Meet Red Hill

While I’m developing Book 3, and there isn’t much to share yet, here are some reference photos I thought  you might find interesting.


This photo, courtesy of the Niagara Falls Public Library, shows the incline on the American side that takes you down to the base of the American Falls. In the upper right, you can see part of the Horseshoe Falls. Some ice bridges freeze the surface all the way to the Horseshoe Falls. The 1912 ice bridge was a frozen strip from the incline across the river to the Canadian side. The huge mounds of snow at the base of the falls are actually formed from freezing mist. People used to ride sleds down those slopes!

Ice Bridge with Shanties.

Ice Bridge with Shanties.

Here is a better shot of the ice bridge. As you can see, the shanties are lined up from one shore to the other. The incline on the far shore is in the USA, next to the American Falls. So, how would you like to take a stroll with me out across the ice bridge to buy a snooker of whiskey or a photo of a stuntman? Haha, just kidding.

Red Hill and son

Red Hill and son

This is Red Hill, the guy on the left with all the medals. His son is to the right. Red is legendary as the Riverman. Kind of a River Whisperer, if you will. He and his family are responsible for countless rescues and body recoveries in the Niagara. Red was a dare devil, too. He shot the rapids in a barrel that took him down to the whirlpool, and survived.

Book 3 starts out with Red, as he prepares his souvenir shanty to be set out on the ice bridge. Burrell and Iggy are still on the train, just passing the Erie Station in North East, PA. and soon approaching Buffalo, NY.

Red Hill was quite a character, and I hope to capture that in both the text and the pictures, although it would take volumes to tell his whole story. I’d like this section of the book to be a small biopic of Red, who was also a hero at the ice bridge of 1912 and who really deserves a book of his own!


Advent and Comixology

Today is the beginning of Advent, a time of anticipation and hope. May your Advent be full of blessings, ending with a glorious Christmas, the birthday of Christ.

As I work on Book 2 of Hecock, I look forward to the exciting day I ship eighty five books all over the world, to my Kickstarter Backers. The next step is to come up with new ways to put my books in the hands of more readers. While word-of-mouth is one of the most effective tools, (and I thank you sincerely for any promotion of “Hecock” books and blog, from you to your friends and relatives,) something more global is called for.

Therefore, I am exploring where they sell web comics that can be read on tablets, computers or even smart phones. The books must pass approval, and I’ll keep you posted. Take a look at my new company logo for Miller House Publishers, which is required by Comixology.


Web comics are a great alternative to printed comics if you 1. do not want to store books, and 2. want to spend less per book (print version is $9.99, web comic $2.99)

To find my books at Comixology, you will be able to search by Title, Publisher, or Creator, so please spread the word as soon as “Hecock” gets approved. Of course, all books will be available in print from this blog, or,,, or of Columbus, OH.

Looking forward to December and all its wonders!

A Photo Journal of Our Expedition

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Oh, boy! Lots to show and tell. It started with a beautiful drive from Houston, PA to New York State Parks History office in Lewiston (Just down stream from the Falls) to meet Carol Rogers in person. She was instrumental in researching the Schoellkopf Power Plant. After a 200 ft elevator ride to the Gorge level, our […]

Niagara, Here We Come!

Next weekend Jay and I will be touring the Falls area with artist friends Rose and Jim Gauss and Patrick the Bootlegger: catching some awesome fireworks over the Falls in Victoria Park, tasting some wine (at more than one vineyard, I’m sure) and ending the trip with a stroll through the Grand Canadian Steam Punk Exposition! Patrick has some surprises in store for us, I hear. One of them is “sticking us on the Maid of the Mist” and a walk out onto the bridge where locals tried desperately to rescue Burrell Hecock. If I have the courage to look down, I’ll try to pry my fingers off the railing long enough to take some photos of the river below. Yes, I’m afraid of heights. (But my husband is afraid of widths, so we make a good team.) During the visit, I hope to run into Dan Hill, grandson of the renowned stuntman/riverman Red Hill. Should be a hoot!

In the mean time, take a gander at my latest (but not quite finished) character poster: Jules McLaughlin, Voice of the Falls. She will be my fictional newspaper reporter who just happens to be there to do a feature on Ice Bridge Fashion Wear. I think she finds out that Grappling Irons are the latest must-have accessory.

Jules poster


Micmac, Paddywack

mainecampfireOkay, the words to that ol’ tune are actually “Nick Nack, Paddywack,” but most of you are too young to even know the song.

I’m going on a hunting expedition soon, to MAINE! Hunting what? you ask. Legends, facts, pictures, experiences, moose, and anything that walks in range of my camera!

It all has to do with Finzel. You know Finzel… you met her in a previous post, a possible love interest of Burrell Hecock. She is part Micmac Indian, from Nova Scotia. I have to research her background from Maine because I was too lazy to get a passport in time, and therefore can’t go to the peninsula, but I’m going to get as close as possible…  right across the bay in Acadia National Park.

My husband, my dog and I will be kayaking around a huge crystal clear lake, pretending to be turn of the century Micmacs, roasting turn of the century marshmallows over a nice hot fire! Okay, I’m not sure they had marshmallows back then, but I don’t want to roast some poor squirrel! Wish me luck in my hunting, and pray that we don’t burn down the state!

Found the Ol’ Choochoo!

Took a day trip last weekend to North East, PA where we found a wonderful little train museum for… ta da! the Lake Shore Railroad! They have two passenger cars that are identical to the one in which our hero Hecock traveled to Niagara Falls, NY. I’d like to share a few photos I took of the INSIDE of the cars (I’m so excited!)

All of the seats had a private room with their own toilet. That’s better than what we get today! Some of the rooms could open up to the next to create a small suite. You’ll see this one in Chapter 3.

Isn’t this a fantastic rail car? It was always the last car on the passenger trains and was primarily used by celebrities and Presidents and such. But if it wasn’t occupied, I think it would have made a great viewing car. It’s in this car that something mysterious takes place in Chapter 3.

And Luck of All Luck… the museum had a display case of nothing but train passes! I found an authentic RR employee’s pass that would have been extremely similar to one given to Hecock for his trip. He worked for the Lake Shore Rail, ya know? Want to hear something spooky? The name on the pass is J. Miller. That’s my husband’s name!!!    (I can almost hear the theme song to the Outer Limits playing.) Well, back to work!