This page includes a little of this and a little of that. Keep scrolling to find links to:

  • where to buy my books
  • writing and reading organizations
  • more information about Leadville, and the times and real-life folks that people the Silver Rush series
  • many, many photographs of the times
  • and way down at the bottom, lists of books for further reading

Where to buy Silver Lies and Iron Ties

If you'd like a signed, personalized copy of any of the Silver Rush books, click here for more information.

The Silver Rush mystery series novels are available from independent bookstores, which you can find at


Here are my local stores, those close to my Colorado haunts, and a few others:

Towne Center Books, Pleasanton CA
High Crimes Mystery Bookshop
The Book Mine, 522 Harrison Ave., Leadville CO
Black Cat Books, Manitou CO
The Book Haven, Salida CO
Murder by the Book, Denver CO
The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale AZ

My publisher
Poisoned Pen Press

As well as places like …
Barnes & Noble


Organizations for writing and reading, mysterious and otherwise

Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter

Mystery Writers of America

Sisters in Crime

Women Writing the West

Western Writers of America

International Thriller Writers

National Association of Science Writers (for writing of a different sort)

DorothyL (Web site for the discussion and idea list for lovers of the mystery genre) (another site for mystery lovers)

Mystery Lovers Corner (yet more mystery)

CrimeThruTime (a site dedicated to historical mysteries)

The Historical Novel Society (for all kinds of historical fiction

Historical mysteries with women sleuths


Of characters, places, and times in the Silver Rush mystery series

Leadville, today and yesterday

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (housed in the high school that my grandmother attended in early 1900s)

Stories about Leadville, as it was

A first-hand account of Leadville and the Roaring Fork region circa 1880



About the railroads . . . .

... and more! The Ted Kierscey Photo Collection has amazing
early photos of Leadville and its railroads, as well as great capsule histories.

A great site for exploring and learning more about the history of the Denver & Rio Grande. Check out the following in particular:

The rivalry (on the rails and in the courts) of the D&RG and the Santa Fe to obtain the right-of-way to Leadville and other mineral-rich areas of the Rockies can be found in Part 7 and Part 8

More about the great railroad war

Some historical photos, pulled together by C.L. Clamp and C.T. Adams, authors of Road to Riches. See the photo of J. A. McMurtrie, chief engineer of the D&RG (who appears, fictionally speaking, in Iron Ties)

The Colorado Railroad Museum where I finally got to go inside and take photos of a bunk car. A wonderful museum and an awesome reference library!

A "how to" for railroad construction


About General William Jackson Palmer . . . .

A biography of General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad


About Ulysses S. Grant . . .

Really, where does one start? How about the Library of Congress and follow the links?

Grant's favorite bourbon? You'll find it in this little history of Abraham Lincoln in Bourbon Country

Details of the private D&RG train that brought Grant to Leadville in August 1880

A bit about Grant's world tour, from 1877-1879

Information on Grant after about 1878 is scarce… maybe this will help someday


About the Civil War
(as pertains to Iron Ties) . . .

Again, there's so much out there. Here's just a few of the sites I found useful.

American Civil War

General Palmer's Civil War exploits

Berdan's Sharpshooters (site of a reenactment group, with detailed information, i.e., a bio of Hiram Berdan, how to care for your Sharps rifle, etc.)

LOTS of books on Berdan's Sharpshooters


Photos and more photos . . .

Western History/Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library. Nearly 100,000 photos on-line. Links to some of my favorites follow, newest first.

When the first trains came to town, it was a very very big deal.

First Denver & Rio Grande trains to Aspen in 1887.

And some of the crowd waiting in the railroad yard

The cover of Iron Ties is actually a portion of this photo, which shows a Denver & Rio Grande construction train at Aspen. This was the first locomotive to reach Aspen, hence all the citizenry. Taken in 1887.

Another of the first train to Aspen, with even more people. Also wooden ties in the foreground.

I'll admit, I became a bit obsessed about finding photos of railroad construction camps.

Central Pacific railroad construction camp circa 1865 (Nevada area).

Possible railroad or survey camp (preparing a meal?), South Park, between 1875-1900.

Old Judge Camp in the Royal Gorge at the time of the construction of the railroad in 1878 and 1879

Union Pacific railroad survey crew members pose in their camp, possibly near Glenwood Springs.

A Denver and Rio Grande Railroad survey team by the Arkansas River, between 1880 and 1890.

A railroad construction camp with tents and men and D&RG tracks near the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, circa 1880s.

D&RG construction camp in Crane Park north of Leadville. Shows domed and banded structures, possibly coke (or charcoal?) ovens, and piles of railroad ties. Mount Massive is in the distance, circa 1880s.

Possible D&RG camp by the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, circa 1880s.

Men working on D&RG railroad tracks, circa 1880s.

Images of Leadville, inside and out, people and places

A great lithograph of Leadville's Chestnut Street, 1879. Appeared in Leslie's Illustrated.

Lithograph of the Clarendon Hotel saloon in Leadville around 1890. Very high-class place.

Another rendering of the Clarendon Hotel Lobby.

Ink rendering of Harrison Avenue, spring of 1880. I love this one!

Harrison Avenue in Leadville, all gussied up with small evergreens, garlands, bunting and an arch. Much the way it's described for General U.S. Grant's visit in 1880.

Decoration Day parade along Harrison, 1884.

Another favorite view of Harrison Avenue, sans snow.

View east along 7th Street to Mosquito Range in distance. Boardwalks, and look at that mud!

Chestnut Street about 1880.

Saloon in Leadville, circa 1880s or so.

View of (possibly) Hyman's Saloon in Leadville. Note the taxidermy on the back wall. Circa 1880s.

