James D. Houston, whose 2001 novel Snow Mountain Passage focused on the Reeds of the Donner Party, died in on Thursday, April 16, 2009. The house in Santa Cruz where he lived for many years had once been the home of Patty Reed Lewis. Read his obituary here.
On a cheerier note, Gabrielle Burton's Searching for Tamsen Donner has received some great reviews. I found it a delightful read, myself, and am glad the press has been positive. You can find out more about Gabrielle and her book at her new website.
I also heard from Daniel James Brown. His The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride -- the bride in question being Sarah Graves Fosdick -- will be out soon. I met Dan at the symposium at the end of the Donner Party tour in 2006 and know how much work he's put into this book, so I'm really looking forward to reading it. If you visit his website at HarperCollins you can pre-order a copy.