Trying Some Short Fiction

Now those are words that I ever thought would come out of my mouth. Short? That’s crazy talk. keyboard

But I’ve been encouraged by a writing group that I’m in to come up with a 1,000 – 2,000 word extra-short story related to a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year, and it may be chosen fora n anthology. It can’t be a chapter of a longer work, and it has to stand alone.

This is coming from someone who literally dropped out of the Purdue MFA in fiction twenty-five years ago because they wanted me to write short stories. I couldn’t do it then, and frankly, since then I’ve had little interest in short. I don’t read a lot of short fiction, and as such, never had any interest in it.

But, on the other hand, I wanted to be a part of this promotional opportunity. So I brainstormed and brainstormed. How on earth could I have a romance in that few words, and end it? Really? The couple would have to know each other previously, obviously.

So tonight I punched out a first draft of a short involving two characters from my two books, and I really like it. Mark and Deena anyone? It’s tentatively called A Kiss at Midnight and it takes place on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. If I don’t get accepted for the anthology, I’ll probably post it here, but I’m excited about it.

Welcome Guest Author Paty Jager

Today I welcome Author Paty Jager, who is interviewing her main character Isabella Mumphrey, Anthropologist.

Isabella Bookmark Front

Interview with Isabella Mumphrey

Today, I’m here to interview Dr. Isabella Mumphrey, an up-and-coming anthropologist, who received her doctorate at the age of twenty-two and has since become the head of her department at the University of Arizona. Her driving career goal is to link the people of Central America to the Native Americans within the United States.

Interviewer: Dr. Mumphrey, when did you discover you had a genius IQ?

Isabella: My mother has high intelligence and when she became aware of my acute memory, she enrolled me in schools for the gifted. But I don’t like to talk about that. I’d rather discuss my work at the university.

Interviewer: Dr. Mumphrey, we’re here to learn about you and not what you do at the university.  You know what they say about all work and no play? As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Isabella: Most of the time, I just wanted to be normal. To live with my parents and see them more than holidays and my birthday. To have friends. It’s hard to connect when you’re twelve and everyone else you see on a daily basis is a college student. They look at you as a freak. I just wanted to grow up and be normal.

Interviewer: What are your favorite TV shows?

Isabella: I don’t watch TV but my favorite movies are Indiana Jones. The way he gets out of tight spots and uses his whip…I know it’s all make-believe but to have that freedom…I guess in answer to your question above. I’d like to grow up to be Indiana Jones. (She smiles wistfully) I’ve had enough of the real world, I’d like to live in a make-believe world for a while.

Interviewer: What is your favorite meal?

Isabella: Any meal! I love food and have a high metabolism which makes it hard for me to keep any fat on my body.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about these days?

Isabella, staring past the interviewer’s shoulder with a happy grin: I’m still passionate about my work and discovering where my roots are, but I’d have to say right now in this moment I’m most passionate about a Venezuelan man who has come into my life and shown me I’m not a freak and can be loved for exactly who I am.

Interviewer: What do you do to unwind and relax?

Isabella: There is such a thing?(laughing) I like to chat with my cockatoo Alabaster, read about the Hopi culture, and spend time with my latest passion.

Interviewer: Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

Isabella: Night person. If I’m working on a project I can stay up for days and nights on end. If a puzzle presents itself I can’t let it go until I’ve solved it. One of my greatest flaws I think.

Interviewer: What would we find under your bed?

Isabella: A whip I bought trying to use it like Indiana Jones. (She blushes) The attempt didn’t turn out too well.

Interviewer: What makes you happy?

Isabella: Discovering more and more connections between the people I study and the growing love and admiration I have for Augustino Constantine. Below is my first meeting with Tino.

Interviewer: I’d also like to add that Secrets of a Mayan Moon is the first of three books in the Isabella Mumphrey Series.

Blurb:

MAYAN MOON 1 (2)What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Excerpt:

She deposited her backpack on the floor at her feet. The horn handle of a twelve inch Guatemalan blade protruded from the side pocket. Tino’s curiosity spiked another notch.

“I have a reservation. Dr. Isabella Mumphrey.”

Tino snapped the paper down and stared even harder at the woman. This was the frumpy, old anthropologist he was to guide? His gaze scanned the length of her one more time while tuning in the conversation.

“Ahh, Dr. Mumphrey, Dr. Martin said you were to get the finest room, no?” The clerk acted like a simpering fool giving the doctor her key and expounding on all the wonders of the hotel.

Gracias. May I borrow a paper and pencil? I need to make a list for the taxi driver.”

The clerk handed her the items. She stepped to the side of the counter and began writing.

Why would she make a list for a taxi driver? Curious, Tino folded the paper and strolled to a spot beside her. So intent on her list, she didn’t even acknowledge his presence as he leaned, reading the items. Army knife, candle, braided fishing line, hooks, swivels, 24 gauge snare wire…

“You are planning a trip into the jungle, no?”

She started at his voice. Deep green eyes rimmed in gold stared at him from behind wire-rimmed lenses. She blinked, focused on him, and narrowed her eyes.

