the United States, a laundry may seem rather mundane; however, in places such as Zinga, a laundry is essential! In the words of IHPTZ:  “No hospital can function without a Laundry. Lots of small hospitals or dispensaries wash clothes by hand on a cement slab outside. Some even hang the laundry on bushes or trees. We feel that a laundry with hot water and good facilities is essential for the prevention of the transferring of infections especially with newborns and children.”

For a variety of reasons, volunteering in #Tanzania is not an option for me, so I asked Barb if donating some autographed novels for the auction would be helpful. She said yes and so…..

We met at Barb’s house on Saturday afternoon for a lovely homemade meatloaf dinner. As we waited for dinner to finish cooking, we visited. I took the opportunity to ask Barb a few questions about her church.

I asked: “Why is your church doing this outreach work?”

Barb said: “Our philosophy behind outreach is to do something to help make someone else’s life better.”

I asked: “Do you do other outreach projects?”

Barb said: “We ‘adopted two schools’ in Everett, members of our church help at food banks, and volunteer at a number of other places.”

Always curious about motivations (after all I am a #crimefiction author!) I asked: “Does your church take these opportunities to evangelize?”

Barb said: “Our church respects other religions. Someone else’s religion is as important as ours. We don’t evangelize.”

After dinner, I sat down with Barb and autographed six #murder #mystery novels to donate to the auction on the 25th of October.



Though I cannot change the entire world, I cannot stop the crazy wars, I cannot rescue all the animals and people who need to be rescued—I CAN do this small thing. I can weigh in on the side of positive change. I can become a small part of a great vision. If every person did one small thing to make our world a better place for all people and all living creatures, how great would be the changes we would wrought!

Come and be a part of positive change! Join Barb and the Unity Church in Lynnwood in helping to build a Birthing Center in Zinga, Tanzania! Buy your tickets NOW at the Unity Church in Lynnwood 16727 Alderwood Mall Parkway or call 425-741-7172. Tickets cost $35.

If you can’t attend the auction, you can donate money to the Humanitarian Outreach Team. Call Barb at 425-741-7172 to find out how.

Don’t miss future posts. CLICK and FOLLOW!

To purchase your copy of the books I donated for the auction go to:  http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar







Interviewer:  Dr. Irene Nelson is with us today. Thank you, Dr. Nelson for consenting to this #interview.

Dr. Nelson:  (inclines head slightly) My pleasure.

Interviewer: How did you happen to be assigned to the #Special #Crimes #Team, Doctor?

Dr. Nelson: Governor Marleton and I met a few months ago at a conference. When she felt it would be beneficial to create a special law enforcement unit to deal with certain crimes that crossed jurisdictions, she contacted the Assistant Director. They had known each other for years, so it was logical to ask him for input. My name came up, and….(she spreads her hands a little in an open gesture with a small smile) here I am.

Interviewer: Are you referring to the #murders of Dr. James Benning and Roland Henry?

Dr. Nelson: Those cases were assigned to the Special Crimes Team.

Interviewer: Wasn’t Dr. Benning a contributor to Governor Marleton’s last campaign?

Dr. Nelson: You would know the answer to that question better than I would. Politics is not my forte.

Interviewer: From my research, I understand that Lieutenant Williams, the head of the Special Crimes Team, has in the past objected to what he referred to as “Bureau interference.” How did he feel about Governor Marleton bringing you in?

Dr. Nelson: (face very serious) Lieutenant Williams is a dedicated professional law enforcement officer. He recognizes that additional resources can sometimes produce quicker results.

Interviewer: (gives a little grin) Hmm. So he really wasn’t all that thrilled at getting an #FBI agent dumped in his case, but figured that since he couldn’t kick you out, he’d take advantage of the extra help. Is that about right?

Dr. Nelson: (a smile tugs the corners of her lips. Her eyes twinkle) What an interesting theory based on your original question and my response.

Interviewer: I hope you aren’t offended, but I did a bit of research on your career.

Dr. Nelson: I’m honored that you found me that interesting.

Interviewer:  It seems that you’ve taken the long road to where you are today. Your first career was as a heart surgeon then you became a psychiatrist.  Why?

Dr. Nelson: I found heart surgery rather …predictable.

Interviewer: Is that code for boring?

Dr. Nelson: It is never boring to save a life. (She gives a small smile that takes any sting out of her words) I simply find the mind a more interesting part of the human body.

Interviewer: How does a heart surgeon slash psychiatrist– whose father is a well-known heart surgeon and whose mother is an equally well-known gynecologist– go from practicing psychiatry to becoming a Special Agent in Charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then from there go on to join the Behavioral Analysis Unit, the #BAU, of the FBI?

Dr. Nelson: (raises a brow and quirks a smile) My, my, you really did research my background. (all levity fades from her face) However, you didn’t spread your net quite wide enough. A few years after I began practicing psychiatric medicine, my first cousin, Peter O’Reilly, was murdered in his own home. He had been a Special Agent in Charge for a number of years. His killer was eventually apprehended due to the work of the BAU. Being only children, and growing up in the same neighborhood, Peter and I were exceptionally close.

Interviewer: I’m sorry for your loss, Dr. Nelson. And, you’re right; obviously I didn’t research deep enough. Thank you for sharing.

Dr. Nelson: It’s been many years since Peter’s death, but I still miss him.

Interviewer: (glances at watch) It appears that our time is almost up. We’ve been talking about some pretty serious stuff, so let’s end this on a happier note. Will you share with us one #facebook page that you enjoy, one #restaurant you love, and one place you want to go visit someday?

Dr. Nelson: (a big smile spreads across her face and up to cause her eyes to twinkle) I’d love to. One #facebook page, hmm, (taps lip with index finger) I believe the one I am currently enjoying the most is called Wild and Wise Women; a close second, though, is one called Cops Kind to Critters.

As for a restaurant…. As you know, I live in Virginia and haven’t been in this area for long; however, I met a lovely lady at Pike Place Market in #Seattle and we got to talking. She told me about a small eatery in #Anacortes. She said the town itself was well worth the drive north and she recommended #Gere-a-Deli as the place to have lunch. It’s in an old bank building on Commercial Street. The prime rib sandwich had thick slabs of prime rib, the bread was melt-in-your-mouth fresh, and the deserts are simply to die for.

Interviewer: Wow, now I’m hungry!

Dr. Nelson: (chuckles) You really have to try it out. Now, the last question: a place I would like to visit.  ( a dreamy look settles on her face) There are so many beautiful places in our world: #Mount Haleakala on #Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. I’ve seen photos of it, simply fascinating. #Yellowstone Park, I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to see the geyser, Old Faithful. A cruise to Alaska’s on my list, too. (Her light laugh is like warm chocolate) However, of all the beautiful places I have yet to see, I think the one I would most like to visit is the #Redwood #Forest in California. Even though I am not a woodsy-type woman, I feel it must be so inspiring, so spiritual to walk among those ancient trees.

Interviewer:  I did have the good fortune a few years ago to visit that area. Those trees are truly awesome, and the drive is beautiful.  Well, Dr. Nelson, we are out of time. I want to thank you again for coming.

For those who would like to know more about Dr. Nelson’s choices:

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/wildandwisewomen


Redwood National Park:  http://www.redwood.national-park.com/

Maui, Hawaii:  http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/regions…maui/haleakala-national-park

Gere-a-Deli, Anacortes, Washington:  http://www.gere-a-deli.com/

To learn more about the Special Crimes Team and Dr. Irene Nelson:

To learn more about Irene Nelson, FBI, read Sketch of a Murder http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

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