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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Setting as Character

Think of any great novel you've loved and you'll think immediately of the setting. Would Cathy and Heathcliff be the same without the moors? Rhett and Scarlett without the Civil War South? Often the setting is as much a part of the story--almost a character in it--as your major characters are. It was with that in mind that I set my Rainbow Rock books in a tiny, fictional town near the Painted Desert in northeastern Arizona. Here are a few of the passages that hint at my setting as character:


"Oh!" Meg jumped as lightning crashed overhead. She swerved slightly, but fought her sports car back into her lane. July had come to the high plateau and with it, a typical afternoon thundershower. To Margaret Taylor, who hadn't seen the plateau for years, the storm was anything but typical. Lightning danced along the ridges and shimmered through the valley of the Little Colorado River, sending thunder rumbling in its wake. Giant thunderheads loomed thousands of feet above the red sandstone cliffs, pierced here and there by shafts of yellow light that brought heaven to earth.


A stiff breeze scoured the desert floor, catching powdery snowflakes and drifting them against the roots of the greasewood and creosote bushes. Kurt McAllister watched the would-be storm with tepid interest, idly reminded of the way his mother used to sift powdered sugar onto freshly baked gingerbread. 

The farm lay quiet, fields worked and turned or hayed and mowed or resting fallow under a snowy blanket, animals anticipating their evening feed and a night's rest. High desert sunsets were almost always spectacular and now, during the dawn of the year, they came early, the sky often fully dark by five o'clock. Chris glimpsed the gathering sunset.

Next week I'll share glimpses from books 4, 5, and 6. Of course you can beat me to it. All six Rainbow Rock books are currently available for Kindle, Nook, Apple devices, other e-readers or your home computer. The first book is currently FREE.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grow Old Along With Me

This past weekend created an interesting opportunity for the dh and me. We went to a small party, a quasi-reunion for members of his high school graduating class, at the home of one of his former classmates. It was eye-opening.

Before I continue, let me mention that I've attended ONE (and only one) reunion for my class.We raised our children a couple of states away from where I went to school and we seldom get back to the area. Not only that, but my parents had taken their family (the sibs and me) to that part of the world just as I started high school so I had only those few years in common with the other graduates. I've stayed in touch, or regained contact with a few close friends. 

For my dh, Roger, the circumstances are quite different. His parents lived in the same home in San Francisco from the time they brought him home from the hospital until well after he had graduated. And although he had I have moved around a little, we've been well settled for most of the last four decades in the same lovely town which is only a four-hour drive, depending on traffic, from his high school. We've seen these folks a few times. 

Still, it's unsettling. We walk into this group of Roger's high school pals and see . . . old people. Of course WE aren't old, but somehow, all those other people our same age have gotten to be quite ancient. 

There were four common topics where everyone seemed to find common ground: (1) The San Francisco 49ers, who were doing so well until they dropped this weekend's game to the Vikings. We're still counting on them to be championship material this season.  (2) Where is so-and-so and what have you heard of him/her lately? This topic largely left me out since I didn't know any of their high school friends. (3) How many children and grandchildren do you have? Do you see them often? Do you have pictures?  I did well here, since we have an impressively large family.

(4) The final topic was something I could reluctantly discuss with ease. Everyone seemed to be talking about aches and pains, anticipated surgeries, recent surgeries, loss of eyesight, loss of hearing, loss of friends who have already passed on too early. We limped up to one another, straightened our glasses and chatted, often loudly. 

It was enlightening. It was sad. It was a reminder that Roger and I planned to grow old together. It looks like we're doing fairly well. 

Susan's Ebooks are available for Kindle, Nook, Apple devices and for all other e-readers and computers at Kobo, OverDrive, and Smashwords. The first book in the six-book Rainbow Rock series is currently being offered FREE.