Monday, April 04, 2016

STORIES THAT NAG AN AUTHOR

Every new book has its specific challenges. My latest, GRANT ME THE MOON, appears with seven others in the contemporary western anthology COME LOVE A COWBOY. The anthology is available now at http://amzn.com/B01D5876UK

Years ago, I had a movie in my head of the moment when the heroine is lecturing her students at the archaeological site while the hero and his brother look on. That’s not the first scene in the book, but it’s the one that kept nagging at me. That scene nagged at me all this time.

When Keta Diablo approached me about doing a contemporary western anthology, that project immediately called to me. This book is set primarily in Post, Texas just below the geological feature known as the Caprock. To me, this is a fascinating area. Here, the Caprock cliff rises 1000 feet above the small town of Post as you head northwest on Highway 84 toward Lubbock.


Caprock near Post TX


Old photo of the Caprock near Post TX--now giant wind turbines
of massive wind farms dot many area mesas
Some of you know that I grew up mostly in Lubbock on the High Plains, labeled the Llano Estacado by early Spanish explorers. You can understand why this area captures my imagination. I love to park at the crest of the Caprock and look back toward Post. The view is striking.

Near Post, which is the seat of Garza County, there is a little-known Clovis archaeological site known as the Garza site. It’s on private property so Hero and I have never seen it. I thought how nice it would be if a similar—but slightly better—site were discovered on the hero’s ranch. That’s what’s nice about writing fiction: you can arrange fiction to suit your story as long as you stick to the rules about facts for actual places.

Here’s the blurb for GRANT ME THE MOON:

All Tory Fraser intended was to show her high school history club students a local archeology dig. How could she know the excursion would involve a murder? Or that one of her students would be suspected as the killer? And she had no idea she would meet the man of her dreams.

Grant Grayson has taken over management of Grayson Ranch near Post, Texas to give his grandfather a less arduous schedule. A flash flood washed away an old talus slope on the ranch to reveal a prehistoric cave that is a Clovis site. Being a good citizen, he invited the nearest large university archaeology department to excavate the cave. When a gorgeous blonde high school teacher asks his permission to take her students to the site, how can he deny her? Especially when he is instantly attracted to her as he’s never been to anyone.

Tory and Grant are drawn in to the investigation to clear her student but unintentionally make themselves a target. Now they must evade the killer to celebrate their new found love.



Excerpt from GRANT ME THE MOON:

This evening, she’d traded her business suit for a blue sundress and left her golden hair down, which he liked much better than the bun-like twisty thing she’d worn this afternoon. Instead of the killer heels she’d worn earlier in the day, she wore low-slung white sandals.
The forty-mile drive to Lubbock passed quickly with talk of archaeology and travel to ancient ruins.
As they entered the city, he asked, “Do you have a food preference?”
She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t want liver or Brussels sprouts. Anything else is fine.”
A laugh erupted from deep inside him. “I don’t like liver either. How about a steak house with a variety of food?”
“Your call, Grant, because I’m not familiar with what’s available. I’ve been reclusive this year. Except for school functions, I’ve spent evenings and weekends with Grandma.”
He chose a restaurant on 82nd Street and pulled into the parking lot. “Monday evenings are not especially busy, so we shouldn’t have trouble getting seated.”
He guided her inside and they were shown to a table.
After they’d placed their orders, he asked, “Your grandmother, is she all right?”
“Grandpa died last spring. She’s not ill, just frail and deeply in mourning. I was lucky there was an opening in the school.”
“Where did you teach before?”
She offered a wry smile, almost as if embarrassed. “Assistant professor at Texas A&M.” She shrugged and tilted her head. “I realize it appears I took a backwards step, but I was the one who could rearrange my life to move here. Fortunately, I genuinely enjoy teaching high school history.”
“So your grandmother is sad rather than ill. Does she get around well?”
She raised her eyebrows and nodded. “In fact, she can keep up with me. After Grandpa passed away, she was so heartbroken that we were afraid her health was deteriorating. Actually, it was. She wasn’t eating properly and not sleeping well. Or, she was staying up most of the night and sleeping most of the day. With me here, she keeps regular hours and we have breakfast and supper together.”
He reached across the table and laced his fingers with hers. “But not tonight.”
She met his gaze and smiled before she slid her hand to her lap. Disappointment claimed him at the loss of her touch.
“I stopped by the store on my way home and bought her a chicken pot pie in a brand that’s healthy. I only hope she’s doing as I asked and having that and a salad for dinner.”
After they’d eaten, he drove under the speed limit on the way back to Post. Her company fascinated him and he wished he could prolong the evening. When they reached the edge of the Caprock above Post, he pulled over at a wide space on the shoulder and opened the sunroof.
“I love this spot. You can see the lights of our little town below and the stars above.”
She relaxed against the seat and head rest. “The almost full moon tonight obscures many of the stars. This is a beautiful vantage point, though. As if we’re divine and are hanging above the world. I could almost reach out and touch the moon.”
He reached for her hand and entwined their fingers “Should I grab it for you?”
She offered a whimsical smile. “Let’s leave it there so everyone can enjoy the moonlight.”




For now, GRANT ME THE MOON is only available in COME LOVE A COWBOY. In June, I’ll release my book as a single—but the anthology is a much better bargain. You get eight books for only 99 cents. What a deal! http://amzn.com/B01D5876UK

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