“Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction

As I near the end of my current work-in-progress, The Clay Sustains, the third book of The Clay Series, I have arrived at the chapter wherein I will “solve” one of the greatest archaeological mysteries from the Hohokam era in the Tucson Basin.

In 1949, a man by the name of Ray Romo was hunting in an area of what is now Catalina State Park, near Tucson, Arizona. When the ground collapsed beneath his foot, I can only imagine he knelt down to examine the resulting hole and “peered into the past” (Swartz and Doelle, “The Romo Cache and Hohokam Life,” In the Mountain Shadows, 27:1, Archaeology Southwest, 1996 and 2013).

What he found was an ancient Hohokam pot cupped over a larger Hohokam pot containing a most exciting and intriguing treasure. Inside were 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads. That’s right. You read that correctly: 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads! romerocachediscoverysitebackgroundsstif

https://southwestphotojournal.com/category/prehistoric-pit-house-construction/

Continue reading ““Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction”

*”He Moved”

It was one of those moments when time slows and details become more pronounced, a rather macabre tableaux vivant, burned indelibly in my mind. My father, outside, trying to break the door down; my mother inside with the shotgun; me standing helplessly to the side. Nearly sixty years later, the image presents itself from time to time, triggered, perhaps by something on the news, in a movie, or from an overheard conversation. Time has not diminished the clarity of the image.

When she pulled the trigger, I saw him, through the window on the door, jerk his head backward and disappear from sight. Continue reading “*”He Moved””

What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1

booksSome books are meant to pass time on my shelves before getting swept into the donation box for the local library or the thrift shop. Others have the distinction of permanent residency on what might be dubbed my “shelf of honor.” Those books are the ones that have somehow made a difference in my life. Maybe they were books that left a profound impression on me through their content and the author’s craft. Or they might be personally and professionally important–those that I had the honor of editing and designing for publication (or even writing), for example, or one that marked a life-passage for me. Continue reading “What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1”

A Writer’s Relationship with the Reader

Many years ago, a colleague, Rus VanWestervelt, shared with me a graphic that illustrated his idea of the relationship between a writer and his reader. He described this relationship as a continuum wherein the writer never leaves the piece, but the audience doesn’t enter until a piece of writing has been officially established as a “draft,” that is, a piece of writing that has a future for the writer and a future for a reader who happens upon the piece. For this reason, he asserted, as long as the writer keeps the intended audience in mind during the drafting, revising, and editing stages of the manuscript, success is almost certain. Continue reading “A Writer’s Relationship with the Reader”

The Clay Series

One Pot…Three Women…Eight-Hundred Years

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The Clay Remembers:  Available at Amazon, B&NKobo, Smashwords, and Antigone Books and Mostly Books, Indie bookstores in Tucson, Arizona.

The Clay Endures: Available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and at Antigone Books and Mostly Books, Indie bookstores in Tucson, Arizona.

The Clay Sustains: Available July 30, 2017.

Two Indispensable Tools for Writers and Editors

As a writer, I know how hard it is to self-edit and proofread my own writing. It’s important to have my manuscript as close to perfect as I can make it before I send it to my editor. (Yes, writers who are also editors hire other editors to edit their work.)

As an editor, I know how easy it is to get caught up in a client’s narrative and miss both small and large problems that must be addressed. That’s one reason I always sub-contract proofreading to someone else. But I also make sure I’ve done my own due diligence before I pass a manuscript–mine or someone else’s–to a proofreader.

Continue reading “Two Indispensable Tools for Writers and Editors”

The Clay Endures Coming Soon

 

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Finally, I have a firm release date for Book 2 in The Clay Series, The Clay Endures. Well, sorta.

I anticipate offering pre-sales somettime around mid-July, with the full release coming at the end of July. I will be at the Clay Festival in Silver City, New Mexico, on July 30 and will have the book, hot off the presses, for sale there.

This book goes back in time from the first book, The Clay Remembers. Readers will remember that Anna, an archaeologist, uncovers a broken Hohokam pot which connects her to the lives and experiences of two women from years before: Esperanza, a nineteenth-century homesteader’s wife, and Ha-Wani, the Hohokam woman who made the pot in the twelfth century. A little scrap of land in the shadows of the Santa Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, Arizona, is the setting. Continue reading “The Clay Endures Coming Soon”