Character Blog: Connor Mackenzie and Lynne Raven Mackenzie, Chasing the Wind

A few years ago,I did a series of character blogs–getting into the thoughts of my characters. From time to time, I’ll be reposting these entries for those who weren’t around to read them back then….

CTW 2014

Connor says:

I was attracted to her right off, but I wasn’t seeing her as more than a bedmate–a temporary one at that–at the time.

I didn’t even want to go to the bloody lecture. Sarah wouldn’t let it go. I realised she wasn’t going to give up. It was really quite odd, because Sarah and I have never been close. Why she wanted me with her that night remained a mystery for months to follow.

.
When Lynne told me of her difficulty in obtaining funding for her dig in Egypt, I saw an opportunity. I had made plans to fly to Cape Town the next day, to lie low the until the furor subsided. This, however, was a much better option. No one would be looking for me on an archaeological excavation. I would be living in the middle of nowhere with a woman I found quite appealing. 

It had definite possibilities.

Edward wasn’t going to be an easy sell, but he understood the urgency of the situation. I couldn’t stay in London. If I did, I could well end up in prison. What we had done was illegal. If the Foundation provided Lynne’s funding, it would all be perfectly legal and no one would be the wiser. It would not be connected to me. And if I got it on with the lady while in exile, all the better.

I had no idea then how it was all going to turn out…. 

Lynne says:

There’s no such thing as coincidence. Nothing happens by accident.

I wasn’t even supposed to be in London. I’m an archaeologist specializing in Biblical archaeology. I’d been working on a dig in Egypt, searching for proof of the Exodus. Yes, that Exodus. My partners and I had been there for a while, almost three years. The money was running out, and we hadn’t been able to secure further funding.

Then came the call.

A colleague who had been slated to give a series of lectures in London was injured at his dig site and was unable to fulfill his obligations in Britain, so he asked me to take his place. That might not seem odd to you, but this guy was someone I’d always been at odds with professionally. Why me? I wondered. Why had he asked me, rather than someone with whom he actually got along?

I didn’t question it too closely, though. I figured a couple of weeks in London would give me a chance to take one last shot at finding the funding we needed to keep going. It was my last chance.

Then I met Connor Mackenzie, and everything changed.

I’ll never forget that night. I walked into the lecture hall, and he stood out like Chris Rock at a Klan rally. He was wearing worn jeans and a leather biker jacket. He was of average height, with light brown hair that was almost blond, and blue eyes that, well…. He looked a lot like Ewan McGregor.

We talked briefly. When I told him of my funding dilemma, he suggested he might be able to help. I didn’t take him seriously, but he was so compelling–all right, I confess. When he asked me to have dinner with him, I didn’t want to refuse…. 

Excerpt: Chasing the Wind

CTW 2014

Phillip Darcy

It was turning out to be one of those days. How had I ended up in Israel?

I looked at my watch as I collected my bags, trying to remember if I had reset it to accommodate the time change when I arrived in Athens from Moscow. At this point, I wasn’t even sure what day it was. Tel Aviv had the tightest security of any airport in the world. Not unwarranted, of course, given its history with terrorism, but it was still a pain, especially when I was in a hurry. Two terminals handled an average of 17,000 passengers daily. Each vehicle that entered the property was routinely searched. Baggage was screened thoroughly. Travelers were profiled in ways that would never be tolerated in the States. If they had been, terrorists would not have been able to take over our planes and kill thousands of our own. We won’t be done in by nuclear weapons—the ACLU will be our downfall.

I spent what seemed like an eternity in Customs, and I still wasn’t sure what, exactly, I was supposed to be doing there. The e-mail from the Boss Lady said only that I should take the first available flight to Tel Aviv and call the office from there. The fact that my editor was e-mailing me was an indicator that she probably wasn’t in a good mood. It meant she’d tried unsuccessfully to phone me. It bugged her that I was so hard to reach sometimes—deliberately so, I might add. Ally liked direct contact.

This had better be good, I thought as I headed off to the Solan communications center to make the call. When I received the message from Alberta Ashland, I was at the airport in Athens, waiting to board a flight back to the States. I hadn’t been home in six weeks and for once was actually looking forward to some down time.

So much for down time, I thought after considering deleting the offensive e-mail and claiming I never received it. Knowing Ally, she’d have my hard drive checked out to make sure.

I purchased a calling card and went to the nearest available phone. As I waited for my call to be put through, I took off my Chicago Cubs baseball cap and ran a hand through my hair. “Come on, pick up,” I muttered. “If I’m here much longer, they’ll charge me rent.”

A female voice answered on the fourth ring. “Viewpoint, good afternoon.”

“What’s good about it?” I grumbled.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry,” I said. “Put me through to Alberta Ashland.”

“Who’s calling, please?”

“Tell her it’s Darcy. Tell her I don’t have a lot of time,” I snapped.

There was a pause on the other end. “Sorry, Mr. Darcy. I didn’t realize it was you. I’ll put you right through,” she assured me.

“You do that.” My patience was wearing thin.

Moments later, Alberta came on the line. “Darcy,” she greeted me with a cheerfulness that made me want to puke. “I take it you got my e-mail?”

“I got it. What’s this assignment?”

“Charlie Cross is there covering the conflict,” Alberta said. “He needs the best lensman I’ve got—and that’s you.”

“Yeah? When did you take up brown-nosing, Ally?”

“Much as I hate to admit it, you are the best,” she responded begrudgingly.

“I’m officially on vacation, remember?”

“You’ll have to postpone it. War waits for no man.”

“War? Is that what they’re calling it this week?”

There was a warning pause on the other end of the line. “I don’t have time for this today, Darcy,” she said finally.

