A Cruise Into the Past – Starting with Mailboat I!

 

Have you always wanted to know how the Mailboat Suspense Series got started?

    • No, I didn’t grow up in Lake Geneva.
    • No, I wasn’t a mail jumper.
    • However, I did start developing the story while I was trapped in a life of emotional abuse and depression that nearly led to suicide… and creating this story helped me survive.

By popular demand of my fans over on Patreon, we’re going back to the very beginning of the Mailboat Suspense Series for the ultimate Story Behind the Story—starting with Mailboat I: The End of the Pier.

If you’ve been thinking about whether or not to give my Patreon a try, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to climb aboard. I’ve made the first two posts open to the public just so you can sample what we’re all about.

What Is Patreon?

I created my Patreon page in response to the most frequent complaint I hear from my fans: Waiting for the next book to come out!

My Patrons get some incredibly cool perks:

    • Access to every chapter I write, the minute I’m done writing it
    • Book Club Questions to discuss every chapter together
    • Behind-the-Scenes posts revealing details like my inspiration, writing process, and thoughts and feelings behind every moment in the story

A lot of my current Patrons followed along as I wrote Mailboat V, and they now know the Mailboat Suspense Series on a crazy intimate level. They’re currently waiting, breathless, to repeat the experience with Mailboat VI.

Why Are We Launching This Cruise Into the Past?

Right now, I’m wading into the lengthy but vital planning, research, and outlining phase for both Mailboat VI and Mailboat VII, and it’ll be a while before I have new chapters to release for the Patrons.

We were all sad about letting our community go dormant. In addition to the delights of reading and exploring the story together, we’ve created an incredibly tight-knit community around our passions for reading, Lake Geneva, and creating a safe space to discuss mental health.

Rebecca—both my untiring publicist as well as one of my loyal Patrons—had an idea. (Yes, another one. It’s like a garden spigot that doesn’t turn off.)

She suggested we could go back to Mailboat Book I and explore the very beginning of the Mailboat Suspense Series together.

I put it to a vote for the Patrons—and they approved it unanimously.

Schedule of Activities

Approximately once a week, I’m going to re-release a chapter from Mailboat I, followed by Book Club Questions to help the readers go even deeper into the experience.

My Patrons say they’re looking forward to the excuse to re-read the series, as well as to learn what their fellow readers think of each moment of the story.

With every chapter, I’ll also include a Behind-the-Scenes Post telling the story behind the story. And I’m planning to go deep. 

Way deeper than I’ve ever gone before.

If you’ve been to one of my readings, you may think you know the backstory.

But there’s more.

Patreon has become my safe space to talk about my own experiences with trauma and abuse, and my own mental health journey. And if we’re going to talk about the very beginning of the Mailboat Suspense Series… we’re going to talk about some of the darkest times of my life…

But most importantly, the beauty that grew out of the ashes.

That first behind-the-scenes post is live now, and it’s free.

More Than Complimentary Soaps and Shampoos

The first chapter has already released, and it includes a lot:

    • The Prologue of Mailboat I: The End of the Pier
    • A sample audiobook narration of the prologue, performed by my former Montana employee, the amazingly talented Nathaniel Brown
    • Book Club Questions to launch the discussion with our online book club
    • A Behind-the-Scenes Post talking about how I encountered the idea for the Mailboat Suspense Series in the first place—and what my life was really like at the time. (Spoiler: It was pretty freaking awful.)

All of that is available now—and yes, I made it available to the public  for free as a sample of everything we do over on Patreon. If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to give my Patreon page a try, I can’t think of a more ideal time to come aboard.

We can’t wait to welcome you to this deeper-than-ever Cruise Into the Past. It’s almost summer, and the water is fine. Come join us!

~ Danielle


Summer is Coming! Let’s Have Some Fun

Our recent reading and book signing at the Burlington Public Library was amazing. Thanks to everyone who turned out! I loved meeting you all in person, answering your questions, and showing you behind the scenes of the Mailboat Suspense Series, including aspects of my personal history that fed into the story.

