Posted On April 14, 2011 by Print This Post

Book Excerpt: Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

Today, we’re ecstatic to highlight author Ann Charles and her book Nearly Departed in Deadwood. This is a never-before shared excerpt from the book! Don’t forget to join us for the chat with Ann at 8:00pm Central Time tonight, April 14!

Ann Charles - Nearly Departed In DeadwoodScene setup:  Violet has just arrived at the Deadwood library. She’s there to find out more information on the one of the missing little girls. The scene begins with Violet walking into the library.

When I pushed open the heavy door, the smell of leather bindings, aged paper, and wood varnish welcomed me.

A pretty, young brunette sat behind the counter at the side of the room, her skin blotch- and wrinkle-free, her chest perky in a low-cut dress covered with plums. Compared to her, I was a saggy prune. It sucked getting older.

“Hi,” I whispered as I approached the counter.

Miss Plum looked up from a celebrity-filled magazine she’d been perusing. “Can I help you?” Boredom edged her tone.

“How would I go about finding an old article in the Black Hills Trailblazer newspaper?”

“You need to fill this out.” She handed me a piece of paper. “Then set up an appointment with us to come back later for a viewing.”

Crudmongers. Did everything in this freaking town require paperwork and wait times?

“Oh, I forgot to mention,” Miss Plum turned the page in her magazine, “there’s also a search fee.”

Of course there was. I stuffed the paper in my purse, wondering if Abe’s Alehouse was serving hard liquor already.

“Unless you just wanted to view an article on microfilm. Then you can do it now for free.”

It turned out that getting soused for lunch wasn’t predicted in my horoscope for today after all. “That works.”

“Cool. Follow me.”

She led me past a table covered with computers and printers, through a narrow corridor lined with ceiling-high, book-laden shelves. Pausing in front of a closed door with a sign on it that read South Dakota Room, she asked, “Have you ever used a microfilm machine?”

“Sure.” No, but how hard could it be?

Miss Plum pushed open the door and stepped into a small room. I followed, screeching to a halt at the sight of Doc sitting at a table, books stacked around him.

He looked up, his eyes widening when his gaze hit me.

“Hello, Violet.” He shuffled some papers around, doing a rotten job of being discreet while trying to hide whatever it was he’d been reading.

Damn. The last thing I wanted right now was company, especially someone as distracting as Doc. I worked up a smile for him. “Hi, Doc. I didn’t see your car out front.”

“I walked here.”

“It’s hot outside.”

“I took my time.”

“They’re calling for rain this afternoon.” I sounded like an idiot. If I’d been wearing socks, I’d have taken them off and shoved both in my mouth.

“The hills could use the water.”

“I hope you brought an umbrella.”

“I dry easily.”

I nodded, out of silly things to say about the stupid weather.

His dark eyes probed mine, making me squirm in my heels. What was it about this guy that made me feel like my bra was cinched too tight? Something that I couldn’t put my finger on even if I wanted to—which for some reason, I did.

“How is the chicken?” he asked.

“Still a problem.”

“And the kittens?”

“Up for adoption. You interested?”

He grinned, shaking his head.

I wondered if he had a girlfriend stashed away somewhere. Then I wondered where in the hell that thought had come from and why I cared.

Miss Plum cleared her throat. “Here’s the machine.”

I welcomed the interruption with my full attention.

She beckoned me over to the corner of the room.

Peeking at the stacks of books in front of Doc as I passed, I saw the words Register of Deaths and City Directory. What was he looking at those for? Researching his genealogy? Digging into Deadwood’s infamous past? Or was he checking out estate sales? Looking up possible real estate investments?

Miss Plum pointed at a cabinet filled with tiny drawers, each labeled with a year. “When were you interested in?”

“Last summer,” I murmured, keeping my back to Doc. I didn’t want him to learn that I was chasing a paper trail for something that could just be a coincidence on Jeff Wymonds’ part and a bit of over-reaction on mine.

Miss Plum pulled out a small spool and handed it to me. I stared at it like it was a toad waiting for a kiss.

“Here, let me help you.” She plucked the spool from my open palm. I watched as she stuck it in the machine and clicked a switch. A backlit newspaper page appeared on the screen. “There you are.”

With a nod of thanks, I dropped into the seat and set my purse on the floor at my feet.

“If you need anything else, I’ll be at the front desk.” She left, closing the door behind her, leaving me alone with Doc.

To buy Nearly Departed in Deadwood and see what else Ann has up her sleeve, drop by Ann’s website.


Ann Charles - Nearly Departed In DeadwoodAnn Charles is an award-winning author who writes romantic mysteries that are splashed with humor. Her debut mystery, Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Released in January 2011) won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. A member of Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and Romance Writers of America for many moons, she has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington.

When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is penning writing-related articles or standing on her workshop soapbox, sharing what she has learned over the years about the craft and self-promotion. Visit her at or

You can also find her at, where she and over two dozen other authors, reviewers, and PR consultants have joined together to teach and share (and learn from each other) all sorts of great information about promotion for both unpublished and published authors.

She lives near Seattle with her clever husband, charming children, and one incredibly sassy cat.

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9 Responses to “Book Excerpt: Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles”

  1. Always a great read, Ann!

    Posted by Sarah M. Anderson | April 14, 2011, 8:54 am
  2. Ann –

    How I love Violet, let me count the ways :).

    Can’t wait to chat tonight!


    Posted by Kelsey Browning | April 14, 2011, 8:55 am
  3. Loved the excerpt!

    Posted by Wendy S. Marcus | April 14, 2011, 1:42 pm
  4. Looking forward to the chat and will be adding it to my book order! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | April 14, 2011, 2:46 pm
  5. Hi guys,

    Kelsey, I love it!
    Sarah, thanks! I always love to hear from you. 🙂
    Wendy, thanks for reading the excerpt. The scene that follows was very fun to write.
    Carrie, I appreciate you adding it to your book order!

    Thanks for commenting!

    Posted by Ann Charles | April 14, 2011, 6:31 pm
  6. Can’t wait to see you at book signing in Kirkland May 14th. Loved Nearly Departed, fabulous book. I’m anxiously awaiting the next in series!

    Posted by Jan Neil | April 14, 2011, 7:10 pm
  7. It doesn’t matter how often I read the book, or an excerpt from same, I love it every time! I’m so very proud to say I know you!

    Posted by Jody Sherin | April 14, 2011, 7:29 pm
  8. Jan and Jody, please join us in the chat room! Ann would love to hear from you.

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | April 14, 2011, 7:31 pm
  9. Jan and Jody–Thank you!

    Jody, I’m with you, I read it over and over again, when the mood strikes, especially the juicy parts. 😉

    Posted by Ann Charles | April 14, 2011, 8:11 pm

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