Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comfort Zone Contemplation

In writing, like in life, sometimes there is something to gain by getting out of your comfort zone. At least we hope so.

Our next book is still with the editor and we’re looking for advanced readers for the one after that. (Let us know if you want to read the Bobbie Titan sequel and we’ll get you a copy.) So now it is time to start writing a new novel and, up until two days ago, we were having problems deciding what it should be about. The ideas we were tossing around sounded a lot like the books we’ve already or have just about completed. Frankly, there’s comfort in knowing we can generate these kinds of novels and the great reviews we’ve received so far offer compelling rationale for not straying too far from our strengths. Still, we want to keep it fresh and original and we worry about treading over an already well worn path.

This past week we were visiting our second daughter, Sarah, and her intended, Terence. While on our own one day, we came upon Canopy Tours, an adventure company that specializes in setting up zip lines in out of the way places. The one that is near our daughter’s house in Marin County rockets tourists through Redwood and Douglas Fir branches a hundred feet off the ground. Those of you who know our real personas will attest that neither Lynn nor Evans will be mistaken for a daredevil. In fact, the thought of perching on the side of a tree waiting for a turn to whiz on a line that looks too thin to support anything larger than the grey squirrels that scamper through the branches is the stuff that can wake Evans up at night with cold sweats. Lynn believed Evans would chicken out right up until his feet lifted from the first of seven breathtakingly wild and beautiful sails over the California coastal redwoods.

While driving back and chattering like magpies over how exciting the adventure was and how brave we’d been, we decided to take a chance and strike out in a new direction with our next novel. So now we’re going to see if we can craft a “sassy mystery.” We’re not really worried about the characters, but trying to figure out a realistic plot that offers the kind of interconnected but unexpected twists and turns that experienced mystery readers demand is a little scary. This is not unlike standing next to a swaying redwood trunk 90 feet in the air wondering if you have what it takes to step off into the sky. We only hope that the result is as fun and as thrilling as our time spent racing between the trees in Northern California.

On a personal note: We’d like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Chuck Wolf. He lost his wife of forty-one years, Nola, when a speeding car left the Bohemian Highway and crashed through the gazebo where people were waiting to be taken up the mountain to begin zipping through the trees. We had left this exact spot two hours before after completing our own adventure and remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy until our future son-in-law sent us a text the next day. We would also like to offer our heartfelt sympathies to our adventure guides, James and Sarah. We know you must be devastated by events you could not have foreseen. You took such good care of us and we know you would have done the same for the Wolfs had you been given the chance. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and with Nola’s family whose tragic loss is as devastating as it is unexpected.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Forever Valentine

Since this is our first Valentine’s Day post, we thought we’d deviate a little and tell you about how we got together. You can think of it as how Lynn Evans came to be.

We were friends before we were lovers and, when it gets right down to it, that’s the reason we’ve stayed together this long. For those of you who’ve taken us up on our offer and downloaded The Valentine’s Game for free (and for those wonderful friends who have bought a copy), you can find a succinct explanation of our view of romantic relationships in Chapter 3. It’s the part where Charli’s guiding angel, Crescent, explains like, love, and lust. This is not only our opinion; it pretty much explains our history together. (If you haven’t yet downloaded your free copy of The Valentine’s Game yet,click here!)

Next month, we will celebrate the 35th anniversary of our first date. Before that, we’d met at church. It sounds a lot more Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher than it was, since this was the middle of the 70’s and the institution was a thoroughly Californian New Age spiritual enclave. Still, our attraction was mutual, sweet, and full of the promise that can only come from two unattached twenty-one-year-olds who still believed that there was magic in the world. We had a picnic at Presidio Park. Lynn made the food and even she will admit that the only thing edible was the chocolate chip cookies. It didn’t matter. We shared our first kiss on grass warmed by a San Diego spring sun and the next morning woke up in Lynn’s bed that was too narrow for two lying side-by-side. If that last tidbit shocks some of our younger readers, we’re sorry, but not too much. Our older readers will understand when we collectively shrug our shoulders and point out that it was the 70’s after all. 

If it wasn’t true love at first, it most certainly was true like and true lust. It wasn’t long before we were living together (the 70’s, remember) and spending most of our free time in each other’s company. Lynn introduced Evans to her multitude of friends and he, without any warning, dropped her into the middle of his crazy relations. We lived on spaghetti, fish-n-chips, quesadillas, and margaritas, while finishing our degrees at San Diego State. We were married a year and two months after we’d gone out the first time. True to our mutual belief in equality, we each retired our “maiden names” and formed a hyphenated existence.

There were four miscarriages and a failed adoption attempt before our first child, Laura, was born. As awful as those times were, it forged us together. So all through the child rearing years when there was never enough time or money, there was also never a doubt about our partnership. If it was less romantic than the backyard bungalow we lived in when we first got together, it was more mutually supportive. This was the time when we allowed each other the chance to discover what we wanted to do with the lives that were spent outside the clamorous walls of our modest Ramona home. 
When the children moved out, we rediscovered our passion for each other. To be fair, we really didn’t wait for Sarah to leave, we just bought her a car so she could escape when we started dating again. And here is a secret that none of the teenagers Lynn councils can believe: love, both physical and emotional, is splendid at our age. While we don’t have the energy (nor the gymnastic abilities) we once did, we now have a wealth of knowledge and experience about each other you can only get by living with someone a long time. And while there is a lot to be said for enthusiasm, we’re happy to expound the virtues of skill that comes with years of practice.

That’s our love history in a nutshell. Nothing special from the outside, but, from where we sit, it’s warm and glorious. Since we know we’ve been blessed, our first ever Lynn Evans Valentine’s Day wish to all of our loyal followers is for you to find someone with whom to practice years of like, love, and lust. Trust us; it beats the hell out of those little candy hearts.

A final personal note – Happy birthday, Sarah. You’ve always been quick at everything which is why you couldn’t wait to be born on Valentine’s Day, but instead came into the world sharing the birthday of our 16th President. We love you, Bear Child.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

We're Sharing The Love

We have something fun to tell you about this week. We found out about this great program – Rolling Readers – and their February promotion – “Share Your Love of Reading.” The group’s goal is to get children to fall in love with reading by getting ordinary folks to read aloud to them. We both remember getting read to as children and we still like it now that we are grandparents.  We are certainly all in favor of children falling in love with books.

This month, Rolling Readers is promoting a Valentine’s Day “Share Your Love of Reading” with spontaneous read-alouds and YouTube positings of San Diegans reading out loud from their favorite books. Lynn’s going to it for us. She’ll be reading from our recently published novel The Valentine’s Game. Not only will her reading be particularly appropriate given the day and the book’s theme, but it will come one week after what will be a very emotional and highly confidential program she’s putting on at Poway High. She’ll need the chance to do something a little more lighthearted.

In honor of both Rolling Readers and our participation in “Share Your Love of Reading,” we are giving away The Valentine’s Game  for free to anyone who wants to read it. For the month of February, you can go to and click on any of the “Free Book” links then follow the easy instructions on how to get your own copy of The Valentine’s Game. After that, you can read along with Lynn when we get her posted on YouTube.