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’s Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery is 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.
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 2018.

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 I’m there!
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.

Pages 24-26
    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 to flee.
    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?”
    “It’s heroin.”
    “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 struggles.
    “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 hand.
    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 stepped away.
    “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 usually exhausted.

     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.
       Even 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
Girl 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 manuscript Grace 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.



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Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery

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