Winter’s Edge includes seven stories written by seven authors in a literary “Where’s Waldo.” The stories recount the travels through time and across the globe of three daggers forged in sixth century Rome. In each story, set in a different century and a different place, one of those finely-crafted daggers, each with a silver, snarling wolf’s head atop the handle, plays an important part in the experiences of characters who come alive on the page (or screen, if you will).
Paul Murphy’s “Wolf of Saturnalia” introduces the daggers in an action-packed adventure in ancient Rome; “Vielle,” written by Prue Batten, puts a dagger in the story of a twelfth-century musician in French King Phillip’s court at a time when tensions were high between England and France; T.C. Hester offers “DiPaolo and DaVinci” in the sixteenth century when the famed artist uses one of the daggers in the service of life; “Sweet Nightingale,” by David Neilson, features his eighteenth-century heroine, Sophie Rathenau, once again solving a crime in Vienna in which the dagger makes a surprising, but satisfying, appearance; “Bingley and Darcy,” by Martin Rinehart, fills in the details of the relationship between Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennett which are missing from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice; in the Kansas Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the dagger makes an appearance in a stunning story of friendship, love, and survival by Lena Maye; and, finally, in present-day New York, the three daggers are re-united in “Warm Me Softly,” a gentle love story by D.M. Davis.
This anthology is cleverly conceived and expertly rendered. Very impressive work from a stable of fine writers.
Sharon K. Miller fell in love with words at a young age, and writing became a big part of her life from that moment on. Her fascination with the archaeology and history of the Sonoran Desert and the Indigenous cultures who left their stories etched on and buried in the land inspired the books in the Clay Series—the interconnected tales of three women separated by centuries.
The Clay Sustains [Book 3 in the Clay Series was published in September, 2017]
Sharon K. Miller fell in love with words at a young age, and writing became a big part of her life from that moment on. Her fascination with the archaeology and history of the Sonoran Desert and the Indigenous cultures who left their stories etched on and buried in the land inspired the books in the Clay Series—the interconnected tales of three women separated by centuries. She lives beneath the back range of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. See: http://www.sharonkmiller.com
What really inspired you to write your books, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a series? There is a state park not far from where I live near Tucson, Arizona, and in the park is an interpretive trail that winds through the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam village which was inhabited from approximately 200 BC to about 1450 AD. At the same site are the remains of a nineteenth-century homesteader’s house. Signs along the trail describe how the Hohokam lived and farmed the area and how Francisco Romero brought his wife there in the nineteenth century to establish a cattle ranch. The first time I walked this trail, I wondered about Victoriana Romero’s life in this lonely place where Apaches stole their cattle and did battle with her husband, threatening their very existence. My first inclination was to write her story, but I discovered there was very little in the historical record about her. I decided instead to write about a fictitious woman, Esperanza Ramirez, who finds an ancient pot and makes a connection to the Hohokam woman who made it—a connection that helps her deal with loneliness and threats from those who would do her harm.
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!
Self-publishing often takes a beating–sometimes deserved and other times undeserved. It’s true that many self-published books are thrown together without much thought, which makes readers assume that these ill-conceived, poorly written, badly formatted books are typical of self-published books. I’m here to tell you that’s not true. There are excellent self-published books out there that compare with professionally published, best sellers. You just have to look for them.
My goal here is to pass along some titles of excellent books that should be on your reading list.