September 16, 2018

My Hometown, Shamokin, Pennsylvania with J. L. Lindermuth

We haven't raised a monument in his honor, but a horse thief played a pivotal role in the history of my hometown, Shamokin, Pennsylvania.

I haven't used him (yet) in my fiction, though I did outline the story of Jesse Major in Digging Dusky Diamonds, my non-fiction book about the lives of miners and their families in this area of Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region.

Jesse had a reputation as a horse thief, burglar and counterfeiter. His arch enemy was Walter Brady, county sheriff, who relentlessly tracked him down and put him behind bars more than once. Sheriff Brady indulged in a bit of land speculation and, eventually, this got him into financial difficulties. His property was seized by the court and put up for auction.

Major, who had just been released from another of his frequent visits to the county lockup, saw an opportunity for revenge. On Aug. 19, 1824 he bid $12 and won possession of the tract of land where Shamokin would be seated. Of course, Jesse didn't develop the property. He sold it to John C. Boyd, a man who loved speculation, for $230 and a horse valued at $50. Jesse Major mounted the horse and rode off into legend.

The rest is history.

Boyd, who was already wealthy from a grist mill, vast land holdings and shrewd investments in the enterprises of others, developed the mining industry which led to the founding of the town. In a newspaper advertisement in June 1838, an unidentified promoter enthused the town, " in the midst of one of the finest fields of Anthracite coal in the Union" and "...that its location is good in regard to the procuring of the necessaries of life--that it is healthy--the water pure, and that there is abundant space to build."

He wasn't exaggerating about the coal. It made a number of families extremely wealthy and provided employment for numerous others for many years. The health cost to workers and the purity of local streams was another issue--though these weren't immediately recognized.

Change is inevitable. When I came home after more than 20 years elsewhere coal no longer provided economic security for the region and community leaders struggled to find a replacement for the industry. That struggle continues and lack of opportunity results in the exodus of the best and brightest of our young people.

Still, I didn't come home for employment. I enjoy familiar surroundings, closeness of family and friends, my work as librarian of the county historical society. There are three universities within a short drive, with all the amenities they have to offer. There's abundance of ethnic foods. And, in the rich history of the area, there is plenty of grist for my writing.

Though my most recent book is another western (Blake's Rule), much of my fiction has been influenced by the history of my homeplace. For example, The Bartered Body is set in a fictional coal region town. 

Here's a blurb:
Why would thieves steal the body of a dead woman?
That’s the most challenging question yet to be faced by Sylvester Tilghman, the third of his family to serve as sheriff of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, in the waning days of the 19th century.
And it’s not just any body but that of Mrs. Arbuckle, Nathan Zimmerman’s late mother-in-law. Zimmerman is burgess of Arahpot and Tilghman’s boss, which puts more than a little pressure on the sheriff to solve the crime in a hurry.
Syl’s investigation is complicated by the arrival in town of a former flame who threatens his relationship with his sweetheart Lydia Longlow; clashes with his old enemy, former burgess McLean Ruppenthal; a string of armed robberies, and a record snowstorm that shuts down train traffic, cuts off telegraph service and freezes cattle in the fields.
It will take all of Syl’s skills and the help of his deputy and friends to untangle the various threads and bring the criminals to justice.

September 9, 2018

Oregon’s Beauty in Writing, Views and History-See What These Talents See

Jane Kirkpatrick:  Come Visit the World in Oregon
Have you ever been to Rome...Oregon? People from around the world converge on this tiny town because float trips on the Owyhee River begin at Rome. To take that trip is to step back in time as the river meanders through rock pillars that look as much like Utah or Yellowstone as eastern Oregon. 

I’m intrigued by Oregon’s many towns named for places better known somewhere else. As I write historical novels based on the lives of actual women and men, it interested me that so many Eastern/Anglo names of towns speckle Oregon’s landscape while our northern

neighbor, Washington, hosts dozens more mountains, cities, creeks etc. that bear native names. In researching frontier diseases, I learned that the malaria mosquito that arrived on the Columbia River on “Boston ships” of the 1870s, never crossed the Columbia into Washington. Instead, the mosquitos afflicted the vulnerable tribes of Oregon. My theory is that when settlers arrived in the 1840s, there were few Indians left to say what that river or mountain was called. So white settlers named the places from their traditions, reminders of “back home.”

One of the rivers that does bear an Indian name is the Coos River on the southern coast. I invite you to Charleston — Oregon. Near-by is beautiful Shore Acres State Park overlooking the Pacific. My book A Gathering of Finches tells the story of the woman who inspired the creation of that park. You can stay in a B & B in Charleston on your way to enchantment visiting the five acres of formal garden that Cassie Simpson’s husband created for her.

