Once a week, every Tuesday, an excerpt from one of my books-- unless it's something else. Above image from Stencil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Price to be Paid


With the need to inspire myself for the book I need to finish, here's a snippet. It's paranormal, and third in the Hemstreet Witches Series. The problem has not been that I don't like the characters. The issue the hero will be facing is a huge one, and I have not been sure how to handle it. 

The story is about reincarnation and the question of redemption. Can a soul who has done horrible things find a way to redeem itself in a future lifetime? If so, what is the price? In the newspapers, we read about human monsters, are shocked at what they have done, and some say they go to hell for eternal punishment. What if that's not what happens after they die? 

It's definitely not the light topic that many want in a romance. He's a complicated character as a rancher, horse trainer, lawyer and hoping to win a major state political office in Arizona.  What he has to deal with in terms of his soul, that's not even on his radar as he is a very practical minded person. The person he was in 1901 is someone he's heard very little about. He's about to learn more, and it won't make him happy.

The political aspect is probably what stopped me in September. I needed time to really think about it. I've had the time and still not sure of how to proceed but proceed I will this week.


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    He had barely gotten in from working, taken a quick shower, and opened a beer when he heard a car driving in. Out on the porch, he watched as Jason got out of his low-slung sports car.
    “Hot for March,” he said as his friend stepped onto the porch. “Maybe be an early summer. Want a Nimbus or a Lager?”
    “Make it light. I have work yet to do.”
    A few minutes later, they were sprawled on the porch lawn chairs and sipping from their beers.    “You said you needed to talk,” Asa said.
    “Your mother in town?”
    Asa shook his head. “On her way back to Flag.”
    “All right. Well, for one, we need to go over your meetings for next week. You will need some endorsements.” He handed Asa a sheet of names. “These would be a good start.”
    Scanning down them, Asa looked up. “This could all have been covered in an email.”
    Jason handed him another sheet. “These are issues likely to come up where you need to have positions.”
    “Again—why not an email?”
    “For what I want to discuss, emails are less than safe if you are being hacked."
    "Am I?" 
    "You could be and besides, I wanted this conversation face to face.”
    Asa nodded. “So spit it out.”



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bannister's Way with new cover and excerpt


 I am supposed to be writing on the new book; but this week-end, with all the snow to admire and knowing the coming week would see it all turned to slush and disappear into the creek or ground (depending on whether we are lucky to avoid flooding), I actually spent my time redoing some covers. One in particular has now had four covers. Covers are so important to getting a book seen. They need to attract interest but stick to the story that will be inside. 

There are a lot of elements to Bannister's Way and deciding on which ones to emphasize on the cover created part of the problem. One of the things I used in the book was my experience in taking life drawing as well as years of painting and sculpting nudes. I thought it'd make for an interesting side element to a mystery/suspense romance. 

For added fun in writing, I chose to have four old ladies as minor characters. These ladies share various bits of wisdom they have gathered over the years. One has the same name as my mother-in-law :).

Whether a new cover will bring this book out of Amazon's black hole, of course, is debatable. The important thing for me is that it fits the hero and the story. Since I do my own covers, I never say never on changing them. There are many though that have had the same cover all along. It's all in hitting the mood of the book right from the start-- a little luck doesn't hurt. 

I do not plan to totally edit the writing (at this point) even though it has some aspects regarding point of view that were more common when I wrote it in the '90s than today. I don't mind reading books that change points of view within a scene, as long as it's clear whose head I am inside. Today, I prefer keeping a scene from one viewpoint, but I've learned that changing one written in the other style is pretty difficult. I still prefer reading books that do share the viewpoint of the hero and heroine, and maybe one other characters, sometimes the villain.

Excerpt:

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     Raven frowned. This was not going to be much fun. The stresses of teaching, of inspiring those who had no desire to be inspired, left her wishing--not for the first nor probably last time--that her own artistic efforts gave her enough funds not to need to teach those with no interest in being artists themselves. Oh well, show time.
     "I'm Dr. Lawrence, but you can call me Raven as that feels like me. You are in Life Drawing 301. If you are in the wrong room, leave now. If you belong here, I want your registration cards. As the basket comes past, put them in it. No chatter now. Listen up. I want to explain to you something about the class you've registered for."

    David only half listened as he heard her tell them about the value there was to be had from taking seriously a study of fine art, how throughout the ages great artists have seen the study of the body--the musculature, the bone structure, in short the anatomy--was important to make their work come alive. They must take seriously the study of the nude--" 
    Whoa! What had she just said? Nude! Who said anything about... nude? And then he knew and wished nothing so much as that Vance was nearby where he could get his hands around his throat. A good dodge, a natural way in, his friend had said. Friend, hah! He'd kill him!
He barely heard the rest of Raven's instructions. It was impossible. No way under this earth or above it could he take off his clothes in front of all these people! He looked at the students, at their interested gazes in a new way. They must know he was the model, the guinea pig, the sacrificial lamb, the... No!  He would not strip. It was out of the question. No way could he do it.
 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Arizona timeline

After last Tuesday, putting out the list of my books, their order and connecting characters, I thought I'd also share the kind of timeline I use when I write a series. Now, when I began the Arizona historicals, I had no intention of there being a series. It was a stand alone book but there was this secondary character, a marshal, and he just seemed he had to have his own story. That's how series begin.

