Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I’m Guilty.   

 Not of everything, of course, but certainly of a number of important details.  I’ve neglected my blogs—both the Healthy Norwegian and my writing/life blog.  It isn’t that I haven’t had anything to say, quite the contrary.  It’s just that I haven’t felt like doing it.  

I neglected to send a Christmas letter and/or cards.  I have no real excuse except that I spent December 4th (my birthday) through January 13 in frigid Minnesota/North Dakota totally absorbed in my daughter and her family which consists of three adorable great grandchildren and one teenage granddaughter.  We did crafts.   

I did most of the cooking and lots of dishes which freed Caryl up to work with Stable Days Youth Ranch.  And let me tell you, managing  SDYR takes a lot of energy and time and plain old hard work. Try caring for horses and all that entails in minus degree weather. 

I spent a fair amount of time cuddled up to the fire.  While I managed to work on the updates of one of my Jennie McGrady Mysteries, I neglected my writing.   I have neglected my quilting—mostly because didn’t have  my sewing machine or materials there.  I did however, manage to mend and put the binding on a partially completed quilt from my last visit—did I mention that I fixed the defunct sewing machine?

So yes, I neglected to do a number of things I would normally do.  I won’t say I’m sorry because I’m not so much.  Okay, maybe for not sending Christmas greetings to some of my favorite people. 

When I talk about neglect, I have to add something that I have sadly neglected for years and years.  Or maybe it wasn’t  neglect so much as redirection.


The Lost Artist

 Many of you don’t know this about me.  I am an artist.  In my teens I loved to paint. I would spend most of my babysitting money on oil paints and brushes and canvases.  I painted all kinds of things and I was pretty good at it.  I loved being an artist.    

Then along came adulthood, marriage, kids and a career that actually brought in an income.  I had somehow lost my creative-artist-self amidst the business of life.  I didn’t realize how destructive the loss of my artist self was or how much of a toll it had taken on me until I fell into a terrible depression.Over time,  I managed to crawl out of it with God’s help, and I came to realize that I needed to fulfill a part of myself that I’d lost. 

 Coming Full Circle

To fill the need in me to create, I became a ceramicist and then a potter.  For years I created vessels from clay and eventually turned to writing.  I’ve missed painting however and recently decided I had to go back to my roots.  Oils.  

So, yes, I have neglected many of the things on my to-do list to immerse myself in painting.  I’ve taken some classes and am still not back to where I was, but I’m having a great time.  While back in MN, I worked with Maddie and Andrea and Caryl on creating landscapes.  I encouraged them to create and we created together.   

I suppose in a way I have created a monster—neglecting far too many things in lieu of art.  I’m sure things will even out eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll be posting my works of art here and there. Here's one of my recent efforts. I’ll continue to amass paintings and may eventually be forced to sell them.  For now, I’m reliving my  passion for art.  I’m spending my hard earned money on oils and canvases and brushes and classes to improve my techniques.  I’m smiling more. 

Never Neglect Your Passion

I guess if there is a lesson in all of this for readers and friends is it to never walk away from your passion.   If you are going to neglect something let it be the things that don’t really matter in the end.  And be true to who you are.   With that I’m getting ready to spend 4 days at a quilting retreat. Yes, I’ll be neglecting some important stuff—like work, cooking, cleaning, even painting, but I’m going to have a great time and I’ll be creating quilts for family, friends, and for charity.  And I’ll be smiling. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 2014, Newsletter

Greetings all:
Summer is nearly over and kids are going back to school. I'm trying to catch up. But that's not too unusual. I have had a crazy summer. It started with major surgery at the end of June. Happy to report I'm almost back to normal, at least in the health department. And do I have some great news.

News on the Helen Bradley Front

As many of you know, I recently wrote and published the prequel to my Helen Bradley Mysteries because I didn't have access to book one, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. 

Well... I am thrilled to report that I now have the rights back and have revised and updated the book and released it on Kindle as an e-book.
I am more than delighted to now have the complete series on Amazon. To buy a copy simply click here

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep takes place in Portland and in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Helen Bradley, ex-cop, grandmother and travel writer, learns that a prominent gerontologist has been murdered. When the doctor's widow also dies, Helen checks herself into a convalescent home to discover the truth surrounding the mysterious deaths. Edgewood Manor is the perfect place for Helen to recover from a gunshot wound and do a little detective work. Good plan, as long as she doesn't die in her sleep.

The prequel, Death of Arrival,  is still available for $.99 and the other books in the series are only $3.99 each.

More Exciting News!

A number of years ago, I wrote the popular mystery series for kids, The Jennie McGrady Mysteries. The series sold recently to Blackstone, who is bringing out the entire series as audio books and e-books. To Learn more, click here.

