The Turkey Who Laid an Egg

Yesterday, I was working on a Det. Jesus De La Cruz short story for our podcast and came across an unexpected lesson is American folklore. Cruz and his now fiancée Aurora Williams (missed it? Check out Razing Stakes for the story) were visiting the American Eagle habitat at the Cleveland Metroparks zoo. I had Cruz comment to Aurora about Benjamin Franklin wanting the turkey to be the national bird, rather than the eagle. Pretending to be a good, little writer, I did a quick google and found out the story was totally

WRONG

Below are the site I explored. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Franklin and his peers were invited to submit concepts for the back of the national emblem. Franklin submitted Moses parting the Red Sea without a bird of any variety in sight. There was some consideration of the ideas but the topic was tabled. When it was picked back up, Franklin was not part of the discussion. A design was developed that featured the eagle in a pose similar to what we see on our printed bills. Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter in 1784 in which he said the eagle in the design looked more like a turkey. He then went on to talk about the unfavorable traits of the eagle and how the traits of the turkey were more inline with American values. Fast forward to November 1962, the cover of the New Yorker Magazine featured a cover with a turkey in place of the eagle and, voila, folklore was born. And there you have it!

Source Sites:

https://www.livescience.com/benjamin-franklin-turkey-national-bird

https://condenaststore.com/featured/new-yorker-november-24th-1962-anatol-kovarsky.html

https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/index.html?dod-date=620

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/american-myths-benjamin-franklins-turkey-and-the-presidential-seal-6623414/

Cover image credit: artystarty

A Lot of Something in Nothing

English is a hard language. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been speaking it for a few decades. It doesn’t matter that I’ve published books using tens of thousands of words in the language. What has me musing on this?

NOTHING

Here’s the scenario. I asked a co-worker if a project was a bonded project (def: a type of surety bond used in construction projects to protect against an adverse event that causes disruptions or financial loss.) He looked in the digital folder folder and said “Nothing is there.” And I said, “Which is different from saying ‘there is nothing.'” His statement was simply that the file was empty. The document could have existed and been misfiled or never filed, or didn’t exist because it wasn’t needed. Looking back, checking the file could have only proved if the project was bonded (because the paper would have been in the file) but could not prove that it was not a bonded project (unless we uploaded page that said “no bond needed”, which we don’t do).

Moral of the story….there’s a lot of something even in nothing.

May’s Bloody Eclipse Moon

This month is perfect for a mystery writer working to get back in her groove of releasing a newsletter with the full moon. Really, what other day is more fitting for a Wolff??

According to one of my favorite lunar websites, The Farmer’s Almanac, the moon will peak around midnight on Sunday May 15 – Monday May 16. This is going to be a special full moon because the positioning of the earth, moon, and sun will be aligned to give the moon a reddist tint, hence the term Blood Moon. The full moon also coincides will a full lunar eclipse.

It’s a common school of thought that the full moon draws out the crazy in us humans. Turns out, that is an old wives tale. Studies undertaken to draw a correlation between the moon and behavior including crimes and injuries came up empty. This was consistent across the studies. The only study that did find the full moon made a difference. Healthline.com reported on a National Institute of Health 2018 study that found that patients with Bipolar Disorder were sensitive to changes in the mood, which correlated to a change from depressive to manic states. This was a small study, like 18 people, but is interesting for the findings.

Mark your calendars to May’s Full Flower Moon! It’s going to be worth losing sleep over.

References:

Image: The Farmers Almanac

https://www.almanac.com/full-moon-may

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moons-people-crazy-12157

https://www.healthline.com/health/full-moon-effects#full-moon-and-violence

Stalking Under the Hunter’s Moon

Welcome to On the Prowl.

This October provided a gorgeous setting for a beautiful full moon. I was staring at the clouds instead of writing my newsletter. This month we explore the goddess of the hunt, the science behind the color of autumn, and go down the rabbit hole on fingerprints.



