Friday, May 21, 2010

When reality flashes back to fiction

We live in Albuquerque, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and an arroyo abuts our back yard. For those not familiar, in this area, it doesn't rain often, but it can rain very hard. When that happens, a bunch of water needs a place to go. Fast. Arroyos channel water and prevent flooding. Our arroyo also acts as a corridor for wildlife coming down out of the mountains. Remember, these things are dry 99.99% of the time.

The other morning I looked outside and saw a huge and beautiful coyote across the arroyo. It jumped up on a concrete block fence and gracefully and alertly paced the length. I figure it was looking for rabbits. Rabbits are abundant here and have become too fat, lazy, and cavalier for their own good. I loved watching the coyote move as it searched the area from its elevated vantage point, and somehow the experience resonated with me for days. I told a friend, and he said, "Keith, that's a scene from your novel Struck."

By gum, he was right. Change that concrete block wall to the ruins of an Anasazi kiva in Chaco Canyon, and you're in the climatic scene of Struck. No wonder the sight resonated.

The coyote returned a couple days later for a repeat performance. Even knowing part of my infatuation was that it flashed me back to my fiction, something more captivated me. For a second time, I wouldn't risk going for a camera, afraid I'd miss an experience trying to capture an image on film. I guess I'm satisfied to have captured it in words. Before I saw it.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Nice ladies with phone cameras

While I was setting up for the Authors Event at Bookworks, a nice lady used her phone to take my picture and then emailed it to me. Her attitude set the tone. Nice crowd at Bookworks. Note my smile.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A protagonist's mother

I'm already looking forward to participating in the Mother's Day Local Author Fair at Bookworks this Sunday from 3:00 - 4:30 PM, and I hope to see some of my Albuquerque friends there. I'll be one of five authors participating. CLICK HERE for details on the books featured.

I'll be there with Struck, my paranormal thriller that's set in Albuquerque, a fictional pueblo, and the Anasazi ruins in Chaco Canyon. Since it's a Mother's Day event, I've been thinking about my protagonist's mother, Sally. Her life was drastically changed by a bolt of lightning years before the lightning strike featured in the first scene of the novel.

I love my character Sally and made her a huge positive influence on my novel's hero. Like so many of us sons, the more Barry grows as an adult, the more he realizes how incredible his mother was.

So in anticipation of my upcoming Mother's Day event, here's my favorite Sally chapter from Struck. I hope you love her too.


Sally Andrews had delayed her lunch break to help a customer find a size ten yellow blouse when pain shot through her body, a vivid reminder of the lightning bolt that had struck her over twenty-three years ago. She grabbed her left shoulder, the lightning's point of entry, as it blazed pain. Shifting weight off her aching right foot, the exit point, she almost toppled over.

"Are you all right?" her customer asked.

Sally looked up at the woman. Afraid trying to speak would unleash the scream she barely contained, Sally shook her head.