A new booksigning!

Last Sunday I was one of the authors who met at Malvern Books in Austin Texas to sign and read from our crime novels [the event was sponsored by Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas chapter, of which I am a member].  I read from the first in my Del Sueno series, “Murder at the End of the Line” and it was well received.  Malvern’s Becky and the rest of the crew have made a lovely venue for reading, talking and meeting other people who love books.  So many great authors!

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Ah, those desert rivers…

I placed my fictional world of the ‘End of the Line’ saloon in a fictional desert town called Del Sueño, somewhere in inland California. Rather than set it on one of the numerous lakes, I placed it alongside a fictional river. Southern Californikators know that most of the rivers there are ‘ephemeral’, to use Wikipedia’s word: sometimes there’s water in them, sometimes it’s just a dry arroyo. And woe betide the occasional tourist who thinks a dry arroyo is a great place to park their RV. Sudden flash floods can toss and float the biggest Winnebago down the line toward the Pacific.
But one reviewer of a book in the series commented that if the town was in the “desert” then there couldn’t be any river. Funny how people not from the southwest assume all desert is like Death Valley or even the Sahara. In fact, Death Valley does get an average annual rainfall of 1.5 inches (38 mm). The wettest period on record was mid-2004 to mid-2005, in which nearly 6 inches (150 mm) of rain fell in total, leading to ‘ephemeral’ lakes. (Again, thank you, Wikipedia!) Due to the aridity, they disappeared quickly, but the “desert” does have water and lakes and even rivers. At slightly higher elevations, a couple thousand feet or so, the rivers stay at least moist most of the year. Unlike the Rio Grande, say.
In 2014 my son was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso. One of the first things he did was drive down to get a look at the legendary Rio Grande, about which he had been hearing all his life, not to mention seeing it in countless movies. Instead of the mighty surge of water expected of a river that divides two major nations of the western hemisphere, he beheld a wide dry wash full of sand and sagebrush. Apparently it was one of the major disappointments of his life. “Mom!” he said with childlike shock. “There’s no water! It’s the ‘Grand River’ for crying out loud!” I.e., how can there be ‘wetbacks’ if there’s no ‘wet’?
Like many people, he hadn’t realized that even the ‘Grand River’ has trouble staying wet in the middle of summer. In my mystery novels, I describe my river as being low and choked with weeds and reeds much of the time. Since its source is a high mountain lake, it’s never completely dry, and similar to the San Joaquin river, supports almost forty species of freshwater fish. Good thing, since many of the people living Del Sueño spend a lot of time on its banks, escaping the heat and catching what might end up as lunch.
So, yes, Virginia, there are rivers in the desert!

Rio_Grande_in_Big_Bend_NP By Glysiak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=32441150

Welcome to my author’s page:

Hello! I don’t want to overwhelm anyone, and I am usually busy writing, so there won’t be too many posts.  But I did want to tell everyone about my latest murder mystery.  It’s the third in the Del Sueno Files, and it’s titled “A Cold Blue Killing”.  Please check it out, and the others, at Amazon.  Happy reading!

A Cold Blue Killing

a cold blue killing_eBook cover_1Bartender Betty Ann Beaumont’s life changes forever when Deputy Sheriff Pete Branson reveals they’ve found her ex-husband, Tom Stearns. But they’ve found him far too late for a happy reunion. After a thirty-eight year disappearance, Tom’s been pulled from the bottom of Blue Lake. His body’s been found inside an old Chevy with a gunshot wound to the skull.

With three murders in as many years, the patrons at the End of the Line saloon ought to take the news in stride. But no one in a town like Del Sueño is above suspicion. Irritated by police incompetence both in the past and present, Betty Ann finds herself on her own when it comes to tying up all the loose ends from Tom’s life.

To her horror, she discovers that there may be much more to her ex-husband’s past than she ever suspected. A past that circles back to the violent darkness of the 1960’s. It soon becomes apparent that Tom’s murderer is also tying up loose ends.