Desert Camping, Hot Love

While camping in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, I noticed a woman sitting alone in a van parked near the beach. I never saw her get out of her vehicle. She sat in the driver’s seat most of the time, listening to audio tapes and chain smoking cigarettes.

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The beach was beautiful, the sun shone every day, the water was clear and inviting, the place was a paradise. Why would she not get out and inhale that fresh air, go for a walk or a swim, or enjoy this little bit of heaven? I certainly did.

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It puzzled me and I wondered what her story was. Her plates said San Diego. I mulled over many scenarios. Why was she alone? Why did she never get out of her van? Was she trying to kill herself with the first and secondhand smoke in the enclosed vehicle?

The seeds  of a novel were germinating in my head. A California girl comes to Baja alone. But why? I would make her health-minded, young, and beautiful. Yes, the character was taking shape in my head.

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She would need to find a love interest, but who would be down here on his own and why? Men come to Baja alone, looking for … something ….

Each of the characters had good reasons for being on the run, but would that interfere with them starting a new relationship? What if the attraction was so strong, they couldn’t resist?

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But what if their past troubles are coming after them? Will the new lovers stick together? Will they panic, split, and run to escape their pursuers? And what about that drug runner who is out for revenge for a slight on the road?

sunset at La Perla

Life could be so perfect, if only those nasty people from their past weren’t coming after them.

For a gripping story of love and suspense wrapped up in a Baja adventure, why not spend a big $2.99 and download Orion’s Gift from amazon.com or smashwords.com today?

Cover design for Orion’s Gift is by Anita B. Carroll. Thank you, Anita for a great cover image. You can contact Anita at anita@race-point.com

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All Love is not Equal

Very often we see a pattern in novels that tell love stories. But besides the usual “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back,” there are other kinds of love stories and these are the ones I like to create in my novels.

Take a look and consider whether any of these kinds of love have happened to you or someone you know.

We read of unrequited love in the love triangle in Julia’s Violinist. Being “torn between two lovers” is as heartwrenching for the reader as it is for Julia. Add the setting of postwar Europe with events that will have you thinking about them long after you read the book, and you have the ingredients for a worthwhile read.

Another kind of love develops in The Wind Weeps and its sequel, Reckoning Tide. Here we have the misguided love between Andrea and the handsome Robert, whose attentions take an abnormal twist. You’ll find yourself wondering how Andrea ever could have thought this was love. But is love that turns into a manic obsession really love?

Then we have the love that happens by the slimmest of chances. Perhaps it came about because of the alignment of the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the beach that day, as seems to be the case in Orion’s Gift when Sylvia meets Kevin in a Baja campground. Can such a love, that happens purely by chance, withstand the test of time? Can it survive when their former lovers are on a “search and destroy” mission?

What better time to load up on these love stories than on Valentine’s Day! You’ll be glad you did, once you lose yourself in the lives of Julia, Andrea, and Sylvia, and their significant others.

Anneli Purchase

You can find my novels on amazon.com (click on link) and other amazon outlets by typing in my name or the titles of my novels.

 Do you have recommendations of novels with unusual love stories? Why not leave a comment and share them?

One of my recommendations for more love stories is the Em and Yves Series by Darlene Jones. Click on the link to see her books on amazon.

Love and Drama

Women love a love story.

Men?

I think men secretly love a love story but they don’t want to let their emotions go all to pieces, at least not so anyone could see. While they wouldn’t be caught dead holding a copy of some romantic novel, they wouldn’t mind watching a movie with drama and a relationship as long as it wasn’t too sappy.

Apricot Nectar

So authors of novels that involve relationships have some options. They can give up on men as readers and write “romance” novels for women. Or, they can write the kind of novel that both men and women can enjoy, with more happening in the novel than simply a love story.

The latter is the kind of novel I prefer to write. I always have relationships going on in my stories, but the background events and locations raise the interest level for all readers.

Let me give you four examples:

One

In my novel, The Wind Weeps, a woman becomes involved with two commercial fishermen. Of course she chooses the wrong man. After that, it’s a matter of her survival. I don’t take the fishermen out of their setting and focus only on the love affairs. The events that influence the development of the story are set in the real working lives of the fishermen. The characters run their trollers, they do some hunting, they do boat maintenance, go mushroom picking, and explore the fabulous coast of British Columbia from Vancouver to the Queen Charlotte Islands. But all this is written to appeal to men as well as women. Romantic attachments develop within this lifestyle. Exciting drama and tense situations keep you turning pages.

Two

My novel Reckoning Tide is the sequel to The Wind Weeps. It is a “must read,” if you enjoyed the free download of The Wind Weeps. I think you will find the continuing adventure and ending of Reckoning Tide very satisfying.

