CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper/fiction writer, poet, photographer, & painter. CRC Blog is an INCLUSIVE & NON-PROFIT BLOG acknowledging ALL voices, ALL individuals, ALL political views, ALL philosophies, and ALL religions including Islamism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice & completed her workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Louis.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
#41 Inside the Emotion of Fiction's "Peccadillo At The Palace: An Annie Oakley Mystery" by Kari Bovee
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****Kari Bovee’sPeccadillo At
The Palace:An Annie Oakley Mysteryis the forty-first in a never-ending
series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF
FICTION where the Chris Rice
Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre
and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.All INSIDE
THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.
Name of fiction work? And were there other names you
considered that you would like to share with us? Peccadillo
at the Palace – An Annie Oakley Mystery.
This is the second book in the series. I never considered another title for
this book, it sort of came to me and worked with the plot, so I used it.
Fiction genre? Ex science fiction, short
story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction,
historical, comedy, movie script, screenplay, etc. And how many pages long? The Annie
Oakley series is historical mystery/historical fiction. My novels range in
length from 82k to 94k words. The prequel novella to the series, Shoot like a Girl is around 40k, which,
believe it or not, was much harder to write.
Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no. If yes,
what publisher and what publication date? Spark Press.https://gosparkpress.com/
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you
completely finished the piece of fiction? I started writing Peccadillo
at the Palace in the fall of 2017. I finished the first draft in May of
Where did you do most of your writing
for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please
include a photo? I wrote half of the book in my office in my beautiful
hacienda-style adobe home in New Mexico. The woman built the home was a bit of
an eccentric. She traveled the world finding unique items to place in the
house. We have beams fashioned from old train trellises (with the nails still
in them) rustic doors and windows from all over the world, and repurposed
railings for the upstairs loft. She was also an artist, and I took over the large
room she used as her studio and made it my office. The floors are rustic wood
and came from an old ice house in Santa Fe. Hanging from the high-pitched
ceiling is a chandelier fashioned from deer antlers, and there is a beautiful kiva-style
fireplace and large windows that look out onto the yard and horse pasture.
I wrote the other half
of the book in Kailu-Kona, Hawaii. My husband and I have a place there right on
the water, so I spend a lot of time writing in my “office” out on the lanai
listening to the waves crash against the rocks. I love writing in Hawaii
because when we go there, we leave all of our responsibilities behind. Our
place there is pretty small, so there is very little to do to keep it clean.
All we really have to do is feed
ourselves and sleep! My day there usually consists of exercise in the early
morning, writing on the beach or on the lanai, lunch, and then we spend the
rest of the day reading and relaxing. In the evening we visit with friends and
watch the sun set. It’s pretty sweet. The sense of freedom I have in Hawaii
really lends itself to creative inspiration. I get a lot of writing done when
What were your writing habits while
writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write
in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day?As far as the
time of day goes, I write whenever I can. I have horses and they need a lot of
attention. In a perfect world when I’m not distracted by other responsibilities
or appointments, and when the weather is nice, I make the horses a priority. In
the summer I work with them in the early morning because it gets very hot in
New Mexico. That frees me up for the rest of the day to write. In the winter,
when it is cold, I write in the morning while it warms up outside, and then I
ride in the early afternoon. This schedule, of course, is optimal, but
realistically, other things in life can get in the way. I guess what I’m trying
to say is that I have my priorities, and I try to stick to a writing schedule,
but it doesn’t always happen.
When it does, I have
some rituals that get me in the frame of mind to write. I often make some tea,
put on some ambient or soft music, fill my essential oil diffuser with
something that stimulates my mind—something floral, citrus, or woodsy. A little
snack of something healthy like almonds is nice to have on hand. When I am
stuck on a scene or a chapter, I like to write in long hand. It slows down my
brain so that I can think better. But, I usually I write on my laptop. I take
my laptop everywhere! It’s like an
extension of my body. We have some nice café’s in town and if I am out running errands or something, and
need to stop for a bite to eat, I usually do some writing then.
What is the summary of this specific
fiction work?Here is the back cover blurb:It
is 1887, and Annie and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show are invited to Queen
Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in London, England. But their long journey
across the Atlantic takes a turn for the worst when the queen’s royal servant
ends up dead and Annie’s husband, Frank Butler, falls suspiciously ill. Annie
soon discovered that the two events are connected—and make be precursors to an
assassination attempt on the queen.
In London, it becomes
clear that there is rampant unrest in the queen’s kingdom—the Irish Fenian
Brotherhood, as well as embittered English subjects, are teeming in the
streets. But amid the chaos, even while she prepared for the show, Annie is
determined to find the truth. With the help of a friend and reporter, Emma
Wilson, the renowned poet Oscar Wilde, and the famous socialite Lily Langtry,
Annie sets out to hunt down the queen’s enemies—and find out why they want to
kill England’s most beloved monarch.
Can you give the reader just enough
information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt?The Wild West
Show, including almost 200 horses, 180 performers, deer, buffalo, and other
various animals have boarded the State of
Nebraska steamship headed for London. A storm is brewing and Annie’s horse
is very restless. To make matters worse, something has gone wrong with one of
the engines, so the captain has stopped the ship so that the problem can be
fixed, and the swells are getting bigger. . .
Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as reference. The excerpt
can be as short or as long as you prefer.