Image Credit: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA

Space.com curated a collection of specular photos of this month’s moon, including the featured image by Aubrey Gemignani. The Hunter’s moon takes my mind to the Greek goddess Artemis. The goddess of the hunt, moon, and chastity, Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. Zeus’s wife, Hera, not at all pleased with her husband’s infidelity (again!) went after Leto because, well, her husband was Zeus. Hera took her revenge by forbidding Leto from giving birth anywhere on solid earth. And so Leto gave birth to Artemis while she balanced on an olive branch! Hera railed at being outsmarted. Hera’s daughter, Eileithyia (no idea how you say it), was the goddess of childbirth. (Here I thought the goddess of childbirth was Epidural). Hera forbade Eileithyia from helping Leto birth her son, Apollo. Artemis, at nine days old, helped deliver her twin brother. Talk about being gifted and talented. Spectacular!

Learn more about Artemis


Read the De La Cruz Series series.

The third casefile for Cleveland homicide detective Jesus De La Cruz is set to release in February 2022. That gives you plenty of time to catch up with Cruz, Yablonski, and Aurora before starting their next adventure.

#1 A serial killer is targeting drug dealers. Cruz puts his neck on the line to create the break and stop a killer some are cheering on.

From Down & Out Books. Amazon Link

#2 A young woman is in a coma. Two 9-1-1 calls point to murder and put Cruz on the trail of an assailant with a taste for revenge.

From Down & Out Books. Amazon Link

#3 An up-and-coming accountant is killed in a hit and run. Cruz searches his past, present, and future for a ice cold killer

From Down & Out Books. February 2022


Down the Rabbit Hole: Finger Prints

This month, I’ve been working on the adaptation for M2D4 Season 3Episode 7. This story The Red Thumb Mark, by R. Austin Freeman was published in 1907. A story of fiction, it was written at a dynamic time of science and discovery, documenting progress in action. This is first case for the British medical investigator Dr. John Thorndyke was working for the defense on what appears to be an open-and-shut case. A business man locks diamonds in his safe with a receipt. In the morning, the diamonds are gone and on the receipt is a red thumbprint. Which made me curious about fingerprints…and down the rabbit hole we go…

Click HERE to read the full article


The Painted Month

One of my favorite things about living in the Great Lakes region is that each month has a different feel. October is a most comfortable month, a beautiful month, thanks to the colorful theatrical display put on by the leaves. But, what makes the leaves change color?

Click HERE to get the magic on

BTW, I love the picture of this woman. It makes me want to rake up a pile and leaves and jump in!


Welcome to Mysteries to Die For

Mysteries to Die For. Season 3: Enter the Detective

Mysteries to Die For Season 3 is in full swing! This season is titled Enter the Detective. Each of the 11 episodes features the first case of a detective who went on to an illustrious career. Some you know by a single word: Holmes, Poirot, Chan. Others may be new to you but were cutting edge and set the standard for our modern day detectives.

New to podcasts? An easy way to start is through my website. Click PODCAST

New York Detective Ebenezer Gryce is called in to solve the murder of Horatio Leavenworth. Alone in the room, all doors are locked, it’s a clear case of murder.

Dropped October 22

A man is found dead in an empty room. He wasn’t shot. He wasn’t stabbed. He wasn’t strangled. This is a case for the one and only Sherlock Holmes.

Dropping November 5

In the posh home at Lenton Croft, visiting ladies are losing their jewels. When Scotland Yard is stymied, the calls goes out the expert Martin Hewitt.

Dropping November 19


Support comes in a lot of shapes and sizes. Down & Out Books and imprint All Due Respect support my books and podcast. Help me support them back. I am very proud to recommended these new releases to your reading pile, smart phone, or Kindle. It doesn’t matter how you read…just read!

Sonny Cantone’s having a really bad day. Wait until he sees the next 24 hours… From Greg F. Gifune, author of DANGEROUS BOYS and THE BLEEDING SEASON, comes VELVET ELVIS. Set in one hot and crazy night, and populated with hard drinking, pot smoking ex-cons, shady strippers, aging mobsters, crooked cops and sociopathic drug lords, VELVET ELVIS is one man’s dark and sometimes darkly comic descent into madness and mayhem.

Buy, download, and read Greg F. Gifune’s VELVET ELVIS. From publisher Down & Out Books.

Amazon Link to give Sonny a hand.

