The Write Zone


IMG_1820Jeanette Lynn Dundas: Portrait of a Young Girl

I look at this photo and see a young girl with a soul of a gypsy. She yearned to leave home; explore the continent, and make waves along the way.

I look at this photo and remember she had the heart of a hippie and one who wanted to change the world for the better; to live in peace, and hold hands with people all over the world.

I look at this photo and see the spirit of a fairy, who believed in miracles and felt angels surrounding her.

Today, this older woman enjoys the comfort of home and the knowledge that when you leave home, that’s when you appreciate it the most. She can still make waves anywhere and uses her voice to bring awareness from domestic violence to human trafficking. She also loves to create stories of love and romance on a beautiful beach.

Now this older woman still has the heart of a hippie. I love holding hands with people I meet through all walks of life.

This older woman still has the spirit of a fairy. I believe in miracles more than ever before and feel my guardian angels around me. My Momma and Nanna are still here giving me angel kisses.

I hope you are as blessed as I have been.

Love and Light to all,






Dear Reader,

Who hasn’t watched a film by this incredible genius? I am in awe of his creativity and never tire watching his films over and over again.

I yearn to write something equally intriguing and am grateful for his example of a great story teller. Every film gives me a lesson, another tool, and a glimpse into a complicated character’s mind.

Share your favorite Hitchcock film. I certainly can’t pick just one.






Yesterday, I was honored to be part of a panel for a documentary regarding The beautiful and restored Tampa Theatre.  We were asked to share our memories and it was a beautiful nostalgic path to memories that had waited , until now, to be unlocked from the recesses of my mind.

My memories may seem trivial and they really are, but as children we magnify things and sometimes when we go back as adults, we are disappointed. This was not the case for me yesterday. It was like going back in time and reliving certain moments. I could almost taste the flavor of the hot dogs in my mouth.  I could smell the aroma of popcorn wafting through the lobby and would have grabbed a mouthful, forgetting my diet, and adding more butter to it.

Sitting in the balcony, I envisioned all the movies that I had watched there. They were all flashing before me,one after the other, as I sat in the audience. It was also a sentimental journey to remember my family and other loved ones, who went there with me,  and who are no longer here with me but forever in my heart.

When you get to be my age, there are many memories locked in the vaults of your mind. But there are some that just stand out more than others and the Tampa Theatre is one of them.

For those who don’t know, this beautiful and ornate theatre has been a downtown landmark since it’s opening in 1926. The restoration they’ve done is amazing and  I am so grateful it’s being preserved. Sometimes we have a tendency to tear down, rebuild in its place and though I am all for progress, I would have preferred to keep some of our Tampa traditions and beautiful buildings that now can’t be replaced.

This theatre has also built a reputation of having it’s own ghost. Foster Finley, who was a projectionist there for 35 years before he collapsed inside the projection booth in 1965.  To this day, staff members tell stories of jingling keys, an odor of his shaving lotion and ghostly sightings. As much as I would like to embellish on this, I did not see or hear anything from the man who was called “Fink” by his friends and co-workers.

Instead, I envisioned my own ghost floating about; the one I created in my first book “Stolen Destiny”.  It was even more exciting for me  yesterday than it was when I wrote it.

The Tampa Theatre is a place of intrigue, mystery and nostalgia all rolled into one. It offers you more than just a movie to watch. It becomes, like in days of old, an event to enjoy and remember for the rest of your life.

I hope you get to experience it while you’re visiting and if you’re a Native like I am, go back. You won’t regret it. And wouldn’t it be great to get all dressed up like we used to do when we went there?

If you have special memories of your own, please share them with me. I would love to compare notes.

Until Next Time, Stay in The Write Zone,





My inspiration for Carolina Starr’s occupation wasn’t Nancy Drew. And even though I refer to Superman and Clark Kent throughout “Stolen Destiny”, neither was it Lois Lane.  My  true inspiration was Dorothy Kilgallen, an American Journalist/Crime Reporter/Broadway Columnist who grew up in the newspaper industry, with her father working as a newspaper man with the Hearst Corporation.  My character also had a father-figure in Ace Peterson, the editor.

It was Kilgallen’s knowledge of the judge’s misconduct during the 1954 murder trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard that helped secure defense attorney F. Lee Baily a new trial for him. If you remember, the television series, “The Fugitive” was based on this true life story of a doctor wrongly accused of murdering his wife.

Her interview with Jack Ruby played a role in her publicly criticizing the Warren Commission investigation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Tragically she died under mysterious circumstances before she could publicize what Jack Ruby told her. There are many, like myself, who believe Dorothy Kilgallen was murdered. Some claim she died of an accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol. But the sleeping pills found in her stomach had not dissolved and were undigested. Ruby must have told her something that someone important didn’t want her to print and her notebook containing all her notes of the interview also disappeared.

