Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Interview with the Protagonist of Arrowstar

Talk Show Interview with Star Lance

The host of the radio show, “Lou Grant’s Bookshelf” interviews antiques store owner and historical novelist, Star Lance from Mineral City, Arizona.

Host:  Welcome to “The Bookshelf,” Ms Lance

Star:  Thank you for inviting me, and please call me Star.

Host: I understand you have just released a new historical novel. Would you tell our listeners a little bit about it.

Star:  Yes, my second historical novel, The Storm Women just launched in October. This novel further unravels the mystery of why there are no men buried in the Storm family’s cemetery plot up behind the church in Mineral City, Arizona. The women buried there have fascinating histories, and this novel picks up each of their lives beginning with Margaretta Storm way back in 1857 San Francisco. It also explores the beginnings of rock & roll in 1950’s Los Angeles and brings each of the women’s lives into sharp focus. Readers will learn what it’s like to travel from San Francisco, California to Mineral City, Arizona by stagecoach. In addition, they get to attend a burlesque show in Tombstone and see the ghost town of Pearl come back to life.

Host: What drew you to the town of Mineral City when you were considering moving out West and where exactly is Mineral City?

Star: I saw an ad in the back of Women of the West magazine encouraging tourists to visit the old Weaver Gold Mine in Mineral City. It had just re-opened after a small vein of gold was discovered in what was thought to be a worked-out mine. For some reason that little ad stuck in my head. Maybe it was the idea of someone striking it rich by unexpectedly finding gold that drew my interest. Anyway, I started keeping an eye out for any other news about this small western town. And what was your second question?

Host:  Where is Mineral City located in Arizona?

Star:  Oh yes, it’s just a bit south and about 75 or 80 miles east of Tucson, not too far from the town of Safford and smack in the middle of horse and cattle ranchland.

Host: Why did you decide to buy the contents of the Bobby Flint estate for your antique store?

Star: When the following month’s issue of Women of the West arrived, I naturally looked to see if that ad was still running. When I found it, I noticed a smaller ad next to it advertising an estate sale along with a name and number to call.  After talking to the person who was managing the sale, I really got the itch to follow a dream my husband Max and I had talked about for years.

Host: And that dream was?

Star:  Our dream was to retire to some small town out west and open an antique store to keep ourselves busy. I was already working part time restoring items for an antiques dealer, so I knew a little bit about the business. To pursue that dream on my own following Max’s death seemed like a good way to recover from the debilitating grief I was experiencing.

Host:  What inspired you to write The Storm Women and A Train Robber’s Tale?

Star: A friend of mine suggested I make provenance tags for some of my antiques and that got me back into writing after years of not pursuing the career in writing I’d planned when I graduated from Indiana University. I soon realized that Arrowstar, my antiques store wasn’t going to make it if I didn’t supplement its income. My very good friend Kat Abbi suggested I write a book about Bobby Flint to make up for the store’s shortfall. I was extremely lucky to have my first book picked up by a publisher. Actually, I owe a great deal to my agent and another friend who referred me to him.

Host: What are you writing now that The Storm Women is finished?

Star:  I’m thinking of writing about some of the famous people who have lived in the area around Mineral City like Tom Mix for instance to name just one.

Host: I’m sure our listeners will be eagerly awaiting its publication. It’s been a delight having you on our show. Come back again when you finish the next book.

Star: It’s been my pleasure to be here, and I’ll definitely be back to talk about my next book. Thank you for the invitation!

Host: And that’s “Bookshelf” for today. This is your host Lou Grant wishing you as always: a good book, a comfortable chair and a radio to keep you company.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Women Who Make History

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not one of those women who will make history. I’ve been watching the series called Makers on PBS, and I’m fascinated. The episode I just watched highlighted women in the entertainment business who broke new ground in the writer’s room and in the director’s chair as well as in front of the cameras. Remember Marlo Thomas and the television show That Girl? I lived for that show. Then along came Mary Tyler Moore with her funny, edgy show that put workplace biases on display without cramming them down anyone’s throat. These characters were hip single women with drive slugging it out on their own in the big city.

