Posts By: Skila

Writing Heroes

Who are your writing heroes?

I spent the summer re-reading a lot of my favorite books and thinking about who my writing heroes are and what it is I admire about them. One of the reasons for this is that a few months ago I won something in an online … Read More

Audiobook winner!

Last weekend, I signed copies of my books at the lovely Books by the Bank festival. And one lucky visitor at my table is the winner of a free audiobook today.

<Drumroll please>


Paige Wilson! Paige, I’ll be in touch to get your mailing info. Thanks to everyone who … Read More

The Missing Money

Franklin Graves sold his Illinois cabin and land before setting off west with his family in 1846. He was paid in a collection of coins from various countries. (This was common then; the United States was still a young country and not a lot of minted money to go around.) … Read More

Patrick Breen


Not a lot in the way of controversy is often said about Patrick Breen. His claim to fame is that he maintained the only diary we have of the Donner Party’s time at the lake. I’ve never heard anyone really categorize him as a villain or a hero. But … Read More

James Reed

Next up in our Heroes & Villains series: James Reed.



More often than not, Reed is painted as a villain. There are some justifiable reasons for this. I’m going to list some of them below. But as you’ll see—I think he’s another complicated character. We just can’t put … Read More

William Eddy

When we stayed at Donner Lake, we rented a cabin, just off Eddy Avenue.

I had to groan.

The next day at the state park, I got to geek out a little with a really kind volunteer named Greg about the gun they have on display.


This is supposedly the … Read More

Wednesday: What I’m Reading

On Wednesdays, I vow to inconsistently list some good books I’ve recently read.


Cover Image


The talented Matt Roeser makes his picture book debut with Oh No, Astro! out this year, illustrated by Brad Woodard. Funny, sharp, witty, cheeky — Parents and children alike will love this story.… Read More