Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Posts tagged ‘Ex-Ray’

WOOHOO! Crimson Rose Line, Here I Come

Ex-Ray Cover I was notified the other day that The Wild Rose Press would like to publish Ex-Ray, a romantic suspense novel.  It’s way different than the usual Claire Croxton works you’ve seen.  I’m excited about this opportunity because not only is The Wild Rose Press an awesome publisher, but I get to work with Ally Robertson of the Crimson Rose line of TWRP.  This means I’ll be published under the Champagne Rose line–contemporary romance, the Scarlet Rose line–erotica  (as Luna Zega,) and now the Crimson Rose line for romantic suspense.

This is NOT the official cover of Ex-Ray, but one my talented friend, Casey Cowan created.  He’s with Oghma Creative Media if anyone needs covers, banners, websites or editing, Oghma is the place to go.

This is the blurb of the book:

The isolation of Alaska’s arctic is the perfect place to hide. But you can’t outrun your past. Maggie Shaw flees an abusive husband and assumes a new life as Anne Sutton, a 911 emergency dispatcher. Her husband, Ray Malloy, a meth-dealing, dirty cop with a vicious temper and a powerful right hook, is determined to find her and the three million in drug money she stole. Using her computer hacking skills, Anne is able to stay one step ahead of Ray until he goes off the grid. Even though she lives her life with the constant threat of discovery, she’s eventually able to form deep friendships and even falls in love again—with Joe Carducci, the new cop in town. When Ray shows up in Barrow, Anne must overcome her fears to protect her friends from Ray’s violence.



The Next Big Thing Blogfest

Miss Velda Brotherton, the co-founder of the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop and an amazing, multi-published author asked me to participate in The Next Big Thing blog series. Her Next Big Thing blog posting can be found at: :


Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

My latest book is called Ex-Ray. My mom came up with the title. She’s terrible at naming things. She didn’t even name me. Daddy was in the hospital in Tulsa having a kidney removed. She called him to let him know he had a daughter and he named me over the phone. Her cats have all been named “Kitty” or “Fluffy.” I had to name her last two cats—“Betsy” and “Priscilla” So, for my mother to give me a book title is a BIG deal.  My first release was Redneck Ex, so she thought it would be cool for me to have an “Ex” series. Goodness knows I have enough exes to provide material for a 30 volume series! It’s all them, you know? I’m a peach.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Ex-Ray is about a woman who disappears without a trace to escape an abusive marriage. She obtains a new identity and moves to Barrow, Alaska where she becomes a 911 Emergency dispatcher. After I’d finished the edits on Santorini Sunset and I was ready to start a new book, I looked through some old files of mine and discovered a novel I started twenty years ago. I was working as a 911 dispatcher in Barrow, Alaska at the time and the novel included some of the very interesting calls I’d received while I worked there. So, I dusted it off, spruced it up and went to work. It’s darker than my usual work. I’ll admit to days of prevailing indigo moods and nightmares while writing it, but it was worth it. I believe it was extremely cathartic for me.

What genre does your book fall under?

At first, I thought it was contemporary romance, but now I think it’s romantic suspense or possibly women’s fiction. It actually falls into the contemporary romance guidelines, but it’s too dark. I don’t think it’s dark enough for women’s fiction. I absolutely cannot stop the snark. So, even though it’s a dark topic, there are a lot of lighter moments. After talking to a couple of editors, I’m labeling it romantic suspense.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, I love playing this game.  Just love it!

The point of view cmaggiegcharacter is Anne Sutton. I see Maggie Gyllenhaal as Anne.

The antagonist is her husband, Ray Malloy. I see Christian Bale or Toby Keith as the really, really bad guy.


The love interest is Joe Carducci. Joe is simply dreamy. He would be played by Channing Tatum or Orlando Bloom.

channingt   orlandob

Anne’s best friend is Bernadette Brower. I see Gwich’in actress Princess Lucaj playing that role.


What is the synopsis of your book?

The isolation of the Alaska’s Arctic is the perfect place to hide, but you can’t outrun your past. Maggie Shaw flees an abusive husband and assumes a new life as Anne Sutton a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher. Her husband, Ray Malloy, a meth-dealing, dirty cop with a violent temper and a powerful right hook, is determined to find her and the three million in drug money she stole. Using her computer hacking skills, Anne is able to stay one step ahead of Ray until he goes off the grid. Even though she lives in constant fear of discovery, friendships develop and she falls in love with the new cop in town, Joe Carducci. When her past comes crashing down on her, will she be able to overcome her fears and protect her friends or will she once again become victim to Ray’s evilness?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Praying that it will be represented by an agency.  Could everyone reading this take a moment and visualize Ex-Ray with a Random House on the spine of the book?  One second, that’s all it takes.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I was editing another book while writing this one, so I’d say about a year.  In addition to being the President of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, farm life keeps getting in the way. If I have the opportunity to actually write every day like I should, I can get a first draft done in a couple of months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I describe Ex-Ray as Sleeping with the Enemy meets Hope Floats.  I do realize those are movies, but what can I say? I don’t follow rules very well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Good question.  As I mentioned, I’d started the book twenty years ago. A lot has changed since then. Anne and the love interest Joe were always there, but Anne’s reason for being in Barrow changed. It turned out that the guy I was living with at the time I first started Ex-Ray was abusive. Like everyone in such situations, I discovered the extent of his temper and violence too late. This book took a turn toward the dark underbelly of life when I decided to make Anne a victim of domestic violence. Hence the nightmares and indigo moods while I was writing it. I hope Ex-Ray will be helpful and encouraging for women in similar situations. The book is dedicated to my father because he’s the one that dragged me out of the mess.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Alaska. Barrow. Fall sunset by bowhead whale jaw bones and umiaq frame.Well, the fact that it’s written by the still unnoticed greatness that is Claire Croxton should be enough, right? Just kidding!  It’s set in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost community in North America (300 miles above the Arctic Circle.) I lived there for fourteen years, so folks can get a real taste for life in the Arctic. All of the 911 calls happened in real life. My magical formula for NY Times Bestselling novels is: cats + snark + sex = bestseller. NY seems to be unfamiliar with my magical formula, but they’ll discover it soon enough, right? Especially with everyone visualizing a major publisher on the spine of my hardcover book. So, of course all three elements are in abundance.

