Seattle International Film Festival

Catherine’s Cross was chosen as an awarded screenplay at the upcoming Seattle International Film Festival to be held May 18 through June 11, 2017. I am thrilled with this opportunity and I will be attending the festival! Please check out this press release in Variety:  http://variety.com/2017/film/festivals/seattle-film-festival-announces-catalyst-screenplay-prizes-1202422157/

Many thanks to Beaufort County, SC, Sheriff P.J. Tanner!

I was recently honored to have my novel, Catherine’s Cross, chosen as the kick-off book for the Beaufort, SC, Library’s “Books Sandwiched In.” Sheriff Tanner, who assisted me with the authenticity of my hero, Detective Seth Mason, presented the novel to friends of the library. I was thrilled when he referred to Seth as his deputy. I can’ t thank him enough. He did an excellent job of discussing my novel.

Again, I’d like to thank Master Sergeant Robert Arbelo, Chief Deputy Mike Hatfield, and Sheriff Tanner for their assistance, courtesy, and professionalism in bringing accuracy into Catherine’s Cross!

Where do ideas come from?

My novels, The Cast Net and Catherine’s Cross are set in the Low Country of South Carolina. As I was working on The Cast Net, which was my first novel, I read at least twenty-five books on the history of South Carolina. I tried to gain as much knowledge about the area, the people, and the history of our culture and customs. I am a native South Carolinian and many of my ideas come from historical research.

While reading about the Low Country, I came across interesting facts that I used in my novels. For instance, I have a fictitious point of land on one of the rivers near Beaufort, South Carolina, in Catherine’s Cross. I named the point, Nairne Point after Indian agent, Thomas Nairne, who was tortured to death by Yemassee Indians in 1715, during an Indian uprising. The point becomes ominous when a character’s, (he betrayed his Gullah family over their ancestral land) sapphire blue Cadillac is found submerged after a fisherman catches the hood ornament with a fish hook. His body was never recovered, and a relative, Meta Jane, hoped he had a visit with a shark.

From researching the Civil War period, I created the fictitious Catherine’s Cross. The crucifix was stolen from Miss Iris Elliott, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the Beaufort area by Union soldiers. In truth, the Federal navy captured the Beaufort, Hilton Head, and Port Royal communities in late 1861. Their naval base would remain in the Beaufort area throughout the Civil War. During this period, properties were looted including wealthy plantations homes. The white planters fled the area.

Catherine’s Cross was from the collection of Catherine the Great. Iris Elliott’s father had purchased it while on a tour of Europe in the 1850’s. The cross was stolen from the Elliott plantation and stowed on a Union ship bound for a northern destination. A fire breaks out on board, and the boat sinks in waters off the South Carolina coast. The cross becomes a long lost prize sought after by treasure hunting divers.

Diving for artifacts in the waterways around Beaufort is a hobby of sport divers. In the years after Beaufort’s founding in 1711, there were numerous taverns located along the rivers. After beer or wine was consumed, the bottles often ended up at the bottom of the rivers. I have seen these ancient bottles for sale in Low Country antique stores. At the beginning of Catherine’s Cross, the heroine, Jenks’s twin sister Gigi, accidentally drowns while diving for artifacts with her

Debut of Catherine’s Cross

Hi all! My second novel, Catherine’s Cross, will debut in May of 2013-just a couple of months away! Like my first novel, The Cast Net, Catherine’s Cross, is a mystery / suspense novel with a love story.

Here’s a short description: When Jenks Ellington experiences a sudden, alarming sense of panic about her identical twin sister Gigi, she has to wait until nearly midnight before learning the reason her her unease: Gigi has drowned while diving for artifacts in a Low Country river near Beaufort, South Carolina. Although Beaufort County detective Seth Mason is suspicious of Gigi’s diving partner, there is no evidence of foul play. But, when Gigi’s Port Royal home is broken into and ransacked, Jenks discovers two clues–one on which leads to a Gullah medium.

In a painstaking search for answers, Jenks delves more deeply into her twin’s life. Along the way, her bond with Detective Mason reaches unexpected depths. And what secrets could medium Meta Jane be holding? Was Gigi’s death really an accident?

Preorder Catherine’s Cross at: http://shop.boutiqueofqualitybooks.com/Catherines-Cross-9781937084912.htm

 

Chan Chich Adventure

I recently had a fantastic adventure in Belize while doing research for my upcoming novel, Catherine’s Cross, which will be released in May, 2013. My daughter, Whitney, and I flew from Belize City in a Cessna 172 piloted by Alisa, with Javier Flying Service. We landed at Gallon Jug, named by British mahogany loggers in the nineteenth century after they found gallon jugs left by Spanish explorers centuries before.

We spent the next several days exploring the wonder that is Chan Chich. Built on the plaza of a Maya ruin, Chan Chich is a jungle resort with cabanas, a lodge, fabulous cuisine, nine miles of walking trails, and bird and animal watching. There are several species of large cats on this estate, including the puma and the jaguar.   .

My daughter and I spent many hours with guides, Gilberto and Marvin as we explored the ancient settlement. We saw some Maya sites excavated by archaeologists,  but others that had been looted several decades ago by thieves. We also learned about the medicinal qualities of native plants, and watched many species of birds. I was amazed by the call of the howler monkey whose growls and howls can be heard for miles. One of the visitors to the lodge spotted a jaguar on a trail, and a motion sensitive camera caught the image of the elusive creature for all of us to see!

In my upcoming novel, Catherine’s Cross, part of the action takes place in the jungles near Chan Chich which is in the Orange Walk District of Belize. I feel excited about my presentation of the area in my novel, and I hope you will want to read about this historically rich and natural area of Belize. Many thanks to Elder, Irma and his staff for helping with my research. We had an amazingly wonderful time!