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Friday, May 03, 2013

Susan Page Davis and What a Picture's Worth


SUSAN PAGE DAVIS is the author of more than forty novels, including the Prairie Dreams, Ladies’ Shooting Club, and Frasier Island series, and selected books in the Patchwork Mysteries, Miracles of Marble Cove, Texas Trails, and Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series. She is a native of Maine, now living in western Kentucky. To learn more about Susan and her books, visit:

by Susan Page Davis
Published by Annie's Books


One of the most successful vendors in Shannon’s craft market is Fredo Benson, an eccentric and moody painter. All goes well until Shannon goes to his loft one evening to turn out lights and discovers detailed sketches of her home—sketches of the gardens, the mansion she inherited from her grandmother, and most concerning, items from inside the mansion.

That night her craft store is broken into, but nothing appears to be stolen. The following morning, Fredo doesn’t show up for an art class he was to teach. Shannon takes her 19-year-old son and goes to Fredo’s apartment, where they find the artist dead. Do his sketches hold clues about his reasons for stalking her? And how is his death connected to the store break-in? Who was Fredo really working for?

What a Picture’s Worth is published by Annie’s Books. To learn more about the Creative Woman series, go to:

Today, Susan is giving away a copy of What a Picture’s Worth. Leave a comment here to enter the drawing.


A lot of my writing time is spent getting the details right. I get the story down, but then I have to make sure everything in it is as accurate as I can make it. That’s because I know how I feel when I come across something in a book that I know isn’t right.

Having lived more than fifty years in Maine, I came to Kentucky three years ago as a complete stranger, a newcomer to all things Kentucky. I notice things that are different. In our part of the state, there are many oak trees, of several different varieties—many more oaks than in Maine. But there are also fewer evergreens. The cedars look different, the pines look different, and I don’t see many of my old friends, spruce, fir, hackmatack, beech, and white birch. But I see other trees that I never saw in Maine—sycamore, persimmon, and redbud, to name a few.

We saw the snake yesterday. My husband and I like to walk for exercise, and when we walk in a certain direction, we walk as far as a small bridge and look over the railing. About half the times we go there, we see the snake. It’s huge. It suns itself on a log, but slithers into the water when we arrive and swims into the murky shade beneath a fallen tree. I think it’s a diamondback water snake.

Snakes in Maine didn’t scare me. There are no poisonous snakes in Maine, my parents taught me when I was small. I didn’t mind seeing them or even picking them up. But here in Kentucky there are at least four kinds of poisonous snakes in my area, and the water snake is one. I’m a lot more cautious than I used to be. I don’t go running through the long grass in shorts and sneakers anymore. I wear long pants if I’m going into the field or the woods, and I walk slowly. If I write a Kentucky story (I haven’t yet), it may very well have a snake in it, because snakes are one of the things that makes Kentucky different for me.

Birds are another. This place has an abundance of birds, and I love them! I see them on walks and outside my windows as I work. I hear them, day and night. We have most of my old friends of the bird world here, and lots that I never knew in Maine. Mockingbirds, for instance. Another of our walking routes takes us past some trees where there are nearly always mockingbirds. They sing to us. We whistle to them, and they whistle back.

But if I read a book that puts a mockingbird in Maine (which I recently did), I know it’s not right. Another story I read had pelicans on the beach in Maine. Nope. Almost never. I see something like that, and I know the author isn’t “best friends” with Maine. They might visit the Pine Tree State and love it dearly, but they’re grounded somewhere else, and they didn’t get the details right. I still enjoyed both of those books, but it would have been much nicer if the birds had been right. And it wouldn’t have taken two minutes to check online.

I’m sure I’ve made mistakes in some of my books. But I want to get it right. That’s why I have books on my shelf about very narrow subjects, like Wild Plants of the Four Corners, and Pacific Coast Tree Finder.

Right now I’m working on a mystery set in Pennsylvania. I’ve been to Pennsylvania several times, but I’ve never lived there. It would be easy to think the trees and birds and snakes here in Kentucky (or those in Maine) would also be in Pennsylvania. But I want to make sure, so I’ll be checking.

This week I am giving away a copy of What a Picture’s Worth. It’s set in Oregon, where they have Steller’s jays, not common blue jays. Comment and leave your contact information to be entered in the drawing.

Reader Question: In the last “new place” you visited, what jumped out at you as “different”?

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Thank you, Susan, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. Your choice. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for a print copy and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.


karenk said...

'new place' was a hospital...and what 'jumped out at me' was the quaint gift/snack sold scones :)

thanks for the chance to read this novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

squiresj said...

I love this author. God bless her.
The last new place I visited in Ohio where my oldest lives. I don't like all the traffic. Yet my daughter doesn't have to go far from home to get everything she likes and avoid most of traffic.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

Wow, Karen! Scones in the hospital. That IS different. I'm sorry you had to be there, though. Jane, thank you, and I know what you mean about traffic. I like being handy to shopping, medical care, etc., but I detest traffic too. My husband is even worse. We went to Boston once on an educational trip with the kids. He gritted his teeth the whole time we were in city traffic. Once we were out, he said, "Just in case you're wondering, I will never drive through Boston again." And he hasn't. That was about 20 years ago.

Benjie said...

The last "new place" that I visited was Kenya where I found "flat-topped" trees to be different and fascinating.

benjap [at] pobox [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Colorado. I went for the first time to ride my horse. It was way less rocky than I thought it would be and the people were way more friendly than I expected.


Merry said...

A triple driving circle in a city in Romania. How confusing!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

This is fascinating to read about all the wonderful places you have been and the "odd" things you found there! I hope some of you are writing stories.

Bethany said...

Destin, florida-- I was expecting it to be overrun with tourists, but was pleasantly surprised with the calmness and peacefulness I found there :)

cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Holly Magnuson said...

I was trying to think of the last "new" place I went, and sadly I think it was the Breast Imaging place, where I had to have a biopsy. The thing that jumped out at me was people kept asking, "How are you doing today?" and I wanted to reply "I'm having a biopsy how do you think I'm doing!?!?! STRESSED!!!" Instead I smiled and said "I fine, thank you" And PTL the biopsy found no cancer!

This sounds like a really good story. Thanks for the give away!

Susan Page Davis said...

Holly, so glad it turned out well! Bethany, I tried to answer you earlier, but my Internet was misbehaving! I've never been to Destin but have a friend who lives there now. Glad you had a nice trip!

Susan Page Davis said...

And the winner is ... Kim! Thank you all for taking part.