@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish, @laurensevier, @abbiewritesx,
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
“Those for me?” she asked. I hadn’t realized she was awake. I nodded, once again helping her sit up. I eased off the ruined dress and put the dry clothes on her as carefully as possible. I started to climb from the wagon to let her rest, but she reached out, grabbing my wrist.
“Please don’t go,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
With a nod, I moved behind her, sitting with my back against the stolen crates. She leaned between my legs, resting her head against my chest. I brushed some of her matted hair away, pressing my lips to her temple. I held her, not tight enough to hurt her, but enough to let her know I was there.
“We can’t stay here,” she said after a while. Her voice startled me into alertness. “Coyotes are gonna come when they catch the scent of that horse.” Suddenly, I had an idea about what to do with the horse.
“I know,” I said. “But you need to rest.”
“We need to keep going,” she said. Neither of us moved as I sat there, holding her, lips pressed against her hair.
“Just let me hold you,” I whispered. “Just a little while longer.”
Have a Weekend Writing Retreat and Detail the Experience
Abbie and I recently went on a writing retreat in April to work specifically on the second book in the The Fool’s Adventure series titled Leather & Lace. The hope was that we’d have a few distraction free days so that we could finish the book and have it ready for pre-order by the time we publish Guns & Smoke on July 10th, 2021.
Essentially the goal was to get away from all the modern day trappings and distractions like children, husbands, pets, television, social media, etc. So naturally we wanted to hole up in a cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere with internet access and a kitchen so that other than taking breaks for human things (like showering, eating, and sleeping) all we were doing was cranking out words. We found a little historic cabin in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi only an hour or so away from where we live. It was built in 1910 and had a HOT TUB! Talk about the perfect way to unwind when the words got stuck or we found ourselves in the middle of a huge plot hole, right?
We packed up all our snacks, wine, writing craft books, laptops, and meticulous outlines and headed out. Playlists were carefully curated, comfy sweats and slip on shoes our attire of choice, and we talked the whole way there about each plot point we were worried about and character arcs we were excited to write.
When we got there it was just as picturesque as it seemed on AirBNB, and we got to work unpacking and setting up our ‘war room’ as it were, where all our chargers and reference books would be easily available. Now, Abbie and I work pretty well together, and we use Google Docs to be able to simultaneously edit or work on different chapters at the same time. Definitely the best decision we’ve made in our co-authoring journey as it’s been invaluable for us.
Then, of course, disaster struck. Literally the only requirement we had for the writer’s retreat was that we needed to have internet access. Not a ton of bandwidth like for gaming or streaming, just enough to be able to log into and work in Google Docs. Of course, the picturesque historic cabin had just survived a pretty big storm… and their internet was out. We spent so much time trying to come up with a work around we nearly lost half a day just contacting the managers of the property and trying to figure out how to log into our documents.
Eventually, Abbie found an old thumb drive and we decided we were going to go analog. It slowed our progress IMMENSELY since we couldn’t work simultaneously as we’d planned, but we weren’t about to let one minor inconvenience stop us from getting the work done. No siree. After staying up until the wee hours of the morning trying to get to a certain plot point before we finally succumbed to sleep the first night, we finally called it when I started nodding off at my laptop.
I was excited to get to sleep so that I could wake the next morning and get right back into it. Only to discover that there was no air conditioning in my loft upstairs where it was the hottest part of the house, and the facility didn’t provide sheets for the bed. To say that I had a restless night would be an understatement.
Waking the next morning, we realized the whole stay would be like this and while we tried to stay optimistic and enthusiastic, and we DID get quite a lot of work done, it was a pretty disappointing trip overall. Even though we didn’t meet our goal, we had a mishap with the thumb drive and lost half a chapter (that made me cry while writing), and overall it was hot and uncomfortable… I got to spend time doing what I loved with my best friend. And THAT made the experience worthwhile in my opinion.
The managers were pretty rude when we didn’t give them a 5-star rating, instead losing a star for the several issues we had. Abbie wrote a nice and balanced review, stating our problems but still talking about how it was really a very nice place and we may go back in the future…
In the cabin they had a guest book where you could write a little something about your stay. We didn’t write anything in the book but mostly because we were exhausted and trying to get everything packed up and ready to go. The managers responded to Abbie’s review on AirBNB stating:
“I just read your review and was sad to see such a harsh rating, but I understand it was hard for you to see the beauty around you with such a focus on what you did not have… Sorry it was a disappointment and I should have known when the "writers" didn't leave a note in our journal.”
Needless to say, we’re going to be going on an annual writers retreat again next year… but we won’t be going to the same place. Wish us luck on our next adventure!
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Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!