Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Summer brings thoughts of boating, traveling, gardening...and reading. For my family, reading is always in season.

A popular lake near us is named Possum Kingdom Lake. Really. Would I like to you? You can't make up stuff as weird as reality.  The lake is on the Brazos River, which was a mighty river until it was dammed up in numerous places.

Comanche Warriors
Many years ago trappers gathered possum pelts in the valley that was later flooded for the lake. Possums are mostly harmless critters, but their pelts used to be popular for men’s hats. The story goes that there were two trappers who traded with the Comanche for pelts. After many rounds of firewater, the Comanche fell asleep and the trappers made off with the pelts and everything else. Stupid, eh? The men were escaping when the Comanche wakened, probably already in a bad mood due to hangovers, and discovered they’d been hoodwinked. Comanche warriors were not men to swindle. They set out after the trappers, who refused to abandon their valuables. Instead they climbed up the hillside that is really a cliff. One said to the other that he’d see Hell’s gates before he gave anything back to the Comanche. You can imagine how that ended, can’t you? The Comanches caught and disposed of him. The cliff formation is now named Hell's Gate in his honor.

Possum Kingdom Lake
Toiday Possum Kingdom Lake (locally referred to as PK) is a popular recreation destination. It’s a beautiful lake, but periodically plagued by golden algae that causes a fish die-off. Not all fish species die, but most of the sport fish fall prey to the algae. Last summer grass fires destroyed a great deal of land surrounding the lake and many homes. Hopefully this summer will not be so dry, but forecasters are predicting are of the same. You'd think all a lake had to do was soak up the sun and rain, wouldn't you? Apparently not.

Possum Kingdom Lake and the surrounding area are the setting for a time travel romantic suspense I wrote titled OUT OF THE BLUE. This is my husband’s favorite of my books and was published in 2010. The heroine, Dierdre Dougherty, is from 1845 Ireland and travels to contemporary Texas. She plops down in the lake next to the bass boat of police detective, Brendan Hunter, on medical leave after he was wounded in the shooting that killed his partner and best friend.

Time travels are fun to write because the author is able to play with the adjustment of the time traveler to her/his new world and to show the reaction of the incredulous characters who discover the time traveler. Imagine how suspicious you’d be if someone showed up on your doorstep claiming to be from another century. Would you call the police? The mental hospital? Would you invite the person into your home?

As far as I know, there is no such thing as time travel, other than crossing a time zone or the equator. That’s not saying there is not and never will be, because we never know what’s possible. For instance, forty years ago would anyone have believed he or she could surf the internet (the what?) or watch movies on a cell phone?  Authors have to keep an open mind and give those with wild-sounding claims a chance to explain.

But I digressed. I was telling you about Possum Kingdom Lake in the Palo Pinto Mountains. Before gasoline was a million dollars a gallon, Hero and I used to go for Sunday afternoon drives to explore Palo Pinto County and others surrounding. We also went on the Palo Pinto County Historical Tours when they were offered before the volunteers suffered extreme burnout.

After all that and the research I did for OUT OF THE BLUE, I fell in love with the area and use it for the setting of my new Men of Stone Mountain trilogy. But today, I’m talking about OUT OF THE BLUE, which is available in print or ebook from and other online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Here’s an excerpt of OUT OF THE BLUE to (hopefully) whet your reading appetite. Blossom is the hero’s mom and Deirdre’s employer:

        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, thick 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.”

Please return on Friday when my friend, Celia Yeary, will be my guest.

Thanks for stopping by!



Bookie said...

Your books sounds so good, but right now it has to wait. A long queue of to reads are on my shelf, on my Kindle, on the night table!

The Commanches would win, yes, always! Have you read the non-fiction book Empire of the Summer Moon? Learned a lot there about Commanches, Texas, and it could have turned out differently!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a gorgeous place!

Elaine Stock said...

I love visiting your blog... you're bringing Texas so alive to this North-easterner! I'll be in Dallas come Sept. at the ACFW conference--are you hours away?