“Didn’t your mother teach you manners? You don’t look over people’s shoulders to see what they’re doing.” She picked up her list and held it to her damp shirt.

Mi mamá did teach me manners, no? I am Tino Kosta, your guide to the dig at Ch’juña.” He held out his hand waiting for her to shake.

Her gaze traveled from his extended hand up his arm to his face. She squinted her eyes and glared at him.

“You’re not of Mesoamerican descent, so you can’t possibly be my guide. Are you in cahoots with the disgusting little man who stole my property?” She bent toward her backpack, giving him a good view down the front of her blouse.

Si, she didn’t wear a bra. The nipples peaking through her clingy shirt sat atop a palm-sized mound. Now, being a man who liked his hands filled to overflowing when it came to handling a woman—

¡Carajo!” The pointed end of the large knife that had been tucked in the doctor’s backpack waved inches from his nose. “What is this about?” A woman who ran around without undergarments shouldn’t be offended by a man viewing her body.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Windtree Press, Kindle, Nook  Kobo.

 

About Paty

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Her first book was published in 2006 by Wild Rose Press since then she has published seventeen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager  and twitter;  @patyjag.

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Paty, thanks for stopping by. Isabella sounds fabulous!!

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Talking About Birthdays Today

2013-08-15 21.29.24This picture is from last year, about this time.

I was thinking about birthdays this morning, and how often where you are in life is a feature of how you feel about birthdays.

Generally, I’ve not been one of those people upset about growing older. In fact, half the time, because my birthday is in August, when I do the math throughout the year to determine my age, I think I’m older than I am anyway. In my mind, I’ve been 46 for half the year already, so what’s another day?

But, having said that, the year I turned 29 was a miserable year. At 29, not only was I not dating, I had no immediate prospects of dating. That all changed a few short months later when I started dating the man that I would eventually marry. In 1997, turning 29, I couldn’t see that on the horizon. By 1998, mid-year, I was engaged, and, by April 1999, I got married. (Somewhere along the way I left Athens, GA and moved to Greenville, SC, but that’s another journey for another day)

If I could talk to my 29-year old self, I would tell her to be patient. I still remember her frustration and disappointment, but I would tell her that love will come, and when it does, it will leave her breathless.

 

How Publishing a Book is Like Having A Baby

I keep trying to think of a metaphor for releasing a novel into the wild.2013-12-07 11.45.56
The first one that I came up with is releasing novel is like having your first baby. You prepare for nine months (although this book took about 15 months), you read everything you can about parenting (all of those books on character development, pacing, etc.), and you buy everything you can think of to help you with your baby. You have parties (showers), you fix up the nursery, paint the room. But as the date gets closer, you wonder, have you done enough? Do you have everything you need? Will the baby be healthy? Once you bring the baby home, you start to get your confidence up as a parent. That’s where the metaphor fails.
The second one that I came up with is sending your child to college. Now, granted, my children are 12 (almost 13) and 11, and I haven’t sent either one of them to college, but here are my thoughts. You took care of your child for years, making sure that he does his homework. You hope that you taught him the right things about life. You hope he will have a good work ethic and not flunk out. You buy him everything you think he will need to help him in his new life. He needs a new computer, new clothes, and bedding for that extra-long twin bed. Then he moves out, and suddenly your control vanishes.
I‘m getting ready to send this baby on out its own. It’s hard, so very hard. I think the story’s strong. I love the characters. I’ve been working on the language for a month now. My editor has gone through it and four beta readers. Why is it so difficult to take the final steps required to publish it?
I’m not a perfectionist, but last minute changes can kill you with a book. That’s usually where those typos and “oops” moments happen. When I read it, I see what’ supposed to be there, not what’s really there. It’s also nearly impossible for me to read it and not tweak. Sigh.
When you send your child to college, she has to stand on her own. You’re not going to be there to make sure she goes to class, or eats breakfast.
Once I hit publish, the book either makes it or doesn’t on its own merits. Either the book will get good reviews and some attention from readers, or it will languish in the millions of ebooks available now, never read or loved. I have to give it the best shot I can, and then it’s on its own.


 

Update…

I wrote this last Friday, but I couldn’t bring myself to publish it. The book was still in process with Amazon, and taking forever, and I was like an expectant father of old, pacing the waiting room with cigars.
And now I find I’m mentally exhausted and not wanting to get anywhere near my computer, although I know that I need to be looking for ways to promote this book. After working all day, and then staying on the computer an average of 3-4 hours a night, that’s about 12 hours a day of computer time, and I have to admit that I’m burned out.

So, if you are looking for something to read, Under His Protection can now be downloaded from Amazon
Under His Protection (City Lights Book 2) Barnes and Noble and iTunes will hopefully release soon. The first in the series can be found here: No Strings Attached (City Lights Book 1)

I’m sure I will tell you in the future how great my baby is, and how it will scare and titillate you at the same time, but right now, like a new mother, I just want to sleep. Oh, and psssstttt, if you want to keep up with how all my babies are doing, don’t forget to join my monthly newsletter here. Every time I get ten new susbscribers, I give away a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks.