I need to apologize for not posting last week. Hubby was rushed to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. Many prayers were said on his behalf and as a result he is home now and doing very well.
During all the worry last week, I received some good news about my new novel. I learned that the book launch for Deceived will be November 15th at the Fort Union Deseret Book Store from 1:00 to 3:00. They want me to do a reading from the book, and there will also be door prizes, so stop by and join in the fun.
Okay, now on with the blog . . .
Cliffs of Moher
Have you ever wanted to go to Ireland?
And since my new novel, Deceived, has a main character whose grandfather was from the Emerald Island, I really wanted to experience the place for myself.
So a few years ago, my daughter, Tricia, and I went on a dream trip to Ireland. That trip gave me enough information for several books and all I could have wanted for Deceived.
Let me tell you a little about my main character's Irish background.
Tara Kelly grew up hearing stories of the old country from her grandfather. His stories were so vivid that Tara captured many of them in the picture books she created.
Some of the stories were about rural Ireland.
Some were about the wee folk.
And some were about castles.
But in Deceived you never read about these stories. What you do read about are Tara's dreams of Ireland.
About the Burren limestone . . .
About the capstone at the dolmen at Poulnabrone and how she believes it is a portal to the Land of the Dead . . .
And about the ghost that haunts Tara.
Okay, so that might not be a ghost, but then again, maybe it is. I took the picture while on a haunted bus tour of Dublin. Below is our tour guide.
I think he had probably been in the Land of the Dead quite some time. He smelled like he had been. Come to think of it he was actually from the haunted castle below.
We had so much fun!!! Even though Deceived it not set in Ireland, it does play a major role in the story. Traveling not only makes a lot of wonderful memories, but it also helps a writer add terrific back story to a novel.
Where have you traveled lately? Did you gather wonderful memories? Next time I'll post about the history of the other main character in Deceived, Joseph White Eagle.
I only learned of them recently. I knew about C-pap machines. Several years ago Hubby was diagnosed with sleep apnea so we got the C-pap machine, hoping that would help him sleep better. However, it didn't help. Poor Hubby still suffered, so he gave up using the machine. And his health continued to slide. Here he is about a year ago. We'd taken our grandson for a hike. Hubby struggled to keep up.
Last June we went to Washington and visited a cousin I hadn't seen for many years. After we'd been there a while my cousin took me aside and told me how concerned he was about my husband's health. I knew Hubby wasn't feeling well, but for someone else to point it out alarmed me.
How could I not have seen how ill my husband was? I mean, I live with him . . . I live with him and that's why I hadn't noticed his steady decline. So as soon as we returned home, I called the doctor. After meeting with our GP, we were sent to a couple of specialists (a sleep specialist and a spine doctor).
Boy, were my eyes opened about sleep apnea. Did you know that if apnea is left untreated a person's body will start to shut down? Needless to say, Hubby went in for a sleep study.
And then we waited for the results.
Meanwhile, the spine doctor did an MRI which showed that Hubby had a herniated disc and degeneration of the spine. The spine doctor sent us to a surgeon. After injections and all sorts of tests it was decided that Hubby needed to have several discs decompressed. Surgery was scheduled.
This was going on at the same time as the sleep study and the results were coming to a head at the same time. Talk about jangled nerves and sleepless nights.
After many prayers, Hubby was able to get a Bi-pap machine, which goes a step further than the C-pap and helps him breath when he stops, plus this machine also allows for oxygen. We were able to pick up the machine the Friday night before his Monday morning surgery. A very close call.
Pre-op and dreading surgery.
Pre-op was interesting. I knew Hubby was anxious. But soon they came and took him up, and I was directed to the waiting room. I sent a text to our daughters and son. They wanted to know when the operation started.
As the minutes turned to hours, I grew nervous. After a couple of hours, my son showed up. He couldn't stand the wait and took time off from work. Finally an exhausted doctor came and told us all went well, but there had been major damage to Hubby's herniated disc and the doctor had to remove most of it.
That was three days ago.
Hubby is home now resting in bed. He has a long ways to go with six weeks of no bending, lifting, or twisting. He can't even drive a car until we go back to see the surgeon next month.
Through it all I could see God's tender mercies. I know there will be more challenges and tender mercies ahead, but I had to publicly acknowledge the help our family has had from a loving Heavenly Father.
Has there been times in your life when you have felt God's tender mercies?
I know I promised last week to post about Ireland and what it has to do with my new novel, Deceived, but I just had to take a break and give you a slice of my life as I'm living it. I promise to let you know how Ireland, the Nez Perce, and a cattle ranch in Idaho play major roles in my book.
First let me apologize for missing last week. I fully intended to post, but Hubby has not been well. He put his back out and we have made many trips to many doctors. When a loved one is sick blogging takes a back seat. He now is scheduled to have his back operated on in the next few days, and we're very hopeful that will give him some relief.