Three

Another love story in a practical, yet exotic setting is Orion’s Gift. Sylvia, a gorgeous California woman,  has received news that prompts her to flee her comfortable home. She goes on an extended trip down the Baja Peninsula. But for the men, who also enjoy real life situations and a love story sneaked in on the sly, I introduce Kevin, owner of an Alberta hardware store. Kevin is a handsome man who has let his wife steamroll over him for years. Events evolve that allow Kevin to escape, and Baja is his destination. When Kevin meets Sylvia, they should live happily ever after, judging by the sparks they send up to the heavens, but their two spouses are hunting them down. Trouble looms.

If you like a good love story with spicy sex, and  a real inside look at dry camping on the Baja Peninsula, Orion’s Gift is the book for you.

Four

And then there is Julia’s Violinist. Born of German heritage, in what was then Austria-Hungary, Julia is an innocent victim of the fallout of two world wars. Julia’s Violinist is not a war story, because, as its author, I dislike war stories. But what I have learned is that when there is major strife in the world, people still  try to continue living their usual lives. The war tears up the very foundations of Julia’s life. Widowed, having lost her home to the spoils of war, she and her two children are rebuilding their lives. Times are hard. Very hard. She remarries, but her husband is a difficult man.

Then one day a letter arrives from Canada. After twenty years, her first love has found her again after searching for her through the Red Cross. “Come to me,” he writes. “Thank God I’ve found you. I still love you after all these years.”

You will love Julia too. I guarantee it.

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All titles available at amazon outlets and at smashwords.com

More info at anneli-purchase.com

 

More Writing Props

In my  journal, I had written about taking the skiff out into the Bay of Conception to get a closer look at the many dolphins that were travelling up to the head of the bay. Paired with this photo courtesy of Amanda Naismith, and several others which triggered that memory, I wrote a scene for Kevin and Sylvia in Orion’s Gift that was very close to the truth.

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Excerpt from Orion’s Gift:

Hundreds of sleek bodies broke the surface only to curve and dive down immediately and reappear a few yards farther on. Kevin cut the motor again and we drifted, a mere speck in the middle of the huge Bay of Conception, closer than we had hoped to a huge school of dolphins, all aiming for the head of the bay.

“Listen to them!” I whisper-shouted to Kevin. The mewling, whistling, singing, and crying, as they repeatedly broke the surface of the water, was an eerie choir piece. Hauntingly beautiful, it gave me goosebumps in spite of the warm day. Kevin’s face mirrored my feelings exactly—somewhere between awe and ecstasy. My mind was suddenly in turmoil, balancing this rare and precious moment with the realization that I probably had few of them left. Peaks of happiness and bottomless pits of misery played havoc with my emotions.

My eyes filled with tears. “Thank you for bringing me out here. That was so beautiful.” I lowered my head. Just needed a moment.

“It would have been a shame to have to enjoy this all alone,” he said.

Still trying to come to terms with the amazing spectacle we had just experienced, we sat a moment longer watching the last of the dolphins disappear in the distance.

“Uh-oh!” Kevin pointed towards the open end of the bay. “Whitecaps.” He started the motor and turned the skiff towards home. Within minutes, the breaking waves had moved much closer and the glassy smooth surface changed to ripples that grew into an uncomfortable lump. I’d heard San Diego fishermen talk about the lump in the sea. Now I knew what they were talking about.

“Hang on,” he said. “It could get bumpy. I’ll take us to the nearest point of land and then we’ll work our way home along the beach.”

I gripped the gunwales of the boat where they began to curve towards the bow. We bucked into the choppy whitecaps that had now overtaken us. In no time, the sleeves of my blue cotton shirt were soaked from the spray. Two-foot waves didn’t seem like much but they followed one after the other so briskly that the small skiff took a pounding. My stomach clenched into a knot of fear as we were tossed in every direction. I tightened my grip against the bouncing of the boat. More waves splashed over the bow, soaking the front of my shirt. I was glad the water was warm. It would have been an ordeal to be splashed with icy water every few seconds. The finer spray wet my face so the drops were running off my chin. I glanced at Kevin in the stern of the boat. He was completely dry except for a bit of salt spray in his hair. He looked so good and I could only imagine what I looked like. Drowned rats came to mind.

Writing Props – Journals and Photos

When I travel, even on short trips not too far from home, I keep a journal and/or take photos. It’s not that I think I’ll forget everything so I have to write it down, or that I need the proof the camera will provide. I started doing this way back when I was much younger, before I realized that I might, indeed, forget some of the details of my travels.

