Snakes Not on a Plane!

020 This is not Europe.

Now, hold that thought. We’ll get back to it.






More pleasant things first!

My thirteenth novel, Rattlesnake, has just released from Dreamspinner Press. You can buy it in print or ebook versions. I’ve told you already–probably repeatedly–that I’m extra excited about this one. Some characters strike a special chord in my heart, and Jimmy and Shane are among that select crowd. I hope you love them. I mean, really. I am sitting here stressing about it, kind of like how I felt sending my younger daughter into the wilds of junior high earlier this month.

But right now I should be in an airplane, somewhere between the US and Europe. Which meant we would have (Rattle)snakes on a plane!

But we don’t. Instead, I’m in a hotel near San Francisco International, enjoying the lovely view you see at the beginning of the post. Apparently one of the cabin doors on my plane was damaged, and Lufthansa thinks a tiny little detail like not being able to pressurize the cabin is important. We sat around the airport all afternoon, until the airline determined it wasn’t going to get fixed tonight. So here I am. In a hotel in Burlingame.

The day was kind of fraught even before I got to the airport, actually. I usually park in an off-property lot. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and actually closer to the terminal than long term parking. But without any warning, the exit leading to that lot was closed today. So was the next one. I ended up parking at the airport instead.

Sometimes life is like this–we plan carefully, yet things still turn out differently than we expected. Like Jimmy in Rattlesnake (you knew I’d get back to the book, didn’t you?). He plans to hit the road and continue his life as a drifter. He plans not to hope. Until he meets Shane. Which, by the way, is a much happier accident than a broken plane.

Lufthansa has assured me that tomorrow they will get me on my way, my ultimate destination being Portugal. My world hasn’t ended. I had a nice dinner at the hotel and maybe I’ll write a bit tonight. But mostly I’ll just sit here, wondering how many people are settling in to read those first words. And it’s always just as exciting as it was for my very first book.

I hope you decide to give the new book a shot. You won’t regret it. And I hope by the time I land in Portugal, schlep to my hotel, adjust to the 9-hour time shift, and log in, some of you will have already fallen for my boys.

Rattlesnake available now at

Dreamspinner Press



and most other booksellers

You can also join my book tour! Details here.

Introducing Jimmy and Shane


I’ve already revealed L.C. Chase’s beautiful cover for Rattlesnake. If you haven’t already, enter the giveaway. And preorder a copy for yourself!

I’d like to introduce you now to the main characters. The beautiful art is by Catherine Dair.

Jimmy colorThis is Jimmy Dorsett. He’s a drifter and has been since his teens. He’s a storyteller who doesn’t always stick to the truth–even when he’s telling stories to himself. He’s driving his dying car through the desert when he picks up a hitchhiker. Jimmy ends up on a quest to Rattlesnake, a little town in the Sierra foothills. That’s where he meets Shane.




Shane colorShane Little used to work as a cowboy on his family ranch, but a terrible accident changed his life. Now he’s the bartender at the historic Rattlesnake Inn. Despite the difficulties he encounters every day, Shane isn’t one to wallow. He’s stubborn and enthusiastic, and seems to have a lot more faith in Jimmy than Jimmy does. Shane owns four identical blue plaid Pendleton shirts.




I love these two men, and Cath certainly did them justice with her art. And I’ll have swag with their images at GRNW and GRL. I hope you fall in love with Jimmy and Shane too!

You know what? I’ll choose one commenter on today’s post to receive signed copies of Jimmy and Shane trading cards. Just comment below with your answer to this question: If you had to eat the same breakfast every Monday, what would it be? I’ll pick a winner on August 8.

Rattlesnake Cover Reveal and Contest

I’ve been impatiently waiting for this for weeks… but it’s finally time to reveal the cover to Rattlesnake, my upcoming novel. Ta-dah!


I have the very talented L.C. Chase to thank for this beautiful cover, which captures the book’s setting and feel perfectly. And I’m so excited about this one! Jimmy and Shane have totally stolen my heart. Here’s the blurb:

A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

It’s a contemporary with a bit of a Western drawl, and at almost 81K words, it’s a little on the longer side.

It will release August 31, and I have a fun blog tour planned, with lots of interviews and a giveaway. But why wait? You can preorder now from Dreamspinner Press! And you know what else? It’s 25% off, but only through July 31. So hurry!

And let’s celebrate the cover reveal, shall we?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One randomly chosen winner will receive a copy of K.C. Kelly’s superb narration of The Tin Box, plus an e-book version of my recent novel, Astounding!

Ooh! That’s Interesting! Gold Rush Cemeteries

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post about the Sonora cemetery. At the time, although I’ve been to Sonora many times, I’d never visited the old cemetery. I decided to remedy that last weekend. I dragged my kids out of the fog and up into the Sierra foothills, and we ended up visiting three cemeteries: the old Sonora cemetery, the Sonora Jewish cemetery, and the Columbia cemetery (about 3 or 4 miles away).

I have lots of pics to post, but today I want to share these because they tell intriguing stories.

017 We’ll start with these two men buried in Sonora. First there’s the tale of two men making the long and difficult journey from England to California. They came well after the Gold Rush, so I wonder what brought them. Mining jobs, perhaps–even today, there are active mines in the area. And one of them died pretty young, which was common then. According to this census, he died of “miner’s consumption”. I wonder how they ended up buried together, though. They must have been friends. Business partners? Lovers? Sharing a single gravesite and tombstone seems an intimate thing to do.



044 These two men were also countrymen, this time from Italy. Their headstones don’t tell us how old they were when they died, only that they died a few months apart. They’re buried in Columbia. Their plot is a large one, and I wonder if the entire plot was bought by a collective of Italian immigrants. If anyone else is buried there, there’s no marker.


053This is the one that intrigues me the most of all. It’s just inside the entrance of the Columbia cemetery. Judging by their ages and dates of birth, I’m guessing both men came to California in search of gold–and both met tragedy. Joel died at age 30–we don’t know from what–and Jacob was murdered 4 years later. What interests me isn’t just that they’re buried next to each other. Look at the inscription on Joel’s stone: it says the stone was erected by his friend, Jacob. What kind of friendship did they have that not only involved Jacob paying for the stone, but actually putting his name on it? You don’t have to be a novelist to start imagining possibilities.

Here’s today’s final photo. There’s no mystery here–just my daughters in the Columbia jail.

I hope you’re interested in this part of the country, because I’m getting ready to submit a novel set very near Columbia and Sonora. It’s a contemporary and I am especially in love with the main characters, Jimmy and Shane. It’s called Rattlesnake. I’ll keep you updated.

I have lots more pics to post, plus more photos from the Stockton Asylum, so stay tuned on upcoming Wednesdays!