How could I not talk about Portland — Oregon? Years ago, when I worked with families whose children had disabilities, a story was told of a Portlander visiting a classroom of Downs Syndrome children in Sweden. “Are you from the Portland on the east coast or the Portland on the west coast?” asked this preschooler shattering the then held view that Downs Syndrome children could not learn. Those Swedish kids knew of two Portlands and where they were in the United States. Oregon’s Portland is at the confluence of the Willamette and the mighty Columbia Rivers. In my latest novel Everything She Didn’t Say, Portland plays a part. But so do cities and rivers across the west as the subject of this book — Carrie Strahorn — traveled for twenty-five years with her husband developing railroad opportunities and actually building cities in the west. Portland was an important hub for railroad development and Carrie in her 1911 memoir Fifteen Thousand Miles By Stage wrote of that city and rivers that flow through Oregon’s history and our very contemporary lives. (sign up for a chance to win one of two copies of that book out in September at my site.) 

Leave a comment here to win a copy of this new release!  Jane offers this great prize to 2 lucky winners! 

Please come to Oregon and visit Dallas and St. Louis and Jacksonville and oh, so many more cities whose history comes from the east but lives on in the west — and most of those places have a creek or a river that runs through them and are lovely to sit beside.
Jane is internationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire.
A New York Times Bestselling author, her works have appeared in more than 50 national publications including The Oregonian, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts. With more than 1.5 million books in print, her 30 novels and non-fiction titles draw readers from all ages and genders. Most are historical novels based on the lives of actual historical women often about ordinary women who lived extraordinary lives. Her works have won numerous national awards including the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award,, Will Roger's Medallion Award and in 1996, her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage and National Cowboy Museum. Her novels have also been finalists for the Spur Award, the Oregon Book Award, the Christy, Reader's Choice and the WILLA in both fiction and non-fiction. Several titles have been Literary Guild and Book of the Month choices and been on the bestsellers list for independent bookstores across the country, in the Pacific Northwest and the Christian Booksellers Association. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Finnish and Chinese.

Helen Picca: Oregon- an Incredibly Diverse State
Diverse geologically and climatically.  It is a rather large state, ranking 9th overall in land size, but much further down the scale in terms of population.  We rank 27th in population, but 40th in population density—that’s 39.9 people per square mile!

Along the I5 Corridor, a major west coast interstate, lie the big cities:  Portland, an eco-friendly city and home to the Portland Trailblazers, the Japanese Gardens and the International Rose Test Garden, containing over 10,000 roses; Salem, the capital city set amid parks and gardens, featuring the Ale and Cider Trail; and Eugene, a college town, known as “A great city for the arts and outdoors.” 

East of that major artery are the Cascades, a mountain range of extraordinary peaks extending from Mt Shasta in northern California all the way to British Columbia, Canada, with 11 peaks over 8,000 ft in Oregon. 

 Within that range lies Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the USA, and perhaps the most pristine.  Almost 2000 ft. deep, this bluer-than-blue lake within the crater was formed when Mt. Mazama blew its top and it is the only National Park within the state. 

Further east of the mountains, lies dry, flat plains that are desert, and high desert filled with manzanitta bushes and majestic Ponderosa pines, and not very many people.  There are mostly small towns, remnants of frontier outposts that supported cattle ranchers, many ranches still active today.  

But on the west side of the Cascades is a whole other environment—the lush valley, where much of the state’s agriculture is grown and on out to the very edge of the continent, to the Oregon Coast.  Otherwise known as “The People’s Coast,” where the beaches are designated as public land.  

The coastline is dotted with fishing and resort communities from Seaside in the north to Harbor in the south, all 363 miles of rugged coastline, where monolithic rocks—called sea stacks—can be spotted all along the ride on U.S. Highway 101, the scenic coastal road. This scenic byway is one of the most famous in the United States and is a tourist attraction in itself.  For more information see the brochure at  

Yes, it rains a lot seven to eight months a year, but the rest of the year is gloriously sunny and, with a fairly constant ocean wind, is mildly temperate—80 degrees would be considered a heat wave!

The southern coast of Oregon, Curry County, is where I call home and where I was inspired to write.  Several years ago, I was sitting on a bench in the town of Port Orford, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, taking in the scene before me: a working fishing dock, majestic rock heads to my right and to my left nothing but trees, green evergreen forests as far as my eye could see, near to the California border.

