Tuesday, May 23, 2017


While you're reading this post, I'll be flying at 30,000+ feet on my way to LA and then later in the week to Southern Alaska. My beautiful children and grandchildren will be awaiting my arrival, eager to give me hugs and kisses.  After I get filled up with all their love, I often turn my attention to what others pass by and never notice.

On a visit a few years ago, we were on our way to Malibu in Southern California and stopped at a wonderful beach. In the parking lot was this huge tree. To me, it resembled a whale crashing into the water with its mouth wide open.

And at the top of this tree was the beautiful shape of a heart. I like to call these unique sightings, "aberrations of nature that resemble human or animal characteristics.

If you have read my historical novels, you know that my present day protagonist, Nancy Caldwell, loves to find extraordinary things in the ordinary. Her curiosity usually leads her into trouble. If you have heard me at any of my presentations or have talked with me, you know I tend to be as curious as she is, but hardly ever find myself in the predicaments that come across Nancy's paths. I just find inspiration.

The Old Cape Hollywood Secret

For example, in my latest, The Old Cape Hollywood Secret, Nancy Caldwell's son, Jim, moves to California to find his way in Hollywood. After he arrives, he makes a deal with his landlord to build a small patio next to his apartment in Venice Beach in trade of one month's rent. In the process of digging, he unknowingly unearths a few bones and also two clues to the possible identity of the remains. Thus begins the story.

My oldest son, Scott, did move to Venice Beach and traded a month's rent for the labor in building a patio next to his apartment, but he never found anything like Jim did in this suspenseful tale of Old Hollywood and Cape Cod in 1947 and present day.

I'm fascinated with items that are hidden by the forces of nature only to be uncovered years or centuries later.

One dark, windy, and stormy night in Juneau, Alaska last year when I was visiting the kids, we all woke to gray skies and a full tide out on Tee Harbor. My son, Tim, saw something white out on the uncovered sea floor. He walked out while we watched him from the safety of the house. The outline of his body got smaller and smaller as he went farther out across the rocky floor of the sea. He stopped, took a few pictures, picked up a five gallon pail that had blown off the deck, and returned to land.

He showed us the picture he took. The bones were about three feet long. Human or animal?
We all knew the tide always churns things up, but what was this? We talked all day about it, and in between caring for the kids, we researched online. More than likely, it was a deer. Tim, who is in the health profession, thought the pelvis was too small for a human with a leg that long and he was right, but it sure was mysterious. And what did I think? As I buttoned my sweater tighter looking out the window to the sea, I thought this could be the spark for my fourth historical fiction that will be based in Alaska and Cape Cod.

I hope you'll have an opportunity to pick up a copy of The Old Cape Hollywood Secret either online, at Struna Gallery-Brewster and Struna Gallery- Chatham, or in your local independent bookstore. Just ask for it and they'll order it for you.

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