ALL THE GOOD IN EVIL tells the story of Amos Swain and his attempt for redemption. The more he tries, the more enemies he creates. As an enemy maelstrom circles around him, a betrayal he’d never imagined drags him deeper into chaos until the only redemption he can find is a little good in evil.

Buy, download, and read Joe Ricker and his awesomely titled ALL THE GOOD IN EVIL. From publisher Down & Out Books.

Amazon Link to support Amos Swain’s redemption.


Mysteries and thrillers from mainstream publishers leave you feeling like you kissed your best friend?

Then you are ready to step down to Down & Out Books.

Mystery, thrillers and true crime. Gritty. Hard core. Obscure. Twisted. Imaginative. Fantastic. Stories the way you like them.

Discover your next amazing read at Downandoutbooks.com and your favorite social media site.


The Beaver Moon chews up November, cresting on the 19th. Will I be On the Prowl on time? Stay Tuned!


Down the Rabbit Hole: Fingerprints

The first case for the British medical investigator Dr. John Thorndyke was working for the defense on what appears to be an open-and-shut case. A business man locks diamonds in his safe with a receipt. In the morning, the diamonds are gone and on the receipt is a red thumbprint. This story The Red Thumb Mark, by R. Austin Freeman was published in 1907. A story of fiction, it was written at a dynamic time of science and discovery, documenting progress in action.

Various articles reference the fact that ancient cultures recognized the difference in fingerprints but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the modern era of fingerprinting began. Britannica.com and The Fingerprint Sourcebook were two of my favorite sources. Hermann Welcker, Henry Faulds, and William James Herschel were the leaders in describing fingerprints. Sir Francis Galton built on their work, suggesting the first system for classifying fingerprints based on the common elements. His work, in turn, was used by Sir Edward R. Henry and Juan Vucetick to develop classification systems. Henry’s approach was adopted by Scotland Yard in the early 1900s and was widespread across English-speaking countries. Vucetick, from Argentina, published his system in the same time frame, which was widely adopted across Spanish-speaking countries. How complicated are fingerprints? The biometric company Touch N Go has one of the easiest to understand presentation of the common fingerprint patterns with pictures.

In the story The Red Thumb Mark, Thorndyke is faced with evidence that seems incontrovertible. He theorizes the print does belong to the suspect, but the print itself is a forgery, a fake. Funny enough, the method described in a story written in 1905 isn’t all that different from the one I found on the website WikiHow.

The Painted Month

One of my favorite things about living in the Great Lakes region is that each month has a different feel. October is a most comfortable month, a beautiful month, thanks to the colorful theatrical display put on by the leaves. But, what makes the leaves change color?

According to SciJinks, a website developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it comes down to sunlight. When sunlight is abundant, leaves make chlorophyll in abundance and it is chlorophyll that makes leaves green. When the days shorten and sunlight decreases, the other pigments are able to push the front. Yellows from xanthophylls, oranges from carotenoids, and reds from anthocyanins. Temperature and water play a role in when the leaves change and how long the colors stay, but then, those of us who see this annual display know that.

Tumbling under the Harvest Moon

Welcome to On the Prowl.

Did you get to see that beautiful moon on the 20th? While I was not able to pull this newsletter together on time, I did get outside that evening to gaze up at a moon that glowed like an LED light. My 5 month old puppies, Kane and Skye, wrestled on the moonlight dappled grass. A sight impossible to photograph. The photo below was captured in daylight (obviously) by my husband when our bundles of fur were a bit younger.

Skye and Kane no holds barred in the back yard


<a href="Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_sakai000'>sakai000
Autumn images sky and full moon

It doesn’t take imagination to understand how the Harvest Moon got its name. Here’s a link to our favorite source, The Farmer’s Almanac, if you want the official background. Taking a page from Kane and Skye, let’s be more playful. Looking around my world, if I were to name the moon today, I would call it….

The Spider Moon. Charlotte isn’t the only on spinning her web this September. There are spider webs in my shrubs, in the grass, in our woods, and between our house and our hockey goal. This last was spectacular and I tried to take a picture for you…but it didn’t work. A heavy rain last week undid the spider’s hard work and he has yet to rebuild.

