Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sacramento #7

Sacramento, CA

In search of a plot for our next book

We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.

On March 26, 2018, we had breakfast, packed, checked out and headed to our last research stop the Automotive Museum.
The place is huge, looks like an airplane hangar!  We had a tour guide who knew a lot about the history of automotive in the US. The cars on display begin in 1895 and end in current 2018 cars.
We needed to find cars for our characters (old and new) in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series. With suggestions from our guide, we found just the right cars to match the personality of our characters and the role they will play in the book.

-Lori Carrington (the secretary) will drive a Nash Metro,

-Marion Carrington (long time matron of Beverly Hills) a 1929 Super Six Hudson-Victoria

-Tom Stone (mob boss) and girlfriend Coco Amore, Ford Thunderbird, 1956.
It helped to actually see the cars when making the choice.

We checked out an area called Poverty Ridge. People told us about using it as a body dump. At one time it was where lower income people lived, at the bottom of the ridge. The upper part of the ridge was where the rich lived. We drove by and found lovely homes on the top of the ridge and one story homes on the bottom of the ridge. It is a lovely area now.
It as a freezing 50 degrees outside. We headed for Trader Joe’s for a To Go dinner to eat at the airport. By the time we got to the gate, we were well fed, warmed up and ready for the flight home.
Friends picked us up from Long Beach Airport right on time, walked in the house at 9:30pm exhausted!

Aha moment-While waiting for our flight we struck up conversations with several passengers from Sacramento going to Long Beach. Not only did they recommend several more places for body dumps, but they also suggested places for fight scenes. Can't wait to sink my fingers into the story.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sacramento #6

Sacramento, CA

In search of a plot for our next book.

We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.

On March 25, 2018, after breakfast, we left for Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park. It was like an outdoor Rancho. Sutter built a fort then planned his a large cattle ranch. However, word of the gold discovery on his land got out. He couldn’t control the lawless squatters on his land and his dream never came to. The first hospital in the Sacramento region was at the fort.

We ate at Claim Jumper in Downtown District then went to some sites recommended to us for body dumps. Found five good places. We stopped at each one we thought would work and took pictures. Now we are getting excited about the new book.

We drove back both of us enjoying the old “mansion” homes. We parked and walked to the old Governor's Mansion built in the 1870s. It was closed for renovation. The building is three stories with its carriage house still intact. I can see a murder there and our P.I., Sky Drake getting involved in it. I was impressed with the woodwork and the landscaping. We looked it up when we got back, the current Governor’s Mansion is in Carmichael.

As soon as we got back to our hotel, both of us opened our laptops and spent the evening, into the wee hours, researching Sacramento 1950s.

Aha Moment-Current events of the 1950 capital city were full of political scandals, swanky parties, and cool crimes. This book is going to be full of all three!!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sacramento # 5

Sacramento, CA
In search of a plot for our next book.
We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.
On March 24, 2018, Janet was tied up with her colleagues all day, so Bill decided to drive to the California Automobile Museum as it was only ten minutes away. The GPS put him there quickly, but when he turned the last corner traffic stopped. A police car blocked the street.  Bill had driven into the assembly point for a massive march on the State Capitol (March for Our Lives.) Since it was a Saturday, thousands of people and their cars prevented him from going to the museum.  He made his way out of the area and returned to the hotel. The streets and intersections were blocked by police. He had to drive around the Capitol grounds then north and west to get back to the hotel. 

He decided trying to get anywhere today would be a mess so parked the rental car in the hotel lot and walked to lunch at a place called Sandra Dee’s BBQ. Their fired oyster Po’boy and potato salad were great.

Back at the hotel,  he spent the rest of the afternoon writing.

