Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here's What's Great About The Dry Winter So Far...

Walking along Pope Beach, December 29th. Crystal clear water. Warm sun. Blue skies. The town is filled with ski tourists skiing on what I'm told is good snow. Yet, this beach is deserted.

A picture says it all.

Those mountains in the distance are Jakes Peak and its pals.
They form the 3000-foot-high wall of rock on the north side of Emerald Bay.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Free Book Day Is Tomorrow

Hey readers, I hope you all have a great holiday filled with - natch - books, whether they be treebooks or ebooks.

If you or any of your friends like ebooks, my latest, Tahoe Payback, is free starting Christmas and will stay free through Friday, Dec 29th.

The link:

Best of everything to you and yours...

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Freebie Coming Soon!

My blog readers get an early "heads-up" on certain goodies.

On Christmas, eight days from when this posts, my most recent book, Tahoe Payback, will be FREE on Kindle. It will remain free for four more days after Christmas. You can download it from the following link:


As of this writing, Tahoe Payback has 199 reviews at an average of 4.8 stars.

If you'd like more reason to go to the trouble to download a free book, Kirkus Reviews just gave the book a glowing review. They called it "an engrossing whodunit that should keep readers guessing through the final twist."

One more thing... Readers are often curious how free books help an author. There are several reasons. The main one is that some readers will try a free book that they might not otherwise notice. If they like the book, they may buy more by the same author. Another reason is that the more readers try a free book, the more Amazon will recommend it to others. So there is a kind of positive feedback loop that benefits authors. 

Some readers have also noticed that my first book, Tahoe Deathfall, is permanently free on all ebook platforms. The reason is the same.

So please download both if you haven't already. And if you have friends who read mysteries, please let them know about my free books as well.

Thanks very much for your continued interest and support!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Best Tahoe Excursions - Summer And Winter

I know, it's winter. But I've thought many times about one of our explorations last fall, a place that's open in the winter, too!

I very much recommend taking a day at Sugar Pine Point State Park, including the tour of the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. Or camp at their campgrounds and explore for a week.

One of Tahoe's grandest houses, available to tour (although the tour may only be open in summer).

Sugar Pine Point Park is on the West Shore of Tahoe, just south of Tahoma. It is comprised of a couple of thousand acres of gorgeous forest right on the lake, and it has two miles of shoreline. The park has many hiking and cross-country ski trails, beaches, hidden coves, and much to explore including the really big house.

A view from Sugar Pine Point State Park

The land was originally acquired by Isaiah Hellman, a German immigrant who came to SoCal in 1859. Mr. Hellman began in retail in Los Angeles, moved into banking, and became the most important banker on the West Coast. He had many achievements, including becoming the first president of Wells Fargo Bank.

In the late 19th century, Hellman decided he wanted a place at Tahoe. This was before there were roads at the lake, or electricity, or any other infrastructure, for that matter. He bought big chunks of land and had a place built. Much of the stone and wood was cut from the land. The rest of the building materials was brought in on the narrow-gauge railroad from Truckee to Tahoe City and then put onto the steamer to boat down the West Shore to the site. The house construction was begun in 1903, finished a few years later, and it served as a grand summer lodge for family members and their guests for many years.

(For those curious about the "Ehrman" in the name Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, one of Hellman's daughters married a man named Ehrman, and that couple lived longer at the house than anyone before or since.)

Most of a century later, the surviving family members sold the property and house to the state of California to use as a park. The state was going to tear down the house, which was rundown. Fortunately, a private group raised funds for restoration, and the house was saved. Now we, the public, own, and get to enjoy, the park.

Here's the link: Sugar Pine Point State Park

P.S. One of the cool things about being a writer is that when I'm struck by a particular place, as I was by Sugar Pine Point, I can set scenes there in a book. Look for Sugar Pine Point Park and the Hellman-Ehrman mansion in my next book, due out August of 2018

Sunday, December 3, 2017

An Ocean Of Fog

We don't get a lot of fog in Tahoe. But one morning a few days back, we woke up to a thick gray soup. As it happened, I was heading up Echo Summit and drove out of the fog and popped into the sunshine just a few hundred feet up. I pulled over at the top of Meyer's Grade and snapped a pic. It looked like the fog was an ocean, and the mountains rose up out of it like tropical islands.

Islands at 7000 feet of elevation.