Carolina Starr will return in my third book in the series, entitled CRASH. Once again she will use her psychic abilities to help solve a crime and save a life.  I wish Dorothy Kilgallen would have had  someone like Carolina in her life.

Until next time, Stay in The Write Zone.



CAPPUCCINO TIME : Please join me for a cup of cappuccino and a teaspoon of Italian Wisdom

Buongiorno and Good Morning.

Happy Thanksgiving  and La Festa del Ringraziamento – which refers to a variety of religious holidays held throughout the year for patron saints.

I am taking a sip of my cappuccino and taking a sigh in pleasure. There is nothing like this blend : Espresso coffee topped with frothed hot milk or cream and for an extra dash of flavor, sprinkle it with cinnamon. I am savoring this moment of total quiet in the cottage.

In a little while I will be busy cooking a few dishes  to bring over to my step-daughter’s house who has graciously volunteered to host this year’s feast. I  will be surrounded by friends and family to celebrate this year’s blessings. And I am so grateful to have so much love around me. I know that there are so many people who don’t have what we take for granted. It saddens my heart to think of them, even though I’ve donated to every charity to help them. But my grief goes beyond the charitable food they can receive. There’s a hole in their lives, for whatever reason or circumstance, that brought them to this point. And right now I ask God to bless and provide for them not only today, but throughout the year. I pray they find peace and love, if not by their own family and friends, but by strangers they encounter on their journey. And I give thanks to all those who are able to  extend themselves to help them.  Today may be all about food, but it’s also food for the soul.

For some  Italian Americans it means the inclusion of special Italian recipes to accompany the traditional roast turkey, stuffing and  pumpkin pie on their table. Every family of Italian heritage has diffierent culinary traditions to celebrate the holiday. The dinner might include ravioli con la zucca (pumpkin ravioli) tacchinella alla melagrana (roast turkey basted with pomegranate sauce and served with a pomegranate and giblet gravy), sweet Italian turkey sausage and mozzarella stuffing, baked sweet potatoes with lime and ginger and even Italian cakes and pastries. My menu leans more toward my American side. It’s much easier. What else can I say?

But what matters most isn’t about menu choices or who will win the football game.  It’s a time for families to celebrate the season in a tradition that’s timeless.

So no matter what nationality you are, relish in this special moment with your family and friends. Don’t think about work or any other obligation. Don’t worry about your weight. Enjoy every morsel. Take your time eating; it’s good for the digestion. More important, rejoice in your blessings and give Thanks.

I know that I feel blessed this year.

My husband is doing better after suffering a heart attack a few months ago and I thank God every day that I still have him. My son and his wife are visiting from Raleigh and I am so thankful they are able to be here with us.. It’s hard for this Italian Momma not to have her children around her all the time.  And later today, we will  be with our extended family members and I am so grateful for them. My marriage to Dave gave me an added bonus of another daughter and two sons. Once again, my own daughter can not be with us. But I pray she is surrounded by friends who love and support her. And hopefully, next year she can occupy the empty chair that’s waiting for her.

For all of you, I wish you  God’s Blessings today and everyday.

Next time, you can bring dessert and share a little something about your life and family traditions.  Would love to hear from you.

Sending all of you Blessings from the Beach.




THE WRITE ZONE: The Visions Are Back

Coming Soon: CAGED

THE WRITE ZONE: “The Murdered Will Haunt His Murderer.”

Carolina Starr will once again be forced to acknowledge her gifts in CAGED, to be released in 2015 as a Bongo Bay Mystery Novella. This is the sequel to Stolen Destiny.

Although the main story revolves around Marla Mooreland and Royce Sloan, Carolina will play a significant role in helping solve a man’s murder. There are twists and turns you will enjoy and one of them will be an angry ghost who will help….No!  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Ghost stories have tingled our spines since childhood, and now paranormal activities have piqued the interest of cities in across the county, (including Tampa and Ybor City) by offering ghost tours to the tourists who visit their fair cities.

I remember some of my friends sneaking out and going to graveyards or funeral parlors to witness possible sightings. No, I didn’t go with them, but neither did they go with me last year to visit a haunted jail.

For those of you who aren’t aware of it, there are SIGNS to look for if a spirit is trying to communicate to you:

1. You get a sudden feeling you’re being watched or you’re not alone in a room. If you do, you may be tapping into an energy field

2. A sudden drop in temperature with no logical explanation.

3. A cold spot in a room that isn’t near a window or door.

4. The hairs on the back of your neck seem to stand on end.

5. Goosebumps break out on your arms for no reason.

6. Light bulbs blow out often or flicker on and off on their own. (I’ve experienced this one first hand).

7. Electrical stuff goes haywire.

8. Your dog follows something around the house you can’t see.

9. Your cat scatters for cover or hisses at nothing.

10. You hear a knock or several knocks but when you go to the door, no one is there.

11. You hear the spirit call your name.

12. A sudden familiar scent will fill the room.

Do you believe in such things?  Have you ever seen a ghost or perhaps heard one? It would certainly make your life a little more interesting.