At 5:00 he walked about three blocks to the Sheraton Hotel and met Janet for a tour of the beautiful hotel lobby.  We headed for dinner at Pieology Pizzeria – a custom order pizzeria on the order of Chipotle.  On the way, we stopped to read the many historical plaques. It was a cold walk there and back but the pizza was really good.
Sunset had just started, we took different streets back to the hotel enjoying the charming Victorian homes along the way. We noticed an unusual white building a few blocks away with what looked like a mini replica next to it. It was getting colder and darker by the minute. We ran into the tail end of a walk for Stephon Clark.

Aha moment-During Janet had lunch with local therapists. After telling them about our murder mysteries, Janet asked, "Where would you dump a dead body?"  Well, they gave her cross street and local landmarks- they seemed to have thought about it before!
Several highly recommend we check out Poverty Ridge and explained that before the levees have completed that area as well as others flooded yearly. However,  the ridge was where the rich built their homes and the poor living below the ridge. We checked the map and there was Poverty Ridge. So we drive by on our way to dinner.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sacramento #4

Sacramento, CA
In search of a plot for our next book.
We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.
On March 23, 2018, it was a freezing 42° in the morning, no rain or wind.

Janet stayed at the hotel to begin writing our new book, GameTown.

 Bill decided to try the Aerospace Museum at the former McClellan Air Force Base, about twenty minutes northeast of downtown. He followed the GPS directions until he got to a place where he was told to turn, but it didn’t match the street signs. After driving around a place called Alden Business center, he got back on track and made it to the museum. 

Located on a road that was formerly part of the base, it was a very interesting place with many historic and modern aircraft and engines, flight simulators indoors. Outdoors on display were more historic aircraft from world war two, Korean war, the cold war, Vietnam, and even from Desert Storm. The guides were all volunteers and met one man who was stationed in Turkey where Bill lived as a teen. 

He saw a C-47(53) that actually dropped paratroopers in France during the D-Day invasion. AP-80 (F-80), T-33, F-100, 101, 102. A-4 (Blue Angels), A Polish MIG 17, a Czech MIG 21, an AWACS Constellation, a Sikorsky H-3 (Jolly Green Giant) complete with battle damage from Vietnam and an A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog) from Desert Storm that had been hit by an Iraqi SAM and repaired.

Bill's drive back to the hotel was uneventful and direct. Along the way, he saw more Victorian houses.

For dinner we thought we would head out for the Outback Steakhouse northeast of town (or so we thought) when we got to the same area of Arden business park the GPS sent us way out of our way and we ended up along the levee of the American River until we found ourselves at the Sacramento Airport. We couldn’t believe how far off course we were (almost 8 miles) Frustrated we drove back to the hotel and walked to an Asian restaurant called Bento Box only about a 5-minute freezing walk.

While we were inside the restaurant, a police motorcycle drove down the sidewalk followed by hundreds of protesters heading for the State Capitol. The protest was over the shooting of Stephon Clark. They passed quite peacefully. We finished our dinner followed by a cold, uneventful walk back.

Aha moment-As we drive along the levee we were surrounded by lush countryside that quickly turned to pasture on one side and rushing river on the other. The countryside area had amazing early 1900s mansions with large yachts. Hum, nothing spells murder more than the combination of money, mansions, yachts, and a rushing river!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sacramento #3

Sacramento, CA
In search of a plot for our next book.

We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.
On March 22, 2018, it poured all night with heavy winds. The wind and rain died down so decided to go to the Wells Fargo Museum and walk down Old Sacramento. To our surprise, the sun came out as soon as we left the hotel!

Old Sacramento is a charming, well preserved 1800’s town about 5 square blocks on the waterfront. It was amazing the wonderful job the community did preserving the entire 5 blocks. We walked the riverfront then the town.
The Wells Fargo Bank museum was our first stop. It was free and small but chock full of interesting reads about the wild northwest, and Sacramento. Quite frankly it seemed tame for its time compared to old Los Angeles and San Diego! The bank had humble beginnings but branched out by its visionaries, i.e., Wells and Fargo as a one-stop shop for all the west’s banking needs.

