The Leighton Legacy
(Historical suspense, full-length novel)
15 July, 1839
The more Mother sighs and the longer Father lectures, the more resolute is my vow never to marry. You would think to hear them that there were no longer babies being brought into the world and that unless I produce one, the human race will be threatened with extinction. The truth is, I find babies to be dreadful creatures, particularly when ill, and they always seem to be out of sorts in one way or another. There is another reason I do not much care for infants, but mother pleaded with me not to speak of it in the case some ninny of a servant overhears and they scatter like the superstitious sheep they really are. In fact, Diary, I have two cherubs plaguing me daily in my chambers. They often rest upon the heavy jabots at the window, their fat rumpled bellies jiggling with mirth as they watch me at my toilette. I try to ignore them but on occasion, they swoop overhead dragging their wretched little round toes across my scalp and soaring off again. I swat at them with a heavy hand and did manage to finally knock one to the ground. The cherub appeared stupefied to be touched by human hand and I was just about to wrap it in my shawl and give it a toss out the turret window when its detestable companion speared me—yes! Speared me directly in the neck with its tiny arrow. Mind you it hurt no more than a black fly but I was distracted long enough that the felled babe managed to regain its senses and heave its chubby form back into flight.
The hunched Custer County clerk squinted at our signatures, her crooked nose nearly touching the land deed spread out between her and Frank and me on the tall wooden counter. Slowly, she shifted her gaze to our photo IDs, which she gripped in one bumpy hand. Like a rusted toy crane, her neck cranked her head upward until she could peer over the top of her spectacles to survey my face, then my shoulders, and, finally, even my chest. I felt like a teenager caught after curfew in the beam of a cop’s flashlight. I tried to arrange my face into something pleasant but she didn’t return my smile. Next to me, standing still as a column, Frank started a nose chortle that threatened to break into full chuckle — but it failed to thrive and aborted into a cough when the clerk’s rheumy eyes darted to him.
Stamp! She suddenly pounded the deed as if she was tenderizing meat, and I started my happy dance, but only from the waist down. Foots, c’mon and play. Our dream had come true — we’d been anointed landowners! What an atrial-fluttering word! What a picture of stolid American work ethic it conjured!
And then, it happened: somewhere between floating out of the courthouse in Westcliffe, Colorado, and finishing up a course of congratulatory bean burritos at the diner, we started having delusions of the grandiose sort that went something like this: Drive to our land; search for a couple fallen Ponderosa pines; peel them with some tool or another; sink them deep into the rutted track leading to our property and then hang between them a plank of wood upon which will be etched the clever name of our homestead, something catchy such as Hare Today, Fawn Tomorrow Ranch or Limping Coyote Mesa.
Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
“Media.” Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices. Ed. D. Rowe. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2014.
Media, Spiritualities and Social Change. London: Continuum Publishing, 2011.
“The New American Dream: Taking the Celtic Cure in Mediated Landscapes.” Cornwall’s Story: Landscape Narratives of Cultural Identity. Eds. G. Tregidga, B. Keys, and K. Milden. London: Francis Boutle, 2011.
The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market and LOHAS. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2011, 2014.
“The Spirit of Living Slowly in the LOHAS Marketplace.” Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. Eds. G. Lynch and J. Mitchell. London: Routledge, 2011.
I write news and features for both trade and consumer magazines and newsletters. I started out as a cub reporter for a newspaper chain in Chicago many years ago and decided that the investigative news beat wasn’t for me. Nowadays, I focus on sustainability, nature, healthy living, travel, and popular culture.
A Portfolio and a Laundry List of My Publications
- “Is Sustainability Sustainable?“, white paper for Natural Marketing Institute
- “Soy Power,” DeliciousLiving
- “The Spirit of Living Slowly in the LOHAS Marketplace,” Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader
- “10 Ways to ‘Green’ Your Party,” GaiamLife
- “Worldwide Industrial Hemp Sales to Reach $600 million,” Natural Business Journal
- “LOHAS Means Business,”Natural Business Journal
- “Rainforest Remedies,” Delicious!
- “The Land of Healing Waters,” ALMA
- “Live from the Boulder Theater, It’s E-town!” Bravo Boulder
- Alma magazine
- American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) newsletter
- American Botanical Council HerbClip
- Bravo Boulder
- Colorado Industrial Guide
- Continental Express magazine
- Countryside Publication newspapers (Chicago area)
- The Cucharan Magazine
- DeliciousLiving magazine
- Food Marketing Institute Reports
- Fort Collins Business World
- Gaiam Life
- Health Foods Business
- Herbs for Health magazine
- The LOHAS Journal
- The Natural Activist
- Natural Business Journal
- Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine
- Natural Home
- Natural Pharmacy
- Natural Products News (UK)
- Natural Way magazine
- New Hope Communications Research Reports
- NMI reports
- Organic & Natural News
- Religious Studies Review
- Vitamin Retailer