Monday, November 9, 2009

Apex book charts town’s history

I've been writing a lot of the Secret Lives of Evelyn and still looking for the elusive data...

My new book, Apex, will be out next week and there is a good deal of promotion going on. The local paper, the Apex Herald ran a full front-page ad with photos!

Today I appeared on the local CBS affiliate, WRAL, to talk about the book.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 4, 2009

I have been diligently working on The Secret Lives of Evelyn for the last few days. I have hit some road blocks, especially for the last two pieces of this crazy puzzle!

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of Evelyn's great granddaughters in London. She is just as sweet and funny as can be. It was such a neat feeling being able to talk with someone who actually knew Evelyn's first child! It was almost as if I was talking to Evelyn.

Elizabeth shared some very personal and interesting stories with me. There is no way to confirm them, but they have been passed down from family members. I still intend to share them because they are so crazy!

Today I am focusing on the writing part--it's very easy for me to get sucked into the research part.

The new Apex book is making a splash! A story in the local paper, Apex Herald featured it yesterday and I will be on the local CBS affiliate on Monday afternoon. I will post a link here after it airs. Here is the one for the Apex book

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working with Family

The Secret Lives of Evelyn continues to fill my days.

However, today I was in contact with a coroner in England to see if I can get the details of E's death. Since I am not family, they will not release it to me. On the bright side, E's GG granddaughter in England has agreed to email the coroner to see what she can find. I think she is equally curious to know more about her fascinating relative.

I now have an "accomplice" in my quest for the truth!

I forgot to mention that I found some other interesting details around E's husband the other day. Very exciting...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not Very Often...

I got to do something yesterday that not many people can say they have done.

During my research for The Secret Lives of Evelyn, I have hit road blocks, discovered scandal, uncovered shocking details, and much more. I have also gotten in contact with E's direct descendants.

However, yesterday, I had the pleasure of introducing two of E's relatives to each other.

One is her GG granddaughter, who lives in England, and the other is her great granddaughter who lives in Montana. Neither new the other existed, so their reunion should be quite enlightening. It's so cool to think that E's relatives on two different continents are now connected!

It was one of those feel good days, and hey, today is still the same!!!

Well, I am just about done with most of my research, although I still have many unanswered questions. However, at some point, I have to start writing.

Today is that day...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Movie and More

I was just thinking about all the details and the journey I am on because of The Secret Lives of Evelyn.

Thank goodness I am documenting so much of the journey here, because in the book someone will see the day that Evelyn died. However, they will have no idea how long it took me to find that one fact, unless they are following this.

That got me to thinking that with all the attention on the Julie and Julia movie that I should get one! LOL

This journey has had some ups and downs, highs and lows, surprises, and much more. My publisher says my journey to find Evelyn's secrets is as interesting as Evelyn herself!

I found Ev's final resting place today. I feel a little sad...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser

It seems the more I learn about Evelyn the more questions I have. Just when I think I am ready to start writing The Secret Lives of Evelyn, I find another secret, which leads to another question!

I have found her obit, which was tricky and when you read the book you'll find out why.

I've been emailing with her GG granddaughter and and great granddaughter in England. Both have given me some pretty neat details about her life.

My Apex book came back with a few more edits. There is a neat story there, too. I had some photos from a guy in Apex which were wedding negatives to someone he did not know. I used them because they were cool. My editor wanted more info, so I started digging and found the groom alive at age 87! I was so neat to get his details for the photos.

The guy who has the negatives graciously agreed to let me give them to the groom--63 years later.

How cool is that?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's a good day!

I have been deep into research and hot on the trail of Evelyn's descendants this week and last.

So far, I have found more interesting tidbits and details, along with a direct descendant of Evelyn and George's!

She lives in the UK and seems really excited about me writing about her family. The other descendant that I already found here in the states is just thrilled.

It's so cool to be able to speak with people who are directly related to Evelyn. Right now, she is just a person in genealogy data banks, but speaking with and emailing her relatives make it all seem so more real.

I can't wait to see what the latest contact has for me...and to finally start writing her story.

This weekend it's a road trip with my cousin. We are staying with my Uncle Donald because I have a Western Writers of America event near his home. Should be a fun girl's weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Know What They Looked Like!

Today I found a newspaper article which had an artist's drawing of my two main people in The Secret Lives of Evelyn! I finally know what they looked like. This is too cool.

I also read some disturbing stories about George--I don't think I like him very much...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy and Mad

I am both happy and mad all at the same time!

I found another great piece of the Secret Lives of Evelyn puzzle yesterday. As it turns out, quite by accident. I was looking for one thing and stumbled upon it. I love it when that happens!!!

On the other hand, I am really mad and upset about two book reviews I received yesterday. One was for Taste of Tombstone and the other for Tombstone's Treasure. They were both from scholarly types, which might explain their comments.

