Tag Archives | Gardner Heist

Isabelle Stewart Gardner: the person, the heist, the paintings.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a fascinating woman. From the get go she was an adventurous-do-her-own-thing kind of person. I loved reading about how she tried to run away to the circus or how she stole sleighs and would careen around Boston or how she managed to outbid large museums like the Louvre on famous paintings. When she became a widow, she slowly turned her house into the museum it is today. And this was in the 1800 hundreds.

Heist, my YA time travel mystery, is on a book blitz with Xpresso Book Tours for the next two weeks. The price for a limited time is marked down to 99 cents! Yay!

I thought I’d share a round-up of links concerning the museum, the heist, and the recent news release that the heist has been solved.

The facts: what happened, the stolen artwork, and images of the paintings.

The news release that the thieves had been identified.

A brief look into the incredible life of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

A wonderful video of the heist, it’s impact, and the museum today.


Check out Heist on sale for a limited time!

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Thanks! Keep a watch on my Twitter feed to links to guest posts, interviews and excerpts!

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Onsite research for HEIST at the Gardner Museum.

It was a hot, sticky day in August, when I walked through the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the summer of 2010. The cooler temperature of the building was a much-needed relief. My husband and I spent our anniversary in Boston, so I included this necessary stop all in the name of research.

At first, I was disappointed when I learned I couldn’t take inside pictures and I couldn’t use a pen to take notes. But, of course, I should’ve realized. The art in this museum is worth billions and they guard it carefully.

I asked about the 1990 heist, and they pulled out a photo album. The lady seemed a little annoyed as if they were tired of the fame of the heist instead of the art that remained on the walls.

I strolled through the museum, trying my best to follow the path of the thieves, soaking in the mystery. I sat on benches and recorded sights, smells, sounds, textures, tiled floors, the lavish decorations, grand ballrooms, and the flowering courtyard that sits in the center of the museum.

Then we toured the building. A thrill went through my chest at the sight of the empty frames, along with a little bit of sadness. What makes a heist so fascinating? Maybe it’s the fact that this was never solved (until recently) and due to Isabella’s will, nothing can be changed in the museum. Hopefully, the art will be found in the near future and returned to their rightful place. When it does, I’ll be sure to visit again.

I toured the grounds outside, walked down the narrow side street that coils around the building. When I found the small park, if it can be called that, next to the museum, the writer in me grew excited, because I could use that space for the art festival that Fiasco and Jetta visit.

Then I toured the public garden, walked the wide-paved paths, let my fingers trace across the heads of the ducks from the famous book, Make Way for the Ducklings. I found a bench in the shade, pulled out my notebooks, and took notes on the sights, sounds, and smells.

I arrived home, armed with details to add to my story.

Walk in the paths of my fictional hero as he solves this famous art heist.

 Add to Goodreads and be ready for the release next week! Eek!

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Join the HEIST Launch Team!

Winners for my INDIE-pendence giveaway are…..

Gwynneth White and Jennifer Recchio.

But if you like time travel thrillers and would love to read an early copy of HEIST, I have another option.

Join my HEIST Launch Team…

…and receive a FREE ebook of HEIST!


1. Sign up on the Google form to be part of a HEIST launch email list. You’ll receive one email with the epub or mobi file of HEIST attached.

2. Read and leave an honest review on Goodreads before the end of July – first week in August, email the link to laura@laurapauling.com or through the Contact tab on my blog, and I’ll mail you signed bookmarks (continental US only.)

3. In August, you’ll receive a second email when HEIST has gone live on Amazon.

  • Copy and paste your Goodreads reviews onto Amazon as soon as possible,
  • Email me the link, and I’ll add your name to a raffle for a $20 iTunes or Amazon gift card.


4. After HEIST has launched, spread the word through social media. You’ll have one week to do this before I draw the winner. For every link you send: blog/twitter/facebook…etc. I’ll add another copy of your name to the raffle.

That’s all you have to do.

My way of saying thanks and including you in the HEIST launch!

Here’s that link again to the Google docs.

And thanks!!! I couldn’t do this without you.
You guys rock!

Here’s the blurb:

Can one decision change the past?

Jack Brodie has a sixth sense that someone has been watching him. Following him.

One night he travels back in time to one of the world’s largest art heists, the Gardner Heist. Why that one moment in time? And what does it mean for Jack?

When he returns, his world is different. His best friend is rougher, meaner. His dad hasn’t been around in years. And then there’s Jetta. The girl who took over his heart the moment she stepped into his life. No one is safe.

Each time Jack goes back to the heist to fix his mistakes, he returns to face the fallout. Disaster strikes in the present until Jack must make a choice. His family and his own happiness. Or the girl he loves. Except, he learns that his sixth sense was right.

Someone has been watching him and wants him dead.



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INDIE-pendence Day – 15 Minutes by Jill Cooper.

It’s that time of year! We get to celebrate our country with cook outs and fireworks…and all this week you can celebrate fantastic self published books.


