A New e-book

Two years ago I published A KNUCKLEHEAD IN 1920s ALASKA, aA Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska memoir of my father’s experiences when he went to Alaska hoping to earn money for college expenses. I’ve now published it as a Kindle e-book.

Here’s the blurb: At age eighty-eight, William (Bill) Collins recorded his adventures as a young man who traveled to Alaska to earn money for college. In the 1920s he found adventure, but not much money working in the railroad yards, in mines, as a pearl diver (dishwasher), and anything else between.

During three summers and one winter, Bill survived hunger, earthquake, stomping caribou, and icicle frost. He learned about stopes, sluice boxes, powder smoke, and the Festival of the Midnight Sun. He found friends who would face a bear for him and enemies eager to knife him or smash him with a twenty-pound sledge. Bill had one lucky day and more than a few really bad days.

This is the story of one hot-headed young man determined to earn his own way. In his own words, he was a true knucklehead.

~ ~ ~

I’ve included a bonus short mystery at the end, “Yesterday’s News,” previously published by Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine. Even better, the entire e-book is free for those who purchase, or have already purchased, the paperback from Amazon.

Now for a question: Do you know any interesting stories from your parents or grandparents that your children might be interested in?

And another question: Have you ever considered telling that story to a wider audience?

And a hint: Those were the questions I asked myself a few years ago, and with a bit of encouragement, this was my answer.

Halloween Countdown-YA Ghost Reads

Vala-Ghost_Writer_300dpiIs there anything better than a ghost story for Halloween? Yes—two ghost stories. One is mine, but first, let me tell you about Vala Kaye’s Ghost Writer.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Vala Kaye – ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vala Kaye

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, romance and history. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games and salsa dancing.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, Vala explores what happens when the human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is Artificial Intelligence, book #1 of “The Superhero Next Door” series.

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Get in the mood for Halloween with this fast, fun YA paranormal novella! “Ghost Writer” is now available in print or as an e-book. Check it out at these online retailers: Amazon | B&N.com | KoboiBooks

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The second YA ghost read is mine, Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery). You can read all about it here: The e-book is free for five days from October 28 through November 1 at Amazon. But, before you do anything, comment below. Maybe you will win Ghost Writer.

Ghosts Writing Notes

I’m trading blog posts with Donna G. Driver. I’ve written a YA with a ghost and her YA with a ghost has just been accepted for publication. She told me what inspired her plot. So, here’s her fascinating story…

Ghosts Writing Notes, by D. G. Driver

If a ghost from the past wanted to communicate through a series of handwritten notes, would a teenager today be able to read them? This was the original premise of my soon-to-be-released YA novella Passing Notes.

A couple years ago my 17-year-old daughter was in a relationship where I swear the only way she and her boyfriend communicated was through texts – endless amounts of nonsensical (and in my opinion, not very romantic) texts. I’m pretty sure they never actually talked to each other. At the same time, my younger daughter, who was nine, was learning to write cursive. She was in the rare 3rd grade classroom that still taught cursive writing, as most elementary schools have pulled that curriculum, educators claiming it to be unnecessary. Between the two experiences of my children, I came up with a story idea: a boy is trying to win the love of a girl but is failing because he keeps sending awkward and stupid texts or emails. Suddenly, he begins getting a series of handwritten notes giving him advice about how to write love letters and win the affections of this girl. He first has to learn how to decode these mysterious notes, and then he tries to figure out who is sending them and why.

I originally wrote Passing Notes as a short story, but earlier this year I felt inspired to take another look at it and stretch it out to a novella. Revision is my mantra, and I am a big proponent of never throwing away a story idea, because you never know when the muse will visit with the perfect solution to “fix” what might be going wrong. In this case, my muse told me the story just needed more to it. I wanted to really explore who Mark’s girl Bethany was. Why would actual love letters appeal to her more than the ordinary texts and emails that everyone else gets? I introduced the rival boy at school, and added a couple of Bethany’s girlfriends who aren’t particularly on Mark’s side either. Most importantly, I wanted to build the relationship between Mark and the ghost. How are the two of them related, and why does it matter to the ghost so much that Mark win Bethany’s affections?  And then, of course, if he follows the ghost’s advice, will it work?

DonnaD-cryofthesea4 (2)

I was thrilled that Fire and Ice, the publishers of my mermaid novel Cry of the Sea, agreed to publish Passing Notes. It will be released on January 24th, 2015. In the meantime, do check out my current novel about a girl who discovers real mermaids washed up on the beach during an oil spill. You can sample the first two chapters at the publisher’s web site: www.fireandiceya.com/authors/dgdriver/crysea.html Follow me on FB or Twitter to keep up to date on the release news for Passing Notes, and read some of my other stories for free on Wattpad.

www.dgdriver.com

www.facebook.com/donnagdriver

Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor

www.d-g-driver.tumblr.com

http://www.wattpad.com/user/DGDriver

www.pinterest.com/dgdriver

www.instagram.com/d_g_driver#

 

Buy Links for Cry of the Sea:

http://www.parnassusbooks.net/book/9781612357867

(It is my understand that if you buy from this indie book store in Nashville, you can request an autographed copy. They will email me, and I just have to drop by the store to sign a copy before they mail it)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/view-cart.ep

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IM0JF06

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cry-of-the-sea-d-g-driver/1118708060?ean=9781612357867

http://www.bookdepository.com/Cry-Sea-Driver/9781612357867

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Cry-Sea/D-G-Driver/9781612357867?id=6119232814287

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.

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?

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.