So, this is where I’m supposed to list 5 authors who will also be blogging these questions. Unfortunately, all the bloggers I know are already blogging on this topic.  Having the same people post the same interview on the same blogs could get a tad bit tedious. So, Velda Brotherton took pity on me and told me I could explain why I failed to do my homework and get other authors’ participation. Bottom line? I procrastinated (big shocker) and by the time I got around to asking folks to participate, they were already doing it for someone else. My bad. But, don’t you just love Velda?

You should check out these blogs by some brilliant writers!




I Need a New Title

My friends, I have a quandary. For over a year now, between editing other novels, I’ve been working on Ex-Ray–a story about Maggie Shaw who escapes her abusive marriage by disappearing without a trace. She moves to Barrow, Alaska, assumes a new identity, Anne Sutton, and becomes a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher. After 4 years in hiding, she falls in love with the new cop in town, Joe Carducci, and eventually has to face down her husband, Ray Malloy. It’s a gritty love story filled with angst, violence, humor and tenderness–not to mention polar bears. Kind of a Sleeping with the Enemy meets Hope Floats.

So, what’s my quandary you may ask? Here you go. The title is Ex-Ray, Ma came up with the name, which kind of plays off the title of my current release, Redneck Ex. I was writing page 200 or so before I realized that Ex-Ray wasn’t the best title since Ray technically isn’t an ex. Maggie/Anne is still married to him. In her mind he’s an ex. He stopped being her husband the first time he punched her in the face, but she’s still married to the guy.

Is Ex-Ray a misleading title? Do I need to come up with a new one? Any suggestions?


Woohoo! Spring is here.  I love it. It’s my second favorite season. Autumn is my fave. Even in the Arctic, you could see evidence of fall.  The tundra would turn a vibrant red color just before it was covered once again with a thick layer of snow and ice. Spring, on the other hand, was just snow and ice.

Here’s an excerpt from my current work in progress, Ex-Ray. Anne Sutton, is a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher in Barrow, Alaska. She escaped an abusive marriage by disappearing without a trace. She changed her name and appearance and went to the least likely place her husband, a dirty cop, would look for her.  She’s been in hiding for 4 years.

A heads up  about this passage, the prose are purple on purpose. Wow, I liked typing that sentence. Talk about alliteration.

Anyway, enjoy!!

Spring, my favorite time of year. The trees come to life with tiny buds of green. Dogwoods paint the landscape with lacy splotches of white. The vibrant blaze of Redbuds competes with the scorching yellow of forsythias. Tulips and daffodils dance in the cool early morning air that holds the promise of afternoon warmth.

Springtime in the Ozarks anyway. The vernal equinox doesn’t mean squat four hundred miles above the Arctic Circle. That’s not entirely true because it is time for Piuraagiaqta—the spring festival. For a country girl like me getting used to living next to a frozen ocean was a challenge. My first year in Barrow, I thought I was going insane. I’d survived sixty-two days where the sun didn’t rise above the horizon. Spending Christmas in complete darkness was different to say the least. Then, January rolled around and I was giddy, absolutely giddy, when the sun peaked through a whispery layer of clouds. By February, I was wrapped in a severe depression. The sun was up, but it was thirty-degrees-below zero. No way to go outside and play.

When the rest of the world was reveling in a green wonderland, Barrow was still shrouded in a thick layer of snow and ice. How do the Iñupiaq mark spring? By drilling holes in the frozen lagoon and playing golf. My favorite Piuraagiaqta event was the frozen-chicken bowling. The sheer oddity of seeing a frozen chicken skid across the icy lagoon and knock over bowling pins does a lot to buoy one’s spirits.

P.S. They did away with the chicken bowling event several years ago because it was wasteful, but come one. Artistic license here. That’s quite an image, don’t you think?

My Main Characters Are Sooooooooooo Happy

Yep, Summer Leigh Johnson from The Redneck Ex and Anne Sutton from Ex-Ray (my current work in progress) are dancing naked in the corn patch. Finally, after months of melting in the Arkansas heat, they get to go HOME. Alaska here we come!! At the moment, the plan is to return to Arkansas on August 1st, but really? Who am I kidding? That’s when it really gets hot around here. So, once we’re safely tucked away in our Alaska writing retreat, I’m picturing the girls holding me hostage and not letting me return to the swamps of the Ozarks until October at the earliest.

Of course, they don’t have to deal with my mama. Now don’t get me wrong. My mama is nice. She’s nothing like Anne’s mother in Ex-Ray, but I’m fairly certain that she would get on a plane and fly to Alaska to kick my ass if I didn’t get home soon enough. For some reason, taking care of my dogs and cats and ducks isn’t her idea of a nice way to pass the afternoon. Go figure.

If anyone is curious why I like Alaska so much, the following might explain a few things:

Them's some mighty fine fishing partners

Need I say more?

And the scenary outside the boat is good too

And the scenery outside the boat is nice too