New Release -Webs In The Mist by Maggie Plummer

Today I have a new release for you, Webs In The Mist Book Two in the Jessie Morgan series by my friend Maggie Plummer.  I also have a great author interview with Maggie, hope you enjoy it.

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Description1

It’s 1972, and San Francisco is a global mecca for hippies and radicals. In Book Two of The Jessie Morgan Series, 21-year-old Jess can’t wait to join her friend Donna there. Driving her VW down the Pacific Coast, she’s more than ready for the city’s open Bohemian vibe, bongo-mad street life, perpetual protests, and cutting-edge counterculture.

Among the characters she meets are Cat, a tall, fun-loving Sicilian, and Carl, a Harley-riding enigma with bushy red hair. As Jessie gleefully spreads her wings in the City by the Bay, she leaves her stormy past behind.

 Or does she?

This novel is recommended for mature readers due to 1970s-era sex, drugs, and profanity.

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Short author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author whose latest novel, Webs in the Mist, is Book Two of her semi-autobiographical Jessie Morgan Series. Like Jessie, she lived in San Francisco during the freewheeling 1970s, riding the cable cars in raggedy bell-bottom jeans. These days the author works from her Montana home near the shores of Flathead Lake, where she loves camping with her sweet black lab, Peaches. Webs in the Mist is Maggie’s fourth published novel.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, welcome to my blog, please tell us about your book.

Webs in the Mist continues Jessie Morgan’s story, covering the San Francisco years, 1972 to 1975. Like Jess, I lived there in the early ‘70s – an amazing time in that city! People from all over the world were moving there, to be part of it. On the various jobs I had there, I met people from the Philippines, Italy, and Scotland. San Francisco was still affordable then, and the various ethnic neighborhoods were still authentic and working class. I wouldn’t trade my experiences there for anything.

 In this novel, the fiction takes over, compared to book one in the series, Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Webs in the Mist has a tighter plot structure and more dramatic tension. While the framework of the story is autobiographical, much of what happens in the book is pure fiction.

 Tell us how you came up with the title?

 This novel is about the webs we weave as we go through life – innocently or not. Webs of deception, webs of self-loathing. I decided to use San Francisco’s fog and mist as symbolic layers of confusion swirling around the webs we weave. At first, the book title was “Webs in the Fog,” but I felt that the word “fog” didn’t fit. So I changed it to “mist.”

 Can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

 I’m almost 69 years old, and have grown tired of hearing myself tell my stories. Shut up and write them down, I told myself. That’s what I’m doing, beginning with Bell-Bottom Gypsy (Book 1 of this Jessie Morgan Series). In the process of creating fiction from my own stories, I had to add fictitious elements. For example, Twisty’s personality is fiction. My real boyfriend in Key West, Florida was not edgy like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography. I was inspired to write Webs in the Mist (Book 2 of the series) by my years of living in San Francisco. The early ‘70s were a unique time in the Bay Area, and I’m grateful to have lived there then. San Francisco back then was so amazing, I struggled as I wrote Webs in the Mist, trying to capture the magic of that time and do my experiences justice.

How much of the book is realistic?

Some of this novel’s events and characters are based on real events and people – but not all. Jessie’s life in San Francisco is based on my own time there in the ‘70s. But Webs in the Mist is less autobiographical than Bell-Bottom Gypsy. I created an enigmatic character named Carl, who is fictitious but a composite of quirky real people I’ve known. As I’ve already said, the dark aspect of the Twisty character is pure fiction. It’s fascinating, weaving my real life stories into these novels. I find myself assembling quite a few composite characters and re-arranging the timeline of real events in my life, for the sake of well-constructed fiction.

 How long did it take to write your latest release?

Webs in the Mist took me a little over a year to write, and that’s a record for me. Hopefully I’m getting faster at writing and publishing novels.

 Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

 I don’t currently belong to a critique group, but I have in the past. I was in two separate writers’ groups, and learned a ton from the writers I met there. That’s where I met my writer friends, and I recommend it. Not only does it help to hear feedback, a group also provides important deadline pressure to produce something to bring and share. One caveat, though: if a critique group is negative, or “bitchy,” run away as fast as you can and never go back. Above all, listen to yourself. Now and then, creative writing classes and writers’ groups can include competitive, envious people who are too willing to tear you down for no good reason.

 Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

 I didn’t, but I think most writers should hire an editor. Let me explain: I’m a freelance book editor, and have a background in journalism (including proofreading and editing). I’m good at catching my own mistakes. That’s not enough, though. I have four very good advance readers who read, edit, and critique each of my manuscripts before I publish.

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

 I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen. I was always attracted to reading and English and languages, in school. My grandmother was a poet and journalist in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. Maybe she is the reason for my interest in writing. In the early 1980s, I went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I have always wanted to write novels, because my first love is fiction.

