Thursday, April 16, 2020

Spring 2020 ...and remembering Sister Barbara.

Family, Friends, and Faith
Last month, the world lost a beautiful sister, Sister Barbara.
Co-writing her memoir took me on a different journey, other than my usual historical fiction, and became a labor of love.

  Family, Friends, and Faith - an inspirational memoir of how one woman made a difference in thousands of lives.

Sister Mary Barbara Eppich O.S.U.

An Ursuline Sister for more than sixty years, she dedicated her life to living at the feet of Jesus and sharing his love to all who meet her.

Sister Barbara entered the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, Ohio in 1954. I was five years old and she was eighteen. In her early eighties, whenever I had a chance to visit with her in Ohio, she relived the challenges she encountered within the confines of the paternalistic Catholic Church. I recorded her words on audio, captured her thoughts with my written notes, and gleaned her feelings from her journals. We crafted her story together through love, laughter, and tears. She recalled that without the kindness of the Ursulines, she could not have experienced the pure joy of teaching so many young children, who in their simple ways, made her laugh, and oftentimes taught her life lessons.
Early years showing her love of music and teaching children.

We combined our words into a simple story of family, friends, and faith. Sister Barbara's words are printed in italics. My thoughts are interspersed in chapters relating my memories and commenting on the culture that surrounded Sister Barbara throughout her life of giving.

Were doors closed to her? Yes.
Why did she stay as an Ursuline sister? 

This is the story of an ordinary person who has done extraordinary things. I hope that after reading her memoir, you will find one idea that will inspire or enlighten you.

I am what I am because of the people in my life. S.M.B.

Stories are the way into our lives.  S.M.B 

Family, Friends, and Faith is currently available

FREE to read as an ebook on Kindle Unlimited
through  Amazon
and paperback Amazon 
 Struna Galleries online

Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so at
Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Amazon Giveway - The Old Cape Hollywood Secret

Easy to enter my Amazon Giveway to win a Kindle Copy of The Old Cape Hollywood Secret!!
All you have to do is follow me on my Amazon Author page.

This suspenseful historical novel takes place in 1947 and present day. When young Maggie Foster and her cousin Gertie leave Cape Cod for glamorous Hollywood, one returns home with a secret, while the other disappears only to be found seventy years later by present day Nancy Caldwell. It's a page turning back and forth using alternating chapters between time periods. 

If you're can't wait to start reading, the novel is available as an ebook at Amazon, B&N, and iBook for $3.99.
Links to buy are on the right side of the blog. 

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Klondike Gold Rush 1897-98 and Searching for Scallop Shells

Low Tide at Crosby Landing - Brewster Bay - Cape Cod

What does the 1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska have to do with scallop shells? Not much, it's just that I've been researching for my fourth suspenseful historical fiction and my head has been filled with facts, pictures, and plot lines.

 I also needed to find scallop shells. They're a nice decoration for my books.

Did you know that the scallop shell is the only shell that doesn't break when you drill a hole in it?

If you squint, you can see me clutching a plastic bag filled with shells.
I knew the tide was going to be at its lowest between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. As soon as Tim closed the gallery, we left for the beach with bags in hand to carry our treasures (scallop shells) home. The empty shells seemed sparse at first and we grew disappointed. We continued walking further East as the water grew cooler and the sun descended lower on the horizon. Just as we decided to turn around, I spotted several medium size shells. I noticed Tim, on my far right, bending over to pick up some shells. I was encouraged to step further into sections of deeper water.

Tim joined me in the mid-calf water. He laughed and said, "Well, we've got flashlights on our phones, if we need them."

I agreed and we kept walking.

When it grew too dark to see the shells and our feet felt like ice, we turned around. 

With bags half full of seashells, we headed for the car. 

Braving the elements, even in small adventures like ours in search of treasure, reminded me of what I'd discovered in researching the Klondike Gold Rush or sometimes it's called the Yukon Gold Rush.  

 The Canadian authorities in 1897 wouldn't let you climb over the mountain pass into Canada if you didn't have a year supply of goods (over 1000 lbs) to keep you alive.

The Chillkoot Pass
The prospective miners had to carry these supplies up and over the mountain to get to the Yukon River either on their backs, on horses or mules.  Oftentimes they hired the native people to carry it for them. The Tlingit people of Southeastern Alaska played a major role in this tragic event for many of the 100, 000 people who desired a quick fortune.  Most never had success. Many died or stayed in Alaska for lack of money to return to their home.

Once over the pass, they continued to where the gold was last found.

I stopped a minute to take in the beauty of the sunset and calmness of the ocean. Tim came up alongside of me. I looked over to him.  "I'd probably make a good partner for you if we decided to go and find gold back in 1897."

He held my hand and said, "I believe you're right. We do like adventure, don't we?"

In total we gathered almost 100 shells, claiming a good haul and no casualties.

Stay tuned to my blog for further developments surrounding my fourth suspenseful historical novel,
The Old Cape Map. This suspenseful tale has everything to do with Maria Hallett and her descendants, plus Provincetown and Alaska in 1897-1899. 

A big thank you to all of you who have supported me by following this blog, buying my books, and spreading the word about my stories. If you have the time and enjoy my novels, would you please leave a review either on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


My latest historical fiction, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret,  is on sale for only $0.99 on amazon for THREE days.  
ebook Thursday - 7/12- 7/14   - $0.99
Then it returns slowly back up to regular price of $3.99.
 ebook 7/5 - 7/17    -  $1.99
  ebook  7/18 - 7/19  -  $2.99

It's a great beach read. Winner of multiple awards!