Looking back on the 1960s and 1970s I can see myself skirting all the big issues women were arguing over. I sort of stood back and watched. When divorce knocked me for a loop in the 1980s, and all the 50s style rhetoric I’d grown up with went up in flames, my interest got much, much bigger. I became that single woman slugging it out in the workplace, and I finally understood what all the fuss was about. The Makers gives voice to the intensions behind the scenes of the everyday images in movies, television and advertising.  It’s heartening to realize just how much women have shaped and changed our society in the many arenas previously out of reach to them.

Watching these documentaries has me thinking about how I’m shaping my characters in the Arrowstar series of books. My intension when I’m writing the characters of Star, Kat, Carla, Ricki, and Margo has been to transport readers to a mind-place way out of reach of their everyday stresses.  There is grit and dirt in the streets of Mineral City to be sure, but there’s also a feeling of community that runs deep. There’s a final resting place behind the church on the hill at the end of Main Street where connections to the ones who built the town with muscle and hope are real and visible. It’s comforting to me that outsiders like Kat, Carla, and Star have earned their way into the fabric of a town populated with people who hold so strongly to traditions and bloodlines dating back to the 1800s.

The question that’s nudging me right now has to do with edge. My main focus when choosing a book to read has always been escapism. That’s what I want for my readers as well, but what about deeper meaning and an edginess that pushes buttons and makes readers want to rise up and see above the trees? The women of Makers had vision and courage. They made history and the women of Arrowstar salute them. My hope is that Arrowstar’s characters inspire readers to make some “personal history” of their own, whatever direction that might take them. Certainly readers see that these characters are not without their flaws, and yet they persist in pursuing their rightful place in the scheme of things. As Lou Grant in the Mary Tyler Moore show said so well, “You’ve got spunk!” and then mumbled, “I hate spunk.” Arrowstar’s women aren’t looking for approval; each one is looking for the end of her own particular rainbow. Maybe that’s edgy enough.

I look forward to hearing from readers. Won’t you consider dashing off a comment to I’ll do my best to respond.

Type your email address in the box in the right-hand column of this page, and I’ll occasionally let you in on sneak peeks about Bobby Flint and Patsy Rodriguez while I’m writing A Train Robber’s Tale.

Tidbit: Let’s keep on running after rainbows, but always remember to walk in the rain just for fun sometimes.

Read On!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Buried Under the Marketing Tree

Come with me, sit under the marketing tree for a minute, and read the kind of prose I’m writing these days:

Click the tab above to see the C.K.Thomas – Author – Insider Page!

The complete Arrowstar Series is now on Smashwords and Barns and Nobel’s Nook along with Honor Bound. You can pre-order The Storm Women for e-book delivery to your device on October 15. Stay tuned for news about the paperbacks. Just check this blog’s newsletter page from time to time, or easier still, pop your email address in the box at the right, and the dates will come to you.

The leaves from the “marketing tree” keep falling faster than I can rake them and put them in a basket. Notice that this blog now has an added page you can access from the tabs at the top of the page just below the picture. Readers easily return to the blog page by clicking the Home tab after checking out this new little technology trick.

Obviously “indie” authors get a real dose of do-it-yourself thrills while navigating the many ways the Internet provides for marketing and publishing a novel. The words, “too much screen time” echo inside my head daily as I attempt to let the world know about the updated Arrowstar Series, and its newest release, The Storm Women. I feel like screaming, “We are here, we are here, we are here!!” Luckily I don’t – not too often anyway.

By the beginning of next week, I should be holding a proof copy of the Arrowstar paperback in my hands. That day will make all these marketing days so worth it!

Today’s request: Promise there will be a rainbow when the thunder stops!

Write On!