But the hummingbirds haven’t migrated south to Mexico yet, and neither have the Monarch butterflies, so I know we’re in the midst of Indian summer, not full blown fall.
So, before I leave the book writing posts, and start thinking about Halloween topics, I’d like you to meet the last two important characters in Crescent Moon Crossing, my novel-in-progress
If you read my first book, Song of the Ancients, you will remember Rumor Vargas as Samantha Danroe’s business partner at their antique clothing store in Sedona, AZ.
Rumor was that friend who would drag you to parties and events, while you grumbled all the way. The one who would make you dress in costume, even if costumes weren’t specified on the invitation. We all have one of those friends, right? Who is yours? My current one is Barbie G.
Renaissance Festival full attire despite the 100-degree temps. Ritual without a robe and long black dress? Are you kidding? Our latest costume opportunity was my favorite: Phoenix Symphony performing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I sat scrunched into the seat next to Barbie’s hoop skirted-theme dress and petticoats—and loved every minute of it.
So, Rumor was that kind of friend in my first book. But after her pal Samantha took off for London at the end of that book, with no intention of returning to Arizona, they sold off their store and Rumor moved south to Bisbee, another quirky Arizona town near the Mexico border.
In Crescent Moon Crossing, Rumor has again demonstrated her entrepreneurial acumen by opening an antiques store in Bisbee, specializing in folk art, occult pieces and yes, vintage clothing.
She has also earned her private pilot license and travels during the summer, acquiring antiques from around the world. If you’ve ever been to Bisbee, by the way, you know how well this eclectic store would fit in in there in real life!
Rumor, now 32, is American but has her Mexican father's olive skin, dark hair and eyebrows. She is bi-lingual and often volunteers at a local refugee shelter called Hope House. By the end of the book, she also decides to advocate in court for illegals fighting to come in the United States and stay here legally.
Rumor's friend Abby has been murdered, and Rumor is a partial witness. She wants to help the sheriff find the murderer, and also clear her half-brother, who is a suspect.
In the book, we learn about human smuggling into the United States from Mexico and Central America—a hot political topic at the moment.
A coyote will make $3,000 to $4,000 a head on Mexican illegals and up to $10,000 for Central American fares. He will bring a few to a dozen people per trip, and may make a trip a month or more.
But these rape tree warnings are more likely left by Cartel members, like Alberto, marking their drug smuggling routes. That’s where the big business comes in. An official estimated that cartels send a stunning $60 billion worth of drugs into the U.S. every year. Mexico’s former Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna dropped that number at a conference in Juarez a couple of years ago.
Will a border wall stem that drug flow? I don’t know. Statistics show that most of the drug smuggling happens other places, like the actual legal border checkpoints. So it feels like the wall will kill off the normal migration routes of local wildlife, rather than kill off the drug trade. There’s just So. Much. Money.
The Cartel tie-in does make for some great conflict in the book. First, Rumor is estranged from her father’s side of the family, and vehemently against Alberto’s involvement with the Cartel. Her father isn’t happy about it either, but he’s supporting Alberto’s efforts to get out from under his employer’s hold, and he’s cut ties with Rumor for fear that she will turn her brother over to ICE if he visits the states.
Since Sheriff Jones’ wife was killed by a junkie, he also has some wound-related reasons to be suspect Rumor’s brother in this murder investigation. This sets up some interesting conflict for Coop. Can he be unbiased in his murder investigation with Alberto, a drug trafficker, as one of his suspects?
I’m approaching 65,000 words, and my goal is to have the rough draft finished before November 1. I would so love to have this one in the can, and begin National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) with a NEW novel to write. Keep your fingers crossed!