In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Research: Vermont's Prohibition Laws, 1850 and 1852

An attorney with an office in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, made available to me this week the text from Vermont's early laws that prohibited alcohol sales, drunkenness, and more. They were earlier than federal Prohibition -- they were passed in 1850 and 1852, and their influence probably resulted in many of the "hidden rooms" of Vermont houses built between 1850 and 1930 or so.

The volume of laws, even though it had a lot of years of use, was in wonderful condition. Its original owner's name is stamped on it, as well as inscribed within. Of course, I wanted to know who "H. G. Edson" was. It turns out he was Henry George Edson, a St. Albans lawyer born in Swanton. I'm glad to have turned the pages of what was once his book ... and very excited to understand more about these laws, which will be in the background of the next crisis in THIS ARDENT FLAME, the 1852 adventure I'm now writing.

Onward!





Monday, January 21, 2019

"Backstage" at Montpelier's Capitol Building, Looking for Lucky Franklin





A book buddy accompanied me to the State House in Montpelier, to "suss out" the terrain for the suspense scenes in ALL THAT GLITTERS. So she took photos, while I took notes, and Vermont State Curator David Schutz walked us up hidden staircases. We learned the gold on the dome was almost worn away -- that reporters know the back passages -- that the chandeliers can be lowered on powerful mechanical winches, in order to clean their lightbulbs today, or, before electricity powered them, to light the oil lamps in them.

I wish I'd taken David's photo, but if you don't already know him, just click here. He's charming, erudite, possessive of the sensational beauty that he stewards. And he had an idea: "Can you add homing pigeons to the story?"

Why not?

And so "scuzzy Sean," one of the most memorable side characters in ALL THAT GLITTERS, was born in a moment under the golden dome.

The novel is my best guess at what a smart, brave, tech-savvy Nancy Drew would be like today -- dealing with Vermont's crime issue of legal "weed." Check it out: You can read it for free here, and if you like it, please do place a pre-order ... we need to reach 750 of those for the book to be published at last!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"All That Glitters" Leaps to Life on Inkshares Publisher

I'm thrilled to see my teen sleuth novel ALL THAT GLITTERS available on the new publishing platform Inkshares. Click here to start reading for free! 

Whenever I chat with people about mysteries from childhood, Nancy Drew comes into the conversation. Love her or not, she's iconic, the teen sleuth who solves mysteries with her two "chums" Bess and George.

I wanted to see what Nancy Drew would be like if she lived in Vermont -- today!

The story takes place in Montpelier, after Felicity "Lucky" Franklin races home from college to help her mom. Lucky's dad has been shot, and Lucky's mom got arrested on suspicion of murder. Although Lucky quickly helps her mom to "lawyer up" and get released (the evidence is clear!), there's still someone threatening to injure her family and finish off her dad.

Is it the city's added taxes or the effect of marijuana for sale? How can Lucky and her friends solve the case -- and will they have to call in Roger, Lucky's ex-boyfriend? Wow, a special risk in doing that ...

Hope you'll click on this link to Inkshares and read along. It's free and easy to read the whole book on the website (press the READ button). Better yet, pre-order a copy.

Inkshares promises that when we reach 750 pre-orders for the book, it will be released as both a paperback and an e-book. Help it reach this goal and get your own first edition this way!

More stories about the book and Lucky Franklin in the coming days. Thanks for checking in!