What can I say? I write and I farm. Five years ago my then-husband (the dastard!) and I bought eight acres of compacted red earth (it looked like Mars had exploded!) on Oak Creek in northern Arizona. I started with three chickens. Three became twelve, twelve became forty. Then there were coyotes (down fifteen birds) and bald eagles (another couple of birds), black hawks (another chicken) and raccoons. Dang those nasty creatures! They kill just because they can; think dogs with opposable thumbs. (Five chickens in one night–they reached in through the chain link and killed the birds with no expectation of being able to eat them.)
And that was just the first year. By year five, there are three Jersey cows–Brighty, Dixie and Elsie, one hundred and forty odd turkeys (one Eastern Wild Turkey Tom, some Royal Palms, some Narragansetts and some a beautiful hybrid of my sweet Tom and the other two breeds), who knows how many chickens, two dogs (Moosie and Bear) and eight cats who were all supposed to live in the barn but far prefer the house, thank you very much.
Then catastrophe struck–twice. My precious Brighty and her sibling Dixie both died from milk fever just after calving on my birthday. In the meantime the man to whom I was married, the man I thought to be honorable, respectable and honest lost his mind. Yep, he had a mid-life crisis along with the de rigueur affair with a trashy … well, you know. Along with his crazy time came all the lies and disrespect that could be expected. The kicker was he wanted to stay married to me while he went off and had his fun. Kicker indeed, because that’s what I became–I punted that ball as far as I could. Now I’m sixty and single, running the farm single-handed and loving it. So far.
As for the writing, it happens when I’m not out herding turkeys, collecting eggs, trying to win over the shy Hannah Mae (Elsie’s new calf–I got a little girl this time!), chastising a recalcitrant Elsie, and Brighty’s calf Georgie, or keeping Moosie from killing and eating something he shouldn’t. Right now, I’m working on Lost Innocents, my fifteenth book and the third book in my new Servant of the Crown Medieval mystery series. Set in 1194–the year the Coroner’s Office was invented–the sleuth in the series is Sir Faucon de Ramis, who just happens to be the maternal cousin of Gilliam and Geoffrey FitzHenry from the Seasons Series.
I’ve also decided to satisfy the many fans who’ve begged me to write stories about the children of the heroes in the Season Series. The first one, a novella, is already available. Perfect Poison features Jocelyn of Freyne, the squire of Gilliam FitzHenry of Spring’s Fury and his betrothed Avice of Lavendon. Although it is available by itself, come Christmas 2015 it will be released as part of Medieval Mistletoe, a Christmas anthology along with novellas by authors Catherine Kean, Eliza Knight and Laurel O’Donnell. The four of us are working on another anthology to be published in June. The theme is abducted brides and my heroine is Cecilia, the daughter of Geoffrey FitzHenry.