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Once upon a time, in a far-off land called Sleepyside-on-Hudson...

From the time I was a small child, I've been a voracious reader.  To satisfy my appetite for books, my mom and I made frequent trips to the local library in my hometown outside of Detroit.  That was fine during the school year, but we spent our entire summers at a somewhat isolated cottage in Northern Michigan, where I didn't have a library card.

It was the summer of 1980 that my mom, sick of listening to her nearly-9-year-old daughter (that's me!) complain of boredom, finally succumbed and got a membership to the Mackinaw Public Library.  I still can remember visiting that library for the first time—a grey, wooden Victorian house that was bursting at the seams with wonderful books! 

I wandered through the cramped aisles, perusing the titles, trying to decide which books I would be taking home.  I had always loved mysteries and soon found myself in the "Juvenile Mystery" section.  Of course, Nancy Drew was there in all of her "perfect" splendor, but I had never really liked Nancy.  My mom had two books from her youth, and I just couldn't get into them when I sat down to read them.

The Mystery of the Blinking Eye Oval Edition

And then I saw her: Trixie Belden.  Almost thirty volumes of cream-colored paperbacks lined up next to each other.  All these years later, I still very vividly remember picking up The Mystery of the Blinking Eye and reading the prophecy on the back, "Great headed man with blinking eye, a shaded road a horse's cry..."  I decided to check it out, and the rest is history. I love the whole series, but Blinking Eye will always have a special place in my heart.  I've read it so many times that I now have the whole prophecy memorized—and I never even tried!  Two of my favorite memories are walking through the streets of Fredericksburg (Virginia) and Philadelphia reciting it (quite loudly!) with Kate.  Trixie moments with Trixie friends are the best!

Although I discovered Trixie years and years ago, she is still an integral part of my life, as are all of the values of the Bob-Whites of the Glen.

What's your Trixie Universe like?  Are you traditional?

My Sapphire Days Universe is inspired by Cathy P. and Jixemitri.  Each story in this universe is a Jixemitri Circle Writing Project.  Trixie and Honey are sweet sixteen and about to discover love for the first time!  This universe is continued in Gethsemane and Onyx Twilight (many thanks to Misty for the Onyx Twilight name!).

My First Impressions Universe is inspired by the many fanfic writers who have told the original stories from other characters' points of view, and I thank each and every one of them for the inspiration.  This is my take on that idea, focusing on the first impressions the characters had of each other.  We know what Trixie thought as she met each Bob-White, and we now find out what all of the other Bob-Whites thought about each other—from my POV anyway. ;)

All of my other stories are independent of one another and lumped on one page called my Un-Universe.  When I write a long chapter story, everything that I want to happen happens in the story, and I just plain don't feel inspired to write other stories around the original piece.  Also, when I start a new chapter story, I like the freedom to change things up a bit, give the characters different pasts and/or loves, and rearrange things.

Of course, there is one tiny exception to this Un-Universe "rule".  Susan and I seem to have inadvertantly started a joint sub-universe that revolves around spooky happenings and our Bob-Whites.

I am a traditionalist—when it comes to writing Jim and Trixie, anyway.  I may write the other characters with non-traditional pairings, and, when it comes to reading fanfic, there are many fanfics out there that I am quite content about who Trix has ended up with—even if it's not Jim.  *gasp* But when it comes to writing Trix, well, I just can't imagine our loveable sleuth ending up with anyone except a certain husky, supple red-head with a trust fund. (Description of Jim shamelessly stolen from Cathy and BethAnn!)

Just what the heck does that GS stand for anyway?

When I first started posting on Zap's Trixie Belden Social Board back in '99, I was just plain old Dana.  Turns out there was another Dana C. already present on the board, so I had to come up with some way to identify myself.  My defining characteristic (to me anyway) was that I was always complaining about the life of the Grad Student (complaining about the life of the grad student, BTW, is the crux of the life of a grad student!) so I started calling myself "Grad Student Dana" to keep things straight.  But that was cumbersome, so it eventually just got shortened to GSDana.

But when I graduated in May of 2001 people wondered, "What does GS stand for now, Dana?"  There were lots of great suggestions ("Groovy, Sexy Dana" comes to mind!)  but when someone said, "Hey, in the spirit of the series, why not 'Girl Shamus,' as in Schoolgirl Shamus?"  Well, I was sold and I kinda like "Girl Shamus Dana," hence the blatantly stolen phrase as the title for my site!  That "other" Dana disappeared a long, long time ago, so I just go by Dana these days!  In June 2005, I changed my Jixemitri Message Board username from GSDana to Dana, so the transformation back to just Dana has been complete for a long time!

Hey, Dana, what are your favorite Trixie stories?

My all-time favorite is The Mystery of the Blinking Eye.  I think it's got a great mystery and story line, all of the Bob-Whites are present, Dan has an active part, there is the great continuity with the visit from the friends from Iowa (Happy Valley, #9) and the mention of the Wellingtons (Arizona, #6), plus there is a touch of the supernatural thanks to the prophecy, and there are no pod-people (always a bonus).  It's also a sentimental favorite, as it was my first Trixie.

Also on my "Dana really digs these" list (in order by series number, not preference) are:
     #1 & #2 (The Secret of the Mansion and The Red Trailer Mystery): The books that started it all plus the most hilarious scene ever in the old barn.
     #3 (The Gatehouse Mystery ): More Beldens! A house party! The BWGs are born!
     #4 (The Mysterious Visitor ): The awesome relationship between Mart and Trixie, Trixie following clues like a pro, and pots and pans being thrown out of a moving vehicle at a policeman. Epic.
     #13 (The Mystery on Cobbett's Island ): I want to have a clambake!
     #21 (The Mystery of the Castaway Children ): Peter dancing in the rain, children's lives in the balance, an amenable Sgt. Molinson, and Trix does a great job with clues in this one.
     #25 (The Sasquatch Mystery ): Beautiful wilderness and a mythical beast!
     #29 (The Mystery of the Velvet Gown ): One of my favorites as a kid, though I can't articulate why exactly.  Just loved it.
     #32 (The Mystery of the Whispering Witch ): Creepy with a real, "live" ghost!

What's with the Comic Sans?

Yes, I know this font is very 2001.  And even in 2001 it was very 2001.  :)  I like it, though, and it's web-safe and  fits the more whimsical side of my personality, so it ain't changin', no matter how many complaints I see on message boards, lol!

And there you have it, the story of Trix & me!

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