There were no houses, no golden arches, no big box stores.  Just nature—the sea, the forest, the mountains of the coastal range.  I was transfixed by its raw beauty when I was struck with an idea, loud in my head, “write a book about Port Orford.”  That was the start of my writing career. 

 In “The Last Frontier of the Fading West,” a work of historical fiction, I tried to capture the sense of this small fishing community, where everyone knows each other.  With a population of 1190 in 1.56 square miles, small may be an understatement.  I started by researching the town and the county and discovered a little-known fact that this town was the place where survivors were brought when an oil tanker was sunk by a Japanese submarine during WWII.  I knew that was where my story would begin…

“I remember it like it was yesterday—the chaos, the fear, the uncertainty. . .the first time I saw him.   The immediate attraction, that queasy, sort of stomach-turning sensation that set me all aflutter.  I was young—so young—na├»ve, isolated in a small world of safety and comfort too soon shattered by a phone call.”

One of the things I truly love about living here on the southern Oregon coast are the hiking trails.  Nowhere else that I have found can one hike all alone, not see another human being, and find patches of wild berries to gorge upon, like Thimbleberries 
or Huckleberries
  With enchanted forests, misty fern grottoes and breathtaking ocean views, one can escape to serenity, where the imagination can run free.  For more information go to: 

It was in this environment, so pristine and bucolic—where I can ride down the highway and see fields of cows and sheep, pass countless blueberry and cranberry farms (and very few cars)—that I was able to forge my path to happiness.  Here, I was inspired to write my story, of my life getting on and running on the hamster wheel and going nowhere. Then, getting off, searching for greater meaning in life, to finding peace and contentment. In other words, happiness. From New York to Hawaii to Oregon, the first part of this book is memoir, recounting a life not fully lived; the second part contains 10 aspects of life I worked on, the 10 Easy Steps, that led me to the ultimate goal of happiness.

When was the last time you asked yourself, “Am I happy?” Do you feel like you are running on a hamster wheel and going nowhere? This practical 10-Step guide offers a way to jump off the wheel, slow down and experience a more fulfilling life. 

Brimming with wry humor and insightful anecdotes, here is Picca’s personal odyssey--a search for greater life satisfaction. Within these pages lies a proven path to a state of peacefulness and genuine contentment. You, too, can abandon the futile hamster wheel, add meaning to your life, and find lasting happiness. Are you ready to be happy?

For more information about the great state of Oregon, go to  to find places to go and things to do. 
For more about me and my books go to: where my books are available in both paperback and kindle versions. 

Please comment below, letting me know if you’ve ever been to Oregon and do tell me where you live.  One lucky reader will receive a signed copy of “The Last Frontier of the Fading West.”  (Sorry, US only)

H.L. Wegley Brings Oregon-Land of the Golden West:
My wife and I were both raised in the same community in Oregon. In our day, every school kid learned the Oregon state song, Oregon, My Oregon. The first line ends with the words, “land of the golden west.” But the second verse calls Oregon, “land of the setting sun,” for good reason.
The Oregon Coast boasts some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. Despite the muddy picture that mid-winter on the Oregon coast conjures up, it’s a great time for sunshine, between rainstorms of course. Here’s what the January sun can produce at Lincoln City.

The Cascade Mountains, separating Eastern and Western Oregon, are lined with spectacular volcanic peaks. Mount Hood is the most prominent.

Further south, outside the tourist town of Sisters, are three sibling peaks known as, what else, the Three Sisters.  In the clear air of Eastern Oregon, the sisters are visible from 50 to 60 miles away. The picture of the Three Sisters was taken from Paulina Peak, near Lake Paulina, 60 miles from the farthest sister.

The Deschutes River flows northward along the eastern slopes of the Cascades. This river provides the best steelhead fishing in the world and hosts its own brand of cascades, such as Steelhead Falls.

Sometime soon, I’m going to set a scene at the falls. It looks like a great place to get shot at … well, if they don’t hit you.

North of Bend Oregon, near the small town of Terrebonne, the deep canyon of the Crooked River cuts through the desert for 125 miles. This miniature Grand Canyon provided the setting for part of the classic 1967 western movie, The Way West, in which Sally Field made her movie debut. The view from the canyon rim is stunning, but sometimes a bit hazy during the summer when wildfires sometimes create a smoky haze.

On a plateau along the Crooked River, avid golfers will find one of the best kept golfing secrets in the United States, an incredibly beautiful course with magnificent vistas. Irrigation makes the Crooked River Ranch Golf Course, which lines the canyon, an oasis in the desert.

