Friday, April 22, 2011


What We Are Saying
If you missed Nearly Departed in Deadwood, the debut book in this series, you may want to  purchase and read it first. I promise you won't be disappointed. It is humorus, sad,  romantic, and is a mystery. I could not stop reading it once I started. Ann Charles has a unique voice and a way with words that just charms the socks off you.

Ann Charles
What Others are Saying Nearly Departed in Deadwood has been #1 on the Top Rated Ebook list for both Mysteries and Women Sleuths   and remains in the top 50 books on Amazon.

What Ann is Saying
 Following is the first chapter of Optical Delusions in Deadwood for you. Check it out and see for yourself what mess Violet has herself mixed up in now.

First Chapter- Optical Delusions in Deadwood

Deadwood, South Dakota
Wednesday, August 1st

Some jackass has been talking shit around town about me chitchatting with dead folks.

I didn’t believe in ghosts, or haven’t since I started wearing a training bra, anyway. But a couple of weeks ago, a psychotic serial killer tricked me into being the guest of honor at his macabre tea party with his sister’s ghost and three of his decomposing victims. Since then, my reputation had suffered.

Normally, I’d just shrug off the stares, whispers, and snickers of sidewalk onlookers and fellow Piggly Wiggly shoppers, but I was relatively new in town—and even newer at this real estate agent venture. With two kids to support, big smiles and friendly service were my bread and butter.

Lucky for me, my fellow diners this morning at Bighorn Billy’s were mainly tourists chattering away about what was on their day’s agenda. With the infamous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally right around the corner, the Black Hills were crawling with chromed-out bikes.

I stirred cream and sugar into my steaming coffee, happy as hell to be upstaged by the leather-clad crew for the next couple of weeks. My stomach growled, antsy from the aroma of fried bacon and eggs thick in the air. A glance at the Harley Davidson clock on the wall made it growl again.

My breakfast date was late, and if he didn’t get his ornery old butt here soon, I was going to order without him
A shadow fell over my table. “Excuse me, are you Violet Parker?”

That depended on if the woman standing over me with the owl-eye glasses and squeaky voice was one of my ghoul groupies. Her silver-blue eyes were magnified by lenses thick enough to read War and Peace etched on a grain of rice; her hair a helmet of brown, frizzy curls. My gaze lowered to the gray turtleneck sweater and long wool skirt covering her from neck to toe. Somebody should tell her it was August outside.

I smiled extra wide, always the saleswoman. “That’s me. What can I do for you?”

She seemed harmless enough, but I’d recently learned the hard way that looks could be deceiving. My eyebrows were just starting to fill back in after that lesson.

She pushed her glasses higher up on her nose. “A gentleman from your office told me we could find you here.”

Gentleman? My smile almost slipped. I had only one male coworker at Calamity Jane Realty. He hated my guts for stealing this Realtor job from his nephew and had made it his personal mission to destroy my career before it could even get one wheel off the ground. We’d hit it off like a sledgehammer and old TNT right from the start.

“I’m Millie Carhart,” the woman said. “My mother would like to hire you to sell her house.”

I peeked at the woman cowering behind Millie. With her white hair twirled up into a bun on top of her head and her ample bosom restrained in a faded, red gingham dress, she looked straight out of Little House on the Prairie.

My gaze returned to Millie’s magnified irises. “Is your mother’s place in Deadwood?” I assumed they were local, but with all of the tourists around, it didn’t hurt to double-check.

“No. We live up the hill in Lead.”

Lead was Deadwood’s golden-veined twin. Its history books were filled with mining tales rather than gambling legends.

I had no issues with selling a house in either city. Money was money, something I had very little of, but I wasn’t agreeing to anything until I took a look at the place. Again, past lessons learned; last contracted dwelling burned to the ground—blah, blah, blah. “When’s a good time for me to come take a look at your house?”

“As soon as you can.”