In 1947, Maggie Foster and her cousin, Gertie, leave Cape Cod for Hollywoodland in search of glamour and fame. One girl returns home and the other disappears.  Present-day Nancy Caldwell travels to Hollywood where she discovers the paths of Maggie and Gertie. In The Old Cape Hollywood Secret, a suspenseful historical thriller, Nancy's curiosity gets her into trouble again. Along the way, a missing ring and pearl studded pouch are mixed in with the search. Using alternating chapters, across seventy years, the young girls stories unfold and a murderous secret is uncovered.
Where did my inspiration come from?

My wonderful children in Hollywood...
...the 1933 Georgian Hotel - reminiscent of 'Old Hollywood'...

...and of course, lovely 'Old Cape Cod'.

From the soothing sands dunes of Cape Cod to the glamour of Hollywood, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret will take you on a nostalgic journey filled with suspense, adventure, and romance. I hope you can't stop turning the page to see what happens next.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Geocaching - What is it?

The above picture depicts the bottom of a geocache found in Millbury, MA

In my opinion, it's an adventure with a side of suspense and fun.

Officially, geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaching was founded by Matt Stum on May 30, 2000. Today there are over three million geocaches hidden in 190 countries.

Sounds technical and yet, people of all ages and education are geocaching. My youngest daughter introduced me to it a few years ago but I never followed through with her suggestions of, "Try it. You'll like it!"

I should have listened to her because as of April 1, 2018, I became hooked and so did my husband, Tim.

We've been adventuring almost every day. Sometimes we find a cache that is less than an inch long and inside is a small paper log to record your name and the date of when you found it.


Mid-size cache wrapped with a magnet and hidden, but we found it.

When I tell people about our outings, they ask, "What did you find? What kind of treasure?"
I answer, "I didn't find anything that's worth anything!"  Everyone laughs and I explain.

It's not about the treasure, it's about the thrill of the journey. It's the suspenseful searching through the woods, old paths, and back roads of where you live or visit. It's about using your observation skills and problem solving, following GPS co-ordinates and solving a puzzle.

 GPS leads us into the woods.

Searching with some help from a friend visiting Cape Cod.
You need to be curious, adventuresome, and determined. Just like Nancy Caldwell, modern day amateur sleuth, who is the main character in all my historical novels.

As you read the stories, Nancy Caldwell finds something in present day and then in the next chapter, you'll meet the person and the 'who' or 'what' behind what Nancy found. The story unfolds in alternating chapters between time periods.

If you love a suspenseful adventure with touches of romance about Cape Cod, 18th century pirates, 1947 Hollywood starlets, and serial killers, choose The Old Cape Series.


If you've already read them, Thank You!

If you have time, I would appreciate a review, either on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews always help authors. Have a great Spring!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Different Path Every Day.

 Cape Cod - Brewster - Bayside
Late winter signals the beginning of a new year. It's a reflective time when you might consider the fact that you will be a year older and is this the direction you want your life to continue on? You might choose a different path to travel, shake things up a little, or make a change.

I love spur-of-the-moment adventures, much to the dismay of my husband Tim, who, as a self-employed artist, keeps to a schedule, at least for most of the year. He actually gets up several hours before me, works in his studio, and then waits to see what I want to do. He has so much love for me, maybe it's his patience but I really love that he's in my life. So when I can, I try to get him to go with me on a daily explore.

I pick a different road or path each day, nothing major or life-changing, just something different.

This morning, we went looking for scallop shells at Crosby Landing Beach in Brewster. The sun was shining, the tide out, the air cool and refreshing.

As I "serpentined" my way across the bumpy flats looking for scallop shells, with Tim several feet in front of me, the sun felt warm on my bare head - didn't need a hat today.

Did you know that the scallop shell is the only shell that you can poke a hole in and it won't break or crack? I use them as accents when I sell my book sets and the gallery ties them onto the gift wrapped artwork.

Together we found almost 50 shells of various sizes.

Weather has not always been so co-operative in our daily explores.
Back on New Year's Day, the Cape was full of snow.

Rock Harbor - Orleans

Trying to spot Capt'n Cass Restaurant looking across Rock Harbor
After traveling for the month of January to Juneau, AK and to Los Angeles, CA to see all the kids and grand babies, we returned to Cape Cod only to be greeted with more snow and astronomical high tides. We visited Provincetown on February 1.

Race Point nearing high tide. The parking lot was almost gone.
On February 2, Linnell Landing - Brewster had a high tide and slushy snow.

Frozen waves at Crosby Landing - Brewster - February 4.
The same February day, we decided to see how Nauset Lighthouse Beach was faring in the winter so far.
Both entryways to get to the beach (Liam's and further down to the left of the bandstand) were closed off due to recent erosion. The only way down was at the far end of the parking lot, near the entrance to the Outer Beach.

This beach path was steep, but we were determined to get to the water.
Our feet followed the indentations of the others who had gone before us. Once at the bottom, we headed left to see why we couldn't use the old entrances.

We came across a section of peat that we hadn't noticed on our previous walks. You could see where sections of peat had been cut out, possibly late 1800s or turn of the century, the blocks were used for heat in Orleans homes or sold to Boston.

A little past this, you could see the remains of the old boardwalk by Liam's Clam Shack along with the old septic tank.

Past this entrance to the beach, you could see the other entrance and the reason no one was allowed to enter via these familiar paths. The wooden boardwalks had been washed away.

Boardwalk to the left of the bandstand.

As the sun slowly disappeared behind the clouds and the wind picked up speed, we turned to get back to the car. Reaching the top of the dune and looking back to the water, we reflected on how change is good, even though at the time, it seems devastating. We've always known that if you look hard enough, you'll always find a way.

New Path

Don't forget! All of my books are still available for sale across all online channels and in bookstores across the country. See the right side of the blog for connections.