The Concert F Moon. It is marching band season here in Indiana. The marching band Jack (of Mysteries to Die For fame) is in uses Concert F for tuning the band. I hadn’t known marching band was sport until moving to Indiana. The hours these kids, director and techs, and volunteers put in is a cause for applause.

The Pigskin Moon. Nothing screams it’s fall like football. Since the mid-1970s, footballs have been made from cow hide instead of pig but it’s nice that we keep the outdated tech reference. It’s sort like saying “change the dial” on anything today.

I want to know, if you named the moon based on your life, what would it be? Email me at tina at tgwolff.com.


Read the first in my series.

De La Cruz Case Files

From Down & Out Books. Amazon Link

Diamond Mysteries

From Down & Out Books. Amazon Link

Romantic Suspense – Lost In Series

From Entangled Publishing. Amazon Link


Down the Rabbit Hole: Exchanging American Dollars…or American Dollars

A one dollar bill from Citizen’s Bank of Louisiana

Episode 3 in Season 3 of Mysteries to Die For is an adaptation of the Allan Pinkerton Story “The Detective and the Expressman.” This story may be the first financial mystery. Written about a Pinkerton case in 1858, the story is the investigation into the misappropriation of $50,000 from the Adams Express Company. One of the things I enjoy about reading these original mysteries is the casual, everyday look into normal life. Sometimes, though, it is challenging to understand because our life today can be so very different. In this case, let’s talk about money.

Throughout the story, there are several references to various characters having to “change money.” Today, we certainly have to change money when we travel to other countries. You can’t use a ten dollar bill in London. You can’t use a 10 euro note in the states. You have to exchange one currency to another – or use a credit card in which a bank will do it for you in the background for a nice (not nice) fee.

But this story takes place in the United States, such as it was in the 1850s (31 states plus four territories). The story begins in Montgomery, Alabama and includes activities in New Orleans, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York. So why were these characters “changing money”? Click HERE to read the full article


Sights and Sounds: South Haven, Michigan. A Great Spot on a Great Lake One of the fun things about being an author is exploring new places and then bringing those places to life on a page. People who live there or visited get a little thrill recognizing the places they came to cherish. People new to the places get to explore and make a new entry to their bucket list. In the 3rd book of the Diamond series, Diamond tracks a witness to the lake town of South Haven, Michigan. South Haven is located at the mouth of the Black River and Lake Michigan. Her +/- 4,400 residents love everything water, beach, and fishing. According to the LindyLou captain, South Haven has been a vacation spot for Midwesterners since the 1800s. Click HERE to read the full story.


Welcome to Mysteries to Die For

Mysteries to Die For. Season 3: Enter the Detective

Mysteries to Die For Season 3 has arrived! This season is titled Enter the Detective. Each of the 11 episodes features the first case of a detective who went on to an illustrious career. Some you know by a single word: Holmes, Poirot, Chan. Others may be new to you but were cutting edge and set the standard for our modern day detectives. Episodes 1 and 2 are live! Episode 3 drops on October 8. Jack and I recorded it this morning. Oh, boy, ragweed was messing with my throat.

New to podcasts? An easy way to start is through my website. Click PODCAST

A woman of high esteem is being blackmailed. She turns to the head of the Paris police for the return of her purloined letter. He turns to the first master detective – C. Auguste Dupin.

The young, beautiful Countess de Tremoral is found murdered on the banks of the Seine River. Her home has been ransacked but the only thing missing…is her husband.

Episode 3 Pinkerton’s The Expressman and The Detective

Dropping October 8

It was daring plot. Two thefts, months apart, leave the Adams Express Company missing $50,000. The company turns to the original private eye, Allan Pinkerton, for answers.


Our podcast is supported by my publisher, Down & Out Books. I am very proud to recommended these new releases to your reading pile, smart phone, or Kindle. It doesn’t matter how you read…just read!

In the psychological suspense thriller Stalker Stalked, Lexi Mazur learns the only way to beat her stalker is to use her own stalking prowess to turn the game back around. That’s her plan, but has she finally met her match? 

