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by Baxter Clare
The River Within was born as Out Far, In Deep. After being rejected by a number of authors and agents, I abandoned Out Far, In Deep – like locking a child in the bedroom with just enough food and water to live on. A wise mentor suggested I take the book out of solitary and publish it as an e-book. Of course I passed on the idea because I only write real books, then I realized Out Far, In Deep was a real book. After a little cleaning up to make it presentable, I let it out into the world to see where it would go.
What started as a dream snippet about a young woman flirting with her mother’s best friend became my first e-book. Self-publishing, electronically or not, came with the baggage that only awful writers publish their own books. Maybe true in Hemingway’s time, but not Amanda Hocking’s.
Three women. Three lies. One chance to tell the truth.
For thirty years Foreign Correspondent Greer Madison has competed brilliantly in a man’s world. But the hardships of a life spent reporting from war zones are catching up to her. In a foolish attempt to impress a young colleague, Greer involves them both in a deadly accident. The incident is accepted as a collateral risk of war reporting and only Greer knows the truth behind the needless fatality.
Returning stateside, she recuperates at the home of her best friend, Darlene Richardson. For the first time in the course of their thirty-year friendship Darlene is reluctant to accommodate Greer, for Darlene suddenly has secrets of her own. Having assumed full responsibility for her son’s desire to enlist after 9/11, and his subsequent death while serving in Iraq, Darlene chooses to keep the horrific details of Chris’ death from her family. As the burden of her secret takes it’s toll, Darlene quietly plans the ultimate sacrifice.
Kate Richardson is Darlene’s spontaneous, willful daughter. Desperate to mend her breaking family, Kate becomes engaged. Jason is kind, ambitious, and most importantly, seems to make her mother happy. Kate is sure, given enough time, he will make her happy, too.
But the women are fast losing time. While Darlene hides in Chris’ room with his letters from Iraq, Kate and Greer find unanticipated comfort in each other’s company. Restless nights shared in the guest cottage create an intimacy that forces each to tell the secret they would rather hide, and in the aftermath of their painful revelations, Darlene is compelled into her own brutal confession. With all their secrets bared, each woman must choose whether to cling to the safety of the known shore or leap into the uncharted but healing waters of The River Within.
by Baxter Clare
As a result of Spirit’s enthusiastic reception I decided to write a sequel. But it just wouldn’t come. My brain had been taken over by a dark character, a rogue cop whose main distinction from the bad guys she hunted was that she was allowed to carry a gun. Locked and loaded, L.A. Franco emerged into the world, incapable of understanding “no” for an answer. Bleeding Out virtually wrote itself. It was such a brutal departure from the lyric harmony of Spirit that a woman in the book business suggested I publish it under a different name so as not to offend Spirit fans. Thus, L.A. Franco gave birth to Baxter Clare.
Meet Lieutenant L.A. Franco – better known as Frank – who commands Homicide Squad #93 in the gang-ravaged central Los Angeles area. Described by one of her detectives as “Dirty Harry’s personality stuffed into Martina Navratilova’s body,” Frank allows nothing into her bruised personal life except music, football, booze and exercise – all her drugs of choice. And just when she needs them the most, they are all about to fail her…
by Baxter Clare
The first draft of Street Rules was so bad that my publisher turned it down.
“Too neurotic,” she said.
While I loved bringing Frank back to life, and showing that she did indeed have a heart, this was probably my least favorite in the series to write. I’d quit drinking and wasn’t sure if I could produce anything sober. After all, some of my best ideas came after a relaxing bottle of wine or two, or three…But I was determined to get Frank happy. I rewrote the manuscript. Then I rewrote it again. And again, and have since discovered that for every one book I write at least three or four are thrown out.
For `Frank,` L.A.P.D. Homicide Lieutenant L.A. Franco and her homicide squad, it’s business as usual — a multiple murder, ugly as it is, at least seems to have an easy explanation. Until it coincides with an untimely drive-by shooting. The investigation ultimately pulls Frank and her squad in conflicting directions while drawing Frank closer to the county’s new Chief Coroner, Gail Lawless. Through a series of twists and turns, all Frank’s leads eventually bring her to the disquieting possibility that the killer she seeks might well be one of her own brothers in blue.
by Baxter Clare
Having proven to myself that I could write without drinking (Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald couldn’t – why should I have been different?) I threw myself into Cry Havoc. It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. The plot, the characters, the love story – it all came as easily as it had with Bleeding Out. But I was more secure in my craft, this time, so I just played with it. Mother Love, Frank, Marguerite, Gail – four, strong, willfully determined women. What more could a lesbian ask to work with?
