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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Christmas in July Part II: Christmas in the Wylder County Jail

 



Some stories just write themselves…

 

When starting a new story, it’s a little like taking a journey, and you never know who is going to join you for the ride.  Well it’s that way for us “pantser” writers anyway, I suspect plotters have fewer surprises along the way.

 

Sometimes there are characters who are larger than life and can easily—if not kept in check—take over your entire story. While writing The Wylder County Social Club, my heroine’s mother, Miss Adelaide (spoiler alert: she’s the town madam) was that character.  She was fun to write for, and when she was in a scene, it was hard not to let her take over.  Her character just leapt off the pages for me.  But it wasn’t Addie’s story.  It was Eliza and Coyote’s story.

 

Meanwhile my friend and fellow author, Kim Turner, who was also writing a story for The Wylder West series (Wylder Hearts), was having a similar time with her uncle’s hero, Russ Holt.  We had already decided that Addie and Russ would be having a secret/not so secret romance and the two provided a lot of comic relief in our stories.  Well ol’ Russ stole every scene he was in. 

 

The problem with secondary characters is that they are not usually hero or heroine material.  They are fun, they can be quirky or unusual--and since they don’t have to be heroic, like the main characters, they can be seriously flawed.  So it’s tricky when they strike such a chord with readers that you find yourself being asked over and over to write their story.  How do you turn an un-heroic character into a hero or heroine??

 

And who wants to read a story about an old drunk and the town madam?


A lot of readers, apparently.

 

Which led to Kim and I putting our heads together.  After all, neither one of us had ever been in a co-author situation, or even thought about writing that way. 

 

But fast forward a bit and with a lot of talking and planning, we came up with a system that worked.  And the result is one of my very favorite stories, Christmas in the Wylder County Jail.  

 

I’ll post the blurb and an excerpt below.  If you have not read this story yet about second chance romance, and love between two flawed individuals who are no longer starry eyed young’uns, I hope you will consider doing so. 

 

~*~


Adelaide Willowby is having a bad day. It’s a week before Christmas and she has just kicked out the love of her life. Her sister and her daughter are barely speaking to her, one of her best girls is getting married, and ownership of the Wylder County Social Club is in jeopardy. Now she has landed in jail—for murder.

 

Russ Holt has relied on alcohol to quiet the ghosts from his past for far too long. His latest bender has caused him to let down both Addie and his son, and he knows something has to change. When a stranger in town is found dead and Miss Adelaide is arrested for murder, Russ smells a rat.

 

Can he battle his demons, hunt down the real killer, and win back the woman he loves?

 

 ~*~


Excerpt:

The amber liquid glugged as it filled Addie's teacup. She’d likely hate herself come morning—she already hated herself for being a hypocrite. She’d harped on Russ like an old nag about his drinking. Yet the first sign of trouble and here she sat doing the same damn thing.

Should she find him and apologize? They weren’t married, after all, despite Russ proposing every other week. The cup came to her lips as if it had a mind of its own. She swallowed it all in one gulp, welcoming the mind-numbing warmth that spread through her.

No, Russ’d show up. Sooner or later, he’d show up.

Til then, she needed to talk to Clancy. Alone. Maybe she could get him to settle for less if that lawyer wasn’t there talkin’ out both sides of his mouth.

She rose, swaying a bit unsteadily on her feet. Wind rattled the windows outside, reminding her of the coming storm. For a moment she considered waking Abraham and having him accompany her. No, that wouldn’t be right, that would only wake Em and get her all worried, then she’d tell the rest of the girls, who’d wake Aoife… Besides, she didn’t want it to look like she was tryin’ to intimidate Clancy by bringing her hired man along.

Her reticule was in the bottom desk drawer, so she grabbed it. She checked inside to see her trusty derringer. Russ had given it to her years ago and taught her how to shoot. Not that she could hit the side of a barn—’less she wasn’t aiming for it.

Aww Russ.

Agony stabbed at the back of her mind at the memory, but she forced it aside. There would be time to examine her feelings later, when all this was dealt with.

She dropped the little gun into the drawer, no sense borrowing trouble.

She wrapped her favorite shawl around her, the one Sarah Taylor had embroidered when she first come to town. Another rattle at the window and she grabbed her cloak as well. Her favorite mother of pearl letter opener caught her eye and she tucked it into her cloak pocket. Just in case she needed it for protection.

After all, it was late, and decent women weren’t out alone at this hour.

Well, nobody had ever accused Adelaide Willowby of bein’ a decent woman.

 

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