After writing Arizona Sunset and Tucson Moon, there wouldn't be another... except there was and another and another. Somewhere in there I knew I needed a timeline of births, marriages, and deaths. When there are a lot of books, it's easy to lose track and have someone young who should be old (soap operas play fast and lose with this or did when I watched them years back-- but historical romances cannot as readers keep track and expect the stories to hang together with coherence.)

So this is the timeline for Arizona's characters. A few of them only appear in one book, while others stretch the length of the series.  I will have to do more work on this one as these characters are the ancestors of the Hemstreet witches and their births had to fit that.

There is a timeline also for the Oregon historicals and I'll probably put that up next Tuesday.
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    1833    Charles Prevo


1840          Jeremiah Taggert b. Kansas; James Redman b. Iowa; Rose Jarred b. Missouri
1841          Victor Hemstreet b. San Francisco
1842          Roman Alexander Oliver b. Kansas
1843          Lars Ericson b. Wisconsin
1844          Raul Cordova b. Mexico; Valerie Simpson b. Kansas
1845          Robert Mitchell b. New York; Frederica Jamison b. Boston
1846         
1847          Delbert Sicilla b. West Virginia
1848          Wei Song b. Weaverville California
1849          Maria Jacinta b. Mexico
1850          Constance Banyon b. Maryland
1851          Eleanor Samuels b. San Francisco
1852          Samuel Ryker (O’Brian) b. Kansas
1853          Laura Ericson b. Wisconsin
1854          Cordell O’Brian b. Kansas
1855          ---
1856          ---
1857          James Redman m. Rose Jarrod Missouri; Clint Adams b. Nebraska
1858          Abigail Spenser b. Illinois
1859          --
1860          Vincent Taggert b. Kansas; Frances Johnson b. Kansas; Jeremiah m.                     Valerie   
1861          Priscilla Wesley b. Georgia
1862          --
1863          Ellen Buchanan b. Texas
1864          --
1865          --
1866          Asa Taggert b. Utah; Rafael Cordova b. Mexico
1867          Cole Taggert b. Utah
1868          Jesse Taggert b. Utah; Connie m. Delbert Sicilla
1869          Juan Cordova b. Mexico m. Josita
1870          Raquel Cordova b. Mexico d. 1870
1871          Laura Ericson m. James Ferris Tucson, Arizona
1872          James Angus b. Illinois –
1873          Eleanor Samuels m. Victor Hemstreet; Jason Ferris b. Tucson
1874          Felipe Valencia b. Arizona
1875          Clint Madison b. Illinois; Nathan Hemstreet b. San Francisco
1876          Gabriel Cordova b. Arizona; Holly Jacobs b. Illinois; Wilhelmina Butler  b. San Francisco
1877          Grace O’Brian b. Kansas; Catherine Lawrence b. Boston
1878          Anita Cordova b. Arizona; James Ferris b. Tucson
1879          Alexa Johnson (Oliver) b. Kansas; Lily Jacobs b. Illinois
1880          Wei Zian b. Arizona
1881         
1882          Sam & Abigail meet June and m. June and Nov. Tombstone
1883         
1884          David Ryker b. Circle R Ranch
1885          Priscilla & Cord talk; Grace arrives in Tucson
1886          cabin—Jan; earthquake May 3; marriage—July
1887          Alice Ryker b. Circle R Ranch
1888          Jesse O’Brian b. Circle O Ranch; Raquel Valencia b. Tucson
1889          Daniel Cordova b. Circle O Ranch Jan.
1890          Ellen m. Robert Mitchell; Jose Valencia b. Tucson
1891          Alicia O’Brian b. August Circle O
1892          Roberto Cordova b. December Tucson
1893          Grace leaves for back East; Royce Johnson (Oliver) b. Kansas
1894          Will Tremaine publishes first dime novel
1895          James Redman dies Feb. Tucson; James O’Brian b. Circle O, July
1896          Valerie Taggert dies
1897          Rafe Joins Rough Riders; Margarita Valencia b. Tucson
1898          Rafe mustered out Feb. 15; Grace returns to Tucson June; Marries Rafe Sept.; Victor Hemstreet falls down staircase and breaks neck
1899          Donovan Cordova b. November Tucson on the Cordova Ranch; Holly returns to Arizona; Rose Redman & Roman Oliver m. Tucson 12-31
1900          Cole working ranch
1901          April  Holly meets Vince Taggert as she readies her dig. Married same year
1902          Lily comes to Tucson meets Jesse Taggert; Cole working as range detective
1903          Tyler Taggert b to Lily&Jesse; Joshua b. to Vince&Holly
1904          ---
1905          Samuel Butler dies; Ruth T. born; Lucinda T. b. Willy rents lake cabin meets Cole
1906          Nathan Hemstreet returns to Arizona
1907          Josiah Hemstreet b. Tucson
1908          Redland Hemstreet b. Tucson