A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY
Tell us about your book: A Texas Christmas Mystery releases December 1, 2011 during the White Rose Publishing Company’s Christmas Extravaganza. This is a complete mystery/love story complete in just twenty-five thousand words and will sell on-line as a $.99 download. I invite everyone to go to http://www.whiterosepublishing.com.to download my book.
Here’s an except:
Only one thing scared Derrick Darbonne. He had no fear of fire, hurricane, sabotage, high seas, drunken roughnecks, reckless roustabouts, brawls, or hard work. But losing the job he’d slaved all his life to obtain terrified him.
He’d worked himself up from oaks draped with Spanish moss, murky alligator-filled water, and a tiny cabin on the banks of the bayou with no running water or electricity. He’d finally gotten to where he wanted to be. And now someone was trying to pin a murder on him. Some Christmas present.
Derrick crushed the schematics he’d been scanning and jammed them into his pocket. He braced his legs wide on the steel floor of the oil rig and raised the powerful navigational binoculars. A Coast Guard cutter slashed a white wedge through the sparkling Gulf waters straight toward his oil platform.
His jaw tightened, his spine stiffened, and he swallowed.
Standing beside him, Joe Bridges, the MIC, Man in Charge, swore.
If Derrick had been a swearing man, he would have joined Joe. Instead, he gripped the navigational binoculars tighter. “Third time this week. If I had anything to hide, I’d jump ship.” He smacked his hard hat so thoroughly his ears rang. “Thought so! That guardsman is a female.” Here was a Coastie bearing down on him with the authority to shut down the operation. The men would be out of work just in time for Christmas. What pretense to investigate the murder was the Coast Guard using this time?
Derrick lowered the binoculars and frowned. “She looks familiar.”
“Ever since you arrived for the routine inspection, Cajun, the Coast Guard’s been on our backs.” Scowling, Joe thrust out a hand for the glasses. “Then there was the murder. That’s the reason the big boss’s keeping you out here again, so long.”
“Don’t I know it! I’m looking for a saboteur as well. Probably the same guy.” Derrick slapped the binoculars into Joe’s hand and tried to lighten his foreboding with a jabbing tease. “Now I’ve got to get the Coast Guard environmental crew out of your hair.”
“Rib me, will ya?” Joe repositioned his yellow hard hat over his bald head and shook a work-hardened finger. “I’ll bet you I can get that Coastie to go for me and my shiny head before she goes for you and that Cajun accent of yours. Loser pays a hundred bucks.”
“You want us to distract her with our masculine charm so she won’t sniff out any violations that could shut us down?” Derrick surveyed the rig’s two-hundred-foot deck looking for any OSHA or EPA trouble the Coast Guard might use to give a citation. Sunlight slanted off the metal plates causing enough glare to hurt his eyes. He didn’t like Joe’s plan.
“You got it.” Joe grinned.
Derrick gave a tight smile. He slid his gaze to the roughneck inside the glass-enclosed room, jiggling the joy sticks and pushing the buttons that worked the rig’s floor. The big man hooking a new drill in place beneath the five-hundred-foot drilling tower wore his safety equipment. No problem there.
Derrick flicked his gaze over the new hire, the eighteen year old from Galveston. The kid’s long blond hair straggled from beneath his yellow hard hat. He was bent over washing sludge and mineral oil through sand to clean out the last drop of hydrocarbon before reusing the sand. Kid was a hard worker, already adept at his job. No laws broken. No environmental procedures shortcut.
The rest of the roughnecks and roustabouts worked steadily. None violated safety measures. No oil spills or pipe breaks had occurred. The hole drilled through the sea bottom was clean and not yet exceptionally deep. They should hit oil soon. Joe Bridges had a salty vocabulary, but the boss man ran a tight rig. So why suddenly all the anonymous phone calls about regulation problems? Had to be the murder.
Derrick needed to come up with answers.
“Alamo Oil pays you a hefty salary to make sure things run smooth on all two hundred of its rigs.” Joe’s voice sounded more than a little jealous.
“Don’t I know it.” Derrick ran a hand over the stubble already growing after his close morning shave.
“Alamo doesn’t want to fork out any stiff fines or lose any drill time because of environmental pollution, safety violations, mismanagement, or accidents. So make sure that Coastie’s distracted.” Joe winked. “And don’t mention the murder. We’ve trampled that ground too many times with the Coast Guard already.”
“Right.” Derrick rubbed the back of his neck. An uneasy feeling kept nagging him about the murder. Nothing he could put a handle to, but—too many clues led directly to him. Once the Coast Guard put the puzzle together, they’d come looking for him. He grunted. How had his personal helmet wound up grasped in the dead kid’s hand?
