What We Are Saying...
On Monday of this week, Jo Robertson talked about revision with diction and syntax. We welcome her back to share an example of her writing with an excerpt of The Watcher and a synopsis of The Avenger. We're so glad she took the advice of her Advanced Placement English students when they challenged her to "quit talking about writing and just do it." Both books have won contests and awards.
Jo lives in northern California, near the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and discussing the latest in books, movies, and television shows. Any "spare" time she has is spent enjoying her seven children and sixteen grandchildren, who bring a great deal of joy to her life.
Back Cover Copy...
Psychiatrist Kate Myers believes a killer in northern California is the same man who killed her twin sister. With single-minded tenacity, she sets out to prove it.
Her arrival in Deputy Sheriff Ben Slater's county knocks his world on its axis. The idea she proposes of a serial killer with a bizarre pathology is unbelievable.
Together they work to find the killer, a Janus-like monster who fixates on Kate, and wants nothing more than to kill the "purple-eyed girl again."
The girl was pretty in a fresh, outdoorsy way.
The bounce and tangle of her yellow hair fascinated the boy-man. When she bent to ruffle the dog’s fur and attach the leash, the frisky animal danced away from her. Finally looping one end around her hand, she set off, long legs stretched before her as she matched her stride to the dog’s pace.
With her free hand, she clutched the coat front that covered a dress the color of buttercups, and she wore black strappy shoes made for church, not a brisk walk. Early winter wind whipped her dress up and blew hair across her eyes.
But he knew their color well. Her eyes were as vivid as the violet blood of an eggplant’s skin. The deep purple of the pansies his grandmother grew in boxes beneath the kitchen window. The flowers woven in his mother’s hair in a faded picture he’d once seen.
The brilliance of that color made him notice the girl several months ago as she stood outside the Cavalier Store on Ramsey Avenue. Juggling a carton of milk in one arm and her school books in the other, she nearly bumped into him. When he reached to steady her, those flashing eyes narrowed in the challenging way of teenage girls.
Under the force of her scowl, he touched the sparse hair above his lips, the sprinkling of zits across his chin. She didn’t say a word to him, but her eyes darkened with irritation.
Why the hell was she mad at him? He’d only tried to help.
A familiar wash of shame flooded over him, his face burned, and he ducked his head to slink away. After a block he risked a backward glance to find the girl balancing her load, oblivious to his existence. She’d forgotten him already. He clenched his fists at his side and hurried away.
She wore her soccer uniform that day, and he figured out she’d be at practice on the high school soccer field after school. Every day until the season was over.
During daily practice, the grassy edges of the field were deserted, so he’d found a good hiding place some distance from the field where he watched the players through his binoculars. The rocky outcropping banked up to several scrub pines, and his dusty green outfit camouflaged him from the coach.
His body tingled with a secret thrill as he spied on her. He never gotten tired of watching her race down the soccer field, her toes teasing the ball in front of her, the sudden right turn she made before she slammed the ball into the goal. Her slender legs were surprisingly strong, the muscled sinews tightening beneath the skin.
Panicked that he’d lose track of her when the season was over, he followed her home after one soccer practice. He discovered the isolated farm where she lived with her parents and a giant chocolate retriever named Shamus. He hunkered beside an outbuilding that night and watched her as she completed household chores. She worked energetically and sometimes seemed to be everywhere at once. Her quick, lively movements stimulated him in a way he didn’t understand.
When the lights went out in the farmhouse, he hunted for a place to camp out in the woods, his bedroll and backpack hidden in the dense forest. He ate his food cold from tin cans and drank from the creek, this outdoor lifestyle familiar to him by now.
He waited nearly a week to make his move. On a late Sunday afternoon, he saw the parents drive away in a battered pickup without the girl. Silence descended on the farm in the near darkness.
She’d been left alone.
This was his opportunity.
The dog now pulled the girl along after him, straining at the leash. The animal must weigh at least a hundred pounds, almost as much as the girl. That could be a problem.
The boy-man trailed the girl and dog as they made their way down to the creek bed. She let the dog tug her forward along the water’s edge. Her voice reached the boy-man where he watched from a grove of aspen trees, their bendy white limbs dipping down to cover him.
He glanced through the gloom toward the farm house. How long before her parents returned? How long after that before they missed her? He kept downwind of the dog and hurried after the girl, his heart drumming a staccato beat in his chest. He’d never found a purple-eyed girl before.
It was a sign.
Synopsis of The Avenger
A clandestine government organization called Invictus "recruits" outstanding athletes for secret projects. But their top agent Jackson Holt has extraordinary, almost preternatural, qualities not even the Organization can explain.
Olivia Gant, professor of Ancient Studies at a private college in California, was once Jack's childhood sweetheart. But when he deserted her, he left her alone to combat her stepfather's drunken attentions and her mother's careless neglect.
Nearly twenty years later, their paths cross in a mission to fight a bizarre religious serial killer whose methods include crucifixion and burial alive. Olivia and Jack battle for happiness against years of secrecy and distance as they use Olivia's expertise in Latin and Jack's special gifts to track a brutal killer.
Can Olivia forgive Jack for his long-ago betrayal? Can Jack allow Olivia to witness the terrible Change that makes him such an effective killing machine?
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