Lordie. Peeps. My apologies. I lost a day somehow while attending the Lammies. I have no idea how that happened. Anyway, your winners are…
PETRA for the ebook
CINDY G for the print!
Thanks for playing!
ERMAHGERD, peeps! FINALLY! I FINALLY GOT BAXTER TO GUEST BLOG FOR US! My stokage level is so high right now…
Whew. ::fans herself::
This is such a treat, friends. For those of you who have read and loved Baxter’s work, she has a new LA Franco mystery out with Bywater Books, available, like, now. NOW. ::checks countdown clock:: In Hold of the Bone, Frank has to overcome logic and rely instead on her instincts in a decades-old homicide that takes her out of the city into the Santa Lucia Mountains.
And because Baxter is awesome in other ways, too, she is giving away 1 EBOOK COPY and 1 PRINT COPY (U.S. only for print) of Hold of the Bone.
To get in on this awesomeness, leave a comment on this here blog. Please include your email address in the comment fill-out form but DO NOT put your email address in the comment body. We’re trying to save you from spambots that lurk on the interwebz, waiting to suck your address up into their spaminators. Don’t help them. Don’t post your email address in the comment body.
We’ll do the drawing Tuesday, June 2nd at 9 PM EST. We post the winners here on this blog and we notify winners within 30 minutes of the drawing. So if you see your name on the blog as a winner, but you haven’t received an email from us, check your spam filters.
And now, I give you…Baxter Clare Trautman.
Crossing the Line
By the time I started Cry Havoc, the third LA Franco mystery, Firebrand had me, Naiad wanted me, and Bella would get me. I’d never felt, nor have since felt, more confident as a writer. Cry Havoc was pure pleasure to write, and researching the voodoo, hoodoo, and Santeria involved in the story was all play.
When I started the Franco series I had a trajectory for “Frank” and it took two more books after Cry Havoc to get her there. Then I didn’t know what to do with her. I suspected Frank would have to revisit the goings-on in Cry Havoc so I left a door cracked at the end of the book. For a while Frank and I went our separate ways. I wrote two and a half novels while she was off doing whatever it is our characters do when we’re not thinking about them. Then she started showing up on my doorstep, not a lot, just enough to let me she was back.
Around that time I read an article on entanglement theory. It’s a complex physics idea that tries to explain how particles separated by great distances still manage to affect each other. I can barely balance a checkbook so when I started reading about non-locality, Schrödinger’s Cat, and hidden variables, I felt like my head had been split open and my brains pulled out. But the one thing I took away was Einstein’s dismissal of the theory as “spooky action at a distance”. That was exactly how the Santeria priestess in Cry Havoc affected Frank; she messed with her head from a great distance. That door I’d left open widened a bit.
I’m a scientist by training and profession, as Frank is a cop by training and profession. By now we’ve done enough orbits around the sun to know there are things in life that facts and reason, physics and theory can’t explain. Like my friend telling me the ghost of a Native American chief lived in her house and pulled pranks on her. Of course I didn’t believe it until I stayed at her house one night while she was out of town. I woke to an empty room with my blanket slowly being pulled off the bed. Snatching the blanket back, I told the chief he could do whatever he wanted with me in the morning but that at 2:00 AM he’d best leave me the $%^* alone. The blanket stopped moving.
Or house-sitting for another friend, who casually mentioned before she walked out the door that I shouldn’t worry if the rocker in the den started moving, it was just her grandfather. Sure enough, I was reading on the couch that night when the rocker started creaking back and forth, back and forth. I said, “Hello” and kept reading, one eye on the invisibly occupied chair. I stayed there a week. Every evening, between seven and eight, the rocker would sway steadily for about twenty minutes then abruptly stop. Silly examples, to be sure, but can you explain them? I can’t. There are more stories like that, much more personal and profound, and for another time, but they illustrate how I have come to that shadowy line between what is known and what remains a mystery. It’s a line I’m comfortable straddling, but a line Frank shied from like a horse from a cage full of lions.
To figure how to get her to even reexamine that line (she’d neatly dismissed all the events of Cry Havoc as so much hooey, as Einstein incorrectly did with entanglement theory), I booked a week in an isolated Big Sur cabin. I like reading books where they are set and had Thomas Steinbeck’s Down To A Soundless Sea with me. In it, he borrows from his famous father’s story about the “dark watching men” that are said to haunt the lonely mountains surrounding Big Sur.
I immediately Googled Steinbeck Sr.’s story, and as I read it, the door left open in Cry Havoc blew off its hinges. I knew had to get Frank out of L.A. and into the wild, rugged Santa Lucias. That week I created the lost town of Celadores, and a random Pinterest photo of Vanessa Redgrave became “Sal”, the pivotal character who introduces Frank to the broody mountains that will change her life forever and in ways she can’t imagine.
There are mysteries we carry in our DNA, numina we have forgotten from the time of cave bears and first fire but that nonetheless remain alive despite our forgetting, and that we yet carry in the hold of our bone. Cry Havoc introduced Frank to these mysteries and she ignored them. In Hold of the Bone, they finally drop her to her knees.
I had to write this book. It’s where Frank needs to go. It’s a radical departure from where she’s been, and I can’t wait to see where we’ll go next. Wherever that is, we hope you’ll join us.
OMG, hell YES we will join you! SNACKS! CLOTHES! ROAD TRIP!
There you go, peeps. The awesome Baxter Clare Trautman and some of the story behind her latest, Hold of the Bone.
BIO: Baxter Clare Trautman earned a master’s degree in biology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and promptly turned her hand to writing. “My stories live in rough places – South Central L.A., war zones in the Middle East – and my characters are raw around the edges. If you’d rather be moved than distracted, and care for hope in a story more than happily ever after, you’ve found your author.” A practicing wildlife biologist, she lives in central California with her wife, dogs, cats, and chickens. Trautman is a Rainbow Award Winner and Lambda Literary Award finalist.