I’ve kept journals fairly diligently for the past 37 years. At first it was “just for the record,” but then the journal became useful for reminding me of places to return to – or not. Notes like “Pilot gas station at XXXX, California – High prices, terrible service, no room to turn with a trailer. Do not go back!” have come in very handy on a return trip.

Here are some of my journals. As you can see, any kind of notebook will do the job. Many have several trips recorded in them. I use them until the pages are full.

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Photos are not as useful for travel guides but they bring back memories that may not even be on the picture. Amazing how the mind makes connections from triggers.

In my novel, Orion’s Gift, I made great use of my journals and photos from trips my husband and I had made to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Places we stopped for the night became places where my characters, Sylvia and Kevin, stayed overnight as they lived out their adventures in Baja. Photos of the towns, beaches, countryside, and people of Baja twigged memories of events and places I was able to use in the novel. We know that it doesn’t take a page of description to paint the picture for the reader. A few well-placed choice words will do the trick.

And so the journals and photos have become invaluable to me for use as writing props. Now I document my trips with a view to using some of the content in future novels. You just never know when some scene calls for details that are recorded in the journals or photos.

Example: The scene about going to the spring in the desert came from my notes and photos.

desert flowers

Excerpt from Orion’s Gift

“How far is the spring?” I adjusted my pack.

“About 45 minutes each way,” Bill said.

I looked around. Rocks, sand, cholla, ocotillo, and cardón cacti, and palo verde trees. Beautiful, yet unending and without distinguishing landmarks, and no ocean in sight. I didn’t like it. Oh, it was scenic enough, but heading out into the unknown, so late in the day, putting all my trust in people I had just met—it didn’t sit right with me. “Did anyone bring a compass?”

Sharon laughed. “We know the way. You follow the dry riverbed and watch for the little rock monuments.” To my way of thinking she seemed a bit over-confident in the insubstantial. Sharon was assuming these rock piles would always be there. What if they were knocked over by people or animals? What if there was a flash flood? And besides, rocks had a way of looking alike. And even if the rocks were still there, what if we got separated and she and Bill were the only ones who knew the way?

“Who built them?” Sylvia asked. She didn’t seem to be worried. Maybe I was overreacting.

***

Do you use your journals or photos for writing? Do you have writing props of some other sort that you can tell us about? Why not share your thoughts?

 

 

 

Ever Talked to a Goat?

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I’ve chosen a turning point in my novel Orion’s Gift. This book actually has many turning points, but that’s what will keep you turning pages. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Shiree, Kevin’s bullying ex-wife, tries to get back to Loreto (and the airport) to make her getaway after hurting Kevin in an effort to make him share his inheritance. Be warned, she is a crude woman:

Excerpt:

I was shaking so much I could barely manage to keep the car on the road. I only hoped that turning left at the highway was taking me south, back to Loreto.

“Dumbass Kevin! Such a stupid jerk. What did he have to go and fall off the goddamn cliff for? I mean all he had to do was say ‘Okay, I’ll share the money.’ Greedy bastard.”

I hoped he wasn’t dead. He was a nice enough guy, and I didn’t really want the kids to be without a father—for some reason they still cared about him. But still, why should I care about him anymore? He’d obviously moved on. That skinny stray he was with … God! You’d think he could pick a girl who wasn’t so undernourished. Scrawny bitch. What rock did he turn over to find her? But what did I care anyway? The bimbo was working on him at the bottom of the cliff, so maybe he wasn’t dead.

“Aw, who the hell cares? If he’s dead, I should get all the money. For sure I’ll check it out.”

I had to tighten my grip on the steering wheel. The roads down here were so goddamn twisted. You hardly got around a corner going one way and it started to turn the other way. Couldn’t they bloody well make up their minds when they were building the damn road?

“Oh, shit!” I slammed on the brakes. “What the hell are those? Goats? Goats, crossing the goddamn highway? Jesus, what a place.” They took their sweet time prancing across the road. A few of them decided it was easier to walk along the highway in my lane rather than keep crossing. I leaned on the horn and gave them a nudge with the car bumper. They scrambled down into the ditch.

“About bloody time,” I yelled out the window.

“Krikey! I’m losin’ it. Talking to a goat.” I groped for my purse and dug around in it for my ticket. I nearly went off the stupid winding road trying to read the departure time.

“Aw, crap! Might as well slow down. I’ve missed today’s flight out of here. I’ll have to stay at a hotel in Loreto and catch tomorrow’s flight home.”

*****

Next morning I parked the car and dropped off the keys at the counter. The rental people were nowhere in sight. Just as well. They wouldn’t see the damaged front end till I was gone.

Over at the airlines counter, I dug out my ticket and pushed my way to the front of the line to check in.

“My ticket’s an open return. I want to be on today’s flight.” I showed her my passport. “See? All in order.”

