Black Opal Books, the press that took a chance on me during their start up, has made me their featured author for August.
Considering how long it’s been since I’ve sent in anything new, that’s pretty darned nice support! This blog kind of wanders around what I’m working on to send them (yes, I am writing), so in case you want to move on, I’ll just tell you Black Opal has put My Killer My Love on sale for this month. If you don’t have a copy, this is a great time to pick it up.
So what have I been doing recently? Right now I’m now working on Seasons, the story of a woman mentioned in Teach Me To Forget: a success story from a woman’s shelter in California. She’s been given the opportunity to get even with the town that turned its back on her. The tag line has been “Was rape still the rite of passage for the young men in town?” Yes, it’s been a very story difficult to write. To help with the stress of her story I’ve also been delving into Romantic Suspense, with stories about a ranch in northern New Mexico where there is more to the ranch than just cattle and horses. Some of the men are relearning how to cope with life while dealing with PTSD. We don’t do enough for our veterans.
Unfortunately I’m taking the Truman Capote approach, not wanting to release my work until it’s perfect. But the perfect is the deadly enemy of the possible and really A Question of Honor is pretty much ready for its close up. It starts with:
She knew that walk. With a slight hesitation in one leg he prowled like a wounded predator, conditioned to succeed against the most dangerous game of all. Even limping, his reactions would be instantaneous, his balance superior. By itself, his body would be a weapon. He’d be the best man to have on your side in a battle. After the battle, he’d unwind with a drink and a woman. The drink would be strong and straight. The woman would be bosomy and not too bright. He’d very likely spend more time with the drink than the woman.
Sydney Castleton let her mind drift through bitter thoughts and buried memories as she waited for the man who proclaimed danger with every step he took toward her. He was no different from the men who’d worked with her father: Soldiers of Fortune, whose luck could run out at any minute. What trouble had her sister gotten her into this time?
Sydney knows more about fighting men than she lets on since her father was a mercenary and she helped keep his unit running smoothly. She’s going to meet her match in Devin, a banged up alley cat of a former Special Forces who doesn’t think he deserves any fun for himself.
And as long as I was working on stories about Stormhaven, there’s Tyler’s story…yeah I have to do something about the title. Ty was actually married at one time to Sydney’s half sister so he now doesn’t trust beautiful women or writers. Enter Rosalind Summerton who used to model for Victoria’s Secret and is now a successful writer. Hey, if it’s too easy, who’s going to keep reading? Ros is hiding out at Stormhaven since she got involved with the wrong group and ended up in a pretty desperate situation. For right now, this is the start of her story
Whoever came up with the expression “Cursing a blue streak” must have been around cowboys early on a winter morning. Certainly the good natured grumbling would turn the air blue. Much like Paul Bunyan’s story, the day seemed to be nearly cold enough to freeze words in mid speech. Rosalind wondered if the words would thaw, come Spring, and shock someone walking near the barns.
Then she laughed at herself, at the morning, at the freedom of standing in the snow under a lowering sky with billowing clouds edged in early dawn. Life, for the moment, was good.
The fun scenes are between Sydney (compact little pocket rocket) and Ros (yep very tall with long legs) It seems as though the women are diametrically opposed when in fact their minds work in a similar, if strange, fashion:
“Ty was married to your sister?”
“For about a year. Never did figure it out. She was such a city girl and he’s definitely Western all the way. I think once he got her here he couldn’t figure out what to do with her. Lana’s never been much of a home body and with Maria here it’s not like she had anything to do. She didn’t ride, could barely stand to be around the horses.”
“Doesn’t sound much like a match made in heaven.”
“Most of them aren’t.” Sydney rested her arms on the top rail, her chin on her fists. Stared at the horses in the corral.
“Heaven so far. Except when I have to give him hell over something.”
I find when I’m first drafting I’ll come up with more dialogue than description, which helps me with characterization. Then I can go through and fill in the rest of the scene. It’s kind of fun to come back to something I wrote a few months ago and read notes to myself such as ‘Good grief, get them in bed sometime this year’ Those scenes are fun to write but the ones that have the greatest impact on me are the intimate ones, where my two main characters are learning to trust each other. Those are also, of course, the hardest ones to write.