Summer bounty

I love the fresh veggies from my garden but, at this time of the year, I begin to feel overwhelmed. Everything is bearing and I am awash in produce from cucumbers to turnips to tomatoes.



I am busy freezing green beans and zucchini and making tomato sauce. This year I am trying something different: sundried tomatoes. I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend and dried about 8 pounds of tomatoes. I am storing them in olive oil. I now understand why the sundried tomatoes I buy in the store are so expensive. It take a lot of tomatoes to fill a jar.

dried tomatoes

Book cover and Salem

I can’t praise the graphics department of Minotaur (st. Martin’s) enough. Every cover has been outstanding. I love the new one, for Death in Salem, partly because it is so accurate to the look of Salem’s waterfront.  Take a look. Here is my picture, taken in May of this year.



and here is the book cover for Death in Salem.

death in salem

See what I mean?





My new Will Rees mystery will be coming out next spring. This time, he travels to Salem, Mass and, of course, is embroiled in a mystery.

I went to Salem to research the area.

I mixed real people and characters of my own invention but tried to keep the facts of the sailing industry accurate.

This is a photo of the custom house, but a few years later. During the 17902, the location switched among several buildings.

custom house

This is the India store. I based the store run by my widow on this store.

india store


and this is a museum representation of a counting house. Again, I based my description on this.

counting house

I’m sure I will get questions on the tunnels underneath Salem. Although I read about them, I did not see any. I guess it’s time for another road trip!

Hunting dog instincts

Shelby is too smart for her own good. Although the yard is fenced, she spends all her time looking for a way out. When she succeeds, she does the hunting dog thing and, as we euphemistically term it, she rolls. Rolls in crap that is. That way, her prey cannot smell her coming.

However, we can’t allow her in the house without a bath.

bath one






Boy, does she hate it.


Garden exploding

I can barely keep up with the garden produce. The zucchini has taken over, the basil is huge. Even I may get tired of pesto.









And the beans!



beans two

Do you see the twine? These are supposed to be bush beans but some of the seeds didn’t get the message. They are twining up the cucumbers and squash and have taken down some of the poles. Hence, my little fix – twine tied to the fence. I will be freezing them this year.

A groundhog moved into the abandoned burrow and has eaten all my mums. But Shelby is on patrol and the hog hasn’t made it to the garden.

shelby on guard




Salem and The Scarlet Letter


After my research journey to Salem this spring, I decided to reread both The Scarlet Letter and the House of Seven Gables. I read both but a long time ago – because they were on reading lists. Let me tell you, I missed a lot in The Scarlet Letter as a fourteen year old reader. I don’t know yet what I missed in The House Of Seven Gables – I haven’t read it yet. but I’ll be willing to bet I missed most of the important points.








It was clearly owned by a wealthy family.


There really is a house of the seven gables. Who knew?




This is one of the ceilings. and there was an attic for the servants and slaves to sleep in.

Puritanism and the witch trials are clearly part of the history – and not just the tourist parts either. We stopped at the Old Burying Point.







There were a lot of small gravestones for little children. Some families lost five and six kids. Heartbreaking. But one of the most poignant were the large memorials to the people executed during the witch trials. Since they had been found guilty of witchcraft the victims could not be buried in consecrated ground. It is thought the families slipped out at night and found the bodies and gave them a decent burial. But no one knows for sure. And the graves of course cannot be located.







Each memorial is inscribed with the name and date of execution of one of the nineteen victims. Sobering.

I read The scarlet Letter with an entirely different perspective.

Here’s a fun fact about Hawthorne. He did not want to be associated with the Judge who sent the accused to the gallows ( a direct ancestor) so he added a w to his name.

My garden = Rainforest



It is amazing how well a garden grows without critters. Shelby is doing a good job of keeping everything at bay.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Shelby in pursuit





My tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and beans are taking over.








But this is what they look like harvested.

cukes and zucchini







And I am going to have tons of tomatoes. This is ONE plant.