A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, August 15, 2014

Moving House - and moving a new release?

I originally planned to post this piece earlier this summer when a friend said she was “moving house.” While it’s not what we’d call it – we’d simply say “moving” - the term stuck with me since we’re literally moving a house. Well, it’s an old log cabin, but let’s not get too technical.

When we bought our property in the mountains, it came with an assortment of fallen or tumbling down barns, sheds and cabins. Thousands of pounds of debris later, we’re close personal friends with all the people who work at the dump.

We’re down to the last barn standing. Snow banked against the lower tier has made at least one log rot, so the building lists precariously. Having grown up in the South, I was used to older buildings and loved the charm of Charleston where the building age has crossed the 300-year threshold. (Okay, those of you in Europe quit laughing. Three hundred is old over here.) It was a shock to find that out here in the west, a building that’s a hundred is a rarity. So we wanted to preserve the cabin if we could.

Unfortunately the cabin occupied the prime high ground (big surprise, right?) where we wanted to build our house. We’d learned with some of the other buildings we’d constructed that anything over 200 square feet required a permit. Off we went to chat with the building department about what moving the cabin would require.

Here’s the gist of that conversation(s):

Us: We’d like to salvage this historic old barn but weren’t sure about the building requirements.
Building dept: If you take it apart (and treat the logs so they are less likely to rot) and move it, you have to bring it up to code. 
Us: It’s a barn. Like stacked Lincoln logs. 
BD: Yes. 
Us: So what does code mean? (How in the hell do you bring a stack of logs to code and who wrote code for them in the first place???)
BD: You have to have engineered trusses and …
Us: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What would we put the trusses on?
BD: You’d have to build a structure to carry the beams and trusses and you’d need an engineering analysis that the roof can support the snow load. 
Us: It’s been standing for over 100 years. Apparently it can handle the snow load. 
BD: But it MIGHT collapse. So you’d have to bring it up to code.
Us: Wait, you said “if” we take it apart. Is there an alternative?
BD: If you pick it up intact, you can move the barn, but you have to have a building permit to put it down. An analysis of the foundation and footings. And to issue the building permit, we really need an engineering analysis of the foundation and whether the roof…
Us: What if it falls apart when we try to pick up a stack of logs?
BD: Then you’d have to apply for a building permit to put it back together. Bringing it up to code.

Head. Desk.

It took forever to find anyone who’d even consider taking a small, off the wall, structural engineering project. While we searched, we went ahead and disassembled the cabin and treated the logs.

Finally, a friend of a friend agreed to write it up after my engineer husband drew up a discreet structure that carries the trusses and that we can bolt the logs to (making the new part nearly invisible). The balance will be hidden by salvaged wood from other long gone buildings. The frame will also support a new sliding barn door (easier to open when there’s several feet of snow).

Several months and several checks later, we had the analysis and hubby once more visited the building department. 

BD: Ah, this design might work and I see you have the engineering analysis. Yes, I could approve this. 
Us: Great! So you’ll issue the building permit?
BD: Oh, no. This just approves the engineering analysis. We need this (ream of paper) for the building permit. 
Us: Pause…consideration…do we really want to save this (ridiculously expensive) bit of history?


Picks up papers and shuffles back to car.

The building department did issue a permit and we’re working on the foundation, so hopefully soon I can report back that the cabin is securely stationed in its new position on the farm.

What does any of this have to do with a new release? Nothing that I can think of…unless you talk about structure of a story. Foundations. Perseverance.


CYPHER released this week. An early reviewer called it a twisty mystery with a compelling romance, which describes it well.

When a hit-man kills the wrong person, a Greenville, SC detective confronts hidden agendas and conflicting motives in a powerful local family, while trying to control his attraction to the intended victim—a woman who should be dead, but instead is hell-bent on saving the remnants of her family.

Unwilling to stand by while her family and world are destroyed, she rips apart the secrets surrounding Cypher, the company her father built—and will take any measures to defend.

Available at the following online retail sites:
Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Kobo                 


Marcelle Dubé said...

Holy cow, Cathy! That's what I call perseverance! Good on ya for sticking with it. Oh, and congratulations on the new release -- it sounds like a winner.

Cathy Perkins said...

Thanks Marcelle! It's been a real adventure :)

Anne Marie Becker said...

Wow, Cathy! I'm impressed at your dedication to preserving a piece of history. I had to laugh at this line:

Us: It’s been standing for over 100 years. Apparently it can handle the snow load.


Congrats on the new release!! I'm sure its foundation is strong. ;)

Toni Anderson said...

Cool log barn, Cathy. Well done you :)
The story sounds great too :)

J Wachowski said...

I loved this story! Can't wait to see the photographic evidence of your rescue. (It's so helpful having engineer husbands isn't it? And I'm always fascinated by how many of us writer-types have ended up with practical engineers.)

Congrats on the new release, too! Sounds like something I must add to my TBR pile...

Cathy Perkins said...

Oh Anne Marie, we've had to laugh a hundred times over this whole process! It was either laugh or go nuts. (Setting fire to it sounded great a few times too!)

Cathy Perkins said...

Thanks Toni!
People in the mountains have gotten a kick out of watching us demolish and build.
So far, people also seem to enjoy CYPHER. Always good news for an author.

I'll have to find a way to finish the cabin story - with No More Drama!!

Cathy Perkins said...

I've noticed that trend as well, J -- that so many of us have paired with an engineer.
I also find it interesting how many of us have a technical day job.

Rita said...

Well bless you. Well done. Well done. And thank you for saving a part of history. Also wishing you many sales with the new release.

Marissa Garner said...

Congrats on the new release. Already have it in my Kindle TBR pile. And kudos on saving history. May it stand another 100 years!

Cathy Perkins said...

Thanks Rita! There's actually an official "barn tour" in our county. We're debating whether we want to become an official stop. (Although why we'd want to remains a bit of a mystery)

Cathy Perkins said...

Thanks Marissa!

We're (okay hubby "is" since i'm at the beach on my writing retreat) pouring the foundation this week.
I do love the concept of saving a tiny piece of the area's history. :)

livia Quinn said...

Perseverance should be the title of one of your books, or one of your characters. I'd have left all the old buildings. In the first place, that's heck of a lot of work. And just think of the ghosts you kicked out of their abodes, ;)

Sandy Parks said...

You and your husband are wonderful for committing to the cause of historical preservation. You would think a county/city/state would make it easier to accomplish. Glad it all worked out. You are lucky to have the property and place to put it. Good luck with CYPHER.

Anonymous said...

We are moving house - we have 4 kids and a dog and so much stuff! i have organised for the Salvation Army to come and collect our old furniture, a rubbish clean up bin and also professional cleaners to come after we have it all cleared out - but how oh how do i pack all the stuff and sort it? What is a good method or way to do it? Where do i get all the boxes and stuff?
moving a house toronto

Rose Maria said...

My husband, daughter, and I are moving to New York after summer '09. We have no idea where to start. We are saving money, looking to save up at LEAST 10,000 before we move! My husband was planning on going a month before my daughter and I so he can find a place for us to live. What are the best family-friendly neighborhoods? We are looking to stay on Manhattan island just so we don't have to pay so much in bridge tolls. I'm just looking for a neighborhood where we can go outside and not have to worry about getting shot or harmed in any way. We are not looking to share with strangers just because, we have our daughter. We are looking to rent a one or two bedroom apartment, we aren't too picky about it. Anyways, if anyone could give me some recommendations for which neighborhood are the best family-friendly or just, the safest?
Thank you so much!
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