Brave golfers can try to drive across part of the canyon to shave a stroke or two off their score. If a golfer comes up short, regrets are as deep as the canyon (400 - 500 feet). Just drop another ball and take your penalty strokes. You aren’t gonna’ find your dimpled darling. It’s gone!
My latest novel, No True Justice, uses Lake Billy Chinook, near Madras, Oregon for several action-filled scenes. The lake, formed by Round Butte Dam at the confluence of the Deschutes, Crooked, and Metolius Rivers, meanders through canyons, some lined by 500- to 800-foot-high cliffs. It’s a bad place to be caught when a helicopter approaches with a black ops team using RPGs to take you out. Oops. That was a bit of a spoiler. Or maybe a teaser. Regardless, Lake Billy Chinook provides some panoramic views of Mount Jefferson.

The main verse of the Oregon State Song ends with, “Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.” I would have to add “land of heroines,” because some of the finest hours of any heroine in print are lived in my four novels set in this great state. Of course, I’m not a bit biased.

If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered into a giveaway for my recent release, No True Justice. It is set in Oregon near 5 of the 7 pictures in this post. This romantic suspense tells the story of Gemma Saint, a young woman coerced into WITSEC to silence her as part of a conspiracy to influence a presidential election. You can read more about this story, including 4 chapters, here: or you can visit my author page: and look under the Books tab for the Witness Protection Series.

September 2, 2018

Sabrina Fish Shares “Ooooooo-klahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the range…”

Admit it, you sang the above iconic line in your head as you read. And now the song, even if you don’t remember the words to the entire thing, is stuck in your head. (Sorry, not sorry!)
This song from the musical, Oklahoma!, the fact that this region was once a place where Native Americans were forcibly relocated, and Oklahoma Sooner’s Football, are usually the only things most out-of-staters know about this land locked state in the center of the United States. But there really is SO much more to enjoy here.

Interstates 40 and 35 cross in the state capitol, Oklahoma City, and create a cross-road of sorts that means many people pass through on their way from one coast to the other, or from Texas to the Canadian border. If you find this is the case for you, I’d encourage you to stop and take time to check out a few Oklahoma must-sees like:

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum- Commemorating the bombing of the Federal Building in 1995, this memorial is an awe-inspiring tribute to “those who lost their lives, those who survived, and those whose lives will be forever changed” by the events of that fateful day.

Chickasaw Cultural Center- To visit Oklahoma and not experience Native American Culture is to visit the coast and not experience the beach life, it simply shouldn’t be done. And while the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum in Oklahoma City is under construction until 2021, there are other great places to experience Native American Culture. One of those, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, is near Sulphur, Oklahoma. If you have time, I’d definitely encourage you to check out their calendar of events and plan to attend something happening during your visit.

Riversports OKC- Oklahoma gets HOT in the summer, so if you find yourself there for an extra day between flights, or passing through in your car, make time to enjoy some river sport fun in the heart of OKC, like river rafting, kayaking, or waterslide fun!

Martin Nature Park- In OKC for a convention or work, and have a free evening? Why not escape the urban hustle at a nearby nature park. You can enjoy an easy hike, the nature center, and learn about local flora and fauna.

Turner Falls- Drive south on I-35 from OKC about an hour and a half for a beautiful outdoor experience at Turner Falls with hiking trails, a 77 ft. tall waterfall, caves to explore, campgrounds, cabins, great food, and so much more in the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains.

Vast- Food is always a top priority when visiting another city, and OKC doesn’t disappoint. For those wanting a nice dinner with excellent food while visiting downtown OKC, visit Vast at the top of Devon Tower. 

Pops 66- For a unique, family-friendly, experience, head northeast of OKC to the Rt. 66 Arcadia area, where Pops has an All-American cuisine and 700 kinds of soda. Don’t forget to snap a few pics in front of the giant soda sculpture out front.

Eichen’s Bar- Located just northeast of OKC in Okarche, Eichen’s is the oldest bar in Oklahoma and was first opened before statehood or prohibition. It’s known for its simple menu and famous fried chicken. It’s definitely a must see when you visit Oklahoma. They don’t take credit card, but there is an ATM on the premises.

I could keep going, but that post would be too long for a simple blog post. As you can see from what I have posted, Oklahoma is a fascinating place and I hope you’ll stop a minute the next time you pass through. You won’t be sorry.

Sabrina A. Fish is the Award-Winning Author of the Fantasy Romance series, The Gate Keeper
Chronicles, and three YA Fantasy novellas in the multi-author Shine series created by New York Times best-selling author, William Bernhardt. She proudly holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma. BOOMER SOONER.

