Friday Feature – Author Ann Parker

 

AnnParker headshot

Bringing the Past to Life through History-Mystery

 

I’ll begin with a big THANK YOU to Kat for offering me a chance to participate in her Friday Feature so I can introduce you to my Silver Rush historical mystery series.

 

My books take place primarily—but not entirely!—in 1880 Leadville, Colorado. Leadville is a real town up at the 10,000 foot mark in the Rocky Mountains. Why, you may ask, did I settle on setting an historical mystery series in Leadville? Well, as my Uncle Walt, a Colorado native, once enthused to me, “Leadville was the site of one of the biggest silver rushes in the world! People came from all over, thinking they’d get rich overnight…”

 

Since I have lived in California all my life, I well understood frenetic craziness that ensues when folks get hooked into the “get rich quick” frame of mind (think: dot-com boom, real-estate bubble, etc.).

 

Uncle Walt continued, “…They didn’t realize that you couldn’t just pick silver ‘nuggets’ up off the ground, and that’s when all the trouble started.”

 

Trouble indeed!

 

My uncle’s enthusiasm for Leadville was infectious, so I began to research Leadville and her history, and to fashion my characters. I decided to make my protagonist Inez Stannert, named after my paternal grandmother, who was raised in Leadville but never breathed a word about it to me, despite her love of telling stories of her life in Denver (yet another mystery!). My fictional Inez Stannert runs the Silver Queen Saloon in Leadville along with her husband’s business partner, Abe Jackson, a free man of color.

 

When the first book in the series, Silver Lies, opens, the reader quickly learns that Inez’s husband, gambler and all-around-charmer Mark Stannert, has been missing for close to nine months. What has happened to him? Did he perish by falling down one of the many mining shafts? Did he just “up and leave?” Is he alive or dead? Well, such questions were not easily answered in 1880 (no Social Security numbers for tracking people down, for instance). So, Inez and Abe carry on as best they can.

 

A woman running a saloon in the wide-open boomtown of Leadville is unusual, but not unheard of: in the 1880 census, 228 men claimed the occupation of saloon keeper or bartender, compared to 3 women. So, who is Inez? She is a woman in a man’s world. She runs a high-stakes poker game, holds her whiskey with the best, plays piano beautifully enough to “make the angels weep.” She also carries a Remington pocket revolver, because who knows when trouble will strike in this tumultuous town, where the law is overwhelmed by the lawless?

 

I conveniently set the Silver Queen Saloon on the corner of the business and red-light districts.  Between that and the general “silver-induced frenzy” the silver boom brought to this region, I had no trouble at all fashioning stories that weave real-life events into my fiction. For instance, in Silver Lies, folks are “dying to get rich.” In the second book, Iron Ties, I explore the (real-life) railroad wars that finally brought the iron horse to Leadville, as well as the plight of the town and railroad’s Civil War vets, many still suffering from the aftermath of the conflict 15 years after the war’s end. The third, Leaden Skies, features the arrival of former president and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant to town on a five-day visit. I refer to this one as my “dirty politics” book. (The more things change, the more they stay the same. Such seems to be the course of human history.)

 

Of course, there are mysterious deaths, confidence games, tomfoolery of various kinds, and everyone has their secrets—even Inez, who I like to describe as a woman with a shadowy past, a complicated present, and an uncertain future. The series also provides a bit of romance… but I won’t say much about that in fear of spoilers.

 

As I said above, my series takes place mostly—but not entirely!—in Colorado. The sixth and newest book in my series, A Dying Note, finds Inez in 1881 San Francisco, California. Now manager of a music store, she is trying to forge a new life for herself in the “Paris of the West” and put her unsavory years in Leadville behind her. However, as the Kirkus Review of this book notes, “Leaving behind a life of secrets proves no easy task.” Inez carefully constructed life threatens to tumble about her ears when the badly beaten body of a young musician washes up to shore. Inez becomes entangle in the mystery of his death when the musician turns out to have ties to Leadville, ties that threaten to explore Inez’s notorious past.  Publishers Weekly praises the “fascinating period details, flamboyant characters, and surprising plot twists,” of A Dying Note, adding, “Parker leaves the reader longing to see what Inez will get up to next.”

 

As to what new mysteries and challenges Inez may face in the seventh book, all I will say is: stay tuned!

 

Ann Parker lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a science writer by day and a crime fiction author by night. Her Silver Rush historical series, featuring protagonist Inez Stannert and published by Poisoned Pen Press, has won numerous awards, including the Colorado Book Award, the Colorado Gold Award, the Willa Literary Award, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award.