Buy, download, and read Stalker Stalked by Lee Matthew Goldberg. From publisher All Due Respect.

Amazon Link, show Lee some love!

Steve Harrison, thirty-five years old, handsome, has the world in his hands.  He is admired by his co-workers, his friends, his wife, and his mistress. And then he gets a call. “Bill” informs him that his wife has been kidnapped and if Steve wants her back alive, he has to do exactly what he says.  If Steve deviates from Bill’s plan, tries going to the police, or tries to involve others, his wife won’t be breathing when he brings her home.

Buy, download, and read Person Unknown by Michael Penncavage. From publisher Down & Out Books.

Releases on October 8. Pre-Order NOW! Buy Direct from D&O HERE


Mysteries and thrillers from mainstream publishers leave you feeling like you kissed your best friend?

Then you are ready to step down to Down & Out Books.

Mystery, thrillers and true crime. Gritty. Hard core. Obscure. Twisted. Imaginative. Fantastic. Stories the way you like them.

Discover your next amazing read at Downandoutbooks.com and your favorite social media site.


Take the time to watch the leaves turn until we meet under October’s Hunter’s Moon


The Rabbit Hole: Your Bank or Mine?

Episode 3 in Season 3 of Mysteries to Die For is an adaptation of the Allan Pinkerton Story “The Detective and the Expressman.” This story may be the first financial mystery – don’t quote me, my research hasn’t been exhaustive. Written about a Pinkerton case from 1858, the story is the investigation into the misappropriation of $50,000 from the Adams Express Company. One of the things I enjoy about reading these original mysteries is the casual, everyday look into normal life. Sometimes, though, it is challenging to understand because our life today can be so very different, as in this case. Let’s talk about money.

Throughout the story, there are several references to various characters having to “change money.” Today, we certainly have to change money when we travel to other countries. You can’t use a ten dollar bill in London. You can’t use a 20 euro note in the states. You have to exchange one currency to another – or use a credit card in which a bank will do it for you in the background for a nice (not nice) fee.

But this story takes place in the United States, such as it was in the 1850s (31 states plus four territories). The story begins in Montgomery, Alabama and includes activities in New Orleans, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York. So why were these characters “changing money”?

Follow me down the rabbit hole.

In 1863, two laws were passed that created a national baking system and a single currency. Seeing as we became a country in 1776…what were we using for money for the almost 100 years in between? The US Constitution granted the federal government the sole power to coin money and regulate its value. Coin money. Not paper money. Coin money was made out of metal and held tangible value. Paper money, by contrast, was shown through the American Revolution to lack that stability.

And so, the issuance of paper money was the business of state-chartered, private banks. These bank notes could be exchanged then for silver and gold. In 1820, there were 327 of these banks located in commercial centers. By 1858, the year of the story in discussion, there were 1,422 banks (1). Think about that. Over 1,400 different printed bills. The images at the top of this post are examples from this time period. The banks took their business seriously and in doing so produced some beautiful and elaborate notes.

However, it stands to reason if you were a merchant in Montgomery, Alabama, you may not want to accept payment in bills from a bank, for example, in New Jersey. Banks were (are) businesses and some were (are) better than others. Taking a bank’s note was akin to investing in them. If they failed, you were out the money. Customers, then, would have to exchange their own bank notes for notes accepted in that region. Prior to the creation of the national banking system and a common US paper currency, an entire industry was needed to not only support local businesses but to enable commerce to happen between distance places. This was the time period that gave birth to American banking household names from Wells Fargo and American Express.

Fun fact, until 1857, Spanish dollars and other foreign coins were accepted as part of the American money system!

References:

  1. https://eh.net/encyclopedia/antebellum-banking-in-the-united-states/
  2. https://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-american-money
  3. https://www.aba.com/about-us/our-story/aba-history/1850-1899

Image Links (Some are for sale!)

Canal Bank New Orleans: https://www.moderncoinmart.com/1850s-20-note-canal-bank-new-orleans-pmg-68-superb-gem-unc.html

Citizen’s Bank of Louisiana: https://www.ebay.com/itm/313152653881

Sussex Bank of New Jersey: https://www.ebay.com/itm/222827844643