I'm especially excited about this because today these award winning books are reaching a whole new audience of young people. Three of the books are already out and available online.

The series is being revised and updated for today's teens and pre-teens. Silent Witness was selected as a finalist in Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allen Poe Award and was named Winner of the Silver Angel for Excellence in Media.

Pursued takes place in Portland, OR and is about a rose Festival princess who is being stalked. Jennie, of course, is hot on the trail.  

I'm thrilled with the covers and quality of the audio books. I'm already getting fan letters and rave reviews. Check them out on Amazon or your favorite online stores.

Family News...

I'll be traveling to the frigid mid-west again this winter. My grandson Jonathan and his fiance A.J. will be getting married on Dec. 20. It's only one day before my wedding anniversary. On Dec. 21st, my husband and I will be celebrating 51 years. I'm hoping for a cruise.


On a Sad Note

My daughter, Caryl and her husband, Ben Lester, run Stable Days Youth Ranch where they rescue horses and Mentor kids. Sadly, Merida, one of their rescued horses died this summer. While she received excellent love and care once she was at the ranch, she couldn't recover from the abuse she suffered prior to the rescue.


The Big Move

My granddaughter Kyrstin will be moving to Chile in about a week. She and James plan to work and live there and they are thrilled. Me? I have mixed feelings, but I remind myself that they are young and carefree and adventurous. And, it gives us reason to visit there.

As for my adventures, now that I am back to being my creative self, I hope to return to work on my newest mystery novel,Deadly Deception.

As always thanks for your prayers and support. Blessings to all.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Silent But Not All That Quiet


My last post was about turning seventy.  Then I sort of disappeared.  I didn't go quietly into that long goodnight called winter. Nor did I lament my age. Instead, after spending Christmas in the frigid Red River Valley with my daughter and her family, I went into production mode. I made a number of quilts, knitted several shawls, and most importantly, I wrote a novella--a short 85 page mystery.  And it is now up and available on Kindle.

Death on Arrival ...

is the new number one Helen Bradley Mystery.  As many of you know, I have not been able to obtain the rights to my first book in this series (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) and thus cannot offer it as an e-book. It's been a frustration, because the first book introduces the series. Consequently, I decided to write a prequel. The new Helen book takes place prior to Red Sky in Mourning, A Haunting Refrain and When Shadows Fall, which are available on Kindle.

Helen returns to her beach home on the Oregon coast after a month-long honeymoon in Europe to find her door ajar, her house ransacked, and the body of her house-sitter in the back yard. Hardly a proper homecoming, but semi-retired cop, Helen Bradley, is determined to put her house in order and find the killer at all costs.

I had fun revisiting Helen and all of her haunts and hope you will too.  I enjoyed reacquainting myself with Helen's best friend Rosie, owner of  Pastimes, my favorite coffee shop/book store, and Joe Adams, the handsome young sheriff who actually respects Helen's investigative skills and isn't afraid to ask her for assistance.

Of course, while writing I wished I could have been living in Helen's lovely Cape Cod home at the beach near Lincoln City.  One of the perks of being a writer is living vicariously through your characters. 

I hope you pick up a copy of Helen's new book. As for me, I need to finish my newsletter and blog and get back to my next book, Deadly Deception. Wish me luck.

Blessings, Pat

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turning Seventy

 I used to think seventy was old, but not anymore.  I have friends who are in their eighties and they are not old by any means.  They are vibrant and active and are wonderful role models.  Marion, Ruby, Birdie, Gail, Sandy, Lauraine go before me and show me that age doesn't need to slow us down.  Indeed, age simply gives us more space to soar, to express ideas to live a more fulfilling life.

No matter how high the age, it's the attitude that counts.  In my sixties, I felt old. I slacked off on my writing, but now I am back.  I endured a lot of heart and health problems and now I feel healthier and more energetic.  That, thanks to eating real food and to cardiologists who can fix ailing hearts.

The hard things about growing older are the losses.  I wrote a book a few years ago called Caring for Your Elderly Parents.  In it I asked adult children to consider the grief their parents encounter as they age.  Loss of friends, of family members, of certain abilities.  Over the past few years my family has endured many losses.  My mother was from a family of 13 children and when you add their spouses  there were 26.  There are only three aunties left now. 

In 2011 we  lost my mother.  My dear Mom was old at seventy--I think she was old even at sixty.  Yet she endured. Life was very different for her than it is for me.  She had numerous health problems. Still, she lived to be eighty-eight.  She was a fighter. She kept on keeping on regardless of her situation.