Lieutenant Franco faces a psychotic killer.
Case closures are up and homicide rates are down for LAPD’s 93rd Homicide Squad. “Frank”, Lieutenant L.A. Franco, is revitalizing her depleted detective crew while quietly mending private scars. And Frank is about to need all the back she can muster as she faces her own personal demons while trying not to jeopardize her developing relationship with Gail.
When a corner hustler turns up dead with a headless rooster in his lap, Frank realizes she’s up against Mother Love-Jones, renowned psychic, drug dealer and santería priestess. Soon Frank becomes inexorably pulled into Mother Love’s ambush. Heedless of the warnings around her, Frank plunges into battle with Mother Love and her violent minions: A battle as dark and deadly as the ancient bloodied sands from which it sprang.
by Baxter Clare
By now Frank had come far. Emotionally, spiritually and professionally. But Noah (I don’t want to reveal too much) sent her reeling into the bottle. All the ground she’d gained was lost. Writing Last Call was wrenching. I’d sit in front of the keyboard and steel myself, unsure each morning if I could take Frank where she needed to go. I cried the whole time I wrote that book.
Six years ago, Lieutenant L. A. Franco’s partner, Detective Noah Jantzen, investigated the case of a double homicide of two innocent children. Unable to close the case, the two murdered children haunted Noah for years…
Now that case is haunting Frank, who must cope with the loss of her dear friend and right-hand man. Unwilling to deal with her grief, Franco buries herself in obsessive work, rigid denial and bottle after bottle of her favorite alcoholic beverage. Frank’s refusal to mourn her old friend strains her business relationships and more importantly, the romantic relationship with the county’s Chief Coroner.
Focused only on solving the cold case of the murdered children, can Frank see the cost to those around her…and the risk to her own life?
by Baxter Clare
This was the trickiest of all the Franks. How to reveal this very private woman’s inner workings? It made sense for her to journal. Having been that close to killing herself she was now willing to do whatever it would take to get her head on straight – even if that meant being honest about what she was feeling and admitting that to another human being. In End of Watch Frank exhumed a number of ghosts in order to give them a proper burial. She felt very complete to me after this book. That’s probably why I’ve taken such a long break from her.
Francis M. Franco. Shot for three bucks and change. The only witness, his ten-year old daughter. Thirty-five years later, that daughter is LAPD Lieutenant L.A. Franco. Tired of running, Frank realizes its time to either face the past or die by its long hand. In an effort to quiet her demons she returns home, to New York’s Lower East Side. But the journey intended to rest old ghosts only resurrects them.
While visiting her mother’s grave Frank is stunned to discover a lead in her father’s long-unsolved murder. Aided by NYPD Detective Annie Silvester, Frank follows the lone clue down the unlit steps of memory to a final, unthinkable resolution.
In End of Watch, L.A. Franco at last kneels before Fate and in so doing becomes its master.
Spirit of the Valley: An Ecological Mythology of an Oak Savanna
by Baxter Trautman
Spirit is a great example of my heart being involved in what I’m doing. I’d been living on the coast and to escape the relentless summer fog I’d load the truck with beer, books, my dog Mick, and head inland to the sun.
My heart was enchanted with the ancient and historical accounts of nature so I’d fill a couple banana boxes with Greek tomes and colorful Christian bestiaries. I began jotting random notes from Pliny and Ovid, Audubon and the Bible. I had no reason to take notes, I was just enjoying myself. When I mentioned this to a friend she suggested I show one of our professors. What began as random jottings evolved into my biology thesis. Spirit was created as a handbook for the layman to understand what scientists knew, as well as a resource to help scientists appreciate the average layman’s point of view. Part of the thesis agreement was to publish Spirit, which I did on my own, eventually selling the rights to Sierra Club.
The Spirit of the Valley: Where the Light of Science Meets the Shadow of Myth
by Baxter Trautman
Why do magpies chatter and bluebirds whisper? What common roadside plant was used as poison by medieval witches and as medicine by U.S. soldiers? Can female gall wasps really reproduce without males? Why do lizards have an “inevitable affinity’ with human beings, while their cousins, the snakes, produce terror? Poet and biologist Baxter Trautman answers these and other fascinating questions with the black-and-white pen of science dipped in the colorful ink of myth. The result is a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining book of natural history and much, much more.