We can’t believe that Rough Edges was released two years ago! To celebrate, this week we’re spotlighting the kick off story in the anthology, Lady of Lacromosa by Brantwijn Serrah. In the story, Katarina’s shift at the saloon takes an unusual turn when a lady gunslinger strolls in. Katrina’s world will never be the same after that night.
Today, Brantwijn tells us about falling in love with the Wild West and the writing of Lady of Lacromosa.
Lady of Lacrymosa: Desert Poetry
By Brantwijn Serrah
It surprised me how easily I fell in love with the Wild West. The theme of dusty desert riders and saloon girls in shiny satin frocks, of long desert roads and bleached cattle bones in the sand… Before my college years I was always a sci-fi and fantasy girl, the bright-eyed devotee of Piers Anthony, Jennifer Roberson, JK Rowling, and Jim Butcher. I’d never seen a Clint Eastwood film or perused a book by Louis L’Amour. I’ve never seen The Wild, Wild West (though I’m told I’m not missing much). Living right on the edge of the California desert, I spent my formative years as a reader and a writer longing for the soaring mountains and green forests of fairy tale.
And yet, when I did finally discover the golden sunsets and high-noon duels of the western genre, they swallowed me right up. Somewhere inside me, though I’d generally ignored western fiction, I knew there was a real ‘grand romance’ to these tales of cowboys and outlaws, and hard-as-nails women who spit fire and dance with the devil. There’s a poetry to it all that just can’t be found anywhere else. More than any genre I’ve written, the Wild West grabs on like a sexy song, and that’s where I found the seeds of my Rough Edges adventure, Lady of the Lacrymosa.
Perhaps this is why Lacrymosa starts with a dance. The whole lusty, bloody nightmare, wrapped up in a dangerous gunslinger’s sexy moves. She moves like climbing roses, thinks our main character Katarina, smitten right away by the eerie performance. Like climbing roses or jaunty little brown sparrows.
I think this is where I found my groove with the story. I had a hard time connecting my typing fingers to the lust and longing and disaster I wanted to convey in the character of the Lady Gunslinger, and Katarina, the saloon girl who falls for her with such unexpected desire. To me, this story had to be about passion, and grim, gritty horror. The imagery of western deserts, chaparral, and exotic flora and fauna come together so well to create that sense of intoxicating temptation, spiked with a dash of harsh, naked peril.
That’s why you’ll find so many of those images in Lady Gunslinger. The desert sparrows, the poisonous scorpion; the scent of magnolias and leather; the haunting Spanish eyes and wicked, hungry grin. Katarina describes her as a storm, a song, a leggy lady, a merciless predator. These things made Lady Gunslinger the kind of woman you’d hear tell of in tall tales and folk legends, but also, maybe, the kind of monster you’d find there, too. Because roses have thorns, scorpions sting, storms can destroy and Lady…well, Lady has her own secrets to keep. Katarina is swept away, but even she knows something about the whole situation is unreal, even weird. The truth is twisted and frightening, but so is the thought of turning down a night with this larger-than-life stranger. Kat understands she can refuse to be part of the Lady Gunslinger’s dance…but to do so will leave her with a lifetime of mystery and torment. What would have happened if I’d said yes?
At the end of the story, I hope readers—like Katarina—are asking a different question.
What would have happened if she’d said no?
When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, and graphic design. She sometimes procrastinates by hiding in online games like Star Wars; The Old Republic or League of Legends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours penciling naughty, sexy illustrations in her secret notebooks.
Brantwijn has two romance series currently in-progress with Champagne Books. She’s also had short stories published in several small press anthologies. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Visit her at Strange Ways Station, her website at www.brantwijn.com.
Get your copy of Rough Edges today to read
Lady of Lacrymosa and six other hot stories!
Nothing is sexier than someone who knows what they want and has the confidence go after it. This anthology is crammed full of hot romances featuring those kinds of rough-around-the-edges alpha personalities–stories about the kind of men and women who ride horses during the day and their partners at night, who speak few words but mean every one of them, and who would never break their own personal code of honor. We're talking about cowboys and cowgirls. This anthology contains seven romances with a Western theme that run the gamut from sweet to sizzling.