I have no idea how long I will live--of course none of us do.  And the length of time left doesn't really matter.  It is the quality of life that matters. Sure there are days what I'll look in the mirror and wonder where the older woman looking back at me came from.  Undoubtedly, there will be hard days when sadness and depression threaten to tear me down.  It happens and everyone deserves a pity party from time to time.  But every day, even when I feel down,  I will thank God for my life and my many many blessings.

I will rejoice in my children and my grandchildren and in my adorable great grandchildren.  I am seventy, but I am young enough to enjoy them.  I still have a healthy mind.  Okay, so I forget things--like what I was going to say or what I went into the other room for.  But I remember a lot of things too. 

I remember how to love and to hope and to give.  I remember that like a fine wine we get better with age.  I remember how to write a good mystery and I am doing just that.

I am not thrilled about turning seventy, but when I consider the alternative, it's not so bad. So here I go.

Soaring into the seventies, Pat

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mysterious Musings, Patricia Rushford's October 2013 Newsletter


Can you believe it's almost November? Leaves are falling and Mother Nature is showing her most glorious colors. For us in the northwest all of these colors are a prelude to rain, rain and more rain. But it's green.
The above photo I've used in this newsletter is one I took at the Japanese Gardens in Portland. And no, I'm not imagining what it would be like to find a body in the pond. Oh, wait a minute. Since I mentioned it, I guess I must be.
But alas, I'm not going to write that particular mystery--at least not at the moment. My current book is in the works and I hope to finish it before the end of the year. More on the mysteries later. Right now, I'd like to tell you about my latest publishing endeavor.

A Change of Pace

You all know that I write mysteries--love reading them and writing them. But in my former life, Back when I first started writing and publishing, I wrote how to books like What Kids Need Most in a Mom and Caring for Your Elderly Parents. A few years ago, while I was in graduate school at Western Evangelical Seminary, I wrote a book called The Humpty Syndrome: Putting Yourself Back Together Again. I'll never forget the fear and trepidation I felt getting up to deliver a sermon and beginning with "Humpty Dumpty Sat on a wall."

Humpty of course is a metaphor or analogy reflecting the brokenness we all suffer as human beings. I wrote the book using my own experience with brokenness as well as the experiences of others. As a counselor, my goal was to help people into and through the healing process.

I recently began publishing some of my books as e-books and decided Humpty would be a good candidate. As I revised and edited, I was surprised at how relevant the book continues to be. You can pick up a copy of Humpty at amazon.com for your e-reader. I hope you'll let others know that it's once more available.

Happy to Report

In my last newsletter, I told you about The Helen Bradley Mysteries being brought back to life as e-books. The good news is that I've actually sold a few. Still waiting to sell a million so I can retire at the coast, but in the meantime I'm happy with the progress these books are making. I'm working on another Helen Bradley Mystery and hope to get it out early next year.

Just In Time for Christmas

The marketing people at Fleming Revell have informed me that Deadly Aim, the first book in the Angel Delaney Mysteries will be offered for free from November 1 through December 31. Just in time for Christmas. I'm getting great reviews on Angel and a lot of readers would love to see another book in the series. I am working on that possibility. But in the meantime, I'd love to get more readers. And I would love it if you could help spread the word. You can get your free copy of Deadly Aim here.

Another Plus for Readers

There's good news and bad news on the publishing front. The publisher who put out my latest mystery, Strangers in the Night, died a rather slow death. They have been absorbed by Guideposts and my book is sitting in limbo online. The good news for readers is that the book was being promoted at $.99 when all of this took place. It's still available for that price. So if you haven't read it and want to or can recommend it to others, please do.

On a Personal Note

 I recently returned from a wonderful retreat with fellow writers and dear friends in the Lincoln, CA area. We spent the week on a 200 plus acre ranch with a spectacular view of the Sacramento valley. What a treat and a blessing.

That's about all the news I have at the moment. As always, thanks for reading my newsletter and if you are so inclined please share my news with others.

Mysteriously Yours,

Patricia Rushford

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Newsletter Blog Style

Blogging my way back.

 It’s been too long since I sent out a blog.  While I would love to keep it up and write at least weekly, but find myself doing other things. I have, for example, edited and reformatted my Helen Bradley Mysteries and gotten them back into circulation through e-books.  Now that I can breathe again, I thought I’d blog a bit.  In this entry, I’m including my newsletter.  Soon I’ll be writing about my adventures in publishing electronically.  I have learned so much about formatting and cover art, etc, I figured it might be fun  to share. 

Helen Bradley comes back to life in my new ventures.

I sent out my newsletter, Mysterious Musings, a few days ago and thought I’d include it in my blog in case any of you missed it. If you did get it, please forgive the duplication.