But the storytelling went both ways! My favorite stories that you told me:

    • A copy of Mailboat II ended up in a bathtub in Las Vegas when an exhausted airplane stewardess fell asleep.
    • My books have journeyed to Hong Kong.
    • A postal worker bought my books and turned all her friends onto the series. The catch? She, herself, has never read them. She got too busy to read and loaned her books out. Her friends, now superfans of the series, brought me the original copy—now well-worn and well-traveled—and asked me to autograph it for her as thanks. I hope she finally gets to read it!

Stories like this are why I love meeting you as much as you love meeting me. I really treasure the time I get to spend face-to-face with my readers. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I moved to Wisconsin!

Summer is coming, and I’m hoping to fill my calendar with events. If you have a book club or friend group, I’d be happy to meet with you. Extra points for plans that include coffee, wine, or dinner (wink).

I can provide a reading, or we can just sit and chat. Either way, I can bring books to autograph so everyone can have a souvenir. If you have friends you’ve always wanted to introduce to the series, this is a more-than-memorable way to experience the story together on a way deeper level.

If you’re envisioning an event within 1 ½ hours of Lake Geneva, we can make it happen. Just get in touch with my trusty first mate Rebecca! She’s a happy little fireball of joy and energy, and she’ll have you set up and cozy in no time.

Or perhaps you’d like me to show up at your local bookstore or library? Click that same button and let us know the name and location. Good odds we’ll reach out to them and see if they’re interested! You can also send the link to this post to your favorite librarian or bookstore owner and ask them to get in touch with me and Rebecca.

I can’t wait to meet you in person!

~ Danielle

Let Me Carry You Away… In a Story


I love giving book readings. Something strange tends to happen. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but as soon as I start reading, the room gets very quiet. Within a few sentences, the people seated in front of me seem transported, as if they’ve somehow left their bodies behind.

I can tell they didn’t mean to. They weren’t planning on it when they came. Like any discerning audience, their demeanor was one of wait and see. But swiftly, simultaneously… they all agree to give in to the story.

Within moments, I find that their collective consciousness has become suspended in a delicate netting crafted of nothing but my words. Their thoughts and their imaginations are in my hands. For a moment, I feel afraid. This is a great burden, a great trust.

And then I feel honored. I have been gifted with one of the most beautiful elements in the living world: Imagination. This is my domain. I’ve lived here my whole life. I know what to do here.

Gently, I lead the minds of my audience through a world that’s partly real, partly imaginary. I shape my voice to tease life out of ink on dead paper. And when it’s time to conclude the telling, I return these fascinated minds back to their owners, unharmed—but apparently not unchanged. The room seems to breathe differently when the telling is done.

Every story touches every listener in a different way. And while I feel as if I’ve left a gift with each mind that was entrusted to me, I myself can’t even say what exactly that gift was. Only the recipient knows. And there is magic in this secret exchange.

If the written page is the only way in which you’ve ever experienced the Mailboat story, I highly encourage you to come to one of my readings. It’s an entirely new way to experience the story.

If you have a friend you’ve been meaning to introduce to the story, bring them with. All the better! Afterwards, you can discuss whatever gifts you felt were translated to you during the telling. All journeys are better with a friend. Take it from someone who spent far too long walking alone.

You can find my list of upcoming events here

But you can make a reading even more personal and request me for a private event—you, a group of your closest friends, and a shared experience you’ll think of and talk about together often.

Making myself available for events is one of the reasons I moved to Wisconsin, and private events—such as with book clubs and friend groups—are some of the most powerful and memorable experiences I’ve ever had.With spring arriving, I’m excited to fill my calendar. If you’re imagining an event within one and a half hours of Lake Geneva, we can do it. Just click the button to talk to my assistant Rebecca, and she’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Thank you for entrusting me with your imagination!~ Danielle