Category Archives: Murder on the Last Frontier

The Origin of Murder on Location

MURDER ON LOCATION - Copy 300 pixWriters are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” For the Charlotte Brody Mystery series, my answer has been, “Local history.” For each book, I gleaned some bit of Cordova’s past and worked it into the story, with literary and artistic license, of course.

I used a local’s tale about the death of a “sporting woman” in Murder on the Last Frontier. In Borrowing Death, the cover up of a local businessman’s murder with a purposely set fire was an actual news item I read while perusing old editions of the Cordova Times.

The influence for Murder on Location, and its film-within-a-book North to Fortune, was a 1924 silent movie called The Cheechakos. This was the first full-length movie filmed entirely in Alaska. The man responsible for it, Austin “Cap” Lathrop, had hoped his film company, Alaska Moving Pictures, would produce more, but The Cheechakos was its only distributed work.

My Kid and I had the pleasure of attending a local screening of The Cheechakos while I was contemplating a premise for Charlotte’s third story. Kid suggested I have someone die during the filming of a similar movie, and Murder on Location was born. The idea of a Hollywoodland, California, crew experiencing Alaska sounds like a fun way to stage a murder, don’t you think?

In the Alaska Territory, suffragette Charlotte Brody is a newspaper reporter in the frontier town of Cordova. She’s a woman ahead of her time living on the rugged edge of civilization—but right now the most dangerous element she faces may come from sunny California . . .
 
An expedition has arrived in the frigid wilderness to shoot North to Fortune—an epic motion picture featuring authentic footage of majestic peaks, vast glaciers, homesteaders, and Alaska Natives. But the film’s fortunes begin to go south as a local Native group grows angry at how they’re portrayed in the movie, fights break out, and cast and crew are beset by accidents and assaults. Finally, production is halted when the inebriated director falls into a crevasse—and dies of exposure.
 
Soon Michael Brody—the town coroner and Charlotte’s brother—starts to suspect that Mother Nature was not responsible for Stanley Welsh’s death. Charlotte, who’s been writing about all the Hollywood glamor, is suddenly covering a cold-blooded crime story—and as springtime storms keep the suspects snowed in, she has to make sure the truth doesn’t get buried . . .

Pick up Murder on Location just about anywhere!

At Kensington Books

Amazon US

B&N

Kobo

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

And other fine retailers!

Posted in Alaska, book coming out, books out, Borrowing Death, Kensington, Murder on Location, Murder on the Last Frontier | Leave a comment

BORROWING DEATH Release Day Giveaway!

Woo hoo! Borrowing Death, the second book of the Charlotte Brody Mystery Series hits the shelves, gets shipped from your favorite store, gets downloaded into your ereader of choice TODAY!

Borrowing Death coverSo very excited! I’ll be posting about the book, answering questions if y’all have them, that sort of thing over the next few days. But for today, I want to enjoy the fact Charlotte and company are out there again (still?).

What’s this second story about, you ask? Well, it’s November, 1919, and Charlotte’s been in Cordova for a few months. (ICYMI, in the first book, Murder on the Last Frontier, she’d just arrived in town that August/September.) Winter is setting in, but life is never dull in the Great Land.

Suffragette and journalist Charlotte Brody is bracing herself for her first winter in the frontier town of Cordova in the Alaska Territory. But the chilling murder of a local store owner is what really makes her blood run cold. . .

After three months in Cordova, Charlotte is getting accustomed to frontier life. She is filing articles for the local paper–including a provocative editorial against Prohibition–and enjoying a reunion with her brother Michael, the town doctor and coroner. Michael’s services are soon called upon when a fire claims the life of hardware store owner Lyle Fiske. A frontier firebug is suspected of arson, but when Michael determines Fiske was stabbed before his store was set ablaze, the town of Cordova has another murder to solve.

Her journalist’s curiosity whetted, Charlotte begins to sort through the smoldering ruins of Lyle Fiske’s life, only to discover any number of people who might have wanted him dead. As the days grow shorter, Charlotte’s investigation turns increasingly complex. She may be distant from the trappings of civilization, but untangling the motives for murder will require plumbing the very depths of Charlotte’s investigative acumen. . .

Here are some things that folks are saying about Borrowing Death.