Have you published anything else? If so can you tell us their titles.

 I sure have. Webs in the Mist is my fourth published novel. I have also published Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel, a wild 1970s ride that takes the reader on adventures along America’s back roads. My first novel, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, paints an intimate portrait of 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean. It was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. The book has 242 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation.

 Tell us what is next for you? / What is your next project?

 Since I’ve committed to writing a four-book Jessie Morgan Series, my next project is Book 3 of the series. I don’t have a title yet, but I think it will be a good book. If you read Webs in the Mist, you’ll know where the new novel is set. No spoilers here!

 

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Author Interview – Maggie Plummer

Today’s Author Interview is with my friend Maggie Plummer.  She has just released a new book called Bell-Bottom Gypsy, the first in the Jessie Morgan series.

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Author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author based in northwest Montana. Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, she has worked as a journalist, school bus driver, Good Humor ice cream girl, fishing boat mate, and race horse hot walker, among other things. Bell-Bottom Gypsy is her third published novel.

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A photo of Maggie as she looked in the 1970s

Book Synopsis:

 In this galloping departure from her previous novels, author Maggie Plummer takes the reader on a wild 1970s ride – an adventurous coming of age journey along back roads in far-flung corners of the United States.

At twenty, Jessie Morgan is fed up with just about everything. It’s September 1971 – time to drop out, tune in, and turn on. She leaves college and Detroit in the rearview mirror, hitting the road in her 1965 yellow Volkswagen convertible. Wandering America’s byways from Kentucky to Key West to Montana, Jessie is out to test herself and experience everything.

She didn’t count on meeting a man like Twisty.

Bell-Bottom Gypsy is recommended for mature readers due to plenty of 1970s-era sex, drugs, and cussing.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, tell us a little about your book? 

Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel is a 285-page novel LOOSELY based on real 1970s experiences I had on the road. Much of the novel is pure fiction, embellishment, and wishful thinking. For years, I have told my various travel stories to friends. I’ve been thinking of writing them down for a long time, and it feels great to finally have done that. My real stories provide only a framework for the novel, which is about 1970s-style self-discovery via travel adventure.

 

Can you tell us how you came up with the title?

Imagining a book about my 1970s travels, I thought that the title would be “Tales of a Volkswagen Gypsy.” Then I wanted it to be simply “Volkswagen Gypsy.” I was set on that title, but then learned that Volkswagen does not allow use of their name or logo without specific permission. I tried and tried to get that permission, with no results. It was time to re-think my book title. I decided that, given the main character’s love of bell-bottom pants, the new title should be Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Many of my friends and critiquers like the new title better than the old one. The subtitle is “A Jessie Morgan Novel” because this is the first in a four-book Jessie Morgan Series.

 

And can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

At this point, at my “ripe” old age (ha!), I am tired of hearing myself tell my stories from the road. I kept telling myself to shut up and write them down. So I finally did. In order for the novel to work, though, I had to add many fictitious elements. For example, Twisty is pure fiction. (My real life boyfriend in Key West, Florida was nothing like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography…) Anyway, my main inspiration to write this novel was to preserve my wacky stories, which are unique to the early 1970s.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

The book’s main plot, in which Jessie travels America’s back roads and works seasonal jobs, is based on real life adventures. Along the way, some of the travel narrative is fiction. And, like I said, the edgy, dark aspect of the Twisty character is also pure fiction.

 

What process do you use for your writing?

I approach writing a novel by listing scenes. It’s not a true outline, but a scene list. That seems to help me zoom into the action and figure out where things are going. Meanwhile, I create Word files for character studies, and do research that often helps drive the plot. For me, writing first thing in the morning is the best. I find that I have my best energy then, thanks to my strong, black morning coffee.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Bell-Bottom Gypsy was a challenge to write. I think that’s because it is based on real experiences, some of which were emotionally charged. As I wrote it, I found myself feeling “triggered,” at times. But I am so happy to have written it.

 

How long did it take to write your latest release?

It took four and a half years. I am hoping to learn how to be a faster writer.

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen years old, so I think it was about then that I began thinking of myself as a writer. I was drawn to reading and English and languages, in high school. Also, my grandmother was a writer in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. So maybe she is where my interest originated. In the early 1980s, I finally went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I always wanted to write novels.

 

Have you published anything else? 

Yes, I have two previous novels, both of which are historical fiction set in the 1650s. The first one, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. It has 225 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation. Find out more about me and my books at https://maggieplummerauthor.weebly.com/

 

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

Next up is Book Two of the Jessie Morgan Series. Then Book Three, and then Book Four. I have my work cut out for me, following Jess as she continues testing herself, facing plenty of adversity as she grows into the woman she wants to be.

