Thursday, September 29, 2016

Where's Barbara???

Can you find me? I really haven't been hiding. I've just been busy with everything books, the written word, speaking about and selling my books...and traveling.

Over the last 3 months, I've given six talks, participated in three panels, sold books at three events for six days, went to five meetings, two conferences, two book clubs, traveled to Alaska and soon to leave for Ohio.  Whew!

Oh, and did I mention?  I became the President of the Cape Cod Writers Center.

Some of you remember that I went to New York looking for a home for my third novel, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret. My publisher, Booktrope, closed its doors as of June 2016. I want you to know that it takes patience to succeed in the publishing world, sometimes authors wait up to 6-8 months for answers...I'm waiting.

My first two novels are still available on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and the fine bookstores and gift shops listed in the sidebar. Of course, they're always available at Struna Galleries in Brewster and at Heather's gallery in Chatham.

One more thing before I go and re-introduce myself to my husband, Tim, I think I've been gone too much. Just kidding, he's been wonderful and very suportive.

I'm beginning my fourth suspenseful historical novel. Here's a clue. It's about Maria Hallett's descendants. The story takes place on Cape Cod and Alaska in present day and 1899. I have a lot of research ahead of me. I love history!
Check back every once in a while for events in November and December.

Friday, July 1, 2016

New York! New York!

It's been a crazy June but July looks promising. I'm headed to East 42nd Street, New York and the International Thriller Writers – Thrillerfest.

ITW is an organization of over 3,700 members, in 43 countries with 3 billion books in print...and I'm one of them.

My youngest son, Michael, will come with me. He's on vacation from L.A. and is just what I needed  as I traverse the corridors and rooms of the Grand Hyatt Hotel looking for suspense and mystery. Just kidding, he's going to explore New York with his camera while I'm networking and learning.

I've also been selected to be on a panel on Saturday afternoon discussing, with fellow authors, the prompt of: "Plotter, Pantser, or Hybrid?  After much analysis of my writing, I've decided that I'm a combination of a 'pantser' and hybrid. I tend not to stick with a detailed outline, I enjoy the spontaneity of twisting and turning my characters.  Barnes & Noble will be selling and hosting author signings for all panelists in the bookroom of the hotel. It should be fun.

Since my publisher closed its doors on June 1, 2016, I'll be meeting with several agents/publishers at the conference looking for a home for my third historical novel, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret.  Don't worry, you can still buy my other novels, The Old Cape House and The Old Cape Teapot on all the sales channels as before.

I've also had the honor of becoming the President of the Cape Cod Writers Center.
CCWC is a very prestigious source for writers here on Cape Cod and nationally. Our upcoming 54th conference will be held August 4-7, 2016.       Cape Cod Writers Conference

Some interesting trivia about the Grand Hyatt Hotel

* Built in 1919, it was called The Commodore Hotel and named after 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt. He owned The New York Central Railroad.

* It had, 'one of the most beautiful lobbies in the world'. One of the ballrooms had a circus act of elephants perform.

* It was upgraded in 1967 and in 1972 was the first hotel in New York to have in-room movies.

* By 1976, the hotel was almost broke.

* Trump bought the hotel in 1980 and modernized it. Then he covered all the wonderful architectural details with glass.

Sounds a bit too modern for me but I'm excited to see it.

Wish me luck and have a safe July 4th!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Is Life Stranger Than Fiction?

Is life stranger than fiction? It depends on who's talking because each person has a different answer.
In March of 2014, this upside down rainbow appeared in the sky above our house. I saw it through our skylight. I'd never seen anything like it before. If I told you what I saw, you'd think I made it up. But it was real. It's actually called circumzenithal arcs. Normal rainbows are caused when light refracts through raindrops, mist, or even sea spray. The upside down rainbows are caused by ice crystals in the air, not rain. Pretty strange? Not if you're a scientist.

Here's a double rainbow, a little more common but still unusual. It was taken in August 2015 outside the Snow Library in Orleans, MA. Double rainbows are formed when sunlight is reflected twice inside the raindrops. The second rainbow usually sits outside the first and looks dimmer. Because of the angle of the reflection, the second rainbow appears with the opposite color scheme to the first.

 Why am I writing about weird rainbows? It's just a segway into what I really want to write about, which is... Are my stories beyond fiction? Do characters in my novels resemble me and my life? Of course they do.

Let's start from the beginning. Did my husband, Tim, and I uproot our three teenagers from their birth home when we turned forty and move across country to Cape Cod like Nancy Caldwell did in The Old Cape House?  Yes, except she had four children and then one more came when they arrived on the Cape.  In actuality, I had two more children when we moved here and I was over forty years old. That's even our house on the cover of the book.

Some of my readers think that my present day character, Nancy Caldwell, is beyond fiction and totally unrealistic. How can a stay at home mom raise five children with only the support of a husband who's an artist? Well, I did.

Tim has been a professional artist for over 35 years. I may have stayed home but always worked as his accountant, business manager, and PR person. We continue to be a good team and our daughter Heather, has owned Struna Galleries – Chatham for the past eighteen years, helping us keep the business in our family.

Have I had nannies and housekeepers over the years like Nancy Caldwell? Yes, I hate to clean.

