Friday, December 19, 2014

I ((Heart)) Lighthouses!

Welcome to the second week of Lighthouse Love, aka Friday Light Day! Today's two lighthouses have a bit of interesting history that goes along with them.

There wasn't a name attached to this first lighthouse so we'll call it, The Abandoned!

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union built a chain of lighthouses, powered by small atomic reactors. These lights had to be totally autonomous because they were located hundreds of miles away from anyone capable of running them. The purpose of the lighthouses was to guide cargo ships through the complete darkness of the Polar Circle. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the lighthouses eventually went dark. The huge warning signs posted at the area touting the danger of going near the radioactive lighthouses did nothing to deter looters. The thieves ignored the signs to steal copper, contaminating themselves and the whole area. Silly Russian you won't need the lighthouse to glow!

Next is the Fire Island Lighthouse on the Fire Island Inlet, Long Island, New York

Originally built on the Fire Island Inlet in 1826, this light used whale oil, lard, mineral oil and kerosene to fuel the lamp. Electricity eventually reached the light in 1938, only to be knocked out the very same month by a hurricane. The light was decommissioned in 1973, but in 1982 a group of supporters was formed to raise money and the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The light was restored and by 1986 it was relit and reinstated as an official lighthouse! Great job New Yorkers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Cry From The Dust - By: Carrie Stuart Parks

In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day—but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims.

The above is a portion of the back cover copy from the book I bought at the ACFW Writers Conference in September. A Cry From The Dust is a thrilling suspense mystery based around the disjointed life of a recently divorced forensic artist, Gwen Marcey. While working on a facial reconstruction to be displayed at a new interpretive center being built at the site, she finds herself in the middle of a cover up plot concerning the Massacre.

I've been interested in this "true" account in Mormon history after seeing a movie concerning the massacre. Carrie Stuart Parks really did her research, making the book a very interesting and fun read with tons of historical documentation. Loved the book and would highly recommend it! Oh and did I mention there's a dog in the story? You'll have to read it to find out what kind!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Crazy For Lighthouses!

I was recently blessed to receive a literary contract for my historical fiction, Northern Light. The novel takes place at a "very real" historic lighthouse on the Texas Gulf Coast. I can attest to how much people love lighthouses by the number of sites devoted to them on the web. I'm guilty...I love lighthouses too! So to share that love with you, I've created something called...FRIDAY LIGHT DAY! Every Friday I will post a picture of a lighthouse and give a little blurb of information about the light. Since I started Friday Light Day on Facebook a few weeks ago, I've got some catching up to do. I'll post two lighthouses each Friday until I get caught up. 

The first lighthouse on the list is the Santa Cruz Breakwater Lighthouse at Santa Cruz, CA, also called the Walton Lighthouse. This is a very young lighthouse having only been in service since 2001. The light is called the Walton, because Charles Walton contributed a large amount toward the construction cost in memory of his late brother Derek. I visited Santa Cruz once while on a trip to the Mount Hermon Writers Conference. Me and three friends took a break from the conference and drove to the coast. What a gorgeous part of the country.

Walton Lighthouse

On week two the news was inundated with pictures of the frozen tundra up North from lake effect snow, brrr! So today I chose the Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse in Michigan. It stands guard over Muskegon Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. Fun fact, in 1837 Muskegon Township was established and nicknamed the "Lumber Queen of the World." In the 1800s it was home to more millionaires than any other town in America and its lumber helped rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871. Either big or small, it seems there's a story behind every lighthouse.

                                        Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse