Goodreads Giveaway

Last call for the giveaway of my second book, “Death of a Dyer




The giveaway ends Sunday night. In “Death of a Dyer”, Rees goes home to Dugard. He is trying to mend fences with David, his son. Lydia has accompanied him as well, as a housekeeper. Both have baggage from previous relationships and are hesitant to begin again.

Rees is home for only a short while when he is asked to look into the death of Nate Bowditch, Rees’s boyhood friend. A weaver like Rees, Nate has become a dyer. This is a time before the coal tar dyes. Besides indigo and cochineal, most of the dyes used in Dugard would have been natural dyes: some madder, black walnut, butternut and so on. And both indigo and cochineal were very expensive.

I had a lot of fun with this book since I got to include tons of stuff about dyeing and weaving.

Devil’s Cold Dish

I am happy and so excited to announce that I have received the cover for the new Will Rees mystery – A Devil’s Cold Dish. The graphics arts department at Minotaur is so good. In my opinion, they have scored with every single cover.

devils cold dish








Will and Lydia Rees return to Dugard after their adventures in Salem and find themselves in new trouble. Not only is Will accused of murder but Lydia finds her own life in danger.

Coming June, 2016

Random thoughts on the Scandinavia trip

Just a few things I found interesting. I have already commented on how cold it was. The tour guides in every country mentioned a late and cool spring. That probably explains why we saw flocks and flocks and flocks of sheep. And why everyone was wearing a thick sweater.

Other notes about fashion.

Stripes are definitely in. I saw stripes on everything so I guess, without noticing it myself, stripes became the new orange.

The other thing is nail polish. When I saw a woman with polished nails she was almost always American. This does not seem to be a fashion in the Scandinavian countries. I didn’t really see nail salons or colored nails until I reached London. Not that important maybe, but interesting.

We also did not hit hot weather until London. The last time I was in the British Isles, it was cool and rainy even in London. Not this time. Not only was it hot, but the grass was brown and dry. We took a walk in Green Park and it was not that green. Everyone’s climates is undergoing some kind of change.

I also like to try the food of the region. Not a fan of herring. (At least guinea pigs were not on the menus – as they are in Peru) But I had the best cheese ever in Denmark and Norway and some really tasty bread.

One last thing. My Goodreads Giveaway for Death of a Dyer (learned a lot about the dye trade in Peru) lasts until August 23. So far 350+. Be sure and add yourself to the giveaway before it ends.



Kirkwall, Scotland

Our final stop, before sailing to London and flying out to home, was Kirkwall. It is in the Orkneys. We were told that the Orkneys do not want to separate from Great Britain but remain. That, of course, is not the common view in Scotland. The National Party just had a vote to leave and enter the EU as a separate country. The vote failed but who knows what will happen next time?

Anyway, ruins here make even the Iron Age farm seem relatively recent. There are standing stones, similar to Stonehenge.

standing stones

Like Stonehenge, they line up to the solar equinox. There are a lot of speculations about the purpose of the stones but no one really knows.

We also saw ruins that date to 3000 BC. (Is the US a young country or what?) Trash was used in the walls to insulate inside. Plus, just like the ruins in Crete, there were indoor toilets. What happened that this little luxury went extinct and had to be reinvented in modern times?

neolithic ruins


neo ruins two

It is thought that the sea was further away then; again no one is sure. But the water is coming in now and threatening the excavation. The people who lived here ate fish and other things from the sea. No one is sure what happened to these people although there is another settlement nearby and one of the theories is that they moved.

The land upon which these ruins were found has belonged to the same family for generations. Incredible.

It was very cold and windy. We did not hit warm weather until we reached London. And, as with the other places we visited, there were a lot of sheep.



orkney library two

For all my fellow librarians, here is the Orkney Library. I was told this is the oldest Carnegie in the world. Something that amazed me. I thought all the Carnegies were in the U. S. The Orkney Library looks like it has been added to several times.

orkney library

Next time: some random thoughts.


Iceland is a beautiful country. Very dramatic with steep mountains, volcanoes and lakes and streams with waterfalls.


Iceland is a geothermal country and is growing – slowly. Volcanoes are a big part of the landscape. We saw the volcano that erupted in 2010 (I can neither pronounce or spell the name) and stopped air traffic over Europe. The lava formations do indeed look like trolls, which are huge in the mythology. Our tour guide read us a troll fairy tale. (Another one sang America the Beautiful with us, since it was July 4th. A wonderful and very special memory.)


The scale of the image does not show how enormous this outcropping is.







Because of the this activity, all the energy is geothermal. And signs of the geothermal activity are everywhere. Incelanders heat their homes with geothermal energy – we toured a power plant.










This geyser is at Geysir – yes, folks, geyser is an Icelandic name. Another feature is the boiling water and mud that one can see everywhere






Iceland was very green, with snow on the higher peaks. But it is too cold to grow many things so most of the produce – that is not imported – is grown in greenhouses. Here, even a degree or two can make a huge difference. Iceland is trying to establish plants so they have imported various trees and Alaskan lupines.

We bought more sweaters.

One interesting feature: the livestock. Almost feral horses that are thickly covered with hair. Cattle that are a very old breed (Iceland has strict laws on importing livestock since they want to keep their breeds pure). The cattle look very different from our modern cows. They are horned with long pointed horns, for one thing, and instead of a barrel shape their bodies hang from their prominent hips as though the flesh was on a coat hanger.

And there are more sheep than people: sheep everywhere.

I loved Iceland but I don’t think I could take the cold climate. And, in the north, we had almost 24 hours of day. I cannot imagine coping with 24 hours of night.