Tombstone's Treasure was hit for having disorganized footnotes, while Taste of Tombstone was hit for the same thing, but also for the recipes. It always amazes me that people think recipes that were used in the west have to come from old cookbooks in the west.

How would that be possible when most books were published in the east during the 1800s? Did these highly-educated scholars think about that?! Of course not--the women who went west, yes, from the east, took their EASTERN cookbooks along with them.

They also slammed me for not citing the source for every single recipe I have in the book. They should have paid attention to the Prologue where I specifically say I used old cookbooks of the time, including an 1880 one that I bought in Tombstone! Ugh. They also mentioned not being able to remember who Otto Geisenhofer was and had to use the index to look him up. Why was that a big deal?

Thanks--I feel better now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fish Balls That Melt in the Mouth

I kid you not! That is the headline of a western newspaper in the late 1800s. It's referring to a recipe they printed, but still...

I'm working on researching my next few True West Frontier Fare columns and stumbled across it. Somehow I will have to use that for one of my stories! You can't make this stuff up. LOL

The Secret Lives of Evelyn is still consuming me. I applied for a grant yesterday in the hopes that I will get some money so I can travel to England and California and trace Evelyn.

I subscribed to a couple of newspaper and genealogy sites to help me and it's leading me to some neat stuff. I can't really say what it is because it might spoil the story for the reader.

I must admit that I am like a junkie on crack when it comes to this research. I even dream about reading censuses and ship's logs.

This is the hardest I have ever worked on any book. It will be awesome, but it surely is taking a lot out of me.

Back to it...

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Researcher's Dream

This news could just not wait!

I have hit the author/researchers jackpot!!!

The Secret Lives of Evelyn book I am writing has led me to many frustrating days, but not today.

Today, I found out that Evelyn's father was a famous English composer, which totally explains her background. I also confirmed that she married the man I thought she did, and had the three children I thought she did.

This is SOOOOO exciting I cannot stand it.

Gotta get back to it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The theatre...

I have been searching for old theatre records in the hopes of finding a photo or more details about Evelyn, but to no avail.

I did pick up some interesting information, which is going to change my theory about a portion of the book. It seems the more I go over all the details I have the more I find things.

Forgot to mention that I spoke with the president and CEO of a company in Boston yesterday. His stepmother was related to George, who was Evelyn's husband. Unfortunately, she never had any children and that ended that.

I am toying with the idea of going to England to assist me with this project, but have to line some things up. I applied for a grant today to help with the costs.

I have to make some notes so I can go to the library tomorrow and use the site for free and look for more clues...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Apex book

Forgive me...I did not realize that I had not posted since I got my book contract for the Apex book. Well, it's done and with the publisher. It should be out in November.

Oh, the research...

Well, I won't make excuses why I haven't blogged other than I just didn't feel like it. However, I am about to change all that.

You see...I am deep into my next book, The Secret Lives of Evelyn, and feel like sharing the research ride I am on.

Evelyn is a real Victorian woman and the book will be non-fiction, so I am trying to steep myself in all things that are Evelyn. Actually, I have been doing that for some time and her story has been sitting for well over two years. Oddly though, she seems to be tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Find me, tell my story..."

It's especially hard since she was born in England. I would love to go there, but am not sure where to start, so I have a friend doing some recon for me.

I have been successful in finding her grandson and great granddaughter, but unfortunately, they know little about that side of the family. Not surprising since Evelyn's son died in WWI when his son was 2.

I put out some requests for another descendant, but have heard nothing. I found another direct relative, but they did not have children, so another dead end.

More on my quest tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


It's been a while, so here is a little update...

I did a book signing in Tombstone in April for the Founders Day celebration--see photo here.

I also got a contract for a new book. However, this one is a local history book about the town of Apex, NC. It's an Arcadia Publishing book, which means lots of photos. It's been a challenge trying to gather enough photos for the project.

They are trying to get it published in time for the holidays, which means I have some tight deadlines. I need to submit 10 sample images to be used for the cover by May 1 and the entire project needs to be to them by June 1.

I still haven't found a paying job yet, but I am taking advantage of the free time to work on projects like the history book, my Frontier Fare column, and other things.

For those who haven't already seen my Lost Worlds show--it will air this Sunday on the History International Channel at 2 p.m. (ET). It's called Sin City of the West and it's about Deadwood, S.D.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Trailers

I've been getting some good compliments and feedback on my trailers.

I added a new:

Since I have not been able to find a job yet, I have decided to launch a new website to offer marketing and writing services. My rates are pretty reasonable since the economy is so tough. I am also adding video trailers as part of my service. My site should be up later today or tomorrow.

We'll see what happens...

I am sending my July column to True West was tough making strawberry ice cream in February!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

TV and Book Trailers

It's so weird to be flipping through the channels and see yourself on TV. The History Channel aired my Wild West Tech show (Gambling Tech) the other night. Wow--that was in 2004.

