Tuesday, April 19, 2022

JOURNEY OR DESTINATION? By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

 I recently returned from a vacation, the first time on a plane in almost 3 years.  And while flying isn’t what it used to be—no meals or movies—it’s still a lot easier than the way my characters moved around in the 19th century. 

 It’s not the destination but the journey is possibly one of the most cliquéd cliqués ever.  And I agree when it pertains to our own lives.  It’s easy to be so focused on the end result we miss things that happen along the way.  But when it comes to my Western characters, I would have to say it’s about the destination.  Travel from A to B was slow by today’s standards.  Sea voyage.  Wagon trains or steam trains to cross a huge, vast, mostly uninhabited country. Then horseback, wagon or foot from town to town or town to farm.

 Unless something significant happens on the journey, I tend to gloss over it, moving my characters to where the action is to further the plot.  Like in my upcoming release, Chelsea’s Choice. Chelsea travels a great distance from South America to the small town of Bullet on the Western Frontier.  I want her there, embroiled in the action. 

          Reece stopped his wagon outside the hotel, his eyes narrowed as he stared at the bicycle propped there, looking totally out of place.  Before he landed here, he’d seen a few of the two-wheeled contraptions in other parts of the country but this was the first one he’d seen in these parts.

          As he sat there, his friend Henrietta came through the front door, followed by a dark-haired woman who could have been her sister. The second woman, who hung back, stared his way in curiosity.

          Reece hated folks staring at him, and pulled the brim of his hat down lower.  “G’day, Henrietta,” he said as she reached his side.  He inclined his head toward the other woman.  “Kin of yours?”

          “Yes, Chelsea just arrived.  I came out to see the latest invention, her bicycle.”

          Reece made a face.  “Don’t see it taking the place of horseback, myself.”

          Henrietta raised her brow in a way he took to mean Chelsea was somewhat of a handful. “Reece, would you mind doing me a favor?  When you get back from Yuma, could you swing by the stagecoach depot?  Chelsea left her things there and I don’t have anyone here right now that I can send for them.”

          Reece grunted his assent.  He’d do anything for Henrietta and the other Masons, who had pretty much saved his life when he first got here.  Shame it also meant helping out that woman who even now was watching him with a calculating look in her eye.  Worse yet, she appeared to be planning to join them.  He picked up the reins, anxious to be on his way without appearing rude, but before he could signal the horses, Henrietta had started introductions.

          “Reece, this is my cousin Chelsea. Chelsea, Reece has graciously agreed to fetch your things from the depot on his way back.”

          “That’s so kind of you, Mr.—”

          “Rawlings,” he said gruffly.

          “Look at the flowers,” she squealed, raising up on tip toes and peering past him into the back of the wagon.  “I’ve not seen anything like it since I arrived in the Americas.”  Her English diction was perfect, underscored with a husky South American accent that stirred the hair on the back of his neck.

          “Reece is a talented horticulturist,” Henrietta said. 

          “I can see that.” Chelsea subjected him to another penetrating look before he drove away, conscious of those dancing dark eyes boring into his back. What was the world coming to?  A woman speaking so freely to a stranger.  Showing up here with a bicycle.  A woman like that meant sure-fire trouble.  Good thing he kept to himself. 

 Chelsea’s Choice releases in June as part of The Reclusive Man Series.  You can pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Q9BG2FV 

and check out the books already released in the series here:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09K7FP3SJ


Julie Lence said...

Congrats on your upcoming release, Kathleen. Love the excerpt!

Anonymous said...

I can’t wait to read this!

Anonymous said...

Another one I can’t wait to read.

Barbara said...

Wooo Hoooo..... it sounds so good.

M.J. Schiller, Romance Author said...

Sounds like he won't be keeping to himself for long! Nice excerpt and interesting premise! Best wishes for CHELSEA'S CHOICE!

kathleen Lawless said...

Thanks everyone for dropping by!