Lifeway Book Signing in Bellevue

May 17, 2009

Lifeway Store Signing

Yesterday I took part in the National Fiction Day celebrated by the chain of Lifeway book stores. I traveled eight hours round trip to Bellevue, WA and signed books for about 2 1/2 hours. We had a good turn out, especially considering the manager feels that it’s a poor location for walk in traffic. He was quite excited about the number of books sold and signed, and said it was the best one they’ve hosted to date. The store will be relocating in September and he’s asked me to return, as it will be situated in a busy shopping area.

The bottom 2 rows are all Love Finds You titles!

The bottom 2 rows are all Love Finds You titles!

The second picture shows the wonderful display of new releases. As you can see, over half of the titles are Summerside books!

The people at the store were lovely and gracious, and it was a pleasure meeting them and chatting with their customers. I do hope to return again in the future.

Miralee Ferrell


Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

May 16, 2009

I’m tickled that Summerside Press is trusting me with a second title for their wonderful Love Finds You series. “Bridal Veil, Oregon” releases  Feb. 1st, next year, and will be another historical…set in 1902.

Bridal Veil is pretty much a ghost town now, with only a tiny P.O., a church and a handful of homes where a once vibrant sawmill town existed. My story will take place at the turn of the century when logging and milling were at their height.

Here’s a little ‘teaser’ to whet your appetite, and a couple of pictures of the falls and the present day P.O.

Amidst a backdrop of thievery and murder in historic Bridal Veil, Oregon, a teacher is torn between memories of a distant love and the man who could be her future.
Can’t wait to show you the book cover when I get an official copy! I’m loving how this book is shaping up!!   Blessings to you all, Miralee Ferrell

Taken fall of 2008...aren't the fall colors pretty?

Taken fall of 2008...aren't the fall colors pretty?

BV Post Office

First Love Finds You Releasing! Wahoo!!

October 28, 2008

Can you tell I’m just a little excited? A few days ago I ordered the first four books in the Love Finds You series. I can’t wait until they come and I can start reading the first release by my fellow Summerside Sister. I was so thrilled to see the first two books showed up on Christian Book Dist., online.

Has anyone seen either of the October releases in a store yet, or is it too soon? Anyone recieved their books yet? I’m waiting to see some reviews pop up on the first two releases….maybe our ‘Sisterhood’ can support each other that way, by reading and reviewing one another’s books on Amazon and CBD.

Anyone who’s read either of the October releases, how about posting here? I’m guessing the readers who visit this blog would love to hear your thoughts.

Miralee Ferrell (who’s book is releasing in Feb., and she can hardly wait!)

Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA

Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA

Photos Of Last Chance Area

June 19, 2008

I’ve had several people ask if I’m going to post pictures from our trip. Rachel figured out how to do so, and it looks like I’ll be the first to try.

This first picture is of my husband Allen and I on what used to be the main (and only) street in Last Chance. The second is a wider shot of the same area. It’s grown up with trees now and very little is left of the old town site. The evidence of a few foundations, the old cemetery, the spring that the town drew water from, and a few old posts are about all that remain.

On The Main Street of Last Chance Ghost Town Current Day Main Street of Last Chance

The next photo on the top is the same area in 1862, just fifteen years prior to when my story takes place. The Last Chance Hotel is the third building down the street, on the left side. I’m not sure what the other two businesses are, but one is probably the general or dry goods store. The building in the far distance on the right (you can barely see a flag pole) may be the school/community building. It had two stories and the second story was used for community functions.
Main Street Last Chance, CA Front View of Last Chance Hotel The photo on the bottom is a close up of the Last Chance Hotel with a pack train standing patiently in front. When the picture was taken there was no good wagon route into town and goods were only brought in by pack train. By the time my story takes place there was a very long, round-about route into town that a wagon could use, but pack trains were still prefered. The top floor of the hotel was a large bunk type room and could only be accessed by the ladder outside. It’s doubtful any ladies ever chose to stay there, but miners, mule team drivers, and other men were able to obtain lodging at the hotel. A candy store and barber shop flanked the main hotel in the small buildings on each side.

Remnants of a Corral Meadow With Springs

The picture on the top: We found four old corner posts of what appeared to be a corral, just a stones throw from a pretty meadow. A spring lay on the edge of the meadow and our archaeologist guide guessed that the corral could be a holding pen for the blacksmith shop. It contained broken pieces of square nails, used prior to 1895.

Picture on the bottom: This meadow/glade is mentioned in 1860’s diary entries as being just outside of town and having a small apple orchard for the town use. It’s not far behind main street (about 100 yards or so) and has a gurgling spring with substantial run-off. Unfortunately in the past few years, a vandal cut down the few 150+ year old still producing apple trees that were standing on the edge of the meadow.

Last Chance Cemetery E. Allen tombstone

On the top: Only a very few intact headstones remain in the Last Chance cemetery, but all are clearly marked. Two are damaged, but all show either names, dates or both. All but one are dated prior to 1890.

