Inspiration from the waters

The view from my author residency at Sunny Point on Keuka Lake in 2013.

The view from my author residency at Sunny Point on Keuka Lake in 2013.

Every summer of my life I have visited Keuka Lake, a Y-shaped lake in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes. On its vineyard ridged hills, the area’s world-renowned wine industry took root, first being heralded as a center for sparkling wine.

Keuka is a supporting cast member in four of my seven published novels, with four more to be published as part of the Caviston Sisters Mystery Series. Why is it so important to me?

First of all, it’s the crystal lake water. Spring-fed, the lake follows a glacier-carved path through beds of shale. Its waves smooth stones into prized skipping tools. You could watch its surface the entirety of daylight and never be bored by the constantly shifting colors and patterns. Glasslike in the morning, roughed up by breezes and boats during the day, then gently calming as the world slumbers — it’s mesmerizing. Even storms are magnificent on the lake. Curtains of driven rain billow across the lake from the south, churning muddy swells that lash through spaces between rickety wooden boards on the dock. When the wind shifts from the north, the lake turns chilly blue as it froths up whitecaps.

Keuka has always been a place of conversations. In my early childhood, it was a place for listening to my great aunts and uncles recall their childhood stories. It was where my siblings and cousins sat around bonfires on its shore listening to my parents and aunt and uncle sing in harmony. It was a place of happy memories as well as retelling tales of catastrophic floods and tragic drownings.

We’d stay there in August with my aunt. In the mornings, “guns” of hot gases shot off repeatedly throughout the vineyards in an effort to keep birds off the ripening grapes. Most of the day would be spent swimming or wandering up a creek to find salamanders and frogs. It was an ideal location for a child’s imagination to bloom.

As adults, we have enjoyed watching the wine industry grow from major operations to smaller, “indy” wineries. We’ve seen the trends shift from savoring native grapes to trying to earn worldwide respect for wines made with vinifera grapes, and now a shift back to appreciating what grapes always did well here.

final-logo-fulkersoneventOf course I am not alone in being inspired to write by the Finger Lakes. On October 21, I will join four other women writers to celebrate Finger Lakes Litspiration at Fulkerson Winery on Seneca Lake. Kristan Higgins, Laurie Gifford Adams, Roz Murphy, and Katie O’Boyle and I will discuss how these lakes inspire us, we’ll read samples of our work and then meet with readers to sign books and answer question.

For complete information, visit Fulkerson Winery’s Facebook page or its website. The event will benefit the Humane Society of Yates County – Shelter of Hope.

mondaycoffee

The Kindle version of The Curse of the Strawberry Moon is currently on sale for 99 cents.

As part of this Kindle Countdown, the price will gradually rise this week back to the list price of $4.99.

What can you get for less than a buck? According to reviews of this mystery…

thecurseofthestrawberrymoon_cover_150x228“It was truly ‘you cannot put this down until you finish it’ kind of book. I absolutely LOVED it. Cannot wait for the next one.”

“Loved the characters and the setting of the story so much that we took a drive to beautiful Keuka Lake to see it’s beauty for ourselves. Kept me guessing to the very end.”

“This easy-going, well-written novel is a discovery in the way that finding a great local restaurant, seeing a brilliant production by a regional theater company, or hearing an outstanding concert by local musicians are discoveries. I am looking forward to reading the next Caviston sisters mystery.”

The Curse of the Strawberry Moon is now available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Here’s a description of the novel, the first in the Caviston Sisters Mystery series:

thecurseofthestrawberrymoon_cover_150x228A full red moon rises over a wedding at a Finger Lakes winery as fireworks explode unexpectedly above the celebration. Was it a timing accident, or were they set off early on purpose to cover up the murder of ’80s rock star Jeremiah Redfern nearby?

Across Keuka Lake, the Caviston sisters watch the show from their deck on a warm June evening, unaware of how their lives will soon become entwined in the unfolding mystery. Curiosity about a Seneca Indian curse draws them deep into the investigation before they realize their own lives may be endangered as they help Detective Tyrone Kane decipher motives tangled tighter than a grapevine.

The Curse of the Strawberry Moon‘s riveting plot delves intimately into the Finger Lakes wine industry with a touch of rock-and-roll attitude.

Here are some details about the paperback version:

ISBN/EAN13: 1530532639 / 9781530532636

Page Count: 396

Size: 6″ x 9″

Language: English

Genre: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Cozy

List price: $19.99

Book Reveal!

thecurseofthestrawberrymoon_cover_450x684Here it is—the title and cover of my new rock ‘n’ roll mystery. This is book one of the five-part Caviston Sisters Mystery series. Each one takes place in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, specifically Keuka Lake.

Sorry for the delay in posting. I was a bit distracted yesterday by my favorite band Chicago’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Woohoo! (Appropriate, don’t you think?)

On this snowy morning in upstate New York, there is much more work to do on the novel now that I’ve heard back from my editors. Stay tuned for updates on the actual publication date. Can’t wait until my readers return with me to beautiful Keuka where I’ll introduce you to the Caviston sisters and a few other nefarious sorts!