I’d like to introduce you to Jill Cooper, author of a fantastic time travel thriller, 15 Minutes.

I couldn’t put this book down. I read it one day. Honestly? That doesn’t happen to me all that often that I truly can’t put a book down. Each chapter leads us to another clue, another twist as the main character, Lara, deals with the consequences of trying to change the past.

Fantastic. Thrilling. You can read my Goodreads reviews here.


I invited Jill to tell us a little bit about her book. And then stay tuned for a giveaway!


Fast paced. High Energy.  Full on emotion assault.

That’s what I wanted 15 Minutes to be when I first started writing it and when I finished, I was not disappointed.

A roller coaster ride for the writer, main character, and hopefully readers, I wanted  people to feel what Lara feels as she struggles to discover the rules to the new world that is now her life.

There is no going back. There is no undoing the damage that she’s done.

What is it she’s done? She’s changed the past and in doing so, unleashed a can of worms that cannot be contained.

In 15 Minutes Lara Crane uses time travel to save her mother in a mugging gone wrong. In the distant future, time travel hasn’t just been discovered, it’s been regulated by the government.

Break the time travel laws and you face jail time, or worse, death.

Interacting with the past is a crime and as such you will appear as a hologram in the past, the people you see, will not notice you. You are an observer only and are not allowed to interfere with the course of history.

There are rumors that there are some who can break this rule and can in fact touch and talk with those in the past. But it is strictly forbidden to try. To do so might destroy not only time, but your mind.

The knowledge of several time lines at the same time, in the same brain, causes it to overload. What follows are painful headaches and nose bleeds that grow worse over time as memories assault you.  The brain will eventually hemorrhage and will bleed out. No time traveler has ever changed time and successfully lived to tell about it.

Lara Crane. Rebellious. Defiant. Doesn’t take no for an answer. She’s about to change the course of history.

What would you risk to save someone you love?


Thanks, Jill!

I could write this in the third person. I could tell you what I like, where I was born, and what my    favorite things are.

But instead, I’ll say I don’t want to write like everyone else. I don’t want to craft stories you’ve read a thousand times before. I want my novels to be a cinematic experience, blending themes, genres, and situations unlike any you’ve ever read.

I want to break the rules. I want you to break out in a cold sweat as you read my books out of fear, love, and excitement. I want my books to be an experience. When you finish, I want you to feel something. Good or bad.

If you do, then I’ll have succeeded. If not, I’ll keep trying.



For this INDIE-pendence event I was thrilled to find a story similar to HEIST – my time travel thriller releasing in August. Similar, yet very different. So to celebrate, I’m giving away an ecopy of 15 Minutes and HEIST !

1. Comment below to enter. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL!! (please)

2. If you’d like to tweet or share on Facebook, use the Share options at the bottom of this post, and then comment and leave the links.

Next, head on over to the Indelible blog to discover all the Indie books other authors are celebrating this week.


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Finding stock art for your cover.

At first, you might think it’s easy to find the perfect stock art for your cover. You jump on one of the sites. (I personally, use Bigstock.)

(unused stock art for HEIST)

But, the more you hunt for the perfect shot: a couple not smiling directly into the camera, not too cheesy, fits your description, right tone/mood…you realize that the process can take time. It’s better to start early.

Okay, if you’re lucky, you’ll find the exact shot you’re looking for the first time. Extremely lucky.

A couple years ago, writers were shocked when they found duplicate stock art on more than one cover. And this happens with all publishing. For some crazy reason I thought most traditional covers had photo shoots. Not quite. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve stumbled upon and recognized from traditional covers. It’s actually kind of cool.

More recently, I’m okay with that. It doesn’t bother me because I’ve realized how hard it is to find that perfect shot. It’s happened to me. I’ll still use the stock art if the other books are completely different genres or aren’t well known.

Plus, when your book is about to be published, you’ve paid a cover designer, and then two weeks before or the week after, another book comes out with the same photo? Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. Of course, you could change it up, but if you love it – who cares? From what I see of sales, readers don’t care either.

(used stock art in an upcoming photo teaser for HEIST)


Here are my tips for finding stock art for your cover.

  • Start early.
  • Use different keyword searches. Get creative!
  • Don’t settle.
  • Pick several photos that you’d be happy be with because by the time you publish, the same shot could’ve been used and the book a best seller.
  • Download the free sample of the image onto your desktop. Then upload it to Google images to see if the stock art has been used on book covers. And how many!
  • Manipulate the picture so it doesn’t look exactly like the original stock art. (Your cover designer might do this anyway even though sometimes the original is perfect just as it is.)
  • Once you find the perfect picture…keep looking.
  • As you’re searching for one, keep a collection of photos that could be used in the future. On Bigstock I create light boxes marked spy, thriller, romcom. When I find great stock art, I save it.
  • Search for stock art in your downtime. Right before bed. Over lunch.

A year ago, this post would have been over the shocking samples of duplicate covers. Now? I see it as almost unavoidable and just part of the business.

What do you think? Do you have favorite tips? Add them in the comments.

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