Mystery Author: Strong Women, Great Stories

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I write three series: The Loser Mysteries, The Dead Detective Mysteries & the Simon & Elizabeth (Tudor) Mysteries as well as stand-alones that offer readers "Strong Women, Great Stories."
These days I also answer to Maggie Pill, who writes a cozy sleuth series. Maggie is a lot like Peg, just younger, cooler, and funnier.

We're All Patriots

One of my kids faced an athlete in high school who was pretty much equal in athletic talent. The rivalry between the two was fierce through all four years, but it happened they both went to the same college after graduation. With common goals and the home town us-versus-them mentality removed, they became friends, finding a lot to like in each other and able to recognize their similarities.
The same thing happened to me as a teen. A girl from another town was the sometime date of a guy I also dated on and off. In time we all moved on to other relationships, and once the competition was over, the girl and I found that we really liked each other.
Humans, like other creatures, get pretty territorial, which can make us act in bizarre and unhealthy ways. We refuse to admit to any weaknesses on our own part or any strengths on the part of others. We get pushy, bragging about being Number One when there's actually no such thing. Everyone has good and bad traits: every person, team, school, town, state, and nation. The team that wins the World Cup, World Series, or Superbowl might have a terrible atmosphere, while the team in the cellar might be a great bunch of people who enjoy what they do. It's all in the measuring stick used, but we all try to claim that Number One spot. We forget that even if we won today, tomorrow holds no promises for continued success.
Patriotism is a wonderful thing. It's a joy to hear our national anthem, to thank a veteran for service to this country, to be proud of what America has accomplished in the world.
But we need to remember what the poet of "Finlandia" says: that other countries
have blue skies, too, and other people love their homelands.
On the Fourth this year, it's right and good to celebrate our national heritage, to show national pride.
It is wrong, though, to believe that because we love our country, it's better than all the others.
I happen to think the eighty acres I own is the most beautiful place on earth, but I bet there are some who would disagree. 

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