Joe swore loud enough that the crew cleaning sand looked up. He lowered his voice. “That Coastie’s gonna cause trouble. I feel it in my bones.” His eyes, shadowed under his hard hat, looked wary. “We gotta keep her thinking about us, not her job.” He handed the binoculars back.
Derrick frowned. “I think you’re just hard up for a date. You want a girl friend to share Christmas with.”
As the Coast Guard cutter pulled alongside their offshore rig, Derrick focused the binoculars on the trim figure in her blue uniform. He’d not seen many women in the Guard, and none that looked so curvy…wow, hotter than a Louisiana mudbug boil. He loved that spicy crawfish dish.
Dread inside his gut heightened. Sweat beaded his forehead. He got tongue-tied around women. “This can’t be good!”
“Yeah. The broad’s probably a—”
“It’s Amber Meredith!” Derrick fumbled the expensive binoculars, made a grab for them, and caught them just before they hit the deck.
What inspired this book: A trip to Galveston, Texas with its historic homes, beautiful waterfront, and fascinating oil rig tours.
How long have you been writing? A Texas Christmas Mystery is my third published book. I’ve been writing about ten years. Reading was my escape in my growing up years, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I graduated from the University of Texas cum laude with a degree in Literary Studies, but worked as a photographer and as a Real Estate Agent before diving full-time into writing. When I joined American Christian Romance Writers, the journey to writing grew easier. Due to their annual conference, I have a wonderful critique group, a fantastic agent, and have met many editors. Finalling in writing contests gave me excellent feedback, plus got me a contract for Masquerade Marriage with White Rose Publishing.
What is your favorite character trait to write about? I become one with each of my characters. Just as an actress takes on the character of each person she portrays, so a writer becomes the characters in her drama. The character tells me what is happening inside and I go with it. That’s what so much fun about writing. I live each journey. So my favorite character trait is probably the gutsy heroine outsmarting the hero while falling deeply in love with him.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book? They will learn about beautiful Galveston, Tx, they will discover how the Coast Guard works, they will enjoy experiencing life aboard an oil rig off the coast of Galveston. They will learn of the infinite career opportunities available for women who still desire to be wives and mothers. I’d like them to escape their lives and enter a new world for a few hours. I hope they discover the message that no matter how awful the circumstances in a person’s life, God doesn’t allow anything to happen to them outside of His perfect will.
What is your favorite season? Christmas. That’s why writing about Christmas is such a joy. I love the gift-giving that reminds us of our Father’s great gift to us. I love the singing of carols. I’m in two choirs at my church and we are memorizing six new songs for our Christmas program which will be accompanied by a full orchestra and narrative about our Savior’s birth. Christmas is a holy time of year, when our thoughts turn often to Jesus and His love. I love my family getting together and the decorations and the festive food. I love reading the Christmas story to the entire family at the dinner table-God come down to dwell with us.
If you could travel back in time when and where would you go? I would have loved to see the Garden of Eden before the fall. I’d love to see the animals living side by side with no fear. I’d love to see what had to have been the most beautiful man and woman ever created, and the love they shared. I would like to walk beside them and hear the voice of God in the cool of the evening. I would like to see the world without sin and death. And the joyful reality is that I will, when we all experience the new heaven and the new earth and there is no darkness and God is our Light. That’s a lot to look forward to.
What project are you currently working on? I’d like to be working on just one! I’m working on two, with three more bursting in my brain to be written. I’m doing a rewrite on my 1838 historical, Trail of Tears, and I’m writing the sequel to Masquerade Marriage, working title, Marriage by Arrangement. When those are finished within the next few months, I’d like to be writing a sequel to Holly Garden, PI, Red is For Rookie, which my agent has. Also very soon I’d like to work on my Women in World War II series.
You can read more about me and my books at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com. And you can purchase A Texas Christmas Mystery and Masquerade Marriage at http://www.whiterosepublishing.com.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. She writes both historical and suspense novels. After falling in love with several countries and their people, Anne set a number of her books in exotic locations. She and her hero husband, Army Special Forces Colonel Larry Greene, have visited twenty-five countries, including three communist countries. A visit to
resulted in her newest book release, Masquerade Marriage, published by White Rose Publishing. When she’s not deployed with her husband, Anne makes her home in Scotland . Two of her four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. In 1990, Anne graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from the McKinney, Texas University of Texas, . Her highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. To learn more of Anne and to view pictures from her extensive travel, visit her at http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/ Dallas
Anne has offered to give away one copy of A Texas Christmas Mystery. At least 10 people need to leave comments WITH their email address in order for there to be a contest. OR if you are having blogger issues you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "contest" in the subject line. Valid only in the US and Canada. Winner announced December 27th.