I scratched my head. “So where is Big Thunder?” I asked.

“Tel Aviv. Leaving for Megiddo in the morning.”

I laughed. “Armageddon Megiddo?” I asked. “End-of-the world Megiddo?”

“The same. There was another suicide bombing there overnight,” she explained. “Six people were killed, including the bomber, seventeen injured.”

“This is not news, Ally. They’ve been at war since Moses came down from the mountain,” I pointed out.

“You’re not funny, Darcy.”

“I’m too tired to be funny. Funny takes effort.” I paused. “I really needed this vacation, Ally.”

“I’m sure. Who is she this time?”

“Who’s who?” I asked.

“The woman. You’re a chronic workaholic. The only time you want time off is when you’ve got some poor, unsuspecting woman caught in the crosshairs,” Alberta laughed. “You’re already paying alimony to two of your three ex-wives, but I hear you’re always on the lookout for number four.”

“You hear wrong,” I said. “I’ve sworn off marriage. If there were a twelve-step program for it, I’d sign up. From here on out, I only live in sin.” Hell, I couldn’t afford to be stuck paying out more alimony.

“If you say so.” Alberta was obviously in no mood to debate with me. “Listen, Charlie’s at the Armon Ha Yarkon. I suggest you catch up with him tonight. He wants to get an early start tomorrow morning.”

I took off my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose. “I’m glad it’s not summer. By midday, it’d be hotter than hell.”

Alberta didn’t miss the opportunity when it presented itself. “And I’m sure you have firsthand knowledge of hell.”

“As you said, I’ve been married three times,” I said.

Alberta started to say something else, but was stopped by another incoming call. “Got to run, Darcy,” she told me. “Call Charlie.”

“Yeah.”

I hung up, checking my watch again before leaving the communications center. So much for my vacation….

 

Chasing the Wind, copyright 2008 by Beishir Books. All rights reserved.

From the Pages of the International Intruder: Characters’ Outrage

From beyond the Fourth Wall: Fictional characters are outraged by idiot reviewers. Unable to remain silent, some of them are here to do a roundtable discussion on the topic. From Chasing the Wind, we have Connor Mackenzie and Lynne Raven; from Final Hours, Jamie Randall and Kate McAllister; from Dance of the Gods, Alexander Kiriakis and Meredith Courtney; from Angels at Midnight, Collin Deverell and Ashley Gordon. Welcome, everyone.

JAMIE: Could we just dispense with the BS and get on with it?

INTRUDER: You sound angry.

ALEXANDER: He is. He gets a great deal of negativity because he’s an adulterer.

CONNOR: At least your reviewers were just making a commentary on your circumstances. We had morons who didn’t get that there was more than one first-person point of view. Pay attention!

JAMIE: Morons…the one species that will never be extinct.

KATE: Unfortunately.

ALEXANDER: We received one bad review…but it was at least from Publishers Weekly, from a reviewer who had more than a room-temperature IQ.

LYNNE: My personal favorite was the reviewer who started off with “Am I missing something?” Yes! A brain! Go to Oz. See if the Wizard will give you one!

COLLIN: I don’t recall us ever getting any bad reviews.Even Romantic Times gave us a good one.

ASHLEY: But our reviews all came from professional reviewers, after all. They didn’t hide behind anonymous postings. And we did get one on Amazon who objected to our story having too much sex.

CONNOR: How does anyone have too much sex?

Lynne slaps him playfully.

LYNNE: If one has something to say, they should at least have the backbone to identify themselves. Most of these reviewers don’t. Look at their profiles…usually no names, nothing to identify themselves.

MEREDITH: And in the Amazon forums, they say authors shouldn’t be allowed to comment on reader reviews. What are they afraid of?

KATE: If they believe they’ve made an honest evaluation of the material, they should own it.

JAMIE: What are they afraid of? Retaliation, maybe? Some of them are authors who don’t want a bad review in return. One author even posted on her blog that she will be doing reviews but not under her own name. I wonder who she’s planning to do a hatchet job on?

LYNNE: Everyone who didn’t like her book, maybe?

MEREDITH: In other words, they can dish it out but can’t take it.

CONNOR: In a word, cowards.

KATE: Exactly.

COLLIN: If you’re going to post a review, post your name, too. If you don’t believe in your review enough to own it, then shut up!

INTRUDER: Thank you, all of you, for your participation.

Rumor has it an army of fictional characters is forming to storm the fourth wall and take all idiot reviewers prisoner. Remember you heard it here first!

ASHLEY: It’s a good thing you didn’t invite the characters from An Army of Angels. Those Cantwell brothers get pretty rowdy.

INTRUDER: Their book isn’t published yet. They have no reviews to discuss.

As if on cue, the five Cantwell brothers–Paulie, Mike, J.J., Randy and Chuck–barge in, gathering around the table….

PAULIE: Hey, are we late?

MIKE: You guys didn’t start the party without us, did you?

INTRUDER: Uh, this is a discussion of idiot reviewers. Your book isn’t published yet and therefore has no reviews.

J.J.: You have a point there.

PAULIE: Those morons better not give us bad reviews–right, guys?

They mumble among themselves and nod in agreement.

PAULIE: Anybody gives us a bad review, we pay them a visit. In person.

RANDY: Yeah!

CHUCK: Nobody wants a visit from us. Just ask Robyn.

MIKE: We’ll teach those bozos a lesson!

CHUCK: Yeah!

JAMIE: How did you guys get past your keeper?

MIKE: Oh, it wasn’t hard at all, we–

Paulie slaps him upside the head.

RANDY: Don’t tell them, stupid!

PAULIE: Speaking of morons….