Monday, July 23, 2012

Bound for Eternity now a audiobook

A smooth publishing many times does that happen? Curious about how to get my books turned into audiobooks, I pick up an Iambik business card at a mystery conference. Back at home, I wrote to the company but heard nothing for a couple of months. Then, when I had forgotten all about it, I received an email that invited me to submit a book file and that the company was interested. Iambik is based in Montreal, so I was excited about reaching a new audience. Within a few months, I was contacted with three audio files of the first chapter to choose my narrator. While all three readers were good, Priscilla Holbrook's appealed to me the most (rich voice with undertones of humor, clearly having fun reading). I chose that mp3, and to my surprise and delight, Iambik also gave me a chance to review the audio proofs of the book!
Now Bound for Eternity is published in yet another format, and I cannot be more pleased:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bootlegging in Illinois

In downtown Big Grove (a.k.a. Champaign, Illinois) there’s a new bar and restaurant called Seven Saints. It used to be a sporting goods store and before that, a drugstore—with a speakeasy on the second floor. According to a 1999 newspaper article, patrons of the speakeasy escaped out a back door into an adjoining building and through an underground steam tunnel to avoid Prohibition agents. This part of town, conveniently located near the railroad station, was chock-full of illegal speakeasies, “blind pigs,” gambling dens, and houses of ill repute during the 1920s. Blind pigs were legitimate stores such as laundries, candy stores, or lawyers’ offices that housed speakeasies hidden away in the back or on another floor.
            When I began to write my first historical mystery, The Bootlegger’s Nephew, I thought my theme would be archaeology in its “Wild West” days, before it became an academic discipline. To my surprise, Prohibition and the practice of pre-antibiotics medicine took over. With the year 1923 as my starting point, I plunged into a world of cheerful corruption: bribery, transporting bad booze, and all kinds of illegal behavior by perfectly ordinary citizens. My research taught me about the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in Illinois and Indiana, rabid anti-immigrant prejudice, the changing roles of women, and birth control in the age of Margaret Sanger.

Unexpected characters strolled onto my stage. My protagonist, Doc Earl “Illinois” Junker, is a forty-year-old physician and an amateur archaeologist who accepts artifacts looted from local sites instead of cash for medical treatments. Doc Junker travels his community in his Model-T Ford dealing with farm accidents, difficult pregnancies, and illnesses caused by imbibing adulterated liquor along with prescription medicines and home remedies. His daughter Anna, a nursing student who frequents local speakeasies, helps him track down a murderer and break up a local gang of bootleggers.

Martha Junker, Anna’s mother and Earl’s wife, is the other heroine. Martha is a rather straight-laced German immigrant, the daughter of an alcoholic and a member of the local temperance league. Encouraged by a fellow immigrant, Martha breaks out of her usual roles of obedient wife and strict mother and becomes a bar maid in an effort to locate illegal liquor distribution hubs. >Born and raised on the East Coast, I had no clue the Midwest would become my home.  Writing this book led me to take an architectural history tour of our university town, visit local archives, sit mesmerized in front of Ken Burn’s PBS series on Prohibition, and soak up the stories of local residents. All this has enriched my appreciation of where I live.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Editions and New Shorts

Happy New Year! I have joined the throng of authors making use of Amazon software to republish older works and add short stories to the Kindle bookstore that have appeared elsewhere.

In January, I prepared a new edition of "Bound for Eternity" on This is exactly the same book that was first published in 2005 with a yellow and white cover, but it has been edited slightly to remove typos and has a new cover. The new edition is also cheaper! The same story appears (for only $2.99) as a Kindle edition here.

Just to confuse readers even more, I created a novella version of Bound for Eternity (the challenge was to reduce over 60,000 words to less than 25,000!). Because the shortened version required removing a couple of subplots and a major character, the short version is now called "Mummy Dearest."  The novel is also a Kindle ebook.

I have also taken advantage of Amazon's user-friendly Kindle platform to post short stories previously published in the ezine Mysterical-E, "Heaven for Roosters" and Wings EPress, "Then, Fall Caesar."