Séance in Sepia

I have a new novel to announce:  Séance in Sepia is scheduled to be published in hard cover by Five Star Mysteries in October 2011.

The story begins in the present day when a woman buys an antique "spirit photograph" at an estate sale.  She doesn't know anything about spirit photography--all the rage in Victorian America--but when she puts the picture up for auction on Ebay and the bidding soars over a thousand dollars, she realizes she must find out more.

She soon learns that the three people pictured in the photo were the focus of a notorious murder case that rocked Chicago in 1875.  I will share more in the coming months but know that the working subtitle has always been:  Victoria Woodhull and the Free Love Murders.


On the airwaves

I had the enjoyable privilege yesterday to meet with two wonderful Kansas City-based mystery authors, Nancy Pickard and Joel Goldman. The three of us were interviewed on our local public radio station, KCUR, by Steve Kraske.
We spent the hour discussing the craft of mystery writing.
The show is now available as an mp3 stream on the station's website --click here:  KCUR.

If you haven't read it yet, Nancy's bestselling new book, The Scent of Rain and Lightning, is a stunner. As she did in The Virgin of Small Plains, Nancy evocatively captures the essence of rural prairie life in modern-day Kansas and the raw emotions that echo down the decades after a single night of terrifying violence.  Here is her website: http://www.nancypickard.com/

Joel's new book, No Way Out, will be in bookstores in just a few weeks.  This is the third installment in his exciting Jack Davis series.  Read more about it and check out a fantastic book trailer on his website:


Happy Pub Day

Today is the official publication day of the paperback version of "The Second Glass of Absinthe," but I am also excited to announce that the first Eden Murdoch novel, "An Uncommon Enemy," is also debuting this week as a Kindle edition.  
Buy it here for just $2.99.
You can read the first chapter on my website.

I have often been asked whether the character of Eden Murdoch was a real person, given that many characters in the novel did exist--Custer, Sheridan, Black Kettle. 

The answer is technically, no, she is a fictional creation, but she was inspired by two separate events. Custer mentioned in his field report, filed the morning after the battle, that they found the body of a white woman in Black Kettle's camp. He did not identify her and never mentioned her again, though he wrote extensively of the Washita Battle in later years.

The identity of this mystery woman has never been solved by scholars, but it must be assumed that it was not the body of another white captive, Clara Blinn, who was found a week later in another location. Despite this lack of documentation, General Sherman, 
Sheridan's superior, used it as conclusive proof that Custer struck a hostile camp, when he testified before Congress on the matter.
My novel poses the question, what if that woman had been found alive, and what if she did not tell the story the Army longed for her to tell? What if she instead gave an articulate report of the battle from the 
Cheyenne point of view?
Eden's character was inspired by the story of another white captive, Cynthia Ann Parker, a woman "captured twice," as Eden was. Parker was captured by the Comanches, lived among them, married into the tribe, and lived there for more than two decades before being "recaptured" by the Army and forced to return to white civilization against her will. She was never able to see her children again, one of whom grew up to be the great Comanche chief, Quannah Parker.