This is the next story in my Bennett Bay series and follows “Return to Cooter Crossing.” It’s a different kind of story for me in it’s about an event and how a number of characters are pulled together over the Memorial Day weekend.
Steamboat Days is the biggest celebration in the town of Blackwater and eastern Big Cypress county. They celebrate the town’s river heritage with a riverboat race and rides, bluegrass concerts, lots of southern food, and this year the reenactment of a Civil War battle fought on Lake Jackson. This story lets us digger deeper into the town of Blackwater and its surroundings.
There are a number of character groups with stories threading through this work:
Aidan, JJ, and the wider Quinn-Jackson-Rooney families. They are gathering at the Rooney lakehouse for the holiday. It’s become an impromptu engagement celebration for JJ and Aidan. The reality that they will soon be married with two little boys is starting to sink in and it’s a little hard to process as individuals and a couple when they’re surrounded by so much family.
The Cabot family. Ethan Cabot is Sean Quinn’s boyfriend and Dr. Stewart Cabot is Aidan’s head of department at Sterling University. Ethan and Sean are working at Pilgrim Camp on Jackson Island over the summer and his sister, Katie is heading to Minnesota for the summer before she starts college in Duluth. Stewart and his wife Lydia decided it would be fun to spend the week in Blackwater before the kids leave. Ethan runs into a number of other teens and this sets up the drama for the next book in the series, “The Deadly Dare,” which is a Young Adult novel set at camp. That haunted house from “The Demise of Bobby & Clyde” will show up again, after all, it’s just sitting there across the lake from the camp.
Dr Maxwell Crawford, the Executive Director of the Bennett Bay and Big Cypress County Historical Society, to give him his full title, has to attend the weekend events because they are sponsored by the Blackwater branch of the Society (politics–don’t ask) and the fact that his great-great-grandfather Beauregard Crawford was the captain of the CSS Dragon Fire, the ship that defended Blackwater from the Yankee attack. He’s been tapped to play Beauregard during the weekend that will culminate in the reenactment of the naval battle which ends with the Dragon Fire ramming the Yankee ship resulting in a spectacular explosion that destroyed both ships. Max has been assured that the special effects are safe and no one will die this time. Marcus, Max’s lover, doesn’t understand why he’s so conflicted about the weekend. He’s rather distracted by how fetching Max looks in his uniform. Apparently, Marcus has a thing for sabers.
As the name of the boat, Dragon Fire, might indicate, this story thread brings in paranormal elements from the Live Oak Tales. Yes not only am I bold enough to have books with different genres in the same series, I have different genres in the same book! There be dragons in this story, not that the average person would notice. Dragons are that way, you know.
Tony Gallo and Victor Cruz. Tony is the main character in The Envelope, my first short story, and made a brief appearance in “Return to Cooter Crossing.” He lost his lover and soulmate, Lance, to an IED in the mideast about three years ago and it’s been a long road back for him. He’s gotten to the point where he can be with other men again, but nothing serious–yet. Victor is the perfect “match” for him. Victor is a travel writer and owner/publisher for a popular travel blog. He doesn’t have time or the interest in a “traditional” relationship. He and Tony have a close friendship with lots of benefits. They’ve been benefiting together now for a few months and when an opening came up for Memorial Day weekend at the Whiskey Creek Bed & Breakfast they took it. It’s an opportunity for Victor to write about the place and the festival and spend more time with Tony’s family, because Tony’s sister, Helen and her family were invited along. Nothing serious going on here. Victor is the main character in “Of Paradise and Purgatory.” The events in that book take place about six months after this one. Yeah, I’m writing some things out of order. Take it up with my muse, he’s a real confounding bitch sometimes.
As is my habit with a WIP, I post a selected scene from the story once a week or so on my blog. Look for the link Selected Scenes under the Blog Topic menu. They get removed once the book is published.
I’m hoping to have this book done by late Fall early Winter.
So that’s what I’m currently working on. Again, if you want to find out when the books are out, sign-up for my newsletter and you also can have any one of my ebooks for free!