“These new mysteries are a great mixture of history, mystery and a little bit of romance. The characters and setting are well-written and readers will be waiting impatiently for the next installment to come out.” ~Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion for Suspense Magazine (full review link coming)

An “entertaining follow-up…the reporter’s penchant for encouraging the aspirations of a local girl, hanging out with the town madam, snooping in neighbors’ houses, and employing hairpins as lock picks will satisfy.” ~Publishers Weekly (full review here)

In celebration of Borrowing Death officially being out in the world, I’m giving away a few items from Cordova or that represent Cordova and Alaska.giveaway loot

  1. Signed copies of Murder on the Last Frontier and Borrowing Death
  2. Copper River Fleece (local merchant) satchel with salmon and bear print trim
  3. Copper River Fleece forget-me-not headband
  4. 3 salmon-shaped chocolates (dark, milk, and white)
  5. 2 wooden bookmarks
  6. Alaska pin
  7. Wooden fish ornament

bag, headband, ornament

How do you win this lovely loot (over $100 in value)? I’m an old-fashioned sort of gal, so we’re doing this the old-fashioned way:

(1) Leave a comment below (Please play fair and leave just one comment/entry. Multiples will get tossed out) with a VALID email address. This is important! I need to be able to contact you.

(2) At the end of the giveaway, Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at midnight Alaska time, I’ll randomly choose a winner via a number generator, email that person and give them 48 hours to reply.

(3) If I don’t get a reply from that person in the allotted time, I will choose another winner. Sorry, but we can’t leave folks hanging, right?

(4) This is open to anyone, anywhere, but depending on your location the prize package could take some time to get to you. I’ll give you a heads up when it goes out and an estimated arrival date.

I promise not to spam you or do anything with your contact info except contact you personally as needed.

Anything else? If you have questions, shoot me an email at cathy@cathypegau.com with the subject line “BD giveaway question” or something like it so I know you aren’t spam,  or on Twitter @CathyPegau

And if you simply CANNOT wait…

Buy Borrowing Death at these fine locations, in brick and mortar stores, and elsewhere:

Kensington Books http://tinyurl.com/BDKens
Amazon USA http://tinyurl.com/BDusAmazon
BN http://tinyurl.com/BDbnusa
Amazon UK http://tinyurl.com/BDAmazonuk
Amazon Aus http://tinyurl.com/BDAmazonaus
Kobo http://tinyurl.com/BDKobo

Thanks so much!!! Good luck!

Posted in Alaska, books out, Borrowing Death, Cathy Pegau, contest, Kensington, Murder on the Last Frontier, win stuff | 22 Comments

The Real Story Behind MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER

Writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Much of the time, in my case, something small sets off my brain. A commercial showing a bride flinging her veil out onto the road while she zoomed off in a convertible gave me the opening scene to one story (unpublished…for now). Watching a show about scam artists and thieves kicked off Rulebreaker, which led to Caught in Amber, which led to Deep Deception 🙂

MotLF Cover.jpgThe idea for Murder on the Last Frontier emerged after a conversation with a long-time resident of our town when my husband, daughter, and I went to investigate a local, little-known cemetery.

My husband serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning committee. At a meeting a few years ago, they were going over city land that could be sold or leased or what have you. A nice-sized plot in a residential neighborhood near the high school was marked “Not for Sale.” There were homes on either side of it, and it was large enough for a small house.

DH: Why is this plot not for sale?

Committee Guy: It’s a cemetery.

DH: Really?

Committee Guy Who Had Been a Resident for 20 yrs: Really?

Like many people, I had been by that lot hundreds of times, either while trundling kids to/from school or our critters to/from the veterinarian whose practice is nearby. The lot is either overgrown with weeds or covered in snow most of the time, and there’s no sign of it being anything other than an empty lot. Little did we know it was far from empty.

One sunny spring Saturday not long after hearing about the cemetery, we were headed to the high school for some event and decided to check it out. Sure enough, among the weeds and saplings, a few graves. They had low headstones that were barely legible. One or two had those low iron fences around them. It was easy to see why if you were just driving or walking past you’d never know it was a cemetery.

As we made our way across the lot, we saw Marv, the man who owns one of the neighboring houses, puttering about his yard. He asked us what we were up to (in a nice way, as Marv is a nice guy, and it was obvious we were looking about, not out to cause trouble). We told him my husband’s P&Z committee story.

Marv smiled and nodded, saying not many folks were aware of it and that was fine by him. He gave us a neat little history lesson about the cemetery, including the unfortunate incident of some group coming in and “cleaning up” the old bits of wood which happened to be markers.