Momento, Señora,” the airline employee said. She picked up the phone and talked in Spanish so fast I doubted the person on the other end of the line could understand her. “Please come this way,” she said. She held up her hand to the next customer in line, telling them to wait. I smirked at them over my shoulder.

She took me to a side room. “Sit down please,” she said. “One moment.” Then she left, and I thought I heard the lock click on the door. I checked it and sure enough it was locked.

“What the hell?” I banged on the door. “You didn’t have to lock it,” I yelled.

It took a little longer than I expected, but at last the door opened. A police escort onto the plane? But a niggling thought wormed its way into my brain. Maybe I wasn’t going to get out of here so easily.

“I have a ticket,” I said. The two uniformed men ignored me. Maybe they didn’t speak English. I waved my ticket in front of their faces. “Ticket? See? I have ticket.”

“Señora. You must come with us. Please turn.” Next thing I knew I had cuffs on.

The nerve of them treating me like that. My throat felt dry and I swallowed hard.

“Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing? I’m a guest here. I have a ticket to go home.” One was already propelling me out the door. The other grabbed my purse from beside the chair. Passengers standing in line turned to gawk at me. I stuck my nose in the air and looked away as I marched past.

Outside the air-conditioned terminal, the midday heat walloped me extra hard. I felt perspiration beading on my forehead. Things were not going according to plan. It couldn’t be about Kevin. Nobody could say I did anything to him. The stupid oaf just fell off the cliff.

The guy who had me by the arm opened the back door of the police car.

I jerked my arm away. “What do you think you’re doing?” I yelled. “I’m not getting in there.” He grabbed my arm again and pulled but I braced myself. Next thing I knew, I had a pain in my ribs and I went flying headlong into the back seat. “Police brutality!” I screeched. Surely there’s someone around who can do something.

The goons drove off. Yelling hadn’t worked, so I changed my tactic and tried to talk nice to them, but they just shook their heads and laughed as they talked to each other.

My body was drenched in sweat and my stomach burned.

Orion's Gift

For a few more days, this novel is on for 99 cents at

amazon.com (for Kindle)

and at smashwords.com (for other e-reader types) with the coupon code UQ49E. Apply the coupon code after you click to buy the e-book to get the 99 cent price.

Might Shiree end up in a place like this? The Santa Rosalía Jail?

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While her ex-husband and his new skinny stray enjoy the freedom of dry camping in Baja in places like this:

Baja Desert[1] Baja Desert[3] Baja Desert[4]

You’ll have to read Orion’s Gift to find out.

Writing Styles – Part 5

Anneli Purchase

I’m Anneli Purchase. Today I’m doing my own part in “Writing Styles.”

My writing style challenges, to show description of character, setting, and a scene ending, are taken from my novel “Orion’s Gift.” It’s a drama that takes place on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.

Character: This describes Shiree, ex-wife of main character Kevin when he visits her in a Mexican jail.

A wild-looking creature stumbled into the room. Her black hair was a tangled bush of knots and clumps of dirt. Two small eyes squinted through a swollen raccoon-like mask. Filthy clothes hung on her in shreds. Black, bare feet shuffled across the floor towards me. The pissy smell of her was hard to take. Involuntarily, I backed away, clutching at my nose. Who the hell was this? I called for a guard.

“Kevin?” The creature squinted at me, and came closer. She spoke through puffy lips that had several scabbed over splits.

Setting: Going to Cielito Lindo in Sylvia’s van.

Dust poofed up from each pothole my tires bumped through. It seeped into the van and settled on every surface. My eyes itched. I gasped for air, coughing out the thick dust only to inhale it again. I didn’t know whether to open the windows or keep them tightly closed. The van bounced along for a couple of miles like a bucking bronco even though I drove slowly. At last I saw the sea and knew I was close. Palapas barely bigger than beach umbrellas marked camping areas on the water side of the road. On the landward side, I checked in at the restaurant where a sign said, “Oficina.”

Scene Ending: Kevin speaking to Shiree at the jail.

“And if you forget to follow the rules, all I have to do is go to the police and lay attempted murder charges against you.”

“I won’t forget. I’ll never forget. Never.” She narrowed her eyes and one cheek muscle twitched.

I had all the concessions I wanted from her. Why did I still have the feeling that she’d won?

Orion's Gift

Available as paperback or as e-book at both of the links below. For synopses and reviews of Orion’s Gift as well as my other two novels, “The Wind Weeps,” and “Julia’s Violinist,” visit my website (link at the bottom of the page).

Amazon.com http://ow.ly/nyOz2 

Smashwords.com http://ow.ly/nyOEE 

www.anneli-purchase.com