Nice, a motivated seller. Now if I could only find a buyer half as eager. Hell, just find a buyer—period. “How about this afternoon at two?”

“Good.” Millie pulled a piece of paper from one of the folds in her sweater and placed it next to my coffee cup. “Here’s our address. We’ll be waiting for you.”

Before I had a chance to fish one of my cards from my purse, she left, her mother trailing after her. They passed my tardy breakfast date on their way to the door.

“Sorry, I’m late.” Old Man Harvey slid onto the seat across from me, his grizzled beard in desperate need of a trim. “I was putting out a fire all night.”

Another fire? I frowned. “At your ranch?”

His grin was broad, his gold tooth gleaming. “Nah. In an old flame’s bed. I left her smoldering.”

I choked on an involuntary chuckle and sipped my sweetened coffee to wash it down.

I’d met Harvey and his 12-gauge shotgun up-close and personal about a month ago. After we’d straightened out that I was a Realtor interested in helping him sell his ranch and not a banker bent on taking it, we’d tossed back some hard liquor over a listing agreement. He’d confessed he was lonely and then proved it by insisting I include a once-a-week-dinner-on-me clause. Desperate, I’d agreed.

“What’s for breakfast?” Harvey opened his menu. “After all of that bumping and grinding last night, I could eat a herd of elk.”

Grimacing, I set my cup on the table. “Stop. You’re going to kill my appetite.”

He snorted, then buried his nose in the plastic pages. “What did the Carharts want?”

“You know them?” I shouldn’t have been surprised. Harvey had grown up in the Hills. The dirty bird liked to brag about all of the cousins he’d kissed.

“Wanda was a few grades ahead of me in school,” he said.

“They want me to sell their house.”

Harvey squinted at me over the menu. “And?”
“And what? I’m paying them a visit this afternoon.”

He leaned across the table, his forehead puckered. “What are you thinking?”

I blinked. Had I missed the memo? “What do you mean?”

“Are you really going to take them on as clients?”

“Sure.” If their place wasn’t a pit. “Why not?”

He tossed his menu on the table. “Maybe because six months ago in that very house, Millie’s brother bashed her father’s head in with a rolling pin and then blew his own brains out.”

I swallowed wrong, hot coffee searing the back of my tongue. “You’re kidding me.”

“I wish I was.” He crossed his arms. “If you take this job, you might as well plug your nose and hold your breath, because your career is gonna go swirling down the damned crapper.”

* * * * *

Want to read more? Stayed tuned for Buy Links in May 2011.

In the mean time you can purchase
NEARLY DEPARTED IN DEADWOOD EBooks at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader, Smashwords, Diesel eBook Store
 Print Books: Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble,Adams Bros.


Anonymous said...

What a great first chapter. Now I'll have to buy this book and the first one.You truly have a unique way of inserting comedy into the situation.

Ruby Johnson said...

Thank you so much for sharing the first chapter of Optical Delusions in Deadwood. You make the characters and the town come alive. I see another number one coming on Amazon.

George said...

Your website is almost as well done as this chapter. I hope you don't mind if I come take mores peeks at it in the time to come. Thank you for visiting our blog.

Ann Charles said...

Tammi--Thank you! I have so much fun writing the Deadwood series. Violet and crew often have me chuckling as I write. I hope you enjoy the books!

Ann Charles said...

George, thank you for the kudos and thanks for stopping by!

Ann Charles said...

Ruby, thank you so much for having me here again. I appreciate your kind feedback, as well. I hope you enjoy book 2. I was just daydreaming about the next scene I need to write in book 3. Need to keep ahead. :)

Jane Latta said...

Love the tempo and can't wait to spend some time with all my favorite characters again!

Ann Charles said...

Hey Jane! This book is about 10,000 words longer than book 1, so you'll get a little bit more of them. :)

Nancy Naigle said...

What a great first chapter! I can't wait to get my hands on this book. It's right up my alley.


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