Are You Alarmed?

No, this post is not about the alarming things happening in the world today. Rather it’s about are you alarmed? As in, do you have an alarm system? In my WIP, If I Should Die, I recently needed to know what year saw the invention of the first closed circuit security system. Guess what I learned? A woman co-invented the first home security system in 1966.  Marie Van Brittan Brown We know little about the private life of African-American Marie Van Brittan Brown. She was born October 30, 1922 in Jamaica, Queens, New York. She became a nurse and married Albert Brown, an electrician. They had a son and a daughter. They lived in the same neighborhood where she was born. As a nurse and an electrician, they worked irregular hours. The high crime rate in their neighborhood worried her. It worried her more since it took the police a long time to respond. The Alarmed Peep Hole Brown and her husband invented the first form of home security system. They used a radio-controlled wireless system. A camera slid up and down three peep-holes in the door. The three peep holes were at child height, average adult height, and tall. The […]

Outtake from Fellowship & A Lesson

I’m deep in the last minute edits for Fellowship before I send it to the proofreader. Writing a book in the same world as My Soul to Keep that is not a sequel, has been interesting. So this week, I want to share an outtake from Fellowship and a lesson learned about writing before research. I am both a planner and a pantser. By that I mean, I write the story with a general outline. Since the outline isn’t very detailed I often go “off on a tangent.” I let the characters take me places that often end up on the cutting room floor as this excerpt did after I learned an important lesson. Before Research Ian opened and closed his fists over and over. It was weird. He’d never been afraid of hiking through the mountains before. It’s not right. Not fair. The Blue Ridge Mountains are my mountains. It was where Pop had taught him to hunt and fish and think. Pop was wrong about the Fellowship though. He thought it just needed some improvements. Pop used to talk about a time when he was young when he could walk where ever he wanted, even the streets of […]

The Beekeeper’s Fear

Written for middle-grade readers, my first book, The Mystery of Apple Crest, takes place on an Apple Orchard. A young girl and her family have moved into her grandfather’s home and learn to manage an Apple Orchard. In the course of writing this book, I learned an important lesson when a beekeeper’s fear stopped me in my tracks. I wrote this book mumble-mumble years ago. It is a sweet story, not well written, but in my defense, it was my first. Diligent, as always, I researched a lot of stuff. I’d been to orchards too many times to count, I’d even stayed a few nights in my aunt and uncle’s home with its orchard (see More than a Game). But I’d never lived on an orchard. So I visited a local orchard, toured the place, and asked lots of dumb questions. Bees and Apple Orchards During the course of the tour, I discovered that this orchard also had rows of beehives. It’s obvious once you think about it, apple trees have blossoms that must be pollinated. Bees are pollinators. In fact, apple orchards depend on honey bees to pollinate the trees. For best results, they need approximately 20-25 bees per […]