Thursday, July 29, 2010
If you mean, do I intend to write something different than romantic comedy with cowboys, for now, no. I'm contracted to write them through about 2013. Nine more of them already in the works. I'm writing one now that comes out next July and having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. I can keep doing this for a long, long time.
And all of your faithful readers are glad, myself included. What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them?
I'm going to the ACFW Conference in September. No, I won't be a speaker. Lena, what are you thinking to suggest such a thing? It's been clearly documented and recorded that people actually get stupider when they listen to me. I'm going to do the world a favor and keep all my advice to myself.
You can't fool me, Mary. Remember how long I've known you. I know how smart you are. If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?
I want to interject here that this isn't my job, Lena darlin'. I'm not supposed to pick topics. The people who do it are hard, hard workers. Me, I pretty much just sit around and make stuff up on my computer all day everyday. It's a system that is going well for me. Topics, hmmmmm…. Well, I've sworn off marketing classes. I swear my head almost exploded during one last year. I just can't HANDLE the marketing classes. (pretend Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men said that.)
Brainstorming sessions maybe? I have an agent and editor. Honestly, these days, I go to conferences to meet with my agent, my editor, and friends. I think maybe that makes me a brat. I'm sorry.
I go for some of the same reasons. How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations?
I give ACFW credit for the fact that I'm published today. The critique group I joined, the contest I won, the conferences I've attended, and the connections I've made, and the editors and agents I've met.
I call it the four C's of writing. It's actually the Four C's, One A and One E, but that just doesn't roll off the tongue, now does it???? And I found ACFW through RWA, Romance Writers of America, so that's key, too.
Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?
I think this might be a trick question, Lena. No, I'm not running for an office in ACFW, stop nagging me!!!!
I have vastly scaled back my volunteer activities. I'm feeling pretty ashamed to admit that here. Guilty. Lazy. Sinner!!!!!
I can't thank you enough for bringing it up, girlfriend.
I ran my church's Sunday School for years. And taught for years, too. I've served on my church board. I was on the board of our school for about 20 years when my children were growing up. I coached softball (we lost a LOT of games). I helped lead a 4-H group…that's where I made the shocking discovery that people got stupider when I tried to teach them something. You should see my girls sew a crooked seam. Dreadful. More guilt.
I taught four teenage girls to drive. I consider that a huge community service.
If any of yours drove like my youngest daughter, then you're right. Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?
Okay, I'm going to not include Jesus, because that's just so obvious. But if you WANT me to include Jesus, then Jesus. There. Number one.
Now on to other's hmmmm my mom and dad. My husband. My four daughters. That's seven. Eight if you count Jesus. Okay two of my four daughters, or one, depending on how you're keeping score at home. But I'm not saying which ones. That'd be rude. As for how? By being in my face for fifty years??? (And yes, I think I count Jesus in that-In a good way though) How could they not have an impact? Huh?
If you could write the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be?
These questions, Lena. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT???????
How about: God has picked me up on wings like eagles
Sounds good to me. Tell us about the featured book.
In the wake of a stagecoach accident, doctor Alex Buchanan and Beth McClellan—who no one will allow to be a doctor even though she'd trained, discover that they're both skilled healers who work well together. Other than that, they have nothing in common! She's an idealist and he's a jaded army deserter fleeing a bounty hunter. Surely their alliance ends here . . . or does it?
Intriguing. Please share the first page with us.
Beth McClellen would die before she missed Mandy’s wedding.
That wasn’t some cute expression. It was a plain, bald fact.
She would probably be pounded to death any minute now.
The stagecoach, in its four-day-long quest to hit every bump and rock in northwest Texas, lurched into the air then slammed back onto its wheels. She’d planned to take the train all the way to Mosqueros, but a cyclone had ripped out a bridge somewhere and the trains weren’t running. So Beth had no choice but to take the much slower stagecoach.
She’d still hoped to make the wedding. But it was cutting things really close. Even with the irritating delay, the stage had appealed to her. Horses, fresh air, Texas scenery—after four years in the teeming city of Boston, she thought the stage was brilliant.
She was an idiot.
The coach tilted up sharply as the trail rose. Beth fell against the seat back. “How can this thing stay in one piece?”