Great News!

After months of being prodded and encouraged, I've finally gotten my Helen Bradley Mysteries converted into e-format. They are now available on Amazon. I should qualify that. All but the first one, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, are available as e-books. I'm working on getting the first of the series back from the publisher, but until then it is still available in print. I'll share details about each book later, but first, I'd like to tell you about my main character, Helen Bradley.

Helen Bradley

I'm excited to share the history behind these mysteries. As some of you may know, Helen came to life in my 15 book series for kids, The Jennie McGrady Mysteries. Helen is Jennie's grandmother, a mysterious and larger than life Gram who helps Jennie solve mysteries when she isn't traipsing around the country or the world solving her own. The Jennie Mysteries have been a huge success and my publisher felt that perhaps Helen, would do well in a series of her own. Thus, The Helen Bradley Mysteries were born.

While Helen is a grandmother, and her first name is my middle name, she is not based on me. Well, not exactly. If I had another life, I might fancy myself a solver of crimes. But wait, that is exactly what I am when I get to write the stories my detectives live out for me.

According to the Library Journal, "Helen is a charming character, reminiscent of Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax."

"A gripping work that will appeal to all fans of the mystery genre." __________Midwest Book Review

In case you'd like to read them, I've written a little something about each one below and inserted a link to each book on Amazon.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

In this first book of the series, Helen Bradley, ex-cop, grandmother and travel writer, learns that a prominent gerontologist has been murdered. When the doctor's widow also dies, Helen checks herself into a convalescent home to discover the truth surrounding the mysterious deaths. Edgewood Manor is the perfect place for Helen to recover from a gunshot wound and do a little detective work. A good plan as long as she doesn't die in her sleep.

Red Sky in Mourning

Helen receives an assignment to write a guide book about the Long Beach Peninsula on the Washington coast. What begins as research, ends up being a criminal investigation as she teams up with Coast Guard, investigator, Adam Jorgenson, to discover a fisherman's dark secret and his murderer.

Helen is summoned to her Uncle Paddy's estate and renowned spa for a family meeting. When her dear eccentric uncle dies, Helen is determined to find out who killed him and why. Was the killer a ghost as everyone suspects or is the ghost being set up to take the fall?

When Shadows Fall

A walk on the beach turns tragic when Helen discovers a body pinned beneath a tree-sized driftwood. The body is identified as the Mayor, but his death is no accident. He was murdered and the evidence points straight to Helen's best friend.

On Another Note

In April, I had the privilege of visiting the Sons of Norway Lodge in Longview, Washington as their keynote speaker. I had so much fun chatting with those Scandinavians, partly because they are fun to be around and because I am one. Half Norwegian and half Swede. It was delightful too because my sister, Peggy, came as well as my aunties, Bernice and Annie, along with a number of fans.

It was one of the last times I was to see my Aunt Annie. She passed away this past May while I was in MN visiting my family. I'm dedicating this newsletter to her. She would have been delighted to see my good news as she was one of my biggest fans.

So that is a wee bit of my news this summer. Thanks for tagging along.


Patricia H. Rushford

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Playing with Cookie Dough

Pat's Coconut Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies 

(Paleo compliant)
These gluten (grain) free cookies have a great taste and hold together quite well. They're very moist and do best if refrigerated.  Please be advised that this recipe is in its experimental phase and you'll be trying it at your own risk.  Next  time I make them, I think I will add just a little more almond flour so they are not quite so soft.  However, not being a mad scientist chef like Alton Brown, I'm not exactly sure which ingredient will work best to firm them up. If you want to give the recipe  a try I'd love to hear the results. I was hankering for some of my Norwegian Grandmother's Oatmeal cookies, but needed to eliminate the flour and the oatmeal to make them gluten free.  I would make these again. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dry Ingredients:
2 Cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Note:  I like to mix up my dry and wet ingredients  separately, then mix them together. 

Wet Ingredients:
I cup coconut milk (organic--I use 365 from whole foods) soured with 2 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup raw honey (may add more to taste) 
1/2 cup virgin organic coconut oil (melt with honey)
3 eggs beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Once the ingredients are mixed together add 1/2 to 1 cup gluten free chocolate chips.  (Should be 85% or more chocolate.  I use a gluten free, soy free chip); and 1 cup chopped walnuts or other nut of choice.  Of course you can do raisins or cranberries as well.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet. Scoop up some dough, make a ball and flatten it.   

Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned.

The Healthy Norwegian

I am seriously working on a new blog called The Healthy Norwegian in which I'll be sharing recipes, food tips, important facts and other miscellaneous foodie things.