 

Find out more about Ann and her series at http://annparker.net/

On Wednesdays she blogs at http://silverrushmysteries.blogspot.com/

She spends way too much time on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/annparker.writer

And pins interesting historical bits from her research on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/annparkerauthor/

Friday Feature – Blogger Lexx Vorpahl

21768039_147005999150356_3144477528689605095_n.png

 

Before I begin my introduction, I definitely want to thank Kat for reaching out and asking me to participate in her Friday Feature. Thank you for the opportunity to do so…

So where to begin, Hello there everyone, Lexx here. I am an aspiring author who is currently working on two novels simultaneously while blogging about all things related to writing. My writing journey is an interesting one and I have always enjoyed it for many reasons. On writing:

I like being able to communicate through writing for several reasons:  I like the challenge and the peace it brings to me personally, when I sit down to write I try to articulate my words well (the challenge) I read them aloud to see how they flow together, I get time to ponder a bit before having to spit out uselessness( I am not one for small talk or small thoughts).

I definitely enjoy being able to go over my thoughts and refine them for later use and blogging has been a medium I hadn’t considered for that purpose until now. So, I am liking the process of learning and growing as I continue to blog as often as possible with my chosen subject always present. I also don’t mind sharing with others and blogging is one way I get to share and connect with other people (without having to leave my house, I consider this a plus). I like being able to find like-minded individuals and connecting through our similar interests and thought processes through the blogosphere.

Anyway, more on my writing journey but outside of blogging. To be honest, I am just now beginning to kick things off after years of self-doubt and always listening to other peoples’ words on the subject matter. I beg you now if you love writing, never stop, for a moment. Now is writing easy? Yes and no…Is it easy to become an author? Certainly not, but if it is a goal of yours and something you can’t get out of your mind, don’t stop because of outside influences. Add it to the many goals you want to achieve in life.

This totally applies to other things not just writing, so if you don’t write don’t worry my words still apply. Believe in yourself and find where your passion lies. I don’t think anyone should have to give up something they love to do and sometimes we are told just that! What terrible advice if you ask me, and that sort of advice is best left on the side of the road while you continue driving to your destination. Right now, I am doing just that and so far, I like the scenery.

A bit more about me:

I am a stay at home mom and wife, I homeschool, I’m a Beachbody coach too. I’m also a student and can’t wait to begin a new degree course in August. I love gardening, crochet, and woodworking to name a few things. My husband and I love DIY! We do a lot of different projects together. Life is good. Obviously writing is a passion, and blogging is something I enjoy too. I plan to finish my novels, edit and then publish.  In the meantime, I blog at https://lexxvorpahl.wordpress.com/ you can also catch me over at https://vorpahlismco.wordpress.com/ If you like DIY, cooking, crafty things and more.

you can also find me on Instagram @LexxWrites  https://www.instagram.com/lexxwrites/  or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LexxWrites/

Again, a big thank you to Kat and hey TGIF! Have a great weekend everyone.

Lexx Vorpahl

New feature!

cropped-th-book.jpg

 

I am excited to announce a new component of my blog. Feature Fridays. Every Friday, I’ll be featuring a new blogger or author. So come by and check it out and if you’re interested in being featured, contact me 🙂

Gatekeeper

On this blog, I use three words to describe myself: Dreamer, Author, and Gatekeeper. Now while the first two are pretty self explanatory, I want to expound a little bit on the third one. Gatekeeper.

According to Merriam-Webster, there are two definitions of gatekeeper:

1. One that tends or guards a gate

2. A person that controls access

 

I’m going to skip past the first one and focus solely on the second definition. Because my stories begin in my head (and as far as I know, mind reading is still a hit and miss science), I control sole access to them. However, did you ever find something so neat as a kid that you just had to run and tell someone, your sibling, your mom, your best friend? That’s how I feel about these stories. These stories, worlds, characters are so fascinating that I can’t wait to share them with someone.

Now, when I say gatekeeper, many people look at me oddly and I imagine that they are picturing something like this:

 

An odd individual who delights in keeping people out, in having the power to deny access unless they have the secret code or password (or in this case, ruby slippers).

However, that’s not how I picture it. In my mind, I am more like Heimdall from Thor.

Heimdall

 

I give people access to worlds that they couldn’t otherwise access via the bifrost (a.k.a. the written word) while guarding against all threats (Horrible plot lines and flat characters). Also, from my post, I can see many worlds, not just one.

 

So tell me, what are you the gatekeeper of?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