I decided I needed to increase book sales, so I created book trailers, like they do for movies. I figured it couldn't hurt.

Feel free to check them out and give me feedback.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Headed to Tombstone

I just found out that I will be attending the Founder's Day celebration in Tombstone in April. They are having an event on Saturday called, Taste of Tombstone. They have asked me to sign books in the park where the local restaurants will be selling food.

I couldn't pass on this event with my book title being an exact match. Sounds like a great way to promo the book!

I've have some nice comments about my new Frontier Fare column, which has made me feel very good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 3, 2009

This is my first post in a while because, to be honest, I was just burned out from posting every day. I have decided to post only when I have news to share.

I have also decided to add some cool tidbit about writing or the Victorian west. Maybe some cool quotes from western people who lived there back in the day.

It snowed last night and there is a pretty white dusting all around.

I received my copies of the Feruary True West and my second Frontier Fare column is in it. It's pretty cool to see that!

The doc says I need to wear the boot for another three weeks, but I can walk with it or short periods. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's amazing all things your feet do for you. My office is upstairs and the kitchen is down, so when I want something to eat or drink, I have to think about it.

Well, I finished my column, but I am in the process of completing the recipe. It's one for griddle cakes, but they are quick version of sourdough pancakes. I have to let the batter sit overnight and then I can cook them in the morning. Cooking with crutches should be interesting. When you see the May issue know that those cakes were made under unusual circumstances. LOL

Next up is my website updates...

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Diagnosis is In

Well, I wasn't completely wrong. I do not have turf toe, but something similar. I have a stress fracture of the sesamoid bone, which is two tiny bones just beneath the big toe. I have to stay off of it for three weeks to start. I have crutches and a boot--no, not one of the cowboy nature, but a big ugly, black thing. This is a real pain, but the doc says the more I stay off it, the sooner it will heal. Hmm.

I applied for a really cool job today. It's a writing position with a water sports/camping company. We shall see what happens. It looks like it might be another work from home gig, which would be awesome.

I hope to finish my TW column tomorrow and beat my deadline!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Done with One!

I turned in my past due column today! Now I am working on the next one, which is due on the 15th. It's kind of weird, but very typical of the magazine industry, to be writing a column that will appear in the June issue. I have to keep that in mind when I choose the recipe...

I am fighting a nasty cold, which just won't go away. I have been taking Chinese herbs and drinking tons of herbal tea. I have had it since last Friday and I want it gone. I also have an appointment with a podiatrist on Monday to see what is up with my foot. I hurt it real bad on New Year's Eve (no, I hadn't been drinking, yet). I woke up on New Year's Day and it was badly swollen. X-rays say no break, but my own diagnosis is Turf Toe. Let's see how I do on Monday! Should I stick to writing or change professions? LOL

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Playing catch up

I am still working on my past due column for TW and the deadline for the next one is fast approaching.

True West started a new social network called the True West Social Network. It's basically Facebook for True West. It's pretty cool. Here is the link if you want to join It's everything western...

I am also working on a new angle for my writing--greeting cards. I found this company who is looking for writers to come up with thoughtful, inspiring prose. I'll give it a shot.

My Chinese fortune cookie last night had, "Winter will bring prosperity in your career" or something like that. We shall see.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5, 2009

These photos are of my kitties and trees from Christmas.

I am still waiting to see if my foot is broken or not. The doc said he didn't think so, but he is not my regular one. They sent the x-rays to the radiologist. I hope this is the last of my health issues and 2009 is illness free. I am fighting off a nasty cold, but Chinese herbs and teas are giving it a run for its money!

I got a call from my cousin this morning telling me my aunt is going home, but she is likely in her final days. I speak with her every day and I can tell she is so sad. She only gets to see my uncle (her husband of 60 years) for about an hour or so a day. I can't imagine being with someone that long and then being separated like that.

I got caught up on paperwork that was put aside from the last two weeks, so it's all about writing starting tomorrow with my True West column. Then I need to update my website and get working on my books. I am also looking for a new job.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2, 2009

Wow. I've done so much since my last post, which is why I haven't posted until now. Let me start by saying that today would have been my dad's 67th birthday.

Back to December. We had our annual Christmas Eve gathering and then spent Christmas day with family. I got lots of nice gifts. Dinner consisted of beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and Christmas cookies for dessert.

On the 29th we headed to Colonial Williamsburg for my birthday. We stayed in a house that was originally built in 1731 and was Martha Washington's grandfather's. It was a quaint room with a wood burning fireplace. We ate in old taverns, walked with an English Colonial fife and drum band, and participated in a mock trial in an old English court. We walked the streets--I think a little too much for me. Today I am off my feet because I might have fractured or badly bruise my right one. I will know soon.

I have lots of neat photos of the holidays and Williamsburg, which is some of what you see here.

We took a ferry ride to and from Williamsburg. The ride over was super calm, but the ride back was windy...