I promised to give you a feel for my new novel, Deceived. I had a blast doing research for it. My last post was about my sister teaching me to ride and our dealings with an angry bull. This week I thought I'd tell you a little about the setting for my book.
Setting is so important, and I loved the setting for this story. Let's start at the beginning, which takes us to a small airport.
This is the one I modeled the airport in my story after. Not exactly the hustle and bustle of a big city, is it?
See Tara Kelly, the protagonist in my story, was an eye-witness to the murder of her aunt. She is sent to a small town in Idaho to hide. At the airport, she is met by Joseph White Eagle. (Yes, he is tall, dark and handsome.)
From the airport they traveled northeast over a road very much like this one.
Tara thinks they are going to the other side of nowhere. Looks pretty isolated, doesn't it? On the way to Joseph's ranch, they go through Little Lost River.
This is one of those towns that if you blink or sneeze you'll miss it. It's a place where everyone knows everyone else and strangers are greeted with a wave and a smile. But this is not their destination. Joseph is taking Tara to his ranch.
This is the pretty valley where I placed Joseph's fictional ranch. Isn't it beautiful? Now just imagine a lake and a big ranch house along with a barn and you have the White Eagle Appaloosa Ranch.
What happens after they arrive?
Tara is a loose end that the killer cannot ignore, so you can imagine things get a little complicated.
I can't tell you everything, but next week I'll give you some background on Tara Kelly. Her grandfather was from Ireland and do I have fun things to share about the research I did there. Going to places where I set my stories help me get a feel for what my characters will go through and the emotions they might have.
In the places you have traveled, did a story pop into your mind? How did you feel? Don't forget to take notes and lots of pictures. It can all be used as research.
Herding cattle is hard work. Believe me, I know. I wanted to go on a cattle drive so I could experience what my protagonist would go through.
Little did I know I was in for quite an adventure. My sister, Jo, arranged everything. Fortunately, she had a wonderful camper that we stayed in during this trip. Still, that was roughing it for me. We arrived a day before everyone else. She wanted me to get used to riding before the real cowboys showed up. She showed me how to saddle up, how to sit in the saddle, and how to get the horse to do what I wanted. I was scared to death. But I soon learned to "cowboy up" and do the best I could. We rode the range spending several hours in the saddle, then headed back to the camper. No one told me after sitting in the saddle so long that my knees would become spongy and weak when I got off the horse. But that was all right. I was learning and actually feeling what my main character would. Info for the book, right? Besides I needed to toughen up because the next day the cowboys would arrive, and we would round up the cattle. Morning came and with it a surprise. A bull had wondered where he wasn't supposed to. Jo quickly saddled her horse, grabbed her lariat, and told me to open the gate so she could herd the bull into the corral. I tried to saddle my horse. And I did, kind of. I didn't cinch the saddle tight enough so when I tried to step into stirrup, it slipped sideways on the horse, and I couldn't get on. Meanwhile, Jo and her horse were doing a scary tango with the bull. The cantankerous beast would burrow his head in the ground while flipping dirt and weeds with his front hoofs in the air. And he was bellowing, snorting, and making all sorts of a ruckus. Knowing that the gate had to be opened, I ran over to it, leading my horse. I swung the gate open just as Jo finally got the bull heading my way. MY WAY! I was on foot! In the path of a very angry bull!
Unable to ride my horse, I leaped up on the fence and watched as the bull passed by. I jumped down and shut the gate. Talk about a close call. But it was all good because now I had a great scene for my book.
By the time the cowboys arrived, I had fixed my saddle and was ready to ride out with them. Talk about fun! Jo assigned me the job of rounding up the calves.
Have you ever heard the term "herding squirrels" or "herding cats"? Both are pretty much impossible. Well, herding calves is much the same. But I was doing my best until one of the cowboys rode over laughing. He told me I was doing a good job, but it wasn't necessary. They always have the rookie herd the calves. It's some type if initiation or something.
Jo chuckled under her breath and tried to appear all innocent about setting me up, but it was all right. I felt like I'd passed the test.
Needless to say, it was a long hard day. I felt very fortunate to be there. Though, I was disappointed that the rancher we were helping no longer herded his cattle to summer grazing. Instead they loaded their doggies up in semis and drove them to their destination.
In my new novel, Deceived, I decided that the fictional White Eagle Appaloosa Ranch would still have cattle drives. And guess what? The scene with the bull charging is in the book, though it didn't end as happily as the experience I had.
I'd tell you what happens, but what fun would that be?
Going on that trip with my sister was a wonderful adventure. Of course, going with Jo anywhere usually is.
How about you? What kind of unexpected fun have you had?
On the rare occasion that I post a book review, it's because I liked the book. Sometimes authors send me their novels and sometimes I buy a novel to review. But if I don't like it, I won't review it. I do not receive any compensation for my reviews.