Goodreads Giveaway

Cherish-FrontI’m run­ning a Goodreads give­away through Octo­ber 7, 2014. Cher­ish (A Ghost Mys­tery) takes place in cur­rent time, and in 1946. (Things like that hap­pen with ghosts, you know.)

Sign up for the give­away here.

Read the first two chap­ters here.

It’s the sopho­more Local His­tory ceme­tery visit. Sure, it’s almost Hal­loween, but Kayla has seen that teen-age ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to her­self that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand, because that’s when every­thing changed.

Sud­denly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dream­ing? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cher­ish? Why is her mother at home bak­ing cook­ies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a com­pact with a bad mir­ror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text mes­sages do travel across the years, judg­ing from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Some­one is tak­ing Kayla’s place in the twenty-first cen­tury. Who?

Fact: Cher­ish is ruin­ing her life in two cen­turies. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

Writes of Passage

Writes of Passage

Writes of Passage

There’s a new book com­ing out from Hen­ery Press on Sep­tem­ber 9. It’s a col­lec­tion of essays from Sis­ters in Crime mem­bers, all designed to por­tray per­sonal sto­ries of authors from multi-published best­selling to wannabes. The sto­ries span most any expe­ri­ence of a writ­ing jour­ney.  Any writer will find pas­sages of sup­port, laugh­ter, and under­stand­ing. Here’s the Ama­zon page for Writes of Pas­sage. (Should I men­tion I’m one of the 59 contributors?)

Cherish on Pre-Order

Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400Ama­zon has a new pro­gram, pre-orders on e-books for self-published authors. I couldn’t miss that with my new book. So Cher­ish is listed here. The e-book will be avail­able on Sep­tem­ber 10. The paper­back page will appear (and be on sale) Sep­tem­ber 1, 2014.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the sopho­more Local His­tory ceme­tery visit. Sure, it’s almost Hal­loween, but Kayla has seen that ghost for years. She wants to make the ghost go away, but she shouldn’t have touched her hand, because, That’s When Every­thing Changed.

Kayla finds her­self in 1946 as some­one else, some­one whose name is on an elab­o­rate tomb­stone. Is she Cher­ish, or is Cher­ish her? Is Cher­ish tak­ing her place?

Fact: Cher­ish is ruin­ing her life in two cen­turies. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die with Cher­ish in a few days.
Ques­tion: Do cell phone texts span the cen­turies? And, if they do, will Kayla’s friends believe her?

 

Revealing Cherish Cover Today

Today is the big day — the big REVEAL! Cher­ish, a ghost mys­tery for young teens is show­ing its face. (Okay, just the eyes.)Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400

This is really Kayla’s story. She’s the 15-year-old Sopho­more who is tired of see­ing things oth­ers don’t see. But when she faces the teenage ghost, it’s Kayla who disappears.

Where did she go? What’s with the year 1946? And why don’t her twenty-first cen­tury friends miss her? Who is tak­ing her place? 

Cher­ish (A YA Ghost Mys­tery) will be pub­lished Sep­tem­ber 1, 2014. If you can’t wait until then, read the first two chap­ters here.

Be pre­pared for a spooky read. Remem­ber — Hal­loween is coming!

Cover Reveal — Coming

In Sep­tem­ber my YA ghost mys­tery, Cher­ish, will be pub­lished (before allCherish-Pre-reveal cover my grand­kids get too old to be inter­ested in Hal­loween sto­ries). I’m doing a cover reveal pro­gram on my Goodreads site. I’ll encour­ag­ing per­spec­tive read­ers (of all ages) to list Cher­ish as “want to read” by giv­ing away a two-chapter PDF.

Here’s the back-cover blurb.

“Cher­ish can’t be my name. It doesn’t sound right. But who am I? I should have lis­tened bet­ter in that mini-psych class in mid­dle school. I’ve heard of bi-polar and mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties. I think. Is this the way peo­ple go crazy?”

Kayla shouldn’t have taken that strange girl’s hand, because that’s when Every­thing Changed.

“And, wasn’t it the twenty-first cen­tury? What’s with the date, Octo­ber 1946? That can’t be right.”

But, if SHE is Cher­ish, how about the date on that tomb­stone? If she doesn’t find a way back to her own body, and her own time.., Kayla will DIE in a few days.

Not on the cover, the ele­va­tor pitch for this mys­tery: How can Kayla return to own cen­tury after she finds her­self in 1946 with only her cell phone and a cou­ple of Twinkies?

Ghosts and Hal­loween — sound like a mys­tery you’d like to read?

I’ve heard of mother-daughter reads. This is a grandmother-granddaughter read. I know, as a grand­mother, I con­tinue to be amazed by every­thing peo­ple do with their cell phones. (And, believe me, I had a lot of younger gen­er­a­tion help while writ­ing about text-messaging — a big part of the mys­tery in this book.) Teens will be just as amazed by last century’s antique social media — the hard-wired tele­phone that isn’t going any­where, or doing much of anything.

