Thursday, March 1, 2012

History and Mystery on KFUN/KLVF

Marcus Gottschalk is a deeply passionate historian who is spending hours on research and corroboration of the information he is collecting for the third edition of "Pioneer Merchants of Las Vegas," a book he says will continue to validate his belief that Las Vegas was the Southwest's most important commercial center for yearly 30 years in the late 19th century.

In his Tuesday interview it became clear that gathering new information is both exhilarating and critical. Marcus has studied the work of other respected historians like Dr. Lynn Perrigo and Dr. Anselmo Arellano, to gain background. A contributing factor in the development of the area was the convergence of major trade routes that brought hundreds of people to Las Vegas, some of whom settled, opened businesses and prospered.

As a conscientious researcher Marcus wants to make sure that when he publishes his information is accurate and can be substantiated. "But I can guarantee you, that as soon as you publish anything to do with history, he said, someone will come forward with documents that question your conclusions."

That perhaps is the incentive that drives Marcus to look deeper into the past and find out what makes Las Vegas the community it is today.

The 2nd edition of Pioneer Merchants of Las Vegas is no longer available for sale, but you can read it at Carnegie Library, Donnelly Library and at the Citizens' Committee for Historic Preservation office on Bridge Street.

From Marcus' bio: Since 1996 Gottschalk has researched and written about numerous significant people and events of Las Vegas' past. Gottschalk's historical viewpoints are solidly based upon documentary evidence, though he is not timid in addressing controversial topics. Gottschalk holds a Master of Arts in Public Affairs from New Mexico Highlands University and has actively sought to preserve many significant Las Vegas buildings, historical photographs and artifacts.

Elizabeth Spann Craig is a southern woman to the bone and her experiences growing up around other strong southern women have served her well. Her cozy mystery Myrtle Clover series about an octogenarian with stubborn determination and a knack for solving murders, is gaining a growing number of readers. The character, patterned after Elizabeth's grandmother, plants armies of gnomes on her lawn to let her son the police chief - who lives across the street - know when she's not happy with him for meddling in her affairs.

Writing under the name Riley Adams Elizabeth created the Memphis Barbeque series about which Publishers Weekly wrote: A sassy first in a new series from Adams. Book one, Delicious and Suspicious, has a food scout from a cable cooking channel showing up at Aunt Pat's, the restaurant owned by Lulu Taylor. When the scout is murdered, Lulu takes it personally, but danger lurks as she investigates the crime.

Murder gets worked into the plot of Quilt or Innocence, the first in Elizabeth's Quilting Mystery series due out in June.

As a mom and wife, where does Elizabeth find the time to write? She gets up around 4:30 and knocks out her page goal before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. And she doesn't allow "waiting time" to be wasted time. "If I'm waiting in the doctors office I take out my notebook and write down ideas about scenes or characters.

She also writes Mystery Writing is Murder, a blog for writers that covers a wide variety of information. She has even blogged about her Tuesday interview and suggested guidelines for other authors booked for radio programs.

She and another writer, Mike Fleming, partnered to create Writer's Knowledge Base, a search engine "helping you find the best writings on writing." I typed "character development" in the search box and got back 1093 hits with information on that subject. For writers, it's another tool in your tool box.

For more about Elizabeth and her books go to

Be sure and tune in next week when my guests will be Martha Egan, author of “An Apricot Year,” the story of a middle-aged woman whose life undergoes dramatic changes forcing her to start over, and Gayle Gross, a creative mind on a mission to change lives with 10 Day Book Club.

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