 

Lake Love

A guest post by
LINDSAY EDMUNDS

ChautauquaLakeIn my life have been three New York lakes: Otisco, Skaneateles, and Chautauqua. I couldn’t have written the stories in New Sun Rising without them. This is the literal truth: without knowing the lakes well,  I would not have known how to create the village central to the action in New Sun Rising, or how to describe it.

The lake in my fictional world is named Star Lake. It is mostly based on Chautauqua. However, the emerald green color in autumn is from Skaneateles. The sense of “home is here” comes from Otisco, the lake of my childhood.

Star Lake is the first thing I describe in the first story:

Star Lake is as it has always been: restless, beautiful, and bewitching. I believe it is the source of our town’s various spiritualities. The veil between this world and other dimensions is very thin here. Very thin. For all we know, our lake is a gateway through which unseen beings pass back and forth. I—who have no coherent religion—become mystical when I see the water. We all do.

From the day it knocked Garvis Stillwater to his knees and got him praying to God for direction, Star Lake has had a way of getting people’s attention.

The beginnings of the lake in glacial upheavals are unknowable. Native Americans had a name for it that could not be coherently translated. “When you see me, you will know me” was one stab at it.

On a clear night, the lake mirrors the night sky, as all lakes do. Therefore, early white settlers named it Star Lake.

Star Lake is more than 1300 feet above sea level. Its altitude protects us from the worst heat of the lowlands, but the winters are hard. Sometimes the lake freezes so quickly that individual waves turn into ice sculptures, just like that. A glorious sight to see. In autumn, the lake turns emerald green, with fall colors reflecting in the water. Spring brings refreshment. Summer brings the luxury of long days. When people devoted to progress—meaning personal wealth—tore up everything, they overlooked our small part of the world.

—From “The Town With Four Names”

Utopia dreaming

Dystopias have always been with us. I doubt that the dystopias imagined in science fiction are worse than anything people have already experienced for real. In the past, you could prick your finger on a rosebush thorn and die of it. You could be burned at the stake for practicing the “wrong” version of Christianity. You could see some or all of your children die from diseases now preventable or curable.

The struggle toward utopia is a hero’s journey.  Little bits of goodness are realized with tremendous effort.  These are not necessarily big things. For example, if you had to spend a good part of your life doing laundry by hand, you might consider the invention of the washing machine as a needful ingredient of a utopian society.

The town by Star Lake has utopian ideals. What would happen, I wondered, if a girl raised in this community decided to try her luck in the outside world.  The result was New Sun Rising: Ten Stories.

New York dreaming

In the 19th century, the state of New York saw some remarkable events. The Chautauqua Institution was founded at Fair Point on Chautauqua Lake in 1874. Not to be outdone, spiritualists founded Lily Dale in 1879 on Cassadaga Lake. In 2015 both communities are still alive and more or less true to the principles on which they were founded. Lily Dale is the largest spiritualist community in the world. Chautauqua continues to answer the human desire to reach higher, know more, feel more, and be more.

There was the Oneida Community, which was dedicated to “perfectionism.” Its survival for 33 years (1848-1881) was an extraordinary achievement. Utopian  experiments tend to fall apart quickly because trying to realize a utopia is the hardest work on earth. The Oneida Community has a lasting legacy: Oneida silverware, though it is not made in the USA anymore.

In 1848, a convention was held at Seneca Falls on the subject of women’s right to vote. This right was made a plank in the Liberty Party Platform. Seventy years later US women got the vote.

Every civilizing step, every bit of scientific progress or ease or comfort we know is achieved with great effort against the contrary pulls of brutality, indifference, and Murphy’s Law. Utopia beckons us forward like a shimmering vision.

There was the Cardiff Giant, too, in 1858, but he was sort of silly.

Mary Pat Hyland’s lake is Y-shaped Keuka, and my three are elsewhere, but you don’t have to explain lake love to anyone from upstate or central New York.

Lindsay_NewSunRising_thumbnailAbout New Sun Rising

The year is 2199; the place, the Reunited States. The stories are about a girl who was raised in a utopian community and then tries to make her way in a dystopian society.

New Sun Rising: Two Stories is the “appetizer” version of  New Sun Rising: Ten Stories.  It is inexpensive in terms of both money (99 cents) and time (43 pages on the Kindle).

Amazon | Amazon UK | iTunes | Nook | Kobo

New Sun Rising: Ten Stories is available for preorder now and for purchase on May 25, 2015.  For the first month, it will be a good buy at half price of $1.99.  It will eventually cost $3.99 and will stay at that price for quite awhile. There will also be a print version.

Biographical note

Lindsay Edmunds

Lindsay Edmunds

Lindsay Edmunds’s highest ambition is that her stories be true “in the way that stories are true,” to quote Nancy Willard, who wrote the wonderful novel Things Invisible to See. She believes that everybody has stories to tell. (If you doubt it, get someone talking about their job.) Everybody sees a lot. Everybody knows a lot.

Although she loves New York, Lindsay Edmunds lives in southwestern Pennsylvania.