On the bottom: The Tombstone of Ethan Allen Grosh, the man who first found gold on Sun Mountain that later became the famous Comstock lode. He died a tragic death in Last Chance before being able to prove up on his claim.

This ends my photo gallery for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek into the history of Last Chance. Be sure to watch for the release of my book next February, when you’ll find out even more about this fascinating town from our past and the fictional people who could have lived there!

We Made It! Last Chance, At Last!

June 8, 2008

My husband Allen and I arrived at the Sacramento airport early Thursday afternoon, then drove up I-80 to Auburn, across to the small historic town of Foresthill, and on another 13 miles up into the Sierra Nevada mountains to a wonderful B&B/lodge called The Christmas Tree Vineyard Lodge. Our hostess is Claudia, the owner and manager of the lodge and she’s made us feel welcome and has gone out of her way to be a help to me on this research trip.

Prior to my arrival she contacted people in the local historical group and was given the name of Nolan Smith, an archaeologist who works for Tahoe National Forest as a ranger. He offered to ride with us today up to the old town site of Last Chance, but first we spent 30 minutes or so in his office going over forest service maps of Placer county and particularly the area between Foresthill and Last Chance.

Before we even got out the door, he’d armed me with several books that have short bits of information on the old town, and urged me to keep them during our stay at the lodge. At his suggestion we’d rented an SUV with a higher wheel base as he hadn’t been into the old town site this spring and wasn’t sure what the road might be like.

We drove 24 miles at 25 mph and less, down a steep canyon on serpentine roads, then back up the other side to the top of a high ridge. We topped out on the ridge and began to go down the other side another nine miles on a gravel road, losing about 1,000′ in elevation until arriving in the vicinity of Last Chance. On the ridge to the east of town is a flat forested area well over a mile in length. According to historical records it used to be a flat, grassy glade with little or no trees, about two miles outside of town…a perfect setting for the ranch where Alexia lives.

Unfortunately, there isn’t even a foundation still standing where any buildings used to be, but we were able to see several leveled areas, with at least 3 that had surfaces dug into the bank. It was apparent a building had resided in those spots…and one area not far from a beautiful spring had the remnants of what could have been a split rail corral. A few of the posts still had square nails protruding from the sides. According to Nolan, those nails would be pre-1890’s—and could easily have been a corral where my blacksmith/livery kept the horses.

We also visited the few remaining tombstones in the cemetery up on a rise above the town site. Ethan Allen Grosch, the man who first discovered the Comstock lode, died in a tragic accident and was buried there in the 1850’s. His tombstone is clearly marked, along with several others both earlier and later.

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Michigan Bluff, a very small town where Justin (our hero in my book) will be driving his wagon through on his way to Last Chance. We’ll also stop by the library, museum and historical society in Foresthill, as it’s the closest real town to Last Chance with any facilities or businesses.

I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to see the topography, the setting for the town and learn more detail about the time period and history my book takes place. When we return home I’ll be back at my manuscript with a renewed excitement! Stay tuned for more updates as I happen to stumble upon them.

New Findings For Last Chance

May 21, 2008

I’m very excited that the Lord is putting together some wonderful contacts for me down in the Last Chance area. My husband and I fly out in a little over two weeks, and can hardly wait to explore the area and dig into the local history.

We’ll be staying at a small lodge just 4 miles (as the crow flies) from the old ghost town, but 24 miles by road (there’s a deep canyon between that has to be driven around). Thankfully, I’ve been corresponding with the owner of the lodge who is supplying me with maps of the area and ideas of what to visit. She’s also contacted a local Archaeologist who works for the Forest Service and knows the area well. He’s offered to ride with us to the old town site and give us as much information as possible. We’ll be visiting local museums and checking into newspaper archives, if any date back far enough.

Then, we’ll be driving to the Nevada line and covering the old historical route that my hero Justin would have transversed. We’ll stay three days in that area, then return to Sacramento and home. I’ll be taking pictures and posting updates while there, if we’re able (to post pics here).

I’m so excited about this new book and the opportunity to explore the area where it takes place!

Last Chance, California

May 11, 2008

My book is centered around the ghost town of Last Chance, Ca. It was once a booming mining town, situated high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, about 2 hours NE of Sacramento, in what at the time was the southern part of the Oregon Territory.

My story takes place in the late 1800’s and will encompass the town as well as the surrounding high mountain valley, where Alexia, our heroine lives and raises horses.

My husband and I are taking a trip to the old town site of Last Chance in early June to research the area and see how much history we can unearth. We’ll be staying at a nearby lodge and walking the final 2-3 miles to the town site, as we understand it can only be accessed with a 4×4. We’re flying in to Sacramento and renting a car, and may not be able to acquire something that will straddle the deep ruts in the road. We’re hoping the snow will be melted off the trails by then, as Last Chance sits at the 5,000′ elevation. Most winters the town would get so much snow that the miners weren’t able to obtain supplies. They either had to move to lower elevations, or pack them from Deadwood, seven miles away through the heavy snows.

I’ll be posting a report of what I find in the area while we’re visiting there, and hopefully a picture or two, as well.

Miralee Ferrell, author of Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA.