Scotty Cade’s latest project is very personal. The most intriguing part for me, I think, is the multi-generational angle on the mystery. Here is Scotty to talk about how he used real world clues to bring everything together.
Scotty Cade here and I’m very excited to spend some time with you and introduce you to my sixth novel, The Mystery of Ruby Lode. The Mystery of Ruby Lode is very near and dear to my heart for many reasons, but a few stand out front and center. The first being that the idea for the book came from very dear friends currently living in Atlanta GA that actually own the Ruby Lode mine just outside of Boulder, CO and another is because it was my first Segway into a paranormal thriller. For those of you who know me and follow my work, I’ve been a “the boy always gets the boy,” type of romance writer, but I had this book floating around in my head for almost a year before I found the courage to try and get it down on paper. And lastly, the cover, thanks to the brilliant Reese Dante. I just love this cover and it says everything I wanted it to say.
Here’s a little blurb so you can get an idea of the story.
After six long months of research, adventure seekers Bowen McAlister, Cyrus Curran, Duff Gentry, and Lockhart Dawson are on their way to Boulder Colorado to explore Ruby Lode, an abandoned gold mine. Duff, a born psychic, senses something isn’t quite right, and the closer they get, the more his unease grows.
Something left behind long ago in the deep shafts and drifts of Ruby Lode makes its presence known by exposing dark, heavily guarded secrets. Preying on each of their weaknesses and insecurities, Ruby Lode’s own destructive secret threatens their sanity, friendship, and ultimately their lives.
Working together, Bo, Cy, Duff and Lockey must unravel the century-old mystery before they become another footnote in the mine’s long history.
So, what do you think? Pretty neat huh? During this story it was important to me to show the reader that all of us have things in our past that shaped us into what we are today. Some can be very positive experiences while others can be very damaging, but either way makes us who we are. During the story, each of the four main characters reveals or discovers something in their past that has affected them in one way or another, some are secrets purposely kept and buried to try and forget while others we’re long ago blocked out to protect the characters sanity. The research involved with writing this part was very intriguing and I learned a lot about the human brains capability to block things that it just can’t handle and how the human spirit eventually deals with.
Anyway, I digress. Oh, one more thing, being a mushy romance writer is something I just couldn’t deny and no matter how hard I tried to make this strictly a thriller, romance kept finding its way into the story and ultimately found a home in parts one and two, part two being a little more successful then in part one. I hope you don’t mind the added side tracks.
Speaking of part one, it takes place in Boulder Colorado in 1914 and boy was ever interesting researching dialogue and buzz words from the great western wilderness in 1914. And even though I found what I needed, it still felt strange talking like that. It almost felt like I was watching a rerun of Gun Smoke or Bonanza. 🙂 Part two however takes place in present time and it was a little easier to get the flow going not having to make sure every word I said was right for the period, accurate, and more importantly spelled correctly. 🙂
But for me, the most interesting part of this book was reviewing all the original documents provided to me by my dear friends in Atlanta who own the mine. They searched, found and scanned the original deeds, bill of sale and tax documents and much of the original wording found its way into the book, which I think helps to reinforce the accuracy and believability of the story. I found myself writing sometimes eight hours on this story without stopping and that’s a record for me, but the story kept coming and I kept writing. I think my record is eighty-eight hundred words in one day and I had all kinds of achy muscles when that day was done, but that shows how much I loved this story.
Here’s an excerpt from Part One:
“Settle down, folks! Settle down.”
The lanky auctioneer slammed a gavel on the podium, demanding silence.
When the room was again quiet, the auctioneer looked up from his perch.
“Our next piece of property is the Ruby Lode Mining Claim designated by the surveyor general as survey number one-nine-four-five-three. The claim embraces a portion of section six, in township two North, Range seventy-one West of the sixth Principal Meridian in the Mining District and bounded and described as more particularly set forth in the patent from the United States to O.E. Jasper of record in Boulder County, Colorado. Records; said survey number one-nine-four-five-three extending one thousand five hundred feet in length along the Ruby vein or lode; the premises herein granted containing five and fifteen hundredth acres along the South St Vrain River. The tax lien is one hundred dollars.”
“Do I hear an opening bid of one hundred dollars?”
You could hear a pin drop in the sparsely filled town hall.
“Do I hear an opening bid of seventy-five?”
From three rows back, Frink Davis fidgeted as he and his best friend Counter Stephens scanned the room for any signs of activity. A hand going up, a wink, a nod, even a cough could indicate a bid. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, Frink saw movement and Counter must have seen the same movement because they both turned quickly in that direction. Seated in the front row, a rugged middle-aged man wearing a brown cowboy hat leaned over and whispered something to an exceptionally broad-shouldered man wearing all black sitting right next to him. They nodded in agreement and the man wearing the brown hat brushed his hand across the brim. Counter elbowed Frink in excitement.
“Seventy-five dollars,” said the auctioneer. “Do I hear eighty?”
Frink nervously watched as Counter studied the two men. Then he scanned the room again looking for other bidders before turning to Counter and smiling. Counter raised his hand and the auctioneer nodded.
“Eighty, I have eighty dollars. Do I hear eighty-five?”
The two men in the front row turned around with surprised looks on their faces to see where the next bid had come from.
This time, the man in black shouted, “Ninety dollars.”
“Ninety dollars, I have ninety dollars. Do I hear ninety-five?”
Frink’s hands were beginning to shake uncontrollably and he felt as if sweat was pouring out of each of his palms, but he held his emotions together as he prayed his best friend could make this happen.
Wait for it, Count, wait for it, wait… But the excitement must have gotten the best of Counter because he jumped to his feet and yelled, “One hundred dollars,” glaring at the men in the front row.
Frink couldn’t believe his ears and he glared at Counter, shaking his head from side to side. He leaned in and hissed, “Ninety-five, you idiot, not one hundred.”
“One hundred dollars, I have one hundred dollars,” the auctioneer yelled. “Do I hear one-ten?”
Counter smacked himself in the head. “Fuck! Did I just say? Did I say one hundred dollars? I meant to say ninety-five.” Silence again filled the hot stuffy town hall. Frink couldn’t think. In his head he kept hearing Counter’s voice over and over again, one hundred dollars, one hundred dollars. He put his head between his legs and did his best not to pass out.
Again, the two men in the front row slowly turned around and glared at them, then turned back and stared straight ahead.
But still more silence…
“Sold!” The auctioneer yelled as the gavel hit the top of the podium. “Ruby Lode sold to the gentleman in the third row.”
Frink would have sworn his heart was going to leap out of his chest. Just then Counter threw his calloused hands in the air and shouted, “Hot dog, Frink, we just bought ourselves a mine.”
Frink stood up with a concerned look on his face. “Count, I sure hope there’s gold in that there mine, ’cause if there’s not, my paw and everybody I borrowed money from to buy it is going to hang me from a tall tree with a short rope.”
Frink felt Counter’s hands on both of his shoulders and his heart began to race.
“Relax, Frink, there’s gold. I can just feel it. We’ll find gold in Ruby Lode or we’ll die tryin’.”
Frink’s bottom lip quivered. “That’s what I’m afraid of and I sure hope it’s not the latter.”
Frink had never been able to deny his best friend anything, no matter how big or how small. All through school, Counter had gotten him into so many tight jams he’d lost track. And he’d lost count of the number of times he went home from school with bruised knuckles because he’d taken the blame for something Counter had done. The schoolmaster had vowed to break Counter’s bad ways and all the while, Frink kept on covering for him.
He felt Counter’s comfortable hands patting his back and he started to calm just a little. But as quickly as those hands were there, they moved and Frink suddenly found himself being dragged to the front of the town hall, he assumed to pay for their new goldmine.
Okay, so now you get an idea of what I went through trying to get the dialogue right and I’m sure you can see where the love story is working it’s way into right from the get go. So with that said, here is an excerpt from Part Two:
Cyrus Curran, Cy to everyone that mattered to him, sat at the foot of his bed and loosened and removed the tie from around his neck. He stretched and yawned as he slipped out of his black, highly polished Ferragamo loafers. Instinctively, he wiggled his toes and the sight of his navy blue socks with the gold threaded toes moving back and forth quickly brought him back to Biloxi, Mississippi, when he was just six years old.
“Just get to the car,” the young Cyrus told himself as he genuflected, made the sign of the cross and bolted down the aisle of the Catholic Church. He vaguely heard his mother’s orders to slow down, but he couldn’t stop. When he finally reached the doors at the end of the longest aisle he’d ever seen, he took the steps two at a time down to the parking lot. He’d been so uneasy ever since his mother had dressed him for Sunday morning services and now he was having a hard time catching his breath. As he ran, he pulled his arms out of his little suit coat, hoping less clothes might help him breathe easier, but it was no use. He got to the car and frantically pulled on the door, panicking for a second when he thought his daddy might have locked it. Just as he thought he might scream, the door opened and he jumped in and locked the door behind him. While fighting for air, his shaking hands desperately fumbled with the shoestrings of his black church shoes. “I’ve got to get these shoes off.” The harder he tried, the more knotted the shoe laces became and the more panicked he felt.
He finally gave up on the laces and used every bit of strength he could muster to pull the shoes off without unlacing them. He took a deep breath when both shoes finally fell to the floor of the car with a thump and his toes were free to wiggle and move freely. He leaned his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. “How lame is it to be afraid of a pair of shoes?” he thought as his breathing began to even out and his hands stopped shaking. Eventually his parents made their way to the car and when they saw him in the back seat with no coat or shoes on, they pretended not to notice, but he’d seen the sad look on their faces.
When the memory faded, Cyrus was still wiggling the toes happy to be out of his shoes. To this day, he still couldn’t imagine why as a kid he’d always felt so terrified and constricted when Sundays came around and his mother forced him wear his dress shoes to church. He especially remembered being frightened of his shoelaces, and even now as an adult, none of it made any sense to him. Oddly enough, he still didn’t own a pair of shoes that required shoelaces, but luckily he was no longer afraid of them. He just simply didn’t like the feeling of being restricted or confined in any way, something else he’d brushed off to the many mysteries surrounding his life.
He’d also discovered much later in life that his family had abruptly moved from Long Island to Biloxi, supposedly because his father’s job had been transferred, but the odd thing was he didn’t remember a time when he didn’t live in Mississippi. He should have some recollection of living in another place. In addition, no one ever talked about living on Long Island. Why am I thinking about all of this again now? He rolled his eyes before he closed them, lying back on the bed just for a second.
He was exhausted; the last two weeks on Wall Street had been a real nightmare. The stock market had been especially volatile, his investors were nervous, and the looming recession was front and center on everyone’s mind. He sighed and pictured his approaching escape, a week in beautiful Colorado with the man he loved and his two best friends, all doing what they loved to do, exploring abandoned goldmines.
He chuckled when he thought about his hobby choice. He hated confined spaces or being restricted but he loved exploring abandoned goldmines. What was up with that? In reality, most of the goldmines they’d explored were not confining in the least, and he knew he could leave anytime he wanted to. That made all the difference to him.
In the early planning stages of the upcoming trip, the group had begun searching Colorado’s over five thousand abandoned mines, looking for anything odd that might jump out at them and the hands-down winner was Ruby Lode. Cy had been intrigued by Ruby Lode because the last record on file regarding the mine was a tax lien sale in 1914 to four men named Frink Davis, Counter Stephens, Hepp Thomas and Shull Johnson. The mine consisted of three shafts, two hand-dug between 1906 and 1914, he assumed by the original owners, and the third dug almost one hundred years later by a prospector who didn’t realize the mine was still deeded property. In addition, there was no record of the mine ever being worked. And the most exciting part of their research was that, according to the Bureau of Land Management, only one group had applied for a permit to explore the mine some ten years back but, after the first day, the permit was surrendered under strange circumstances with no data on any findings. Cy assumed the mine was just too small a blip on the radar for anyone to be concerned with. Anyone but them, of course.
He then searched further through census records for any information on the four owners and had turned up nothing on Counter Stephens or Frink Davis. However, the census did show that, in 1904, Hepp Thomas and Shull Johnson purchased a piece of property in Lyons, Colorado which, according to Google Maps, was approximately seven miles from the opening of the mine. But later records showed nothing on either of them past 1914. In Cy’s mind, that meant that either they bought the mine and left town the very same year, which was unlikely, or they died shortly after they purchased it. Either way, this proved to be an interesting find and worth their efforts.
There were two other mines named Old Smuggler and Highland Placer located in the area, and they were both in the early running but quickly eliminated because they’d been explored recently and were well documented. They’d decided to request permits for them as well, and if they had time after Ruby Lode, they would investigate. Getting permits from the US Bureau of Land Management to explore Old Smuggler and Highland Placer was a piece of cake, but it had taken them nearly six months to get the permit to explore Ruby Lode for several reasons. First, Ruby Lode was located on private property and still deeded as such, so the Bureau was forced to get permission from the owners before administering the permit. Second, no one knew the condition of the mine or how safe it was to enter, so all four of them had to show extensive experience and sign release forms just to be considered. Third, they had to agree to alert the local authorities before they entered and vacated the mine on a daily basis. And lastly, they had to agree to do an extensive report outlining what they found and the overall condition of the mine.
Cy opened his eyes and quickly looked at his watch. Five o’clock? Shit. I can’t believe I dozed off for an hour. He hopped out of bed and ran for the closet. Bo will be home any minute and I promised him I would start packing. Maybe if I open the suitcases and throw a few things in, it will at least look like I attempted to keep my promise.
Bowen McAlister was his partner of almost ten years. He owned and operated Adventures Underground, a New York City-based company specializing in organizing vacations for adventure seekers looking for the thrills of underground exploration. His specialty was finding, exploring, and preserving the history of abandoned goldmines out west. In fact, this trip was a reconnaissance mission to determine if Ruby Lode could be up-fitted to add to his list of offerings. In the beginning, Cy had thought it odd Bowen wanted to start a company like that based in New York City, where the only things underground were the sewer and the subway, but Bo had convinced him that so many New Yorkers who held high-powered, hectic careers and the need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city also had the means to actually do it. When he’d put it like that, it made perfect sense.
Cy and Bowen had met almost a decade ago when they were both attending NYU. Bowen was a junior and a couple of years older than Cyrus. They had an immediate attraction and a very short courtship before they fell madly in love. Shortly after they met, Cy had introduced Bowen to his two best friends Duff Gentry, whom Cy was dating very casually when he’d met Bowen, and Lockhart Dawson, his college roommate and the life of every party. They too were very interested in Bowen’s then-passion and now livelihood. All three of them had taken to it immediately and, since then the four guys had traveled out west, extensively scouting out possible sites for future adventures. In the last three years, they’d explored three hundred out of the tens of thousands of mines in Utah and they were moving on to Colorado.
Cy heard the door to their New York apartment open and close. He moved quickly as he threw a few more things into their suitcases. Within minutes Bowen was standing in the door and leaning against the doorjamb with his arms folded across his chest, smiling at him.
Cy’s throat went dry and warmth began to settle in his groin. God, even after ten years, the sight of Bo still made his heartbeat quicken and his dick swell collectively. Bowen McAlister was a man’s man. Despite the fact he’d been put up for adoption at birth, knew nothing about his birth parents and had spent his entire life in the foster care system being shuffled from one home to another, he was the most well-adjusted, protective and loving man Cy had ever met.
In the looks department, he was drop dead gorgeous. Five feet eleven inches of hot sexy man, solid and hard as a rock. His hair was dark brown and he wore it in a buzz cut. Cy preferred he wear it a little longer, but he had to admit, he loved the way the short strands tickled against his palms. Bowen always sported a thin, short mustache and goatee because he thought it made his pretty face look a bit more rugged, and Cy agreed. He had the cutest little birthmark on his cheek, which Bowen himself didn’t really care for but Cy loved it and often referred to it as his beauty mark. That always made Bowen snicker. He had the most gorgeous deep blue, need-you eyes and if Cy looked into them for more than a couple of seconds, he could lose himself forever. His smile… well, his smile was what had sealed the deal. It was warm and when it turned sly, powerful enough to curl Cy’s toes. Each physical trait was a study of masculine beauty but, together? Holy shit, what a package.
“Hey Baby,” Bowen said, still smiling. He walked over, grabbed Cy by the back of the neck, and pulled him into a long passionate kiss. Cy never tired of the way Bo took him and made him feel weak in the knees. When the kiss ended, Bowen looked into the suitcases and back at Cy. “Fall asleep, did ya?”
Cy smiled sheepishly. “Is it that obvious? I’m really sorry, Bo. I just sat on the edge of the bed for a second and woke up an hour later.”
“No worries, babe. I’ll help,” Bowen offered with a chuckle. “Plus, we have plenty of time.”
Well, that’s about it for me. I really hope you enjoy The Mystery of Ruby Lode and please let me hear from you one way or the other. You can always reach me at www.scottycade.com or via email at email@example.com. The book can be found at www.dreamspinnerpress.com, www.amazon.com, as well as independent bookstores around the country.
Thanks again for spending some time with me and I hope to hear from you soon.
Scotty is offering up a digital copy of The Mystery Of Ruby Lode. To enter, read the two excerpts above and comment below in regards to which sleuthing team you are looking forward to meeting most, the one from 1914 or present day.
Open until Thursday, July 26th at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Friday.
Scotty has added print copies of all 4 books in his Love series to our GRL Reading Challenge Grand Prize. Remember to post your list for your chance to enter.