Our Victorian ancestors flocked to cemeteries and disaster sites to contemplate the intersection of life and the hereafter.
Romancing the Dismal: Visiting 50 American Tragedies guides readers to traditional gathering places both infamous (Lizzie Borden's house) and forgotten (the dueling field where future president Andrew Jackson slayed his opponent but left with a bullet in his chest that he carried for the rest of his life).
In A Very Short Migration, a maple leaf turns brilliant scarlet and believes it will be flying south with the bluebirds and Monarch butterflies. But when the wind sets the leaf free, it is devastated to find itself falling to the ground. Another leaf, older and wiser, gently explains how composting leaves feed not only the mighty tree but also the family that taps the maple for syrup.
Ghost Trains is a different sort of railroad book. Instead of luring kids down to the tracks to watch the action, it shows that America's vast network of abandoned lines is just as fascinating-- and far safer to explore than live tracks. With watercolor illustrations, the book visits fog-breathing tunnels, spooky old depots, lonely control towers, and cabooses moldering in the weeds.
As samples of my fiction, I am including the first chapters of my as-yet-unpublished novel, Helene Lystra, and two published stories, "Suet Soot Suit" and "Hecla Tower". My fiction has appeared in Southern Review, Shenandoah (with a Pushcart nomination), Massachusetts Reveiw, Pleiades, Sycamore Review, and Cimarron Review.
Inspired by a folktale, The Simple Farmboy tells the story of an Amish farmworker whose lack of interest in owning things is taken for stupidity. But after giving away his worldly goods in a series of disasterous trades, he finds priceless bliss in the simple acts of walking and skinny dipping.