Saloon and games of chance in action. Note the picture hangings. Circa 1880.

Hyman's Club circa 1900, from the outside. Complete with dog, loungers, hitching post, and boardwalk.

Interesting interior shot taken in Leadville circa 1880. Title is "Probably an early Leadville Palace." ("Palace" was sometimes a euphemism for brothel.)

Women of a different stripe: Schoolteachers and principal from 9th Street School, Leadville, 1880.

Interior shot of a photography studio in Leadville, between 1880 and 1900.

Silver bullion (lots of it!) and workers at a Leadville smelter in 1880.


More Photos! (From earlier incarnations of this page)

More photos from the Western History/Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library.

Sketch of Leadville in August 1878

"Birds eye" view of Leadville about one year later. (This is my favorite map. I have a reproduction hanging in my office.)

Three miners working at the end of a tunnel using a steel, sledgehammer, and pickaxe. Their work area is lighted by candles and an ore cart track leads away from the worksite.

Harrison Avenue, 1879, with the opera house under construction and the post office visible

State Street in 1880

A photo of a horse-drawn sleigh in Leadville, circa 1880, complete with a dog holding the reins in its teeth

Another view of State Street, during the 1880s

Looking over Leadville rooftops to Carbonate Hill, 1881

Fryer Hill, 1882-ish

California Gulch Leadville showing Helen, Sellers, Mover, & Minnie shaft houses, about 1885

The telephone exchange building on Harrison Avenue, looking up Main Street, photo taken between 1879 and 1884. (Yes, Leadville did indeed have a local telephone system in place in 1879.)

Another interesting site for historical Colorado photos


Madam Silks . . .

Mattie Silks (What's fact and what's fiction? It's hard to know for certain.)

Mattie's House of Mirrors (Mattie's last parlor house, now a banquet hall and nightclub in lower downtown Denver)

A History of Mining in Eagle County, Colorado by Bruce Strasinger. This is a down-loadable pdf file. Not exactly Leadville, but gives a nice overview of a nearby mining area. Includes info on prospecting, hard-rock mining, and a very interesting chapter on financing. Great pictures and a mining glossary.

Penny Dreadfuls and Dime Novels (what character Susan Carothers loves to read)


Looking for non-fiction books about the times, places, and characters from the Silver Rush series?

For Iron Ties, I became obsessed with the Civil War and railroads. Here are some books I found interesting reading.


The Civil War and after

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

Shook over Hell: Post-traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War by Eric T. Dean, Jr.

Shades of Blue and Gray by Herman Hattaway

The Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders by Edward E. Leslie

The Life of Johnny Reb and the Life of Billy Yank by Bell I. Wiley

The Most Fearful Ordeal: Original Coverage of the Civil War by Writers and Reporters of The New York Times with introduction by James. M. McPherson

Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T. J. Stiles

The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War by James. G. Hollandsworth, Jr.

Melting Pot Soldiers: The Union's Ethnic Regiments by William L. Burton

Civil War Chief of Sharpshooters Hiram Berdan: Miliary Commander and Firearms Inventor by Roy Marcot

The Confederate Withworth Sharpshooters by John Anderson Morrow

Bushwhackers by William R. Trotter

All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies by Elizabeth D. Leonard

Grant and Lee by Major General J.F.C. Fuller

Grant by William S. McFeely


Railroads and the men who built them

The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad by Robert Athern

Nothing Like It in the World by Stephen E. Ambrose

Empire Express by David Hayward Bain

Goin' Railroading by Margaret Coel

A Builder of the West by John Fisher


Leadville and Colorado

Leadville: Colorado's Magic City by Edward Blair

Leadville in Rare Photographs and Drawings by Christian J. Buys

Leadville: A Miner's Epic by Stephen M. Voynick

Leadville Architecture. A Legacy of Silver: 1860–1899 by Lawrence Von Bamford and Kenneth R. Tremblay, Jr.

History of Leadville & Lake County, Colorado, by Don and Jean Griswold (warning: over 2000 pages.)

Colorado on Glass: Colorado's First Half Century As Seen by the Camera by Terry Wm. Mangan

Victorian West: Class and Culture in Kansas Cattle Towns by C. Robert Haywood (not exactly Leadville, but a fascinating and thorough look at how "boom towns in boom times" mixed it up with American Victorian mores and ways of life)


Saloons, red-light districts and ways of the West

The Saloon on the Rocky Mountain Frontier by Elliott West

Hell's Belles: Denver's Brides of the Multitudes by Clark Secrest (there's quite a bit on Mattie Silks in this)

Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend by Robert K. DeArment Whiskey, Six-guns & Red-light Ladies: George Hand's Saloon Diary, Tucson, 1875–1878 Edited by Neil Carmony (what was it REALLY like to be a saloon-owner in the 1870s? This day-by-day diary lays it all out.)

Gold Diggers & Silver Miners: Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstock Lode by Marion S. Goldman

The Wicked West: Boozers, Cruisers, Gamblers and More by Sherry Monahan


Want to know more about what life was like for women in the West? Try these.

A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West by Mary Hallock Foote

Cripple Creek Days by Mabel Barbee Lee

Tomboy Bride by Harriet Fish Backus

Doc Susie. The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies by Virginia Cornell

Father Struck It Rich by Evalyn Walsh McLean

The Life of An Ordinary Woman by Anne Ellis

Gambler's Wife. The Life of Malinda Jenkins by Malinda Jenkins

No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland

On Sidesaddles to Heaven: The Women of the Rocky Mountain Mission by Laurie Winn Carlson

First Governor, First Lady by Joyce B. Lohse

Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Colorado: A Practical Primer for Daily Living compiled and edited by Carol Padgett, Ph.D.

If you have other suggestions for sites or books, please email me.

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