Happy birthday, Fire Angel!
This is my second entry in the A to Z Blog Challenge.
On April 29, my first novel, Fire Angel will celebrate its first book birthday. What is a book birthday? It’s the day the author, in the case of self-pubbed books, or the publisher releases the book to the vendors and the public. Fire Angel was the book that kickstarted my writing career such as it is. I’d like to think I’m a exceptional writer about to be launched to the top of the New York best seller list, but the truth is I’m one of several thousand hopefuls out there looking for a break. Like the Hollywood starlet working in the coffee shop, I’m waiting to be discovered. Sadly, I don’t think anyone is looking to discover me.
As parents, our children’s birthdays march across the years from infancy to adulthood, but a book is born full-grown. If it sells well, each year it will mark another birthday, if it doesn’t, the publisher will drop it and it will be consigned to book oblivion. Sad, but true. Publishers can’t afford to keep books that don’t sell. Fire Angel did not do as well as I thought it would, but like many other authors, I saw the book publishing business through rose colored glasses that in now way prepared me for the heartbreaking reality of the industry. Everyone who’s read the book tells me how much they enjoyed it– a few didn’t, but that’s okay too. You can’t please all the people all the time. I love Alexis and Jake as much as I do any of my characters. Their personalities are based on people I love dearly. She’s feisty and independent. He’s protective and determined. Opposites attract and they’re made for one another.
Excerpt from Fire Angel
“Let me do my job and worry about this jerk. He isn’t the first to try to stop me, and I doubt he’ll be the last. Now that I know he’s out there, I’ll watch for him; I’ll find him, and I’ll stop him. I don’t like threats.”
When he didn’t argue further, she relaxed and sat down once again. She quickly described her encounter with Bullwinkle, as she referred to the moose. Although there had been nothing funny about the incident, her dry sense of humor manifested itself in the way she related the story. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself, he thought.
“So when the rental agency gets the car back, they can say the finger grooves in the steering wheel are for improved navigation control.” She chuckled. “I don’t think they’ll be open to returning my security deposit though.” She reached for her beer and took a drink.
“Now, let’s forget my stalker for a minute and talk about the fires. You people have not been very forthcoming with information. Since there doesn’t seem to be anything specific in the files that I’ve been given, I’m a little confused about this so-called link. From what I’ve read, the first fire could have been set by a careless squatter, the second sounds like a kitchen fire, and the third is most likely the result of that dropped cigarette; there doesn’t appear to be any connection at all. Accidents, plain and simple; what do you know that I don’t?”
She had changed, and he found the change very appealing. She had been more beautiful in her indignation than anyone could have imagined, her eyes flashing fire and growing more compelling for it. Her sense of humor relating the story of her encounter with the moose showed her courage and determination; it was nice to find a woman with a backbone, but whether she liked it or not, he would watch that backbone for her. The memory of a woman who allowed others to brainwash her into doing what they wanted flashed through his mind, but Alexis’ presence and her question didn’t allow it to take root.
“Whoever the arsonist is, he’s very clever, and he’s been extremely careful,” said Jake. “It was a fluke that we caught on to him in the first place. We’ve made a potential connection, but not in the fires, with the victims. That’s why it’s taken so long to call you in on this.”
“What do you mean by that? I’m a fire investigator, not a forensic anthropologist.” She scowled.
“At first, everyone believed, like you, that the first fire had been an accident, a careless camper squatting in a hunting camp. That being said, we didn’t rush the autopsy and identification. We got the report just after the second fire. Our first victim was a small time drug dealer from Montreal known as Bandit, a.k.a. John Slaney. They identified him from dental records. His mother had filed a missing persons report on him early in September, but no one had taken her seriously. It seems young Mr. Slaney made a habit of relocating when the rent was due or the police were getting close.”
Fire Angel is available in paperback from Amazon and as an ebook wherever ebooks are sold
Now, don’t forget to check out the other A to Z Blog Challenge entries.