I thoroughly research the background of my books. Whenever possible, I incorporate real-life experiences into the story. If it didn't experience it, I make it up. Readers have commented on the following two scenes, one from book one in the Forensic Geology series (BADWATER), and the other from book two (VOLCANO WATCH)--they wanted to know if I'd experienced those, um, adventures myself. One scene came from real life; the other I totally made up. Which do you think is which?

Scene #1, from BADWATER: the bad guy is in a slot canyon in Death Valley, having just watched the chaos his act of sabotage caused, and now he's getting the hell away from the scene before he gets caught. He's already jumpy and suddenly there comes a low-pitched roaring sound, from upcanyon. He's desert-wise and knows it could be a flash flood coming, caused by summer storms in the watershed above. And there's no way to escape—the canyon walls are vertical and he can't outrun a flood. The sound intensifies. And then around the upcanyon bend comes something totally unexpected: a black twisting whirlwind of soil and pebbles. It seems alive, snaking its way down the twisting slot canyon without touching the walls. It screams. The bad guy presses himself against the canyon wall and the whirlwind just grazes him as it passes. A flood would have drowned him. This thing spooks the hell out of him.
(Hint: I'm a hiker and I've hiked Death Valley canyons many times.)

Scene #2, from VOLCANO WATCH: the protagonist (of both books) Cassie Oldfield is returning to her hometown, which has just been evacuated under the threat of an eruption. She's returning in search of her partner, who she believes is stranded there. She's returning on skis, coming in cross country via a steep canyon. (I like canyons) There's a sudden low-pitched roaring sound (I like scary sounds) and, in wonder and terror, she sees a slab of snow detach from the canyon wall and descend upon her. Avalanche. It catches her, tumbles her, envelopes her. Buried with only a small air pocket, she must dig her way out. But the snow is like ice. She thinks she'll die. And then mother nature throws her a rope: there's an earthquake, cracking the icy snow roof enough that she can escape. Of course, she escapes into more trouble….
(Hint: I'm a skier and I've skied the Sierra Nevada back country many times, and been caught in some serious snow storms.)

NO WAY OUT--so says the note in the pocket of the murdered mayor.

The volcano beneath her town is seething, and the fate of Mammoth Lakes now rests in the hands of emergency planner Adrian Krom.

But Krom has his own agenda.

Investigating the case, forensic geologist Cassie Oldfield tracks mineral clues to discover how the mayor died--and what she found. As the volcano moves toward red alert, Cassie races to prevent 'no way out' from becoming a prophecy.

Available on Amazon: