As promised in my last post, here is an excerpt from Ghost Creek.

“The Boys,” as they were known to most, had, for all intents and purposes, assumed control of the geology department by the time they reached their junior year at Huron College. Since freshman year either one or the other had held each principal office in the geology club, including president, vice president, and treasurer. Out of respect for Garret and Nick’s influence in both club and department matters, most underclassman geology majors looked to them for advice and leadership. Garret was alive, really alive. For the first time in his life he was on his own with a friend who had no pre-conceived notions of, or expectations for him. His transformation from an insecure boy to a reserved, self-confident young man was so complete, thanks to Aunt Carol, that he even summoned the courage to pledge the Chi Zeta Rho social fraternity with Nick the spring semester of their freshman year. Making his life all the more enjoyable was the fact that those terrible voices had not haunted him for the better part of two years now.

Garret and Nick participated in a wide range of department activities, including the arrangement of the annual department field trip held each October during fall break, along with professors Simmons and Hamilton. The boys were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the previous two field trips, which included emerald collecting in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and a visit to Garret’s old stomping grounds, the copper mines on the Keweenaw Peninsula portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If Garret was adversely affected by returning to his estranged birthplace, he didn’t confide such feelings to anyone. In fact, Nick was only vaguely aware that Garret’s parents—or siblings, for that matter—might still be living in the area.

Until next time,



Ghost Creek Back Story

Fresh on the heels of my 15 minutes of fame after having published a peer-reviewed article in the The Mineralogical Record about the geology and mineralogy of an Indiana geode locality, I then got the foolhardy notion to write a full-fledged novel. It was January 8, 1991 and I was three years removed from grad school, working as a geologist for an environmental consulting company at a time when being published (as I was told) was required for advancement to certain more lofty levels and having just published something others found even remotely interesting was reason for some serious cred around the water cooler. Needless to say I didn’t have the slightest idea on how to start or what I was about to get myself into. I did, however, have the good sense to follow a colleague’s advice and write about something that I both knew and enjoyed.

That evening I had the apartment to myself and with a tablet of paper in hand and a Flyers game on the TV, I lounged on the couch and set my mind to thinking about what to write. Being a recent addition to the workforce, I still had a lot of stuff learned from my geology classes still swimming around in my head and I certainly did love every minute of my college experience (well, mostly), so I thought what better story could there be than an action thriller about a college student who schemes a way to appropriate an abandoned mine he finds on his school’s field camp property for his own personal gain? Field camp was a required field course for all geology majors and mine consisted of a month spent tramping about Colorado countryside in the shadow of Pikes Peak looking for rock formation contacts and making maps. With so many wonderful memories of that experience to draw from, I was certain that I could create a really cool story.

Now back to that I had no idea about how to start said thing mentioned above: I paid no heed to what I didn’t know, dove right in and started to write as the thoughts jumped into my head. I envisioned the main character a student and named him Garret Sutton after the first and last names of several acquaintances. I also decided it best to begin the story with a troubled youth to explain (or was it justify?) why he’d attempt such a foolhardy stunt. By the end of that first night I’d jotted down several pages of chicken scratches and Ghost Creek was born. Nearly two years and 738 printed pages later, I finished the first draft on December 4, 1992. It was a most exhilarating feeling—a real life moment complete. Along the way the manuscript would take many twists and turns—and continue to change during the typing and editing process, which took another couple of years to complete. Along the way characters were created as others drifted out of the story; some whose personalities took on a life of their own didn’t make it through to the end, while others lived on to fight another day; one hero was replaced by an entirely new character, and the tale took on an increasingly darker tone the deeper I descended along with Garret down his path of destruction at the hands of the Ghost Creek curse. All told it was a tremendous growing experience for me as well as the characters that can never be equaled because I was experiencing everything for the first time: all of the wonderment, the what ifs? The many I never saw that coming revelations. Somewhere down the road I’ll delve a little deeper into some of the changes that occurred along the way. But for the next post, how about a few excerpts from the book?

Until then, I hope you get to enjoy some fair springtime weather that’s finally here. Cheers!

— Rick

Hello again fellow readers

It’s been a shade over two months now since my last post so let me start by extending my most humble apologies. It’s been a crazy busy eight weeks that resulted in our moving to that family cabin property in Northwestern Pennsylvania referenced under the Author tab on my web site at www.rickleybooks.com. It’s a restful spot on the lower middle section of the Allegheny River in Venango County where there’s a better than even chance to see an eagle soar overhead on most days and where it’s Friday every day. 😉 To all of you who helped us in one way or another, we cannot express how much we appreciate your efforts and support.

Jolie Rouge continues to be received very well and I’m glad to see that a couple of you were kind enough to offer words of praise on Amazon, and to that I say—Thank You!

As mentioned in my last post on Groundhog’s Day, I plan to introduce—or reintroduce as the case may be—my first book, Ghost Creek, in preparation for the forthcoming sequel Reckoning at Little Bear—or RLB. I’m almost one hundred pages into the first draft of RLB now and the plot is unfolding nicely. Stay tuned for future posts with insight into the premise, characters, and progress of the story.

Until the next time,

— Rick