 

 

 

Under-the-Tree Good

Vin­nie Hansen, the very first guest I’ve had on this blog, is a retired high school Eng­lish teacher who lives in Santa Cruz, Cal­i­for­nia. From the story she tells me, it sounds like she and her hus­band, artist Daniel S. Fried­man love to travel—and read.


In my fam­ily we have the expres­sion “under-the-tree good.” It refers to a

Vinnie-under treehot South Dakota after­noon when my brother Frank mixed up some orange Kool-Aid for us, his three younger sib­lings. He put ice cubes in it. We sat in a shady spot in the tree line behind the house and drank the bev­er­age from brightly col­ored alu­minum cups. The four of us agreed this was the best Kool-Aid ever. Thus orig­i­nated the stan­dard of under-the-tree good.

How much dif­fer­ence really could there be in one batch of Kool-Aid vs. another? In truth, a con­flu­ence of elements—heat, shade, kind­ness, ice-cubes—conspired to cre­ate the sen­sa­tion of under-the-tree good.

Exter­nals can also shape our expe­ri­ence with a book. I recently read Cara Black’s Mur­der in the Latin Quar­ter while stay­ing in the Latin Quar­ter. The book became a blue print for a scav­enger hunt. My hus­band and I tracked down 61 rue Buf­fon, the scene of the crime.Vinnie-61 rue Buffon Across the street was the lovely Jardin des Plantes. With­out the mys­tery, I may not have vis­ited, although this gar­den is every bit as beau­ti­ful and wor­thy as Jardin du Lux­em­bourg. But I had to go to the gar­den! Pro­tag­o­nist Aimée Leduc escaped through the grounds on her Vespa.Vinnie-Jardin des Plantes2

My hus­band and I walked up into the area where Hem­ing­way lived and Ver­laine wrote his poetry. At the Pan­theon where Vic­tor Hugo is interred, I looked about and thought, “This is where the sec­ond mur­der in the book takes place.”Vinnie-Aimée’s Vespa escape

Impor­tant scenes in the mys­tery involve inhab­i­tants of the cat­a­combs that run under Paris. My hus­band and I didn’t descend into these tun­nels. How­ever, on Pont de la Con­corde, two men, clearly not city work­ers, popped up out of a man­hole and crossed the bridge. I felt as though the book were com­ing alive in front of me! Even though Mur­der in the Latin Quar­ter is set in 1997, it is clear that peo­ple still haunt this under­ground world of Paris.

Even now as I fin­ish the book at home, I fol­low Aimée along the streets of Paris. When she turns onto Rue Cujas, I think, “We were there!”

All this makes read­ing the book an under-the-tree good experience.

My own Carol Sabala mys­tery series is set in what author Laura Crum called a “faith­fully ren­dered” Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a tourist-destination beach town full of won­der­ful sights. Like Cara Black’s books, mine are set back in time, but many Santa Cruz land­marks have not changed. I love the idea of a Santa Cruz tourist pick­ing up one of my mys­ter­ies, newly re-released from mis­te­rio press.

While read­ing Mur­der, Honey, maybe he or she will be inspired to eat a burger—meat or veggie—at Carpo’s. If the per­son is in town for our annual Open Stu­dios in Octo­ber, what fun to com­bine the trip with Art, Wine & Bul­lets set dur­ing the art event!

I would love to pro­vide an under-the-tree-good experience.


Vin­nie is in the process of updat­ing her Carol Sabala mys­tery series for re-release by mis­te­rio press, while also work­ing on the next install­ment in the series.

Art, Wine and Bul­lets by VINNIE HANSENVinnie cover-ArtWineBulletsEbook

A Carol Sabala Mur­der Mys­tery
The stran­gled body of a gallery owner offers Carol an oppor­tu­nity to cement her rep­u­ta­tion as a pri­vate eye. Instead, the inves­ti­ga­tion turns into a night­mare dur­ing which Carol unrav­els much more than a mur­der case.

Avail­able through Ama­zon, Barnes & Noble and her pub­lisher mis­te­rio press.
Vinnie’s web site

 

More about Amish TV

I live in Lan­caster County, Penn­syl­va­nia, where the words “Amish” and “TV” don’t belong together. Many, pos­si­bly most Amish don’t even use elec­tric­ity. We are befud­dled about all this “Amish Mafia” stuff. We, espe­cially me, only know about it from our local news­pa­per. In fact, today’s poll shows 80.9 % say “Yes, enough is enough.” But that doesn’t leave nearly twenty per­cent who want to watch it because 13.7 % say, “Hon­estly, I don’t watch this stuff and I don’t care either way.”

Okay, I’m get­ting the cart before the horse. What brought this sub­ject up again? A cou­ple of front-page arti­cles in yesterday’s news­pa­per. One tells about another “real­ity” TV show being filmed right now, “Amish Haunt­ing.” The other is the story of a local film­maker who wants to com­bat those offen­sive Amish shows. (Fol­low the links to read their articles.)

