More social distancing book deals

To help give people something to do while they’re staying home, my publisher has put a number of paperback books on sale for $1.99 (far below the author or wholesaler discount!), including my books Born to Treason and The Haunting of Springett Hall. Free shipping on orders over $35.

I also have another ebook on sale now. My middle-grade novel, The Bone Map, is 99 cents on Amazon for the next week.

If Huang-Fu doesn’t find gold, he won’t make it out of the Utah desert alive.

Huang-Fu just wants to survive his job digging for gold with Eugene Hansen so he can go home to California or maybe even China. But when outlaws shoot Eugene, the old prospector sends Huang-Fu running with a map carved in bone. The map may lead Huang-Fu to an incredible treasure, but everyone else who carried the map has died. The outlaws are on his trail, and his only allies also want the treasure. Will Huang-Fu survive the curse of the bone map?

Fans of Treasure Island will enjoy this treasure hunt set among the gold miners, gunslingers, and Pony Express riders of the Old West.

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Explore the world in your pajamas

As we’re all looking for ways to spend our social distancing time, I’m joining with many other authors to offer discounted ebooks to people looking to get away in their imaginations while we can’t go anywhere in person. And if anyone has found any online resources they love, please post them in the comments for others (the Google Arts & Culture virtual tours are great, for instance – I took my kids to the British Museum yesterday).

My newest book, Wishwood, is on sale this weekend.

Kate agrees to an arranged marriage with the mysterious Thomas Westwood to save her family’s estate, but not everyone welcomes her at Wishwood, her husband’s crumbling manor. The family members talk about a curse, lights move through the ruins at night, and Kate’s maid won’t spend the night in the house. Thomas is hiding something from Kate as well, but as she grows closer to him, a series of accidents makes her suspect that someone is willing to kill to keep Wishwood’s secrets buried in the past.

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In addition, my WWII novella, Letters from the Homefront, is 99 cents for the next five days.

War doesn’t end on the battlefield.

December 1944. Evie’s older brother, Albert, is missing in action in the Pacific Theater, and every day she sees the horrible effects of World War II while working at Bushnell Military Hospital in Utah. Being a medical secretary seems like a small effort in the face of the war, but she’s proud to be part of Bushnell’s experiment with an important new weapon in the fight: penicillin. Posters cover the walls, reminding the employees to watch out for spies, but when Evie realizes that some of her files are missing, her supervisors think she’s being careless. It’s up to Evie and amputee veteran Glenn to find out who at the hospital is hiding a dangerous secret before tragedy strikes the hospital.

Inspired by real events at Bushnell Hospital in Brigham City, Utah.

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Stay well and stay kind!

 

The not-so-Spanish Flu of 1918

Since we’re all thinking about pandemics right now, I’ve been reading again about the 1918 Influenza, which may be the last time a pandemic caused this much global chaos. It’s too early to really compare Covid-19 and the 1918 Influenza, but knowing a little about what happened in 1918 might help us face 2020 with cooler heads.

First, the influenza wasn’t really Spanish. In fact, it probably started in the United States and spread overseas because of the movements of troops involved in World War I. The reason it was called the Spanish Flu was that Spain, which stayed neutral in the war, was one of the few countries that reported the truth about the devastation of the disease. The combatant countries, including the United States, tried to downplay the influenza outbreak to boost morale. Of course, newspapers’ declarations that the dangers were small or already past probably didn’t make people feel any better as they watched loved ones get ill and even die. If people trusted newspapers before, the Influenza pandemic made them much more skeptical about believing everything they read.

About 500,000 million people across every part of the world are estimated to have caught the 1918 Influenza (out of a population of close to 2 billion, so almost a quarter of all humans), and 25 to 50 million to have died, making the death toll 1 to 2% of the global population (In comparison, the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed 30 to 60% of the populations it infected). Young adults were hit the worst, perhaps because their robust immune systems violently overreacted to the virus. More US soldiers died of the Influenza than from the war itself, though wartime conditions may have weakened people’s resistance. With large numbers of unprepared people getting sick and dying at once, some large US cities had to bury the dead in mass graves.

Because so many doctors and nurses were serving in the war, cities in the United States saw a shortage of medical professionals to care for the sick, with stories circulating of nurses being kidnapped to care for ill families (though how these desperately sick people supposedly forced the nurses to stay is unclear). Regardless, as in 2020, the medical professionals and other essential service providers made heroic efforts to help communities overwhelmed by illness.

Below: Overflowing influenza hospital ward, courtesy of the Library of Congress

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Wearing masks was extremely popular as a way to try to prevent the flu from spreading. Evidence suggests it did not work.

Our ancestors from 1918 eventually practiced social distancing, too, and that did work to slow the spread of the disease. Public gatherings were banned, and schools and universities closed, some being converted to temporary hospitals. This was so successful in some places that by Christmas of 1918, officials decided to relax the rules for the holiday. This led to a new outbreak of the disease at the beginning of 1919. As an example of how social distancing could protect a population, remote Kane County in southern Utah did not see any deaths from the 1918 Influenza until February of 1920, just as the pandemic was winding down.

To learn more about the 1918 “Spanish Flu” pandemic, I recommend John Barry’s The Great Influenza.

Below: Image of a masked mail carrier during the 1918 Influenza pandemic, courtesy of US National Archives.

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