She didn’t expect an answer from the drunk across from her and she didn’t get one.
He did slide farther down on the seat, slumping sideways, growling in his—well, Beth wasn’t about to call it sleep. Stupor was more like it. She braced herself to shove him to the floor if he fell forward onto her. She’d use him as a footrest, and for the first time in days the man would serve some use on this earth.
Give me strength to keep from knocking him to the floor on purpose, Lord.
They reached the hilltop and the ascent switched to descent. The stage picked up speed and the hooves of the horses rose from plodding walks to fast clips.
Beth knew it by sound and feel, not sight. She’d closed the curtains to block out the sun, hoping to also block some of the billowing dust that seeped through the windows. And if it lessened the stifling heat of an August Texas a few degrees, it might also lessen the stench of her fellow rider.
Dark might keep him asleep, too. She could only pray to the good Lord it would. The few times he’d been semi-lucid, he tended to break into rants about the dreadful state of the world. He’d start with generalities then launch into particulars, muttering to himself as if she wasn’t there and he was a lunatic.
Well, if he thought he was alone, then he was wrong, wrong, wrong. But he was right on one count—he was definitely a lunatic.
More than once in the last four days, she’d been tempted to shut him up with the butt end of the pistol she had strapped to her ankle.
The driver shouted over the thundering hooves of his four horses. He’d been shouting at the poor horses for days.
Beth was tempted to swing out the door, clamber onto the top of the stage, and beat the man to within an inch of his life for the way he pushed his horses. And it didn’t pass unnoticed that Beth was contemplating violence against every man within her reach.
It had been a long trip home.
The driver wasn’t completely heartless. They’d stopped several times and gotten a new team, but the relentless pace, the shouting of the driver—they wore the poor horses down long before they finished their run.
Another shout had Beth sitting straighter. It was a new shout, laced with fear—nothing she’d heard from the driver before. She pushed aside the curtain on the window and saw the same desolate, broken range she’d been seeing all day. West Texas, a brutal, barren place.
Her family had found a fertile valley in this desolation, but almost the only one. A rugged, man-eating, soul-crushing country that either hardened people into gleaming white diamonds or pulverized them into useless coal dust.
Beth liked to think she was a diamond. And she’d crushed her share of men into dust right along with Texas.
The trail was narrow. They were rolling quickly down one of the thousand dips in the mountainous area.
The driver shouted again. “Whoa.”
That really caught her attention. The man never said whoa. Not outside of town. He stopped for nothing.
She leaned forward, holding her breath because she was a little too close to the snoring, reeking passenger. She’d been on this stage for four days in the sweltering heat and roiling dust and she was no fresh posy herself, but this guy was ridiculous.
The stagecoach slowed, slid sideways, and picked up speed. The driver shouted and cursed and Beth could see, if she angled her head, the man battling with the brake.
Had the brake given out? Was the stagecoach a runaway? No, not a runaway. She could feel the brakes dragging on the wheels, hear the scrape of the brake as it tried to slow the heavy stage.
“Keep your head. Keep your head.” Muttering, Beth knew the side she’d just looked out of rode too close to a rock face that rose high on her left. She slid to the other side of the coach. Before, she’d been too close to the man’s feet. Now she could smell his breath.
Inhaling the dusty air and stench through her mouth to make it bearable, she pushed back the curtain on this side and her stomach twisted.
The whole world fell away from this side of the coach.
She stood, holding on to the rocking, jouncing stagecoach. Letting go with one hand, she shoved the door open. Poking her head out she saw. . .disaster. Dead ahead. Emphasis on dead.
No way was she getting home for that wedding.
A stagecoach lay on its side not a hundred yards down the trail. Bodies everywhere. A quick glance told Beth that five people were unconscious or dead on the ground. If they hit that wreckage, they’d kill any passengers left alive then plunge over the side of the mountain.
Beth saw a horse racing away far down the trail, dragging harness leather behind him. No sign of the three other horses that had pulled the ruined stage. A sudden twist in the trail concealed the accident, but it was still coming.
What a cliff hanger! Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Petticoats & Pistols
Thank you, Mary, for the wild ride today.
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