The film­maker, Mary Haver­stick, calls it Amish-sploitation. She won­ders what would hap­pen if some­one should pro­duce such films about another reli­gion, say, Chris­t­ian, Jew­ish, or Mus­lim. Nope, they wouldn’t do that. They pre­fer to attack a reli­gion that doesn’t believe in object­ing to any­thing, or tak­ing any­one to court.

Some­thing I learned—all those shows are cre­ated and filmed by a pro­duc­tion com­pany called Hot Snakes Media. Besides “Amish Mafia” and the Haunt­ing men­tioned above, they have pro­duced “Break­ing Amish” and “Return to Amish.” Might sound like they spe­cial­ize in Amish pro­duc­tions, but they also have oth­ers, among them “Elder Skel­ter” and “Naked Sci­ence.” One has to won­der about the bril­liance of the TV audience.

Fly-in Pancake Breakfast

A lovely June morn­ing, clear and com­fort­ably warm. Sat­ur­day was a per­fect day for our planned out­ing. My hus­band and I drove to Smoke­town Air­port in Penn­syl­va­nia for break­fast. Why? We do it every year when they have the Fly-in, Cruise-in Pan­cake Break­fast. We eat break­fast then stroll around to see the antique auto­mo­biles and air­planes. We visit with our friends Jack and Shirley who have helped orga­nize and run the event for years, and any of their chil­dren or grand­chil­dren who might be there. (Three gen­er­a­tions of fly­ers in that bunch.)

This year we didn’t have any of our grand­chil­dren along to take a Young Eagles air­plane ride. That’s part of the event—a free air­plane ride and a Young Eagles cer­tifi­cate for all chil­dren ages eight through sev­en­teen. A band plays while peo­ple wan­der and watch a para­chuter jump from 3,000 feet. (Our friend Jack piloted the plane.)

All the air­planes and antique autos are spiffed up and gleam­ing. We saw a bright yel­low street rod and another car from 1927. The air­planes included a cou­ple of ultra-lights, a home-built ir two, and a 1929 Fairchild 71. It’s one of only seven still fly­ing, and it sparkled. It has a long body for extra stor­age and wicker seats for four or five.

Since we saw the news­pa­per pho­tog­ra­pher tak­ing pic­tures, I waited until Sun­day to write this up so I could include a link to the air­port fly-in arti­cle.

I know this blog is my mys­tery, his­tory, and spook writ­ings, and this is only his­tory with a real stretch. But maybe it’s inspi­ra­tion. Hmm. Do I want to write a mys­tery about a dar­ing Nancy Drew type with her vin­tage auto solv­ing crimes?

One thing I do want to add is the link to the inter­view I men­tioned in my last blog post. (It’s now bro­ken.) Now, here’s where to find my Cof­fee Chat with Ally Shields.

A Coffee Chat

I’m vis­it­ing Ally Shields for cof­fee and a chat. She asks me ques­tions while we sip. She wants to know all about my next mystery—a YA ghost story. And, of course, she wants a new fact added to my bio.

Visit Ally Shields blog to read about more than just me. She likes to inter­view writ­ers on the para­nor­mal side. Most interesting.

Radium Girls

Radium girls?” What does that mean, you ask. Think “glow in the dark.” Now cast your mind back to the 1920s. Okay, my mind doesn’t go back that far, and I imag­ine, nei­ther does yours.

Let’s start from the begin­ning. I live in Lan­caster County, Penn­syl­va­nia, home of Hamil­ton Watch and in the past, another watch com­pany. A local news­pa­per colum­nist, Jack Brubaker, has been fol­low­ing radium girls. He found sev­eral, one is 102 year-old Cora Bod­key. When she was four­teen, she worked for Hamil­ton Watch paint­ing radium num­bers on watches. They used pens instead of brushes and were warned not to put the pens in their mouths. Even then, in 1926, they knew that many women liked to point their brushes by mouth and some were get­ting sick. Other than that, they had no clue about radium, only that it glowed in the dark.

Even­tu­ally, watch com­pa­nies switched to using tri­tium and the gov­ern­ment began to strictly reg­u­late its use, although it was less radioac­tive. One woman, who used a brush, remem­bers they tested her urine every week, and, although it was always high, noth­ing was ever done about it. Few locally knew about any­one being sick, but one remem­bered a woman who died of tongue cancer.

Radium girls were at work in other places before World War I. One always thinks of the world becom­ing more dan­ger­ous. But now, in 2014, we think of a per­son of four­teen as a child, and radium as def­i­nitely noth­ing to han­dle. Come to think of it, every time I read of the dan­gers of mer­cury poi­son­ing, I remem­ber the time, maybe I was four­teen, when one of us broke a ther­mome­ter. We had a lot of fun rolling those lit­tle gray dots around the floor in semi-liquid balls, push­ing them with our fin­gers. Yep, mer­cury.