Blog

Lament of Wells Waite Miller

Note: I am doing a deep dive into the life of Wells Waite Miller, a largely forgotten Civil War hero, researching and writing his biography. Not too long ago, I was asked to theoretically consider how he might feel about the process. This tongue-in-cheek essay is the result! For the past two years, seven months, and odd number of days, I’ve found myself pondering the following question: Was it worth almost dying on the blood-soaked fields of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 to potentially have my biography written and published? I say “potentially” because Kelly means well and she does

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Life Echoes

I love randomly visiting old cemeteries, even the one where a poisonous spider glared at me from a nearby tombstone. I’d planned a weekend trip for my husband and our two young history-loving sons where we’d visit the home of President Ulysses S. Grant in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Unfortunately, I’d inadvertently made hotel reservations at—and gotten a TripTik to—Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

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Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Series

Miss Jane Marple appears in 12 books and 20 short stories over a period of about 50 years. I was invited to write an encyclopedia entry on Agatha Christie’s amateur detective, Miss Jane Marple — and, as a huge fan, I was thrilled. And . . . the encyclopedia project got canceled. So, I thought I would share what I wrote here, with sub-headlines added. Who is Jane Marple? Jane Marple is a fictional character created by English mystery novelist Agatha Christie. She appears in twelve books and twenty short stories, starting in approximately 1926 and lasting through 1976; the

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Historical Short Story: Digging Deep

This short story is posted in honor of and as a tribute to a former neighbor of mine who survived multiple Nazi bombings in London during World War II. She is the character of Viola (her real first name) and the snippet about her is historically accurate. Thank you for your service! I’ve been living with Uncle Reggie and Auntie Sal for about six weeks now and, even though I don’t like it when the windows shake from the bombing in the city or when the wind shifts and I smell gunpowder, I’m not waking up at night as much

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Author Interviews: John Gilstrap, 06/14/97

This is one of the many author interviews I conducted in the mid- to late 1990s. John Gilstrap worries about falling asleep. He’s afraid of waking up and finding out that 1995 was only a dream. That extraordinary year was when Gilstrap sold his first novel, Nathan’s Run, to Harper Collins Publishers. His book earned a $400,000 advance with Warner Brothers snapping up the movie rights just two days after the book sold. The movie rights and paperback rights earned Gilstrap another $500,000, and the book will be translated and released in 13 foreign countries in 1996. When asked how his

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Author Interviews: Interview with Ellen Hart, 07/22/96

This is one of the many author interviews I conducted in the mid- to late 1990s. Who: Ellen Hart What: Started writing her first mystery novel at the age of 37 When: Summer of 1986 Where: University of Minnesota, where Hart worked as the kitchen manager of a sorority Why: She figured it was now or never “I had my summers off at that time, and I wanted to try my hand at writing mystery fiction,” Ellen Hart said. “I’d always been a pretty good academic writer, but that didn’t mean I had the skills to sustain plot, character, tension—everything

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