Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Gaylon Greer to CABR
Find out more about his debut suspense novel, THE PRICE OF SANCTUARY,
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Accustomed to a life of privilege, Shelby Cervosier new finds herself running for her life. Accused of killing an American Immigration agent, Shelby has undertaken a mission on behalf of a secretive American espionage agency in exchange for a promise of legal amnesty and political asylum in America. Now, however, the agent who coerced her into accepting the assignment wants her dead to cover up the bungled mission. Two hit men compete for the bounty that has been placed on her head.
Shelby and her younger sister flee into America’s heartland in search of a safe haven. They find only fear and danger, however, when they are captured by one of the assassins, Hank.
Prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her sister safe, Shelby cooperates with her capturer. Deciding that his feelings for them are more important than bounty money, Hank takes the sisters under his wing and secrets then away to his hideout: a farm in a remote corner of Colorado. They become a part of his extended family; they have finally found sanctuary.
Their safe new world is shattered when the second hit man, a relentless psychopath, captures Shelby’s little sister and uses her to lure Shelby and her lover into a middle-of-the-night showdown on an isolated Rocky Mountain battleground.
A Place to Write
The attention writers devote to the topic of physical workspace suggests that we are a self-centered lot; we each want a place of our very own, dedicated to our single-minded pursuit of the perfect passage. Pontification on the issue goes at least as far back as Virginia Woolf, who declared that every writer should have a room of her own.
But lack of space is a poor excuse for not working. Some of the most prolific writers have made space in the most unlikely places. Erma Bombeck wrote a slew of books and countless columns, much of it in the garage attached to her house, the garage door open so she could watch over her children at play.
Stephen King wrote Carrie in the laundry room of his rental home. In his book, On Writing, he recommends that you find a spot that isolates you from possible distractions: no TV, no videogames on your word processor, no window overlooking scenery that will draw your attention away from work. He seems to be suggestion a situation where you write, if for no other reason, to deliver you from the boredom of being with yourself.
Whatever spot you choose, it seems to work best if dedicated solely to writing. Working in the same place every day, and doing nothing else in that space, helps psychologically. The act of settling into the space is somewhat like Pavlov’s bell; it primes you for the activity that has always followed.
One of my favorite authors, Harry Crews, argued that the discussion of a place to write is overblown. In an interview published in Southern Quarterly in 1981, he said, “If a man’s got a place where he won’t freeze to death when he puts his head down to go to sleep, and if he’s got enough to eat, well then he’s pretty much all right. When I lived out on the lake in Melrose, there was not a bed in the house. I slept on the floor and I wrote Gypsy’s Curse sitting on two concrete blocks at a desk made out of a door.”
EXCERPT from “The Price of Sanctuary”:
“I’m coming out,” Vlad shouted. He stuck an arm through where the windshield’s glass used to be and waved the long-barreled revolver with its laser sight. “Look at this. See? I’m tossing it.” He pitched the weapon in her direction. It landed roughly midway between them.
“The other one,” Shelby said. “The automatic.”
He held up the weapon and tossed it. “I’m unarmed. You won’t shoot an unarmed man, will you?”
She waited with the Beretta centered on his windshield.
He stuck both hands out. “See? Nothing to fight with. I’m coming out.”
“Not all the way,” she said. “Head and shoulders, then stop. I have to know you’re unarmed.”
“Whatever you say.” He wriggled through the broken wind¬shield, favoring the arm she had twisted.
“Stop,” she commanded when his shoulders were outside the vehicle. Keeping the pistol trained on him, she stood and hobbled close. Black smoke poured out through the windows. Orange flames danced inside. “Tell me again what you did to my friend in Arizona.”
“It’s burning,” he said, desperation kicking his voice up to soprano.
“Describe once more how it felt in Arkansas, watching Elizabeth’s eyes as she died.”
“You’ve got to let me out.”
“Why do I have to do that?”
His fingers dug into the soil, and he started pulling his body out of the wreck.
Aiming carefully, Shelby put a round through his shoulder, shattering the joint.
He muttered a low-pitched “Umph,” but kept wriggling, pulling with one arm.
She put a round in his other shoulder. With the Beretta lowered, she backed away from flames that were now spurting out the windows.
“Kill me,” he begged. “In God’s name, kill me.”
“I could do that, but what if there’s no hell?” She let the pistol hang loosely at her side. “This might be your only chance to burn.”
“Mercy,” he screamed. “Have mercy.”
She turned away and headed for the wrecked VW. His shrieking followed her, and she hesitated.
He screamed again.
Despising the weakness that compelled her, she turned back. He looked up at her and begged, “Shoot me. Don’t let me burn.” She aimed at his head. Her finger tightened on the trigger, but she could not squeeze.
“Please,” he pleaded. “In the name of God, do it. Be merciful.”
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