I would welcome some of your ghost stories, so please share.

Until next time, Stay in The Write Zone.







THE WRITE ZONE: The Dangers of On-Line Dating

COMING SOON: The release of A Bongo Bay Mystery Novella: “CAGED”!

If you read my first Bongo Bay Mystery, Stolen Destiny, you will remember Carolina Starr’s promise to investigate the disappearance of Tampa Native, Ramona Dominguez.

In “Caged” readers will finally discover what happened to her. Please be aware that this is Adult Content. My research of “human sex trafficking” has been a long and depressing process because although my story is fictional, it is a harsh realization that these things actually do happen. Traffickers can be your neighbor next door or your family dentist.

Despite all of this, “Caged” is also a Mystery/ Romance and Bongo Bay will have some new residents that you will love. I will introduce you to some of them in a later blog.

For now, this blog will concentrate on another scenario. .

If you’re single, widowed, or divorced you can be scammed with #on-line #romance. Your age doesn’t matter. Although I am addressing this to women, men can be scammed too.

Who hasn’t at one time or another dreamed of finding a soul mate? A man who encompasses everything you’ve ever wanted? A man who listens to your desires? One who is not only romantic but one who has a compassionate heart? Someone who is successful and intelligent who will offer you devotion, loyalty and companionship?

There are hundreds of thousands of both men and women who are desperately seeking relationships.

Perhaps it’s because you’ve lost a spouse, either through death or divorce; It could even be because you’ve had so many disappointments in love that you want and need Love more than anything else in the world..

Then you find him. You see an ad and you contact him first. He’s the answer to your prayers.

These men/women are not REAL. Scammers often use images of models, actors, or fake documentations to prove a false identity if you question them.

They are experts at finding out everything about you. How? Because you are more than willing to share intimate details about your life. It’s the first time anyone’s cared about all you’ve been through in your life. And he’s Listening to all the past disappointments you’ve had and he promises he will make it all up to you. You deserve better.

Then his mission and campaign begins. He remembers your favorite flower is a rare orchid and he sends you a bouquet. He’ll send you chocolates; he doesn’t care if you’re overweight. He loves you for the person you are inside. He will play on your emotions. He may tell you he will build you your dream house on the beach and will take care of you. You no longer have to work so that you can travel all over the world together.  He’s so smooth and convincing he should win an Academy Award for his acting abilities.The Entrapment he has planned for you is in place.

And they take all these little details and he creates the person you’ve been waiting for all of your life. Just like I invent my heroines/ heroes, he takes over the script and feeds your soul with words of love and compliments. He’s a genius; he’s a poet; he’s a CON. As an author, I would call him my Villain.

You get sucked in to his game. Why? It’s not because you’re stupid. You are VULNERABLE..

So this blog is about helping women who have either already been scammed or to those who may be tempted to go on-line to meet the love of your life.

No, the man you’re having an on-line relationship with right now  IS NOT DIFFERENT. Sometimes even the paid sites are filled with scammers. BEWARE.

Forget the movie, “You’ve Got Mail!”  You are not communicating with Tom Hanks and you’re not Meg Ryan.

Learn from other people’s horrible experiences and don’t think it can’t happen to you.

1 .Research and investigate. Don’t rely on the site to protect you.

2. Do not share any personal information such as your address,  date of birth or information about your personal finances or assets.

3. Do not give him your personal e-mail address.


5. Meet them in person in a public place. Make sure you’re not followed home after the “date.” If they give you an excuse why he can’t meet you or a tale of an unexpected emergency, walk away and never look back.

6. Do not be ashamed to REPORT it if you have encountered a scammer or if you suspect you’ve been victimized.  Report it to the dating service and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

7. Know that you will go through a Grieving process. A period of depression will envelop you like a dark cloak because this has hit you harder than you could have ever imagined. As hard as it may be for other people to understand, you fell in love with a myth. Search for Support Groups because you are not the only one who has been scammed. TAKE THE CLOAK OFF AND THROW IT AWAY.

8. Join a church; the Moose Club; the Elks Club; Italian Club, etc., to meet new friends.Both men and women.  If you meet people in places like this, other members will be able to vouch for his character, or will know if he’s married or divorced; They will have heard rumors if he has gambling habits or drug and alcohol addictions.

Nothing is a guarantee. But there are other options out there. You don’t have to feel lonely. Go out with your friends..Get involved in organizations that help other people. Take up a hobby. Be Constructive, Not Destructive.