Then he told us another story.

Back in the 1930s or 1940s, a prostitute (yes, Cordova had a “red light” district for years, like a lot of towns) and her child were found murdered. One of them was buried in that little-known cemetery, the other in a different one (we have three, all fairly small). I don’t know if the woman had been pregnant or the child had been recently born or what the circumstances were, but it was quite sad.

We said our good-byes to Marv and went over to the school. We were kept busy at the event we attended, but I couldn’t shake the idea of the dead prostitute. My writerly brain locked onto its own scenario as to how and why this woman was killed.

And who would earnestly look into the murder of a “sporting” woman? I’m sure real-life local authorities investigated, but as a writer, I saw someone else–an outsider with her own secrets to keep–acting on behalf of the dead. She would need to stand up to convention and represent justice for all.

I had always been interested in the women of the suffrage movement and decided my protagonist would be a suffragette. Though they had their faults, I appreciated their bravery and efforts. The person mostly likely to really care about the death of a prostitute would be one who wanted all women treated fairly. She’d be an outsider, having come to Alaska Territory for her own reasons. She’d poke her nose into places it didn’t belong and stir up a few folks. That’s how suffragette and journalist Charlotte Brody was born.

The events and characters in Murder on the Last Frontier are, of course, fictional. I still haven’t hunted down the actual murder that set things off for the series. But I did go through a number of old editions of the local paper and came up with another murder for Charlotte. Borrowing Death (Kensington, July 2016) was also inspired by real events. And the third book Murder on Location employs the real-life occurrence of a movie crew coming to town.

So where do I get my ideas? Pretty much right outside my door.

 

 

Posted in Alaska, books out, Cathy Pegau, Kensington, Murder on the Last Frontier, writing | 2 Comments

MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER Release Day is HERE!!!!

Woo hoo! Today’s the day!!!!! Murder on the Last Frontier is officially out in the wide world!!!

MotLF Cover.jpg

Am I excited? Just a wee bit 🙂

MotLF has been getting some mixed reviews (You can find them at GoodReads and Amazon, mostly) but overall people seem to enjoy the series. The setting, Alaska in 1919, and Charlotte’s identity as a suffragette are often noted as the draw. That’s cool. I like being a little different ; )

Let’s start this grand day with a giveaway of some ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). They aren’t the “out in the store” prints, having the disclaimer of some minor, uncorrected boo-boos, but those who have read them haven’t pointed out issues.

If you’d like an ARC, leave a comment saying so. Make sure there’s viable email address so I can contact you for your mailing address (DO NOT put that in the comment. We don’t want you to have issue.) I am willing to send wherever. Yes, internationally. I’ll give away 5 or 10. We’ll see 😉

Thanks for sharing this with me!

Buy Murder on the Last Frontier on Amazon B&N Kobo and other fine retailers : )

Posted in Alaska, books out, Cathy Pegau, contest, Kensington, Murder on the Last Frontier, Woo hoo | 2 Comments

November?!? How Did THAT Happen???

Crikey Mikey! It’s November! Wasn’t it August just a week ago? Okay, three months ago, but who’s counting?

Live is good here in the Semi-Frozen North. In fact, it truly is semi-frozen now–We got our first snowfall! It’s very pretty and the roads aren’t hellish, so that helps. I prefer easing into winter than getting slammed by it.

So what’s been happening? We got DD1 off to school back east. She’s loving it. It’s odd to have your kid talk about all the adulting they’re doing when you have a tough time getting up the enthusiasm to wear pants on a daily basis. Kid2 is finding life as the only child in the house both rewarding and burdensome. Lots of great attention, but more chores. Hey, someone has to help me find my pants. DH got his moose, so we have meat in the freezer! Always a good thing. Berry picking went well this year too. Looking forward to local cranberries for cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving.

On the authorly front…OMG!!!! Murder on the Last Frontier comes out it two weeks!!!!!

MotLF Cover.jpgWhy yes, I’m a little excited : ) There have been some very lovely reviews at Amazon and GoodReads and such, which I will share soon. I’m grateful to all who have reviewed and will review MotLF, and to those who have pre-ordered and will (hopefully!) pick up a copy.

Please, let me know what you think of the book! Ask me questions about it or Alaska or whatever. Chatting with readers is my favorite part of being an author : )

Posted in Alaska, book coming out, Cathy Pegau, Kensington, Murder on the Last Frontier, writing | 1 Comment