 

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Excerpt Promotion – Daring Passage by Maggie Plummer

I have an excerpt for you from Daring Passage, book two of the Spirited Away Saga, by my good friend Maggie Plummer.

MaggieDESCRIPTION

In this much-awaited sequel to SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH, slave Freddy O’Brennan is on the run. In 1656, determined to pursue freedom for herself and her young children, she braves stormy seas, treacherous castaways, and corrupt Virginia Colony authorities. Romantic sparks between Freddy and ship Captain Colin Shea Brophy smolder and threaten to explode. As they paddle dugout canoes into the James River wilderness, Freddy and her friends must navigate a choking gauntlet of ruthless slave catchers, frontier bounty hunters, warring natives, and a Cherokee renegade out for blood. DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA is a 70,000-word historical novel that captures a rare glimpse into seventeenth century colonial Virginia.

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This is a stand-alone novel as well as being Book Two of the Spirited Away Saga. Book One is SPIRITED AWAY – A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH.

Excerpt1

She studied her hands in her lap and wondered what problems they had not thought of and would not be prepared for.

Colin was watching her closely. “Try not to worry, macushla,” he whispered tenderly. “We must keep our goal uppermost in our minds.”

She nodded, unable to speak.

“Our survival depends on keeping our wits about us as we pretend to be loyal British citizens.”

“What do I need to convince them I am a Welsh widow woman?”

“A black cap, black veil, and black cloak. The more severe, the better. In Jamestowne, I can purchase the cap and veil.”

“I have already made a long black cloak. If I wear it hooded, will that suffice until I get the cap and veil?”

“Nicely, I should think,” he replied, frowning.

“What is it, Colin?”

“Such cloaks are unfitted, falling from the neck to the ankles…”

Freddy waited for him to explain.

He took her hands and winked. “…I don’t want ye to cover yourself up.”

“Oh, ye’re a right devil, making me fret!” Once more she felt a feverish blush creep up her neck and into her cheeks.

“Aye, it’s a devil I am and that’s for sure.” Colin nuzzled her jaw.

“What about my feet?”

“They’re lovely.”

“We are making moccasins, but for Jamestowne won’t I be needing acceptable footwear?”

“That ye will…” He sighed as she pulled away from him.

“A plain black slipper, just cloth with thin soles, and pattens for the muck.” Freddy had never worn pattens, but proper British women wore them out of doors. They simply put their slippered feet into the raised wooden clogs. She wondered how difficult it would be to master the art of walking in them.

“Aye, I’ll purchase them first thing when we reach Jamestowne.”

“Colin, it’s as if I am a theatrical player about to take the stage,” she said. “I have always wanted to be a theatrical player.”

“Have ye? Let’s hope ye’re right gifted at it.”

“It helps me to think of the river voyage as a stage.”

“That’s good then. Now, I must trace the outline of your pretty feet, to get the right size.” He grabbed his ink, pen, and two parchment sheets from the desk and plopped down at her feet. “Raise your skirt.”

“I should do this with Birdie…” She was alarmed.

“Didn’t ye say ye trust me?”

“Aye,” she whispered, holding her breath and slowly lifting her skirt just above her ankles. Again her face felt hot. He touched her right ankle and she jumped.

“What is it?”

“I’m ticklish, is all.” In truth, his warm hand on her ankle burned with a fire that leaped all the way up her leg.

He placed her foot on the parchment and held her ankle as he traced the shape of her foot.

“Unhand my ankle!”

“I have to hold it still! Ye keep jumping about…”

This was the perfect chance to practice play-acting. She would pretend to be unaffected by his touch. As he traced her foot, she tried not to flinch, but failed several times, giggling. “What of Laurie?” she asked, desperate to put her mind on something else. “Will we need him groomed properly?”

“We can say that your servant is watching him.”

“Right. He can stay in our quarters the entire time.” Freddy inhaled sharply as Colin grabbed her other ankle. Thank the Angels she was seated. Her knees had gone so weak, if she’d been standing she might have swooned.

“What about ye, Colin?”

“Me?” He looked up at her, puzzled.

“Should ye purchase English ship captain garb? Boots? Stockings and boot hose with lace cuffs? Mayhap a new baldric.”

“I shall think on it.” He hit the side of her arch with his pen and she twitched again. “Curses! Ye got a splotch of ink on your foot.”

She looked at the ink stain. “No matter, it will wash off later.” But she vowed to keep that foot safe from the touch of soap and rag. Freddy would protect that ink spot, to cherish this moment. She took a slow, deep breath. “Surely ye’ll need a proper coat and hat.” How fine it would be one day with this man, when she could be free with him. From her time with Kofi, she knew what it was to be natural with a good man. When they were wed, Colin could touch her ankles and feet all day long if he so desired. She would love him, open her very soul to him. And she would give him many babes of his own. “Does your best shirt need a wash?”

