Introducing Rubicon Ranch: A Collaborative Novel

I am involved in a wonderful project with eight other Second Wind authors. Rubicon Ranch is an ongoing collaborative novel that we are writing online. It is the story of people whose lives have been changed when a little girl’s body was found in the wilderness near the desert community of Rubicon Ranch. Was it an accident? Or . . . murder! But who would want to kill a child? Everyone in this upscale housing development is hiding something. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone’s life will be different after they have encountered the Rubicon. Rubicon Ranch, that is.

Each of us writers is responsible for the development of our own characters. My character is Melanie Gray. She has traveled the world with her husband, a world-renowned photographer. Together they authored many coffee-table books (she did the writing, he the photographs). One of the books told about mountains of the world, one about rivers, one about oceans, one about forests, and now they have a contract to do deserts. After they rented a house in Rubicon Ranch to begin their in-depth study of the southwestern deserts, he died in a car accident.

Now, not only does she have to deal with the pain of losing her husband and figuring out what she’s going to do for the rest of her life, she needs to fulfill the publishing contract or she’ll have to reimburse the publishers, which she cannot do because the advance is all but spent. Since she is not a photographer, she roams the desert bordering on Rubicon Ranch, taking hundreds of photos, hoping that a few of them will accidentally end up being as brilliant as her husband’s photos always were. She finds the child’s body and takes photos of the scene after calling 911. At first she is a suspect but once the Sheriff has ruled her out, he requests her help in reading the desert and desert-related clues. Still, the sheriff does not trust her completely, thinking she is hiding something.

These chapters have already been posted:

An additional chapter will be posted every Monday. Please join in the adventure — it should be fun! We don’t even know whodunit and won’t know until the end.

Spontaneous Stupidity or Vision Quest?

There are so many stages to grief one gets dizzy trying to keep up with the changes. I’ve tried to embrace my grief during the past seven months, giving in to the emotion of each stage, but the stage I’m in now is one I will not tolerate — self-pity. Lucky for me, this new manifestation of grief shows up right in time for NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo (National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month, though considering the international aspects of both challenges, they should be called InNoWriMo and InBloPoMo). The nano challenge is to write 50,000 words during November. The nablo challenge is to post a bloggery every day during November, and I signed up for both of them. Yikes. At least I’ll keep myself so busy that I will have no time to feel sorry for myself.

The nano site says: “Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.” By doing both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo I’m inviting more than just a little spontaneous stupidity into my life, but I’m looking forward to it.  I’m a very slow writer, so I’ll probably end up writing stream of consciousness, which is a cheat since it’s not exactly writing a novel, but I’m doing this more as a vision quest than a writing exercise. Grief digs deep into one’s psyche, dislodging buried feelings and thoughts — sort of like digging for fossils in a tar pit. I’m hoping that by forcing myself to write an insane number of words the loosened bits will surface, bringing me enlightenment. Or wisdom. Or . . . just about anything other than self-pity.

Nancy A. Niles, author of the upcoming thriller Vendetta, posted an article on the Second Wind Publishing Blog mentioning the three things necessary to maintain good mental health:

  • Challenges, or facing fears
  • Attitude
  • Support system

Well, this month I have the challenges, I have the attitude, and I’m privileged to have a wonderful online support system — people who will help keep me motivated.

I’ll let you know what happens. To be honest, you couldn’t stop me. There’s that small matter of having to fill thirty blog posts during the next thirty days . . .