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Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in Little Rock hanging out at a coffee shop with the members of a bookclub. I had a great time! Thanks for the cappuccino, Chris! We talked about books, they asked me about my life as a writer (I hope I didn’t bore them too much), and I signed a bunch of books. Here’s the gang:
I’m in the right upper corner, then going clockwise, Heather, Chris, Katie, Emily and Madonna (I hope I got those right!).
Did I mention it’s my birthday today?
The opening to Hot Blooded came to me as I was researching parks in Texas. I lived in Texas for nine years, but I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never been to Palo Duro canyon. When I started to look through the photos I found online, saw some of the rugged peaks, and then when I saw this photograph, I had just the right place to begin.
Then I started the real research, contacting rock climbers to make sure I had the techniques down, knew the equipment. I’d climbed in college, but that was forever ago. I struck up an online conversation with Blake, who reviewed my climbing scenes and offered some helpful tweaks. I know this one’s not sexy, but I had so much fun writing this scene. I hope you enjoy it.
When the first small drops began to fall, Cass McIntyre welcomed the light shower the forecasters had predicted. Already halfway up the route she’d chosen, she’d worked up a nice sweat.
The rain quickly cooled her skin, which was caked in a thick, itchy layer of canyon dirt and chalk. The lazy breeze accompanying the rain fanned the burning cuts on her bare legs and arms, giving her a mental boost of energy.
After another fifteen feet into her ascent—chilled and achy now and getting a little impatient with the worsening conditions–she found a narrow ledge. She unhooked her biner from the rope, and decided to wait out the cloudburst, a rare occurrence in the Panhandle and extremely deadly because the rock face she climbed had become as slippery as mud.
She took small comfort in the phrase she’d heard over and over since she’d first moved to Canyon, Texas that ran like a mantra through her head. If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a minute.
Her mistake had been believing that piece of homespun advice.
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