Diane Burton’s Fun Facts About Lake Michigan
Several years ago as I resigned myself to another move because of my husband’s job, I made him promise we would retire in West Michigan. I loved the casual, friendly atmosphere of the vacation towns along the gorgeous shoreline. Not the crowds in the summer, though. But then no place is perfect. Fast forward – my daughter and her family moved to the lakeshore. Since those were our only grandchildren (at the time), I got my wish and Hubs could keep his promise. We moved to West Michigan. Now we live so close to Lake Michigan we can pop over to watch a sunset or be soothed by the sound of the waves.
Along with seeing my grandchildren often, the move presented a perfect opportunity to research in depth the locale for my mystery series – the Alex O’Hara Novels. Here’s the blurb for the first book The Case of the Bygone Brother.
Small Town . . . Big Case
After taking over O’Hara & Palzetti, Confidential Investigations from her dad and his business partner, Alex O’Hara’s bottom line has taken a plunge. So when a femme fatale offers her the case of a lifetime along with a huge advance, Alex sees her finances on a definite upswing. But someone doesn’t want her to find the long-lost brother. Complicating matters is the return of Alex’s old heartthrob, Nick Palzetti. Is he really there just to see her or does he have an ulterior motive? The Lake Michigan resort town of Fair Haven is abuzz with the news that O’Hara & Palzetti are together again.
Although the village of Fair Haven is fictitious, I modeled it after several resort towns along the west coast of Michigan – Holland, Grand Haven, South Haven, Ludington – vacation towns. But the area is not just known for its tourism. Fishing (commercial and sport) and agriculture are important industries.
The “elephant” in the area is the Big Lake. I didn’t realize how much that large body of water influences. So here are a few fun facts about Lake Michigan:
It’s the only Great Lake entirely within the U.S. The other four are bordered by Canada.
Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron under the Mackinac Bridge (technically, they’re one big lake). When my kids were little, I had them stand under the bridge and told them they had each foot in a different lake.
The lake has so many beaches it’s often called the “third coast” – after the Atlantic and Pacific. Although the water temperature rarely rises above the 60s (F), hardy souls still swim, usually close to the shore.
Lake Michigan really affects the weather. In the summer, the temperature is cooler closest to the lake. Conversely, in the winter, it’s colder. Wind blowing across the frozen lake produces a phenomenon called lake effect, which means a lot of snow. In the winter of 2013, Holland, Michigan received 159.5 inches of snow, and that wasn’t a record.
Because of the temperate climate along the coast, Michigan is a leading grower of fruit in the U.S. – blueberries (the big plump kind, not the itty-bitty ones from Maine), peaches, apples, grapes (wine, anyone?), and cherries. Yum.
That tempering effect also means the fall foliage (so beautiful on a sunny day) is much slower to appear along the shoreline than inland – as we discovered when we drove up to Traverse City last weekend.
When my kids were little, they accused me of taking them on “encyclopedia” vacations. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Lake Michigan, and that it didn’t read as if the former teacher in me had resurfaced.
Now here’s an excerpt from The Case of the Bygone Brother:
I whacked my head on the display shelf.
Well, what would you do if you were lying across the top of a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, and your arm—yardstick attached—was wedged between the wall and the cabinet, trying to retrieve the license renewal application that if you mangled, crushed or couldn’t get would mean the end of your business, and the ex-love-of-your-life stood in the doorway looking at your butt?
The shelf shook on its braces from contact with my head. Never mind that the encounter didn’t do much for the aforementioned body part. The Fair Haven Chamber of Commerce awards rattled, and signed Detroit Tigers baseballs pelted my head, shoulders, and the back of my thigh. I dropped the yardstick and swore.
“I thought you promised your mother you wouldn’t swear anymore.” He would remind me of that vow.
“Relapse,” I muttered as I looked over my shoulder.
In that loose-limbed, cocky manner I once thought scary, sexy, and so cool, Nick Palzetti stood in the doorway to the spare office. He even dressed the same in a black leather jacket, black knit shirt, and jeans that molded his hips. Lordy, he could still make my mouth go dry.
As I wiggled back and sideways across the long cabinet, I felt my skirt ride up. Of all days to wear a skirt. With my foot, I searched for the desk chair I’d climbed to get on top of the cabinet. I’d kicked off my high heels before standing on the chair, probably the only smart thing I’d done so far.
“Red panties, you naughty girl.”
The Case of the Bygone Brother is available at:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-case-of-the-bygone-brother-diane-burton/1120684098?ean=2940150470200
About the Author:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is regular contributor to The Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics blogsites. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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