Casino Deutschland

Requiem for a Queen

They said she sinned by ambition and was doomed from the outset, tethered to a world facing apocalypse. She listened to nothing save the siren song of destiny, a stone-and-iron fantasy that became the jewel in the crown of Louisiana plantation houses. No one had seen her likes before, nor would they see them again. She was Belle Grove, the fabulous queen of sugar king John Andrews, and she was born of a genteel rivalry to build bigger and better than anyone in the antebellum South. Her competitor, Nottaway (see Game of Thrones), was the work of John Hamden Randolph, another incredibly rich planter a short distance upriver. From sheer size alone, there was never any doubt that Belle Grove would take the sweepstakes as Andrews erected a palace to please a pharaoh....

Read More

Game of Thrones

My favorite perk of writing historical fiction is exploring sites for my plots and characters. More often than not, the search leads to serendipitous flights of fancy that are great fun despite having nothing to do with the book. For example, when I started researching Creole Son about painter Edgar Degas’s visit to New Orleans, I needed a scene at a sugar plantation to introduce his inventor cousin Norbert Rillieux whose invention for refining sugar revolutionized the industry. The Millaudon plantation Degas actually visited was no longer standing, but since I lived in the French Quarter there were others nearby to provide the ambience I needed to write the scene. Lots of old homes line the Great River Road paralleling the Mississippi, and after some homework I...

Read More

Communion of Sinners

My first mystery includes a long-overdue expose of the historic California Mission system. Armed with extensive research, including eighteenth-century eyewitness accounts, I explode the romantic myths surrounding the so-called benevolent Franciscan padres and their Native American converts, lifting the “Adobe Curtain” to reveal a world of slavery, deprivation and cruelty. Once you read Communion of Sinners, you’ll never see the famous missions in the same light again. The plot unfolds quickly as New Orleans travel writer Sam Crockett drives across country to visit friends in Carmel, California. He stops along the way to explore isolated Soledad Mission and ventures into the campo santo where he stumbles upon what he believes is an ancient skeleton. When local...

Read More