I’ve had a number of people ask me when Book Two of the American River Trilogy will be released. I haven’t got a specific date yet, but we’re hoping for the end of January 2018. I’ll let you know when I get the date pinned down.
Meanwhile, I’m providing a little excerpt from American River: Currents, Book Two of the Trilogy. I’m planning to post a brief excerpt once a week until Book Two is released, so tune in each week for a small taste of what’s to come!
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of American River: Currents
Following Julian’s funeral at Mockingbird Ranch, Marian returned to New York and Alex went back to Cleveland to continue her studies at the Cleveland Institute. In this scene, Marian has just returned from California and is still struggling to come to terms with Julian’s death while trying to find solace in her art.
Marian sat for a long time looking into the fire. The weariness was so intense that she couldn’t find the energy to get up and go to bed. However tired she was, sleep seemed a long way off.
She and Alex had stayed on for a week at Mockingbird Valley Ranch after Julian’s funeral.
Marian wanted to be certain that everything was under control. That Owen was all right. That Kate would come to terms with Julian’s death. She wanted, she thought, to reassure herself that she was needed, that she could help the healing process.
As it turned out, she felt superfluous. Carl and Kate went back to San Francisco. Owen, though somber, was clearly dealing with the aftermath of his son’s death. There really wasn’t much that she could offer. It was a shock to discover how well they could all get along without her.
Half-formed images tumbled through her mind — Julian’s coffin sitting beneath the oak tree at the summit of the bluff at Mockingbird, Carl holding Kate in his arms, Owen’s face, grey and drawn, as he listened to the minister’s lonely and familiar words, “ . . .in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”
Was there a resurrection? The depth of her disbelief was like an abyss opening beneath her, a bottomless pit inside her heart. Do I believe in anything, she asked herself, staring at the dying fire. Embers lay like glowing eyes among the ashes.
My art, she thought, I do believe in my art. It’s the one thing I can always come home to.
Wearily, she got to her feet. The kitchen was cold as she stood waiting for the water to heat in the kettle. The tea tasted thin and flavorless. Holding the cup, she went into the studio, closed the door behind her, and stood looking at the blank canvas on the easel.
After a while, she put down her cup and picked up a piece of charcoal. As she sketched, an image began to form, curled like a fetus, but with the face of a young man.
Spilling turpentine into a paper cup, she traded the charcoal for a brush and spread washes of blue and green across the canvas. Now a bit of orange and a little alizarin crimson. A darker green. A bit of violet over here. That’s better.
She stepped back and studied the canvas with narrowed eyes.
Now for some pink. Warmer. Add a little cadmium orange. Bring the human form into clearer focus with subtle dark and light accents that would highten the emotional impact of the work. The painting itself seemed to take over its own creation. She had only to follow its lead.
When a thin ray of morning sunshine finally trickled through the hazy glass and cast a wedge of muted light across the bare wood floor, she was still standing before the easel, lost, and found, in her work.