Release Day is January 23rd!
I’m excited that my publisher, Black Rose Writing, will release my new novel, Standing Our Ground, this week–Thursday, in fact, January 23rd. To celebrate, I’d like to share with you, over the next three days, the first three scenes of the novel, one each day. They will be brief, so as not to take too much time to read. I believe you will enjoy them (if you like mystery stories enriched with a deep dive into relationships and a strong comment on current events).
If you’ve already wondered whether the title says something about the “stand-your-ground” laws, you’re right on target (sorry, pardon the pun). So here we go, without further ado, with Scene 1 from my new Monastery Valley novel, Standing Our Ground.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25
9:37 p.m. The hands on the big Howard Miller wall clock above her cubicle seemed like they hadn’t moved in an hour. Deputy Andi Pelton yawned and then called home. Ed would still be up. Just as he answered, she yawned again. Stifled it.
“Hey, kid,” Ed answered. “How’s the shift?”
“Shoot me. I’ve never been so bored. If this was Chicago, we’d have four, five drive-bys by now, a couple rapes, runaway kids. Here, everybody must be in bed.” She glanced up at the clock: still 9:37.
“I miss you on these evening shifts.”
That touched her. “Me too. Ed, let’s go public with our marriage. I want everybody to know.”
“How about we talk about it tomorrow on the way to Missoula? Grace’ll be in her car, so we’ll have plenty of privacy.”
“It’s a plan. Let’s—”
Suddenly, the receptionist’s voice cut in. “Andi, 9-1-1 call. Shots fired.”
“Oh, man, I gotta go. Shots fired.”
She heard Ed yell, “Be safe,” as she hit End. She grabbed her outer vest and started putting it on as she rushed out to Reception. She passed Marla without slowing. “How many shots?”
“Two. Caller said it sounded like a handgun.”
Andi kept moving toward the parking lot door. Over her shoulder, she yelled, “Where?”
Marla called after her, “206 East Cedar Street. The call came from the house next door.”
“Radio Xavier. Tell him to meet me there and . . .” She shivered. “And to wear his armor.”
She ran out to the lot. Just before flicking on her siren and lights, she heard Xav’s siren fire up north of town. Good. He’s close, she thought. She finished adjusting the vest as she drove. Four minutes after the call, she swerved around the corner onto East Cedar Street, Xavier’s siren close behind.
Shots fired, she thought. “Be careful what you wish for,” she whispered. The dashboard clock read 9:41.
OK, that’s Scene 1. Tomorrow I’ll post Scene 2.
Authors are told (relentlessly), that if we don’t “grab” our readers in that very first scene, we’ve lost them. I think that’s an exaggeration, frankly, but I do try to infuse that first scene with a “story question,” and some emotional connection with the character(s).
I’d love to know if the scene raised a “story question” for you–What’s going to happen? How might it affect the deputy? Did someone get shot? Who? Why? If you’re so inclined, leave me a comment with your thoughts.
And if you want to pre-0rder Standing Our Ground, you can get a 15% discount before Jan. 23 at Black Rose Writing. Use promo code PREORDER2019. Click here to go to their website.
See you tomorrow!