“Thank ye, macushla, but it’s clean,” he said, finishing up. Before he let her ankle go he slid his hand up to her calf, his eyes sparkling with mischief.

“Colin Shea Brophy!” Freddy pushed her skirt down, waving him away.

Grinning, he put the parchment sheets on his desk. “Then there is the matter of your hair,” he said.

Her hands flew to her unruly hair.

“A British widow woman will wear a tight bun with long curls around her face.” He touched her black ringlets, lightly brushing her shoulder with the tips of his fingers. He pushed the edge of her dress aside and kissed the top of her shoulder.

She shuddered as liquid fire again raced through her body. The molten stream settled in her belly, where she would cradle it and keep it to herself until they were husband and wife.

“What are ye thinking?” he whispered.

She took his head in her hands, fixing her eyes on his. “I am thinking of the day when I can be free with ye in the wilderness. Colin, the things we will do!”

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Meet the Character – Freddy O’Brennan

Meet Characters

Today’s Character for you is Freddy (Frederica) O’Brennan from Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, book one in the Spirited Series by my good friend Maggie Plummer.

Maggie Spirited

DESCRIPTION

It’s May 1653. When young Frederica (Freddy) O’Brennan and her sister Aileen trust a stranger on an empty beach in western Ireland, they inadvertently place themselves in the crosshairs of Cromwell’s notorious Reign of Terror. Freddy awakens in the crammed hold of a slave ship bound for Barbados. She and Aileen endure the gruesome voyage only to be wrenched apart when purchased at auction by sugar plantation owners from different islands. Freddy is left alone to face the brutal realities of life as a female Irish slave on a seventeenth century Barbados plantation. As she struggles to survive the ordeal, Freddy’s harrowing experiences paint an intimate, compelling portrait of 1650s Irish and African slavery in the Caribbean.

Freddy O’Brennan

Freddy O’Brennan is a high-spirited fourteen-year-old Irish beauty whose full name is Frederica. Freddy’s mam, a typical 1600s Irish Catholic mother, worries about her daughter’s tomboy ways as well as her boyish nickname. The inimitable Freddy is much closer to her father. She has Da’s black, curly hair, bright green almond-eyes, and rosy complexion.

Freddy also has his warm, unruly nature.

On the family farm in County Kilkenny, Ireland, she works the fields alongside Da. Then she dons boy’s breeches for wild rides through the countryside on her beloved horse, Firewind – a gift from her father. The lanky, muscular Freddy spends most of her free time with Firewind, a handsome Gypsy Cob.

When big trouble comes, Freddy’s strength, intelligence, and courage serve her well. She and her younger sister Aileen are spirited away to a filthy slave ship and ultimately sold into slavery in Barbados. This is 1653 Ireland, where Cromwell’s notorious Reign of Terror is in full force.

Sold to the highest bidder, separated from her sister, and far from her beloved homeland, Freddy must face life as a female Irish slave on a seventeenth century Barbados sugar plantation. Amidst the island’s treacherous beauty, she must bear her drunken English Master using her as not only a kitchen drudge but his own personal sex slave and, later, a breeding slave.

A heartsick Freddy is forced to dig deep inside herself to protect her young spirit from being broken. She struggles to survive rape, degradation, beatings, and the harrowing spectacle of her Irish countrymen being flogged and starved to death. Her impulsive, hot-tempered ways could get her tortured and killed. When angered, she is fearless. Freddy must learn to control herself as she never has before.

She also learns to lean on her powerful friendships with fellow slaves – especially the Native American kitchen slave with whom she works long hours in the plantation cookhouse. The two women risk severe punishment by sneaking supplies to the suffering field slaves.

Eventually Freddy braves much more serious threats for the sake of love and loyal friendship.

In her heart she struggles with intense anger and bitterness about being stolen from her loving family. It is her biggest secret. Freddy is horrified by the murderous rage that boils inside her. Deeply ashamed, she cannot bring herself to tell anyone about her violent temper – except God and a priest friend.

Freddy hates slavery, injustice, and prejudice. She loves her children, Ireland, Firewind, freedom, her family, her friends, her African mate, and the Church. Her greatest fear is that her children will be taken from her. Freddy also fears her own capacity for violence. She does not want to become a hateful person.

Freddy develops into the fiercest sort of protective mother. In the end, it is for her sons Laurie and Kofi that she summons the strength to maintain her sanity and her wits. Determined to keep her family together, she joins forces with two friends to navigate a choking gauntlet of greed, corruption, duplicity, and bloody violence.

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