THE BOOKS

In THE PICKLE BOAT HOUSE a grieving mother struggles to maintain priceless bonds in a world where everything is a commodity. Death has quietly stalked and recruited Vanessa Hardy into the club no woman wants to join--mothers who have lost a child. Her life spins down into a vortex as maternal grief and corporate greed collide in a twisting tale about the human soul and what it means to love eternally.For over eighty years, the Chesapeake Bay community of Nevis has sat in obscurity after its heyday as a resort at the end of the rail line. Although the carousel is long gone, and the train depot boarded and peeling, Nevis silently screams location. When corporate forces recognize the town's value, Vanessa risks losing everything that she holds dear.As dreams and schemes unfold, the main characters begin a slow dance with all of their human frailties. Allegiances are tested, betrayal inevitable as womanizing Ryan Thomas fends off Hector Young, Jr., a jealous, sabotaging co-worker with daddy issues, and falls in love with a grieving Vanessa. Ryan and Vanessa's potentially redeeming love becomes complicated when they come to a shocking revelation
In BAYSIDE BLUES Ryan Thomas has a successful pub in the Chesapeake Bay town of Nevis, a girlfriend he adores, and a new life away from his criminal past. Everything is perfect until he discovers that second chances are not free, and what he owes is too steep a price to pay. In a case of mistaken identity, the pub owner fights for his soul against a job-weary immortal who believes the time has come to pay up for past roguish ways--including his own.

Hamelin Russell denies he is an angel, but will admit to being immortal. Ryan Thomas doesn’t care who he is. He just wants Hamelin to take his Damocles aurascope, stop tormenting him and disappear back into the ether. Instead, Ryan finds himself thrust into a cosmic game where the rules are stacked against him, and a poor showing will send him hurtling on an express train straight to hell.

“I get a little rogue when I’m bored—limits my career potential, but what can you do?”

---Hamelin Russell---

It’s 1901, and the fading bayside town of Nevis, Maryland is about to become home to a grand amusement park. As track foreman for the Chesapeake Railway Express, Irishman Patrick Byrne is doing his part, but what he really wants is a desk job with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A promised bonus could make his dream a reality. He just needs to keep the rail line open so uppity Lawrence Carr and the Bayside Partnership can bring in freight, build their Bayland Park and beat the opening of the amusement park at Sandy Point. A seemingly straightforward task becomes complicated as unrelenting rain, maintenance of way issues, and an uneasy peace with the Germans in town threaten to keep Byrne permanently walking the rails.

The old brick church at Parkers Wharf has endured the ravages of time and a War of 1812 naval bombardment, but can it survive the fallout from a 1920’s liquor war?

Jackson Dwyer would be hard pressed to remember the last time he attended church. But he has pined for Camilla McClelland—the teetotaling sweetheart who jilted him—for over thirty years, and fought the urge to drink for almost as long. He’s respected, financially secure, and energized by the prospect of marketing Ollie the Oyster crackers. And then, with Prohibition on the horizon, he is elected mayor and his life turns upside down. The bayside town of Nevis is overwhelmed by bootleggers, sniping temperance forces, and rumrunners seeking riches at any cost. With a tenacious reporter digging for a career-defining scoop, and racketeers knocking on his door, Mayor Dwyer struggles to strike a balance between Prohibition, the needs of the community, and his personal ethics.
Hamelin Russell would be the first to admit he is an immortal who enjoys flying by the seat of his razor-creased khakis. Well, maybe “flying” isn’t quite the word. It gives the wrong connotation, of wings, angels. He isn’t that sort, but he does have a heavenly affiliation. He’s a transporter of souls—a portal to the afterlife, one could say—to the lovely and celestial, or the ugly and hellish. He’s even found a loophole in the soul-runner’s instruction manual allowing him to give a dying mortal a second chance at life, a mulligan of sorts. But playing fast and loose with rules doesn’t play well with management. He’s been chastised, reassigned, and demoted more times than anyone else in his unit. When he’s placed on final probation, and a jealous peer sets his sight on ruining his career, Hamelin must cover his back and right as many of his wrongs as time will allow. Against the backdrop of a world-wide bar contest, he sets off to take the lives of all the mulligans he has created. The most difficult will be the Maryland pub owner he’s grown fond of. Can he transport him into the afterlife, or should he advise the mortal to run for his life and never look back?
 
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In 1922, private investigator Tatum “Shoe” Shoemaker—fresh off a sensational case and a Pulitzer Prize nomination—finds himself working in a bad section of Washington, D.C., and drowning in debt. So when a well-heeled solicitor offers a substantial retainer to solve the brutal murder of a wealthy industrialist’s daughter, he jumps at the chance.

 

Against the advice of his girlfriend-cum-wise-cracking assistant, Shoe decides to risk potential retribution from elected officials and return to Nevis, Maryland—the bayside town that ran him out six months earlier for exposing corruption in government. But his hope of solving his new case is immediately imperiled when he learns archrival Rudy Becker has been retained on the same case. Clues pile up without connection as neither investigator fully trusts the other, and each withholds information vital to solving the case. Soon, both investigators find themselves prime suspects in the murder, and they must either learn to work together with complete trust, or one of them will certainly go down for the murder.

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In 1849, soul runner Hamelin Russell arrived in Baltimore, Maryland to transport Edgar Allan Poe’s soul into the afterlife. A lover of the arts, Hamelin had a change of heart and gave the author a second chance at life in exchange for finishing his magnum opus. One hundred and seventy-two years later, Hamelin returns to find the author hopelessly blocked, his dark muse stolen by the grandson of Pandora, and the manuscript unfinished. 

Hamelin must find a way to get Poe’s muse back, help him finish his masterpiece, and then transport the author into the afterlife without alerting his supervisors. If it’s found out that Hamelin has created another second chancer, he will face almost certain damnation. Hamelin believes he can get the muse back, but when the soul runner gets shanghaied to hell by a vindictive demon, and the 12th Angelic Corps is dispatched to retrieve him, Hamelin’s damnation seems like it might be inevitable.