Champagne Books released my first story in a contemporary setting, Stone House Farm, this month.
Used to writing scifi/fantasy settings, I thought writing in a contemporary setting would be a breeze. Ha! More of a whirlwind! As long as you make a make your scifi/fantasy world believable, your reader accepts the story. I soon discovered contemporary settings aren't easy--just a different type of difficulty. We believe we know how police, justice and other government agencies work, how corporations and businesses work, even how our electricity and furnace fuel operates in our homes. However, a writer needs to get it right, especially in specific geographical locations, or earn the reader's displeasure!
Stone House Farm is about land with views of Lake Michigan surrounding an old stone farmhouse; land valuable to developers. So what is the process to obtain land if an owner doesn't want to sell? Does the local sheriff work and act like a TV detective? Probably not, especially while working during a snowstorm. I know the electric and phone lines can quit in this area. I know there are occasional problems with cell phone signals. I mentioned the snowstorm -- anyone who has been through one of the recent storms in the Mid-Atlantic States knows how snow measured in feet screws up life. While Michigan is prepared for such storms, very severe ones can still knock everyone off base.
I hope readers will think I not only met the challenge, but also wove a good story through all the setting turmoil.
So what happens? After the divorce court gave her ex part of her farm's acreage, Amanda is cash poor but land rich. Sure, she could sell her farm, but the stone farmhouse has housed her family for generations. She won't sell it to Wade Preston's development company. Arriving home just before a storm, Amanda discovers her mare has escaped the barn. While she searches for the mare, her dog finds a wounded and near frozen Wade Preston in her orchard. Here is a short excerpt:
Buck wasn't trapped by his collar. An unusual long mound of snow lay under one of the apple trees. The dog barked and dug around the shape. Approaching with caution, Amanda swept her flashlight's beam over the mound and caught a flash of khaki and fingers. The mound was human.
She hurried her steps. Kneeling down she rolled the camouflage-jacketed form over. His face was pale and drawn, his black hair ice-coated, dark, wet strands plastered his forehead. Wade Preston!
"What are you doing out here? Visualizing where to put your condominiums and golf course?" She asked the unconscious face. He had to have walked here. She noticed shallow snow foot print impressions in the snow. Why come now, during a snowstorm?
"This makes as much sense as anything has lately," she complained to Buck.
Buck whined, his tail striking her back as he stuck his head under her arm and snuffled the coat of the prone man. She pushed Buck away. "Good-boy, yes, you found him, down."
She pulled off her glove and felt his face. Wade was cold, too cold, his lips blue, his skin deathly pale. "Please, God, don't let him be dead," she whispered, feeling his throat for a pulse.
Storm bound with her wounded enemy is not something Amanda planned, and certainly she would have to be delusional to fall in love... Yet those are just the beginnings of her problems.
For more information, you can visit Rhobin on her website and her blog.