Large drops of rain fell onto the deck of
the ship and made a tick- ticking sound as they hit the canvas cover
over the stalls. Buck’s ears perked up, and he lifted his head, as if preparing
The veterinarian came rushing toward them,
Hulda on his heels. A compact young man with a brownish scuff of a beard and
hair the color of sand, he carried a leather satchel.
“Looks like someone needs a little help,” he
said, nodding at Annie. Annie glowered at him, while wrestling with the
1200-pound mass of terrified horseflesh at her side. She glanced at Hulda,
whose eyes had gone soft and dewy when the dashing young man had flashed her a
grin. “Casey Everett. I’m quite a fan of yours, Miss Oakley.”
“Right, yes.” He pulled out a glass bottle
and syringe from his satchel. “This is a sedative. A few drops of this, and
your boy will be calm for hours.”
“No disrespect, Mr. Everett, but could you
tell me what sedative you plan to use?”
“But we will be at sea for two weeks.” Annie
struggled to push Buck away from her feet. “Will we have to keep sedating him?
I’ve heard heroin is a strong drug.”
“It’s been my experience with the
transporting of race horses, that once the horse is calm, he will see that no
harm will come to him. He’ll also realize his herd is here, and they are all in
the same boat.” Mr. Everett laughed at his own pun. He held the syringe in the
air. “Here, let’s see if we can get this boy—”
“Buck,” Annie gasped, out of breath from her
“Buck, to stand still. Mr. Butler—” he
nodded toward Frank. “Could you hold up one of Buck’s feet?”
Frank moved past Annie and laid his hands on
Buck’s neck, stroking it, then ran his hands down Buck’s leg. Trembling with
fear, Buck froze, his feet planted to the ship’s deck. Frank pinched the
chestnut above Buck’s left front knee, and Buck flung his hoof up into Frank’s
The horse struggled, probably worried at
having one of his limbs immobilized, but Frank held on. Annie stroked Buck’s
withers as the vet prepared the needle for injection.
“I’m going to put the needle in as fast as I
can. Miss Oakley, I’m going to need you to step aside.”
Annie moved back and the vet stepped
forward, jabbing the needle into Buck’s neck, making him jump. Frank struggled
to hang on in the skirmish. The vet plunged the drug through the needle, and
“You can let go now, sir,” he said to Frank.
Frank let go of Buck’s leg and quickly
skipped backward to get out of the way as Buck strained against the line,
becoming stronger in his terror-stricken need to escape. He reared up, nearly
striking Annie in the face with one of his hooves. She jumped back and in doing
so, lost hold of the lead line. Sensing his freedom, Buck spun on his back feet
and headed straight for the deck railing.
In four large
bounds, like a giant Pegasus, he soared over the rails and into the water,
several yards below.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you? And can you
describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? For
me transporting horses is never easy and it can be very stressful. I have
driven my horses in a trailer for a maximum of seven hours at a time, and their
comfort and safety is always top of mind. When I arrive at my destination, I am
I fashioned Annie and
Buck’s relationship after my own with one of my horses. (named Handsome). (Above and Below) I’ve
had him since he was three years old, and now he is 17. We have a bond that is
hard to explain, and I worry about him, and my other horses, as if they were my
children. When they are distressed, I am distressed. And just like with
children in stressful situations, it is up to you to portray a sense of calm
and ease even if you are about to jump out of your skin.
The thought of putting
a horse on a ship and transporting him over the ocean for weeks particularly
stresses me out. Especially the way it was done in the 1800’s. Because a horse
is a prey animal, their instinct is to run from whatever they perceive as
threatening or dangerous. In Buck’s mind, his only relief from his fear of what
was happening with the ship and the impending storm was to run, so he does so at
the first opportunity. But the only place for him to go is overboard.
I was also very
disturbed when I discovered in my research that heroin was often used as a
sedative for horses. Of course it was used as a sedative for people, which was
horrifying in itself. I don’t think the medical world completely realized the
addictive properties of opiates, and if they did, that was even worse.
While writing this
scene I put myself in the situation and thought, what is the worst thing that
could happen? And to my mind, it was Buck going into a total panic and soaring
overboard, and even more terrifying, that he would go overboard after the sedative had been administered
rendering him even more helpless.
though I have read this scene at least a hundred times, it still makes my
stomach roil! And if you are wondering what happened to Buck, you’ll have to
read the book!
Other works you have published?Shoot like a
Girl – A Prequel Novella to Girl with a Gun
with a Gun – An Annie Oakley Mystery
Empowered women in history, horses,
unconventional characters, and real-life historical events fill the pages of
Kari Bovée’s articles and historical mystery musings and manuscripts. She is an
award-winning writer: She was honored as a finalist in the Romantic Suspense
category of the 2012 LERA Rebecca contest, the 2014 NTRWA Great Expectations
contest, and the RWA 2016 Daphne du Maurier contest for her unpublished
manuscriptGrace in the Wings.
She was also honored as a finalist in the NHRWA Lone Star Writer’s contest in
2012 with the unpublished manuscript of the
first book in her Annie Oakley series, Girl
with a Gun. Bovée has worked as a technical writer for
a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters,
and has worked in the education field as a teacher of literature, reading, and
drama. She and her husband, Kevin, split their time between their horse
property in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, and their condo on
the sunny shores of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.