Born and raised, mostly, in Oklahoma(ask her sometime about the three years she spent lost in a rabbit hole that looked a lot like Texas), she currently lives in Oklahoma City with her husband, son, and two cats, where she owns a trophy company and collects names for her novels from lists of award’s recipients. She loves all things chocolate and her husband is sweet enough to never let the candy dish near her computer become empty. When she isn't writing & promoting her novels or running her company, she can be found reading, scrapbooking, or spending quality time with her family.
To find out more about Sabrina and her books, visit her website


Sabrina’s fantasy romance novel, Diomere’s Exile, is the
2017 National Readers’ Choice Award WINNER

For the Paranormal category

Five Gates. Five Sisters. Five Very Different Men.

Once there were two worlds connected by five magical gates. Then the Gate Keepers closed the gates and disappeared. The Gate Keepers have returned.

Nadia de Quinones was exiled when her nephew, the crown-prince was abducted on her watch. She’ll let nothing stand in the way of her redemption, not even discovering her heartbonded and a connection to an ancient magical gate.

Lord Gregor Cyrene is sworn to protect his country's royal heirs. After the youngest prince’s life is threatened, Gregor sets out to discover who is responsible and suspects the answer lies with Nadia. When fate forces their competing goals to align, neither are prepared for the irresistible attraction between them. 

Can they see beyond their pasts and a millennia old hate between their people? Or will they continue to distrust, allowing those plotting against them to win?

Book Buy Links:

I’m giving away a FREE e-book copy of my award-winning fantasy romance novel, Diomere’s Exile, and a Diomere’s Exile Mystery Gift(US Only).

Follow me on Amazon HERE, then come back and COMMENT below with the name you used to follow me on Amazon and your favorite mythical creature.
(All info provided and released by author)

August 26, 2018

Ohio ReBoot: Author and Reviewer, Wendi Zwaduk

My name is Wendi Zwaduk and I am a lifelong resident of Ohio. Kinda like the John Mellencamp song, “Small Town” (even though it’s written about another state) fits me well. I was born in a small town and I live in a small town. I’ve often told people there’s not a whole lot in Ohio save for corn and soy bean fields. I’m stretching the truth a little. There is actually a lot in Ohio.

I grew up in a small house on a plain avenue in Ohio. I had friends, lots of room to run, and my imagination to keep me company. I’d like to think it was all the time spent sitting in Mom’s Lilac bushes, creating scenarios for my Barbie dolls that helped to cultivate my love of storytelling. I wanted them all to have happily-ever-afters. Who wouldn’t? I didn’t start writing until after college, but I’m glad I started putting my stories onto the computer screen. It’s been a fun release and a great way to meet people who also love to tell stories. Check out my novel, “Right Where I Need to Be”. It’s set in Ohio farmland. Also a one of my favorite stories. I work for the Long and Short Reviews and love being there. Check them out, too.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about Ohio!!One of my all time favorite places to go in Ohio has got to be in Cleveland. You got it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. I love going there and seeing the clothes that belonged to John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, original lyrics written by the Beach Boys...It’s a blast.
Want something a little more spooky? I got some great resources from this location. The Mansfield Reformatory. Never heard of it? You’ve probably seen it. Have you seen “The Shawshank Redemption” with Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins? Then you’ve seen Mancy. It’s a prison that’s over a hundred years old. There are ghost tours, ghosts, and lots of history there. If you dare to go after dark. You can see where they shot parts of the movie and even the tunnel where Tim Robbins escaped. Think it looks more like Dracula’s castle? You wouldn’t be far off. Come check it out.
Spooky not your thing? That’s fine. We have the Wright Patterson Air Force base down in Dayton. While you’re there, you can check out the National Air Force Museum. I love looking at the gigantic planes and wondering how they get those things into the air.
And then if you’d like to slow down a little, there’s the Ohio Wine Country. It’s not really one particular place, but Ohio is known for its ice wine. Great on ice cream. Hang out in the Northeastern corner of Ohio, in the Lake and Ashtabula county regions and you can take guided tours. It’s a lot of fun.

I’m sure there are plenty more places in Ohio for you to check out. We’ve got Cedar Point and the sky-high roller coasters, The Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati zoos. We have the Mid-Ohio Indy course. There’s lots to do in Ohio. And for more about me and my work, plus I’ve got a full page on my site devoted to FREE reads, visit my website 
I also run a blog There you’ll find Flirty Fridays and great book trailers for my novels plus links to sites I love and events where you’ll find me.