Sunday, June 17, 2018

Favorite Guests

Writing is a solitary pursuit. There may be plenty of interactions with other people, particularly when you’re doing research for part of a story. But when it comes down to it, writing is just you and the keyboard or the notepad. 

Different writers use different approaches. Some insist on total silence. Some will even go so far as to use noise-cancelling headphones. Others can write anywhere, at any time, no matter the distractions. For me, there has got to be music in the background. Not loud enough to sing along, but enough to keep me going.

While working on a story, it’s easy to imagine that one of my primary characters, like Jamie or Chene, is looking over my shoulder, like a favorite guest at a dinner party. I can envision my redheaded troublemaker prodding me in the ribs with an elbow, whispering, ‘yes, I’d take that attitude!’ while bobbing her head in agreement. 

Chene is more inclined to settle in, feet propped up on the edge of the desk, choosing the perfect moment to interject.So even though I’m the one at the computer, these favorite guests are right there with me.   

Yesterday while working on the revisions for “Your Turn to Die” the second book in the Chene series, I caught a few scenes where Chene momentarily stepped out of character.  But it worked well.  So I wrapped it up. Now it’s back in the hands of the editor. 

There’s a new Jamie Richmond mystery being released this week. “Stealing Haven” is part of a collection titled “Once Upon A Summer”.  You’ll find eight great stories here, perfect for vacation reading.  This is set before Jamie meets Malone. Here’s how the story begins.

I didn’t want to move. 

Moving would convince me I wasn’t asleep. The cool breeze caressing my bare skin was not the touch of some mysterious lover who appeared when the lights went out. He treated me like a princess, understanding how the slight nuzzle behind my knee had a very unladylike effect on me, how with just tiny encouragement, the little bits I wore would disappear in a heartbeat. How…

          “Jamie! We have to get moving,” a sultry voice said. “You’re going to sleep away the day. We could have stayed home and done that.”

          I waved a hand to push her away. Maybe the guy who’d been caressing my knee was still there. He was. I could tell by the wet tongue stroking my leg. I jerked awake and rolled over. Instantly, I was greeted by a mass of fur and several sloppy kisses. Satisfied, the dog moved away in pursuit of someone else to bother and I threw my arm up over my face.

          “Linda, can’t you control Logan?” My voice came out muffled.

          She flopped down beside me and tugged my arm down. “Of course, I can. He was simply following orders. We have miles of soft sandy beach out there, just waiting for us. Blue skies and enough wind to fill a sail. And who knows how many handsome men may be pining for us at this very moment?”

          I pried open both eyes to see if she was serious. She was. Then I took a good look at her. Part of me wanted to smack her, just because. She’d gotten the same four hours of sleep I had, yet, Linda could have stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. Her luxurious dark curly hair was pulled back with a headband. The waves swept across her shoulders like gentle wings. Two weeks into June and she sported a bronzed tan I could never achieve. Her curvaceous body and shapely legs caused even sober men to stumble. But it was her angelic face that always closed the deal. She rarely wore makeup. She didn’t need it. 

Giving my head a shake to chase away the remnants of my dream, I realized she was already dressed for the beach in a modest red bikini with a white lacy blouse as a cover-up. Like that’d reduce the attention she’d draw.

          “Come on. We’re wasting sunshine.”

          “How long have you been awake?” I mumbled.

          “Fifteen minutes. The coffee should be ready.” There was no disguising the enthusiasm in her voice. “Get ready, or I’m tempted to leave you behind.”

          “I need more than coffee.”

          “There’s an adorable little bakery between here and the beach. I’ll buy you a muffin.”

          “What the hell.” I slid off the bed and trudged to the bathroom. 

God, she’s so annoying, at times. As gorgeous as a Hollywood icon and able to bounce out of bed ready to face the world with minimal effort, some days, I hated her. She gave the dog his daily praise, as I splashed cold water on my face and raked a comb through my red locks. In the background, I heard the screen door slam as the dog slipped outside. Shedding the camisole and panties I’d worn to bed, I stepped into a bright green bikini. From my bag in the room, I dug out a threadbare man’s dress shirt and slipped it on as a cover. Exiting the bedroom, Linda handed me a cardboard cup of coffee. Over one shoulder was a large straw bag filled with a beach towel, sunscreen, an extra pair of shorts, a floppy hat and a book. I had one just like it sitting beside the door. I grabbed mine as we walked outside. 

 Right now in Michigan it's hot and steamy. Perfect for this tune from the great Glenn Frey 

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