 I was surprised that the Pony Express played such a large role in the history of the city. It only lasted 18 months. The route started in St. Joseph, Missouri, and ended in Sacramento. It was a hard job for anyone to ride10 hours stopping each hour to charge horses. I got a real kick out of the notice for riders.

We stopped at a place called The Chef's Olive Mix and sampled the balsamic vinegar and oils. We loved the tangerine vinegar and the regular olive oil. We strolled the wooden boardwalk, read signs, plaques, storefronts and had a wonderful, relaxing time.  The weather was cold, drizzly and calm. When we finished we were cold and damp.  

The Steamer Bakery & Cafe had a hot chocolate sign outdoors, we couldn't resist a hot cup to warm up. Sitting in the old 1800’s shop sipping our hot chocolate brought back memories of our Scandinavian trip last year, it was just as cold and wet. Then sitting in history hit us. Just think we may have been in an area, in the shop where some wild cowboy may have been.

On the way back to our hotel, we take a short drive through some streets we hadn’t driven. The homes were amazingly preserved, just lovely places.
We left for dinner at The Lucca Mediterranean Restaurant. The food, atmosphere, music was wonderful.  We, of course, had to have dessert, a chocolate mousse with blood orange slices and sauce. To die for!!

We walked home and saw a group of people moving in one direction. We thought it was odd and maybe a parade. While watching the evening news we were shocked to learn about the police shooting of Stephon Clark not far from our hotel.

For a candid look into the life of a Pony Express Rider, go to

Aha moment-Found some little-known information about the Pinkerton Agency in the 1950s. They were in our third book, DESERT ICE. Maybe we should bring them back?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sacramento #1

Sacramento, CA

In search of a plot for our next book.

We spent seven days in Sacramento to research our next book, GAME TOWN,  for 2019 release. So we thought we would give you a peek into researching a new book.
On March 20, 2018,  we took off from the Long Beach Airport at 8:10am, the flight was a bit rocky from the bad weather over central CA. Landed in drizzly, wet Sacramento at 9:30am.
We were surprised that the city seemed to be nothing but one-way streets! The capital was our first stop but couldn’t find parking on the streets or parking lots. There was a special event going on and took up all the available parking. We gave up and decided to find our hotel, Quality Inn, Convention Center. It is a small, old/updated place a few blocks from the convention center.  It was 10:00, we couldn’t get in the room until 2:00 so decided to walk to the capital, about 5 blocks. It continued to drizzle, about 51 degrees, no breeze whatsoever. Actually, it was a very nice walk.

On the way, we walked through the Camellia tree garden in front of the capitol building. Because of the drizzle, the blossoms fell leaving a beautiful blanket of color under each tree. There must have been 100 camellia trees each with their colorful blankets.

We took a guided tour of the capitol, really enjoyed the stories behind the history of the city and the building. We ate lunch at the cafeteria; they had hot split pea soup, perfect for the wet, cold day.
There was a real shoeshine man dressed in white shining several men’s shoes in an old fashion chair.

We also learned that when the Capital installed telephones, they had young men answering the phones and connecting the caller to various departments. They were a bit rude to everyone so they changed them to women. This was before the words “Telephone Operators”. They called them “Hello Girls.”
We walked back to our hotel still brisk outside, but a very nice walk.

AHA moment- We found several places to dump dead bodies, both in and outside the capitol. Also, had a nice talk with our guide after the tour, she told is about some very interesting ways in which the capitol operated during the 1950s, great ideas for some subplots.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Catalina Island #5

Avalon, Catalina Island

Research for SLICK DEAL

Heading Home

                    We spent five days in Avalon, on Catalina Island to research our latest book, SLICK DEAL the fourth in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series.

          We left early this morning for our boat to embark at 11:15am. We watched the fish, birds, sailboats, and yachts going and coming, parasailing etc. as our ship approached the docks.

          We landed in Long Beach at 12:30, back home with plenty of material for a knockout novel. Both of us are looking forward to writing the final draft.