Friday, December 30, 2011

JUMPING INTO TROUBLE






Hunkered down in my writer’s pink cave, I have the privilege of torturing characters before giving them a happy-ever-after ending. Except for villains, of course, who never win because this is (drum roll) fiction. Authors also have the ability to hurl characters through time with the touch of a keyboard. My life is great, right? (Except that tonight, Blogger won't let me add images to this post. Grrr! I'll persevere until I can figure out why Blogger has gone maverick.)


Let me tell you about one set of characters I still love, even though OUT OF THE BLUE was released in 2010 from The Wild Rose Press.

Radford, Texas Police Detective Brendan Hunter is recovering from near fatal wounds received in the shooting that killed his best friend and partner. Brendan is called Mr. Squeaky Clean by his detractors because he never wavers from right. Yes, he’s a man who sees everything as right or wrong, with no maybe. But every man has a weak spot, and Brendan’s is his widowed mother, Blossom.


Blossom was only a teen when she showed up at a California commune cooperative farm. Trey Hunter joined more to thwart his wealthy, overbearing parents than because he believed in the concepts practiced on the farm. Brendan was ten when his dad was killed. In OUT OF THE BLUE, Blossom is a responsible health food store owner, but she still has the live-and-let-live outlook that led her to the cooperative farm all those years ago. While Brendan leans toward cynicism, Blossom is bubbly and optimistic.

I have to mention here that Hero and I love history, and we love visiting Ireland. Add to that a few members of our family who have "the sight," and you discover why I came up with Deirdre Dougherty, a clairvoyant Irish woman from 1845 who is accused of cursing the potato crop in her remote village. To escape a mob incited by her nemesis, Deirdre leaps from a cliff and plunges toward the Atlantic. By chance (and the fact that as her creator I can manipulate her fate), she plops down in 2010 Lake Possum Kingdom, Texas.


What would upset a by-the-book control freak more than someone who doesn’t fit the mold? What would confuse a psychic woman more than being thrust out of her element? Through it all, Blossom goes with the flow...and her beau, the local doctor.


Here’s an excerpt after Deirdre has started helping in Blossom’s store:


Blossom gave Deirdre the mail. "Do you mind, dear? I hate going out in this sticky heat. It frizzes my perm, but it seems to have no effect on your gorgeous hair."


"I’ll post these and be back in a minute to straighten the front display of that new organic salsa from Austin." Deirdre carried the letters outside and dropped them into the box on the corner across the parking lot. She turned to start back.

A huge black car apparently had been parked at the back of the lot by the Dumpster and pulled alongside her. She saw the dented fender before the door opened. Then she realized the two scary guys from the bar were inside, partially obscured from view by the tinted windows. The blond stepped out and reached for her.


She understood his intent so she screamed for help and ran away from him.

People came to the store window.


Polly rushed to the door. "Blossom’s calling the police. Hold on, Deirdre, we’re coming."


But no one rushed to her aid. What could a few ladies do against these two frightening men? She’d have to save herself, so she screamed again.


The blond caught up with her and grabbed her arm. "No use screaming, lady. You’re coming with us." He dragged her toward the car.


She kicked him and screamed again, clawing at him with her free hand. She drew blood along his arm and scratched his face.


He jerked her and grabbed both her hands. "You’re gonna be sorry you made me mad. I have lots of ways to get even." He told her what he planned as he yanked her toward the car’s back seat.


Strong as an ox, the man held her in an iron grasp so her feet barely touched the ground. He heaved her toward the open door.



Suspended above the ground, she braced a foot against the car’s body. With her other, she kicked him between the legs, just as Ma had taught her.


He turned red and released her as he doubled over and dropped to his knees. Without him supporting her, she hit the pavement hard. Her back took the force of her fall and the air whooshed from her. She couldn’t stand but she rolled away.


The driver pointed a gun at her. "Get in or you die right here, right now."


What had Brendan said about this situation when they watched television? Never get in the car with anyone.



But how could she resist without him shooting her? She recalled the blonde’s threats. If she had to die, she’d rather it be here quickly than at the hands of these two later. She made the sign of the cross and prepared herself for death.


A horn honked and tires squealed. Brendan yelled. "Deirdre, I’m coming."


Blossom and Polly hurried toward her, each carrying a broom and wielding it as if they intended to beat on the blond man. Several associates came with them and lobbed jars of something at the car. In the heat, the jars exploded like small bombs. After one loud crack, red oozed along the spider-webbed glass windshield.


"What the hell?" The scary man in black turned back toward the steering wheel. "Damn it, Rod, with or without her, get the hell in here."


She struggled to her knees then stood, backing away.

Apparently unable to straighten, the guy she’d kicked hoisted himself back into the car. He yelled, "I’ll get you for this, bitch. When I do, you’re gonna beg me to kill you before I’m through."

The black car took off with a squeal from smoking tires, dripping red salsa and leaving glass shards in its wake. The driver had his head stuck halfway out the side window, his front windshield obviously too damaged and dirty for the wipers to clear. Aromas from the salsa’s spicy contents filled the air—cilantro, tomatoes, chili peppers.



Deirdre fell in love with those scents.


Then Brendan was there, lifting her and carrying her to his car. He cradled her in his lap with the door open.


Blossom followed them and stood beside the car. "I called the police. We couldn’t think of any weapons but brooms and one-pound jars of salsa. Pretty feeble."


Polly hovered behind Blossom. The other associates had gone back to their duties. A dozen customers and people from nearby stores stood near the building in the shade of the overhang, talking to one another or staring.


"You were brave and clever," Deirdre assured Blossom and Polly then looked up at Brendan. "But they’d have been unable to stop the men if you hadn’t come."


He smiled. "It looks like you had them on the run, Mom. Salsa was a clever touch. Didn’t help the parking lot, though."



Polly said, "Oh, those horrid men, at least they’re gone. We’ll use the brooms to get rid of the glass and hope for rain. Otherwise, maybe we can talk the fire department into hooking up a hose and spraying the lot for us."


Deirdre nestled her head near Brendan’s ear. "The scary guy with the black hair had a gun. A broom and jars of tomato salsa are not much against a bullet. He could have killed everyone."


OUT OF THE BLUE is a time travel romance with suspense and humor. Hero says this is his favorite of the books I’ve written. I hope you will read it and let me know if you enjoy Brendan and Deirdre and their supporting cast. Available in print of e-book, you can find it at www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html, and at Amazon and other online stores.


Happy New Year to you and yours. Stay safe and keep reading!
 

2 comments:

Jerri Hines said...

Out of the Blue sounds like a terrific read. Love time-traveling stories. Funny my husband calls my room 'the cave.' I like 'the pink cave' better. I'll have to add something more descriptive. Happy New Year too!

katsrus said...

I am reading this book now. It's a really good book. I really like the characters but; Blossom so far is my favorite.
Sue B