Did I ever find treasure like Nancy Caldwell? It depends on what treasure means to you. I've never found diamonds, jewels, or pieces of eight. But I did find the wreckage of an old 20th century ship.

                                              An old boot from 1900 with a wooden heel.

                                                    It had a lot of teeth marks all over it.

                                                          The carcass of a whale.

      I've dug up a toy gun from 1940, just like Nancy Caldwell did in The Old Cape House.

On the Brewster tidal flats, I found a beautiful blue flowered pottery shard. This find actually sparked my imagination for the second novel, The Old Cape Teapot.

These shards and old pipe stems are my treasures.

Can you still find treasure? Yes. Here's a link to an archived blog about treasure.

Can you still find treasure?

For those of you who doubt my characters and their actions and think they aren't believable, I want to tell you that many plot points come from real events or people I've met in my life. Finally, I like to live my life following the proverbial saying, 'what if' or 'it could happen'! I guess I'll always want to open that door, look inside the box, or take that first step into the unknown...that's what makes everything interesting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Springtime, Sales, Giveaways!

Springtime in Brewster near Eagle Point. This moss–lined path led Tim and I on a journey where we discovered some unique images from nature.
We may be on the cusp of spring but these frozen ice sprays tell a different story. They were formed on a windy and cold morning a few days ago on the edges of Upper Mill Pond.

That same day Tim and I drove to Nauset Beach in Orleans. Quite a different sight in early spring. We were the only ones parked in the usually busy parking area. We headed for the beach.
As we exited up a dune, near Liam's Clam Shack, we found two interesting items leaning near the boarded up seaside restaurant. Look closely - there's an iron ball encrusted on the side, next to remnants of bottles.
Lost items on the ocean floor oftentimes become embedded or concreted onto other larger things laying at the bottom of the ocean. This looks like an old spring, maybe from a wagon that harvested peat to sell in Boston around the turn of the the 19th century.

Take another close look and you'll see the bottom of a boot sticking out. There were also pieces of glass, nails, and wood that seemed to be frozen in time against the metal.
And now that I have your attention, The Old Cape House–ebook will be on SALE for $0.99 until March 10 on amazon. Then it will be on SALE for $1.99 until March 12. It's called a Kindle Countdown. When you follow the link to Amazon, watch the clock mark off how much time is left for each sale.The Old Cape House–ebook
AND...Enter to win an autographed copy of The Old Cape Teapot on Goodreads. If you're an avid reader on Goodreads, enter your name to win a copy or sign up to join this great source for finding the right book for you. Giveaway portal is at the top of my blog.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Isn't the internet wonderful?

I'm traveling and I can still promote a sale on my historical fiction, The Old Cape Teapot. Isn't the internet wonderful?

I can hold my grandchildren in Los Angeles and Juneau, Alaska and take care of what I need to do. From bottles to bylines, I can make it happen.

So from Feb. 8-10 it's FREE on iTunes and .99 on Amazon!!

Free and .99 books

For those of you in New England, it's a great time to find a wonderful book to read during the storms.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Walking Crosby-Winter 2016

Crosby Scott
Tim and I are walking Crosby. No, not our new handsome grandson, Crosby Struna, but Crosby Beach in Brewster.

In the aftermath of the weekend's storm, Cape Cod proved to be lucky. We only had 5-10 inches of snow. Other states along the Atlantic coast didn't fare as well. So when the sun came out today, we left our cozy home to explore the beach at Crosby Landing.

Brewster had cleared a small circle for any hearty beach-goers. We parked, buttoned up, and headed for the beach.

A layer of gray slurry had formed about 100 yards wide. Undaunted we continued down the dune and turned to the left to a small path other people had carved out.

To our surprise, the snow, wind, and water had created a mass of ice across the top of the breakwall. It resembled an upturned boat. Then we turned to inspect the white line of ice and snow that lined the whole coastline.

Through a combination of cold temperatures, ocean, and snow, the gray slurry had formed a dam. It was approaching high tide but the water was held back by this temporary barrier. In 28 years here on the Cape I'd never seen anything like it. I'm sure it wasn't new but I hadn't seen it.

As we walked the frozen beach, we couldn't help but be reminded of a few years ago when our oldest son, Scott, married his beautiful wife, Carly, on the beach at Crosby Landing. They even got engaged there. It's very special to the young couple. Hence, little Crosby!

 It was a beautiful summer day for their wedding. Quite a difference from the January picture.

Behind the happy couple you can see the top edges of the breakwall that was covered in a huge ice drift on January 24.  Every year when they come to Cape Cod, Crosby Landing is the first place they visit after giving us some hugs and kisses.

During the recent storm that blanketed the Cape with mounds of snow, I was cozy inside...writing. And I'm happy to say that my third historical novel is just about finished. Only a few chapters left to wrap everything up. I think it's going to be almost 88,000 words and titled, The Old Cape's Hollywood Secret. Another page turner you won't want to put down. It takes place in 1947 and present day. My character, Nancy Caldwell, follows her detective instincts on a journey from Hollywood to Cape Cod. Along the way, she solves a cold case that involves the disappearance of a young Cape Cod woman and uncovers a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Just in case, you're looking for a good winter read, my other historical fictions, The Old Cape House and The Old Cape Teapot are available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes and many bookstores on Cape Cod. See list on the sidebar. Oh, and we still have skunks but they're almost gone!