I sincerely hope and pray that this information will help somebody out there. Please share if you have single friends.

May God Bless and Protect You.

Until next time,
Stay In The Write Zone

Jeanette Lynn Dundas



THE WRITE ZONE: “You Have to Kill Your Darlings.” – Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the best story tellers in this Century. Although I’m not into chilling horrors, he has mastered the art of writing.

In my debut novel, Stolen Destiny, I touched on the subject of death when I introduced Dawn Flemming and her husband, Vince Garrett. The reader immediately knew they had been murdered; Wade Peterson’s brother, James, committed suicide.

I’ve read books where the author kills one or more main characters. I get furious! Why? Because I have gotten emotionally attached to them.. No matter how dire the situation appears, I expect the miracle of a ‘SAVE’.

Now I’m wondering if I should limit myself like that. Unfortunately, death is a part of life, right?

Until now, I couldn’t fathom killing any of my characters off.  Most of us have already experienced the journey of grief and pain in losing someone we love. Why would I want to subject my reader to that pain and heartache? Because it makes the story and the characters real. If you think it’s easy for a fictional character to die, remember Message In A Bottle or A Walk To Remember?  I consider  Nicholas Sparks a genius in writing unforgettable romances; sometimes tragic; sometimes bittersweet. Maybe he got Stephen King’s message, because he definitely kills his darlings too.

Losing someone to  murder isn’t as common, but it does happen, especially  if you listen to  the nightly  news. It happens in the best of families and doesn’t discriminate from the rich or poor.  I sometimes wonder if I’m being insensitive to the reader who has lost someone to crime. It’s not something I consciously think about when I create a scene. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

As a writer of romance and mysteries, I will, when the story permits,  “kill my darlings”.  I will test the waters and see if Stephen King is right about his advice.  I hope all of you readers will let me know what you think.

So be prepared for a few surprises in the next series of my Bongo Bay Mysteries.

Until next time, Stay In The Write Zone,

Jeanette Lynn Dundas


THE WRITE ZONE: Utopia in Bongo Bay Beach

Last week as we  honored Martin Luther King, I remembered some things in my childhood that I  didn’t understand at the time.

African Americans were not called ‘Blacks’. Sometimes they were called ‘Negroes’, and we all know how sometimes people weren’t kind and used the N Word. Sadly, even today, I hear it. I will never understand that kind of cruelty.

Public water fountains were separated by signs: White/Colored. The same with public restrooms. I never questioned it until I was sitting at a counter at Kress’s in downtown Tampa. They had counters for the Whites and one for the Coloreds. That particular day, a black woman holding her daughter’s hand passed by as I was sitting at the counter, eating an ice cream cone. The little girl told her mother she wanted an ice cream and her mother said: “We can’t sit with the whites and the colored counter is closed.” I turned to my mother and asked why that little girl couldn’t sit with us.As I watched that little girl leave with tears in her eyes,  I remember that ice cream cone didn’t taste good anymore.

We were Catholic and attended Sacred Heart Church in Tampa. I remember sitting on a bus bench waiting for my mother to come out after mass. A black woman was seated there and I sat beside her, gave her a smile, and said, “Hello.” She asked me if I was a member of the church. I merely nodded and what she said shocked and disillusioned me.

     “I wanted to go to your church to attend mass, but the priest told me I couldn’t go in the front door and would have to enter through the side door. I also have to sit in the back of the bus.”

I told her I couldn’t imagine a priest doing that. He was a role model; a priest who taught Christianity; one who preached that all men were created equal in the eyes of God. As far as the bus rules, I never paid that much attention or gave it any thought. I always believed it was where they preferred to sit.

When the civil rights movement began in the sixties,  Martin Luther King was a man I admired. He advocated PEACE.  Not to say that riots didn’t happen back then, but those who believed in the movement had faith that we could change the world and make it a better place for everyone.  I was so idealistic. Even though things have gotten better, I was hoping that by now, we wouldn’t have some of the same issues. I wonder if King were still alive, if some of the recent rioting could have been prevented. In my opinion the black leaders now aren’t worthy of followers. Violence can never be the answer to anything. If changes have to be made, there has to be a better and smarter way in which to do it.  Violence doesn’t solve anything; it merely alienates one against the other and destroys the purpose. Again, just my opinion.

As a writer, I want to address conflict; give my characters depth and substance. With my debut novel, Stolen Destiny, I introduced Bongo Bay Beach, but so far the residents have all been white. I have made a decision to create one or more characters of different races, cultures and religions in the near future. Bongo Bay is supposed to be a paradise; a heaven on earth. God doesn’t discriminate and neither will I.

Until next time, stay in The Write Zone.

Jeanette Lynn Dundas