Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Book, "How Did They Die? Murders in Northern Texas 1926-1975" is finally finished!

     Another two years has gone by very fast. It took me two years to write my first book, "How Did They Die? Murders in Northern Texas 1892-1926," and a week later I started my second book. I finished the second book last week and it is available for sale here How Did They Die? Murders in Northern Texas 1926-1975

     This book has 40 stories of horrific murders and it is more gory than the first book. Many of the suspects were electrocuted for their crimes. Most of these stories occurred in and around Wichita Falls, TX and were stories that people had asked me to write.

     For two years, I poured over court records, confessions, police reports and newspaper articles, having stacks of manilla folders in every corner of my home that stood at least two feet tall. You would have been appalled if you walked in my house because at any given time, I had papers sprawled out all over the couch, or on the floor, usually with a cat lying on top of it all, thinking he or she had to protect it. I don't know who feels stranger, me because I have since packed away all of those papers and manilla folders since I am through with the book, or the cats because they can't find something, anything to lie on now that it is all gone.

     Now what do I do? What do the cats do? For me, it's the end of fours years of a habit. Every day I would do research or write, or look for photos, or correspond with a descendant of either a murderer or a victim. For the cats, it means they are now looking for something else to lie on. They haven't been on the couch for days. Tabatha has taken to lying on my purse on the floor instead and Tiger has taken his place back in the window. I now sit twittling my thumbs, feeling like I should be doing something. I guess I will have to clean the house, something that has often been neglected because I have been sitting at the computer all day every day, writing for two years. Maybe the house can wait. I really need to come up with another project!

     I have an idea for a new book. It too, will take some time, but a few times over the last year, people have looked at old postcard images that have been posted on one of my Facebook sites called  Wichita Falls Texas History and said that I should put them all in a book. So, I think I will start gathering old postcards and photos of buildings and businesses that are from the downtown area and put together a photo book about Downtown Wichita Falls. I think I will call it, "Thanks for the Memories, Downtown Wichita Falls, TX Photos" or something like that. (Thank you Sue Bradberry for making that comment!) What do you think about this idea?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Downtown Darkside Tour and My New Book

     I haven't blogged for awhile so I thought I would mention some things that have been going on over the past few weeks.
     This past Saturday night, we had a Downtown Darkside Tour. It was one of the biggest groups that we have ever had with 24 guests. It was a great group, they asked lots of questions and were very inquisitive. Some of my guests have been using an app for their Smart Phones called, "Ghost Radar" by Spud Pickles. I will have to say, I have always been skeptical, I am a "prove it to me" kind of gal, but after this past Saturday night, I am believing more and more each time I do a tour.
     While standing on the corner of 8th and Ohio, I started to talk about the old Hearn Hotel which was a beautiful hotel in its day. It is where the Farmer's Market is today. The first story that I tell is about a murder that is in my first book of Sewell Fields who killed John Reagan. As I was talking, I heard one of my guests gasp! It wasn't until later that she told me that as we walked up to that location, her Ghost Radar spoke the word John, even before I had said the name.
     O.K.. I know, John is a common name and it could be a complete coincidence. Well, how about the word Circus? We had walked over to the railroad tracks and I was telling a story about a railroad officer who was killed by a hit and run driver while blocking the tracks, as the train was being loaded with circus animals. The word circus appeared on her phone. Coincidence? I am beginning to believe that it is not. What are the odds that the word circus would appear on her app during an historical tour where you would never think that the word circus would ever be mentioned?
     The same strange thing happened on the Riverside Cemetery Tour a few weeks ago. A guest had the app installed on her phone and it and it said the words "Elephant" and "Hunter" which are words that you wouldn't think of hearing doing a cemetery tour. But, on my very last story, I mention both of these words in my story. This app has made me a believer, maybe. If you use this app on one of my tours and get unusual words appear that I actually say during the tour, please post it here.
     My new book, "Murders in Northern Texas 1926-1975," will go to the publisher this week. I will be doing my first book signing in a very unusual place. On July the 9th, the First Annual Sheriff's Office Citizen's Academy Alumni Association Car Show will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Falls. I will be doing a book signing at the show (and please bear with me because I am helping to put on the show) from 10-2 and 10% of my sales will go to the Alumni Association who is trying to raise enough money to purchase a county officer's down and volunteer firefighter's down memorial to go on the courthouse grounds. This is something that our town has needed for many years. We have a city police and city firefighters memorial but we do not have one for our most deserving county fallen.
     The car show will have lots of custom and classic cars, trucks and motorcycles and we even have classes for vintage and custom law enforcement vehicles and fire trucks! There will be a people's choice award which is determined by the vehicle who collects the most donations, so even if you don't buy my book, please come by and make a donation to your favorite vehicles!
     I am also hoping to do a book signing at the library as soon as The Friends of the Library and I can decide on a date so stayed tuned to my Facebook page for all of the announcements about my book -Click on this link and then click on "Like" How Did They Die? Murders in Northern Texas 1926-1975
     Please share my blog with your friends on Facebook or through your email and my Facebook site!