Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Time For Melody by R. Ann Siracusa

Today I'm excited to welcome R. Ann Siracusa who's taking us on a trip to Red Gulch, the ghost town setting for her new time travel romance A TIME FOR MELODY. It's an intriguing and sensual time travel romance and there's an excerpt to whet your appetite. Enjoy!


Inspiration for writing stories and novels can come from anywhere. Although the story idea for my recent release, A Time For Melody, a time travel novella, didn’t take root in a California ghost town, once I had the story idea, that location popped into my mind and refused to be dislodged. That particular story could only take place there.

When I first became acquainted with Red Mountain, CA, the model for the fictional town of Red Gulch in the novella, it wasn’t considered a ghost town, even though it had largely been abandoned. I first discovered it in the late 1970s when my husband and I and our two boys used to race motorcycles in the California Mojave Desert. Actually, the boys raced, I rode and raced in a few races, and my husband and daughter watched. The races were sometimes held about fifteen miles from there and we would ride into town sometimes for supplies. Well, to be honest, for beer.

A little Red Mountain history

The background for the novella is based on the history of Red Mountain, originally named Osdick after one of the original miners, and its environs. Gold was discovered in the area on April 25, 1895 by C. A. Burcham, F. M. Mooers and John Singleton. The area boomed and within fifteen years there were thirty-five hundred permanent residents in three adjacent the communities of Randsburg, Osdick (Red Mountain), and Johannesburg.

Another gold discovery was made in 1915. In 1918, silver was discovered in Red Mountain, stimulating another boom. The community prospered during the 1930s as an active liquor and brothel area. In 1942, all gold mining was stopped in the US by the government, and after that the town nearly died and never revived.

In 1984, after I stopped coming to this area, gold mining was reestablished around Red Mountain. According to R. Vallerand, the Rand Mine was still digging up gold as late as 1998. I have no idea if the mines are still operational, but the town itself is reviving as a Ghost Town and now has a population of 130.

A Time For Melody by R. Ann Siracusa


She appeared out of nowhere, blown into Red Gulch, a decaying mining town, on the crest of a desert breeze like the ever-present tumbleweeds that filled the empty streets in the blink of an eye. Except everyone knew where tumbleweeds came from.

Brandon O’Donnell never figured out where Melody came from, but she captured his heart with her flaming red hair, hypnotic light-grey eyes, and intense but distant way of speaking. As though, Brandon had thought for years, she knew a lot more than she let on.

Now, Brandon is about to find out how much more that really is.

Genre: Time travel romance

Length: 29K
Publisher: Sapphire Blue Publishing
Release date: July 4, 2011
ISBN: #9781-934657-70-6
Format: e-book only

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“Well, Melody—that’s a nice name—are you from around these parts?” Everything about her seemed to scream otherwise, but it seemed the polite thing to say…and he did want to know.

She tossed her hair and ran the tip of her tongue across her full lower lip. “From down the highway a piece.”

Her speech, for some reason, sounded a little stilted, almost as though she wanted to mask an accent. At the same time, the low and sweet tone resonated like a song, far away and full of promise. Its pleasant sound lingered in his head and sent an unsettling swell of desire along his nerves.

He raised an eyebrow and lifted his chin toward the window facing the road, questioning her response without meaning to.

“There isn't much down the highway for a long way.” Beyond the broken down buildings of Red Gulch, the two-lane highway stretched in both directions—hot, lonely and unpopulated—for more than seventy miles, unless you counted Ridgecrest. But from the looks of her stylish clothes, he doubted she could be from there. “Did you come very far?”

She tilted her head to the side, letting a lustrous strand of red hair fall across the front of her blouse, open low enough to catch a glimpse of tantalizing cleavage. “Yes, in a way, but not really.”

Not much of an answer. But he had no intention of giving up so easily. “Where you headed for?”

She shrugged. “Red Gulch.”

His chin dropped in surprise, and she laughed. The sound of music tinkling in the distance.

“No one comes to Red Gulch,” he protested, wondering if she’d been hitchhiking and her ride dumped her out there. “At least, not on purpose.”

Her soft luscious lips curled into a smile. “I did. What’s that thing?” She pointed to the end of the table that butted against the wall where the napkin holder, salt-and-pepper shakers, and menu reposed.

He frowned, unsure what she referred to. “What thing?”

“This.” She tapped on the clear plastic Jukebox extension with chrome trim. “It looks like some kind of jar made from a crude carbon nanotube structure that…” Her voice trailed off, and her face paled. “I mean…”

Perplexed, Brandon frowned at her. What was she talking about? Red Gulch might be behind the times, but surely these hadn’t disappeared completely in the more civilized parts of the state. “It’s part of the jukebox.”

She chewed at her lower lip and stared at him like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. “The what?”

“The jukebox. You, know. It plays old-fashioned records.” When her puzzled gaze didn’t waver, he motioned toward the old Wurliter across the room, then tapped the coin slot. “You put your coins in here, select the music you want by pushing this, and it plays over there, through the speakers.” He dropped his hand to the table.

Melody gave her body a little shake. Coiling a red curl around one finger, she leaned forward and placed her free hand over his.

“I love music. Do you?”

His fingers curved around her soft, uncalloused flesh. “Sure do. I even play a pretty mean StingRay.”

She wrinkled her nose, obviously in the dark but not wanting to ask.

He grinned at her, thinking she must lead a very sheltered life, which made him wonder, even more, what she was doing in Red Gulch. “That’s a kind of bass guitar.”

“Oh.” She warmed him with a bright smile. “Are you a musician?”

He laughed an honest hearty laugh. “Nope. I only play at home for my own pleasure.”

“I’ll bet you’re good at it. I’d love to hear you play. Do you live very far from here?”

Turning her small hand, he caressed the inside of her wrist with his thumb, his fingers feathering over her smooth skin. “Hmm, about ten miles. Out in the desert.”

“Can we go there?” She delivered the surprising question in a soft, yet matter of fact manner, as though it was a perfectly natural question to ask a man she'd only met a few minutes before.

Brandon’s heart skipped a beat as anticipation swelled. “Hmm, do your parents know you’re in Red Gulch?”

“My parents?” Her frown gave him the impression she didn’t quite understand the concept. “We don’t…hmm…I’m not in contact with my parents. But they know I’m in Red Gulch.”

A tremor of discomfort slid through him. “How old are you, Melody?”

She sat back and tried to slide her hand away, but he held it firmly in his grip. Little lines of tension feathered from the corners of her mesmerizing eyes.

After a moment, her face smoothed and her luscious-looking lips curled into a smile. She squeezed his fingers as though reassuring him.

“Almost twenty-one. I’ve been living on my own for years, but right now I don’t have any place to stay. I was hoping I could go with you.”

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