Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Lovely Pines—Release date August28, 2018 blog post #295
After that incredibly flattering post by Ben Brock last week, it’s back to Earth time today. Thanks, Ben, for your sentiments.

Inasmuch as The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on the 28th of next month, it is probably time to give you a little more of that book. Last November, I posted a portion of Chapter 2. The very pastoral scene I picked for this blog post comes in Chapter 3.

Our protagonist, BJ Vinson, has been hired to investigate a seemingly senseless break-in at the Lovely Pines Winery and Vineyard, but as the weekend approaches, his life companion, Paul Barton, is intent on some R&R. BJ happily complies. I chose the following 600 or so words because they showcase a portion of my great adopted state… New Mexico.

Maria Fanning, Artist

          I resumed my task before the computer screen and spent most of the rest of the day checking out the staff of the winery. By the time I got home, Paul was standing at the door waiting for me, looking expectant.
          “What?” I asked. Whatever it was, he could have it. His special brand of combining his juvenile side with the adult man could charm me out of just about anything. Anytime. Anywhere.
          “I have tomorrow off.”
          “No studying?”
          “Got home early today and did it already. Can we do something special?”
          “What, go to the C&W and line dance?”
          He grinned broadly. “No, really special. You know what I want to do?”
        “Drive up to Los Alamos and spend the night in a motel. And then get up early the next morning and play the municipal golf course.”
          “Okay. It’s an easy drive. Let’s do it.”
          “Second request?”
          “I’m in a generous mood.”
       “Can we come back through Jemez Springs Sunday? I want to spend a little while at Valles Caldera.”
        That was a request easy to grant. The Valles Caldera is an almost fourteen-mile wide volcanic caldera in the Jemez Mountains between Jemez Springs and Los Alamos. The broad grasslands and rugged volcanic peaks made up one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. The almost 100,000 acres comprising the National Preserve formerly known as Baca Location Number 1 have a fascinating history.
          “Done. Let me throw some duds in a bag. I assume you’ve already packed yours.”
        He flashed that devastating grin again. “Yours too. If you go relieve your bladder, we can get started. Maybe they’ll serve us a late dinner at the North Road Inn.” I knew the B and B was one of his favorite spots to rest his head for the night.
          I slipped into more comfortable traveling clothes while he loaded the Impala with our bags and gear. My pulse quickened at the thought of having him to myself for the next twenty-four hours. He crawled behind the wheel without asking. That was all right. I was content to watch him rather than the roads.

        We got into the Atomic City—or as it was otherwise known, The Town that Never Was—perched on the Pajarito Plateau too late for dinner at the North Road, but we stopped at the Blue Window Bistro, where Paul convinced me to join him for a duck BLT. Dubious at first, I soon found breast of duck went well with bacon.
         Later in our comfortable room at North Road, he headed straight for the shower, saying he wanted to make an early night of it so we could hit the golf course at first light the next morning. Yeah, right. I no sooner joined him in bed after my own bath than he launched his assault on my body. And a long and vigorous and loving onslaught it was too. I knew well before it was over that getting up early was going to be difficult.
          Paul beat me on the broad fairways of the front nine at the Los Alamos County Golf Course and literally trounced me on the narrow tee boxes built right into the evergreen forest surrounding the back nine. As I usually took him by a stroke or two, I blamed the bedroom calisthenics of the night before for the rout.
          Sunday afternoon found us sitting in the tall grass beside the tiny Jemez River staring out over a great spread of grassland, listening to water trickle by and the flutter of wings and call of wild birds. Small creatures stirred in the nearby weeds. The odd volcanic bubble known as Cerro la Jara—or more fondly, Little la Jara—sat at our left, rising off the vast meadow like a miniature mountain with trees crowning the top. The vast hulk of Redondo Peak loomed in the distance. Paul leaned against me comfortably, adding the final ingredient to total peace and contentment. His touch and the aroma of gramma grass and weeds and wildflowers even quelled my urge to recite the colored history of our environment.

I am often criticized for “wasting” so many words on the environment instead of my characters. Sorry, but New Mexico is one of my characters. One of the stars, in fact. So indulge me and enjoy the word pictures I try to paint.

On the other hand, if I’m boring you, let me know.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.

The Lovely Pines appears on DSP Publication’s upcoming releases page:

Abaddon’s Locusts is wrapped and waiting for release on January 22, 2019. I’m sitting on 45,000 words or so of the new book, The Voxlightner Scandal, and adding more each day. Its publication date as yet undetermined.

See you next week.


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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