I hope you’ll join us in giving a warm welcome to author Mary Calmes today—yes, a day earlier than expected, but hey, we’ll roll with it—on the tour for Tied Up in Knots, book three in the Marshals series. And, she’s offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of the book delivered right to your DSP bookshelf on release day, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.
Good luck! And now, here’s Mary.
All The Inside Information
When I first starting writing, I used to sprinkle in a few details here and there just to give a general idea of place but not too much more. I think what happened to me was that growing up in Hawai’i, since there’s no change of seasons—it’s always green, always with the rain and the trade winds, the Technicolor sunsets and hurt-your-eyes-blue water—that there’s nothing that exciting to describe. I never had the whole Hell’s Kitchen coolness or foggy San Francisco days or tumbleweeds out in the Texas panhandle to report. It was just boring old Hawai’i. Of course, once I moved to the mainland and people would gasp when I would say I was from Oahu, I started getting the idea that they were as eager to hear the details about where I’d lived as I was to hear about Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the years have gone by, I read more and developed a true appreciation of making the setting as important as the people and plot, and found inspiration in authors like Damon Suede and Rhys Ford who give you such a feeling for a place that I swear you can smell the rain on the sidewalk, hear the noises of the city, and feel the evening breeze on your skin. It’s a gift and one that I’m working hard to develop. To ground a character in a specific place and straddle that line between too many details and not enough, is a work in progress with me.
On the other side of the detail coin are those that you get from placing new characters in the world where you already have others. Not in the sequel sense but in the whole six-degrees, or less, of separation. For me, it happens when characters crisscross between books. Originally, Miro and Ian were going to live in San Francisco. I did my research, made sure there was a field office in the city, was ready to take a trip out there, map things out, but then I remembered that I had made Sam Kage a marshal.
Sometimes it takes my brain a minute (or more) to kick in.
I had already spent time bringing Sam to life so if Miro and Ian worked for him, and he thought they were both good guys, then already, someone who reads me has a feeling about them. Plus Easter Eggs are super fun to find but mostly, there are details known about Sam Kage that inform the reader when they are making judgements about Miro and Ian. I like that and I like all the insider details you get from associations.
This excerpt is from Tied Up in Knots and Ian’s half-brother, Lorcan, has run afoul of the law and Ian’s father and step-mother have come to he and Miro for help. Miro had first tried to contact his old partner to see if he might offer some assistance but they are not on the best terms and Norris Cochran just hung up on him.
“Well, that was great,” I groused. “Now we’re never going to find him.”
We both looked up to find Kage looming over my desk. He passed me the final paperwork on Cabot and Drake as he waited for an answer.
“Ian’s dad and stepmother say that his half-brother got picked up by CPD, but he’s not in their system. At least, there’s nothing on their server.”
Kage nodded. “Come with me.”
In his office he used his speakerphone and called over to the Eighteenth District, Near North, and did the same thing I did, except he didn’t ask for a detective. He asked to be connected to the new acting commander, Duncan Stiel.
“It’s terrifying who they’ll promote these days,” Kage said jovially once Stiel came on the line. I’d never heard that particular tone from him. It was strange.
“Yeah, well, when a department on the whole looks quite this shitty, the good PR of furthering the career of an openly gay officer sounded pretty good to the brass.”
“You havin’ any trouble?”
“A little pushback but nothing major.” He sighed. “I’ve been on the job too long, too many guys know me, and at this point, saying anything about me or to me just shines the light back on them.”
“Good, I’m glad.”
“Hey, while I’ve got you, remember the ballet is tonight, and Hannah needs to be ready to go by six. Aaron will be by to pick her up then.”
“Are you going?”
“No, man, I work for a living.”
“Why are you calling me at work?”
“I have two of my marshals here with me, Jones and Doyle, and they’re looking for Doyle’s stepbrother—” He tipped his head toward us.
“Lorcan Doyle,” Ian supplied.
“His folks say he was picked up, but there’s no record,” Kage continued.
Deep sigh from Stiel. “Hold on.”
It was silent a few moments, and then we heard keyboard tapping.
“Hey, weren’t Doyle and Jones the ones who found Hannah right before Thanksgiving last year? Am I remembering that right?”
“Yes,” Kage said irritably, probably not wanting to be reminded that his daughter was kidnapped for a good half an hour the year before. She got away because she was very smart and very brave. With Kage as her father, it hadn’t been a surprise.
“Doyle’s first name is Ian, right?”
“Ian’s a good name,” Stiel said wistfully, and I had to wonder what that was about. “Okay, here we go. Lorcan Colin Doyle, twenty-five, of Marynook…. oh, he’s out.”
“Yeah, looks like the sister posted bail, and he’s being charged with drug possession with intent to sell.”
“Uh… oh, pot.”
“I’m just reading, don’t judge me. Marijuana is still illegal here.”
“And it looks like he was carrying an unlicensed firearm as well,” Stiel added. “If he doesn’t do any time, I’d be surprised.”
“But like you said, at the moment, he’s free.”
“I’d say it was my pleasure,” he said, chuckling, “but I’d be lying.”
“Glad to see your promotion hasn’t gone to your head.”
He chuckled. “Oh, so you know, we’ll be there tomorrow around one, all right? You need us to bring anything?”
“No,” Kage said adamantly. “Please, no.”
“You said bring dessert last time.”
“There was a catering van in my driveway just to unload plates and napkins. Just… no.”
Stiel laughed and hung up, and Kage hit the button on his phone, killing the line.
“Okay, so go tell them he’s out.”
“I wonder why the processing isn’t in our system.”
“Probably because the judge accepted a plea and that’s public record, but I doubt CPD’s system will update until after the holiday. You would have found it if you’d known he was bailed out already. You were just looking in the wrong place.”
“Yep. Have a good weekend, gentlemen. I’ll see you Monday.”
He was taking the day after the holiday off. The rest of us were all in on Friday.
In that excerpt there’s Duncan Stiel from Acrobat, But For You, and Parting Shot and he and Sam are talking about Hannah, Sam’s daughter, and Aaron Sutter, Duncan’s husband. From the free shorts, Hannah’s Big Night and Piece of Cake, we know that Hannah accompanies Aaron to lots of fancy events and might be slightly spoiled by her father’s ex. And, of course, Aaron being a very rich man, when you ask him to bring dessert, he’s not picking up a pie at Costco on his way over, he’s calling a caterer. The reader knows that already. Miro and Ian don’t, but we do. It’s fun to be in on the background information, the details as it were. I think lots of details make for a fun book and hopefully everyone else does too.
~ Mary Calmes ~
About the Book
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Series: Marshals: Book Three
Length: 260 Pages
Release Date: September 16, 2016
Purchase Links: DSP || Amazon || ARe || B&N || Kobo
Blurb: Miro Jones is living the life: he’s got his exciting, fulfilling job as a US deputy marshal, his gorgeous Greystone in suburban Chicago, his beloved adopted family, and most importantly, the man who captured his heart, Ian Doyle. Problem is, Ian isn’t just his partner at work—Ian’s a soldier through and through. That commitment takes him away from Miro, unexpectedly and often, and it’s casting a shadow over what could be everything Miro could ever dream of.
Work isn’t the same without Ian. Home isn’t the same, either, and Miro’s having to face his fears alone… how to keep it together at the office, how to survive looming threats from the past, and worst of all, how to keep living without Ian’s rock-solid presence at his side. His life is tied up in knots, but what if unknotting them requires something more permanent? What would that mean for him and Ian? Miro’s stuck between two bad choices, and sometimes the only way to get out of the knot is to hold tight to your lifeline and pull.
About the Author
Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.